Nick Bollettieri: Five reasons why this might just be Andy's turn to celebrate

1. He's mentally tough again

When Andy Murray lost the Australian Open final to Roger Federer in January, his game fell to pieces. The circumstances were clearly hard for him emotionally. The consequence? He simply couldn't buy a decent run of form.

The mental and physical drain clearly affected his game. This was, after all, the second time Murray had lost to Federer in a Grand Slam final, the first being at the US Open in 2008. And at the start of this year, there were upsets in his personal life to consider.

We don't and can't know how badly these things hurt him, but the point is this: the fall in form was a blip. On the evidence of the five matches he has played so far this fortnight, that blip is over. Murray did not become a bad player in a few short months, and we've seen in his performances – he's still the same tremendously talented player who reached those US Open and Aussie Open finals.

His serve is still getting better, he's the best returner in the world, he's strong and athletic and moves well, he's got soft hands and a creative brain and he's a fighter. Murray displayed all those assets in reaching that Australian Open final, and he's still got them. He suffered through that loss, but maybe, just maybe, with other areas of his life ticking along again smoothly, he's out of the slump and stronger.

2. He's still fresh

Let's just say that the draw Murray was handed probably couldn't have been any better for him. That is not meant as a statement to disrespect any of the five players he's beaten to reach the semi-finals, but judged on rankings and on history and, yes, natural talent, Murray always should have been confident of beating Jan Hajek, Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Simon, Sam Querrey and

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. And he did, winning against the first four without dropping a set, and then winning in four – and eventually at a canter – against the physical force of Tsonga yesterday.

If he can beat Nadal – and that's an "if" – then there will be a Federer-less final ahead. He will know this is a great opportunity.

3. The World Cup bounce

The England football team has done Murray a favour, as the World Cup in general. The huge focus on South Africa has, to some extent, allowed Murray to fly under the radar. The weight of the nation's expectations has been on Fabio Capello and his players, and now the force of a nation's unfulfilled hopes are being sent in their direction.

Can that really affect the tennis world? In Murray's case, yes it can. But the salient point is that Andy Murray has not had the white-hot light of attention on him for the past month or so, as he might in a summer when there is no a major football tournament to deflect the burden of expectation. And while he's still had to deal with a lot of attention, of course, any less is good news. Less pressure. Less stress. These things matter. He should send Mr Capello a nice thank-you note.

4. The timing is right

Over the last six years, since Murray won the junior US Open, the expectations were incredibly high. Unrealistically high? Looking back, you'd say so. Now his natural progression as a player has caught up, and overtaken the expected level. Now Murray is charging ahead. Can he beat Nadal? Well, he can, though that doesn't mean he'll start as favourite. But this is a good time for Murray.

5. Federer is out

I don't want to bang this drum too much, but I did say on day one of this tournament that it was the most wide-open Wimbledon I've ever known. Roger Federer's exit yesterday proved the vulnerability was indeed there for a man who has been so incredibly strong for so long.

Rafa Nadal is a massive danger for Murray, of course. But there was never a clear-cut favourite for the men's title, and therefore neither was there any one player in the draw who Murray would really not want to face. Murray has to stay positive and remember that.

Nick Bollettieri is one of the world's leading tennis coaches as well as a regular 'Independent' columnist during Wimbledon

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home