Tim Henman:'You have to keep pushing the bar higher and higher'

Experts' view: Tim Henman & John McEnroe
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If one man understands Andy Murray's situation as he approaches Wimbledon with a nation's longing loaded upon his shoulders, it is Tim Henman. He tells Glenn Moore the Scot can triumph if he follows this plan of action.

Build on this year's progress

"He is a better player than 12 months ago. If you stand still in this game you get left behind, the game is moving so quickly. That is why this is his best chance as he is a better player.

"Andy's had his best clay-court season, and he's made the transition well to grass; winning Queen's showed that. It means expectations have risen, rightly so. But that's not a problem for Andy. You have to keep pushing the bar higher and higher, Murray does that."



Speed through the first week

"It's an old cliché that you can't win the tournament in the first week, but you can lose it. If you are talking playing a series of five-set matches you can be drained going into the second week. You want to come through as straightforward as you can but such is the depth in men's tennis, it's not easy. "Just think of 12 months ago, Federer against [Alejandro] Falla in the first round. He should have lost [he was two sets down, 4-4 in the third, facing two break points]. If he had, it would probably have been the greatest upset in Wimbledon history."



Ignore the background noise

"There is a lot of attention on a British player at Wimbledon. For some people it would be a burden, it could intimidate them. For Murray, as with myself, it is an inspiration. I thrived in that environment, I played some of my best tennis here.

"We know there's not been a British winner for so long, but while you'd like to put it right you can't let it affect you. I never read the papers when I was playing. I tried to avoid all that. It is out of your control. You have to control the things you can, your preparation, your performance. If you take care of them, and you are a good player, everything else takes care of itself.

"You want to have as few distractions as possible and I think Andy does that very well. He knows what his priorities are. He is not in a popularity contest, he is out there to try and win this tournament."



Win the big points

"It wouldn't be a surprise if Murray, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic met in the semi-finals. If they do, it boils down to who performs on the day, who can take those opportunities, who wins the break points.

"People talk about the mental side of sport, and obviously that has a big part to play, but it is about executing the shots at that given moment. Is that a technical aspect or is it a mental aspect? You could point to either of them."



And if he doesn't win...

If Henman never received the respect his achievements – as Britain's best male player since Bunny Austin and Fred Perry – deserved, he says he "never lost any sleep over it".

At Wimbledon in his role as an ambassador for HSBC, he added: "I think Andy is the same. If you look at what I did and what he's doing, it's [fulfilling] a dream.

"What Andy has achieved already is phenomenal. There are better players, but he is one of the very best and I think he can be the best one day. There are very few players who do win this tournament [only six different winners in the last 18 years]. It is not easy to win."

HSBC, official banking partner of Wimbledon, is giving fans the chance to vote for their favourite moments and win a chance to be at the Wimbledon Finals in 2012. Visit www.wimbledon.com/hsbc

John McEnroe:'Novak has become more aggressive at the right times. Andy can be passive'

John McEnroe believes Andy Murray can learn from the way Novak Djokovic has taken his game to new levels this year.

"Novak's decided to become more aggressive at the right times," McEnroe said. "Andy does have a tendency to get a little passive, instead of getting in people's heads that he's going to make that positive move forward."

The Wimbledon champion sees Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as the main contenders this year, with Murray not far behind. "It'd be tough to make an argument for anyone other than those four guys to win," he said.

The American, who will again be part of the BBC's commentary team, says Murray hardly needs a coach. "He's got some attributes in tennis that very few other people have had, the way he's got this touch with the ball, his feel, his natural ability to hit a ball. His backhand return is one of the best I've seen. I sometimes feel on his forehand he's not aggressive enough off the return. He's got a very open stance. I think if he closed off more, especially on the shorter ball, and put his weight on the front foot, he'd be better off. It would give him another option."

McEnroe dismissed a suggestion that Federer might be fading in the way Pete Sampras did at the end of his career. "I don't see any signs of that other than the fact that his life has become more complete and complicated with kids and that he's going to be 30 in August. His enthusiasm is more than Pete's. Pete seemed a reluctant champion, to some degree. It seemed he didn't like being out there as much as Roger. So that will keep Roger going longer and his decline will be less, I believe, than Pete's."

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