Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon 2014 Files: It has the makings of a classic – Grigor Dimitrov is tomorrow’s guy but Andy Murray is playing better than when he won the title last year

A big serve on grass is a big weapon and the Scot just chewed it up and spat it out

I said it last week and I have said it already in week two – I like a guy to be tested through the rounds at a Slam so come the business end of the tournament he is ready to walk the walk. It does a player good to be stretched, I’m sure of that. So I look at Andy Murray, four matches and not a set dropped. One tie-break, that’s as squeaky as it’s got for Andy.

That’s no test, and then as you watch him play, see the way he went past big Kevin Anderson, whupping back those returns from Anderson’s missile of a serve, and you start to think, hang on guys, just hang on, this boy is for real. It is not that he is not being tested, it’s simply that he is playing too well for any of his opponents to get anywhere close. Andy Murray is in the form to defend his title.

I have been so impressed with Murray – and in particular against Anderson on Monday. A big serve on grass is a big weapon and Murray just chewed it up and spat it out. This is a guy who looks on top of his game and, if anything, he looks a better player than last year.

From what I have seen at Wimbledon his serve is in smoother working order than it has ever been. The second serve has been a weakness. It is getting better, although he won only 39 and 44 per cent of his second serves in the last two rounds – to make a quick comparison, Novak Djokovic won 68 per cent of his second serves against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. So there is still work to be done there but when his first serve is firing so well then there is less need to worry about what else is in the armoury.

But the best of Murray is his returning. Oh boy, it had me purring against Anderson it was that good. Not only was he getting back Anderson’s serve, he was sending them back with interest, fizzing across court, winners all the way. Murray hit 49 winners against Anderson and those are good numbers in a three-set match.

That’s how I see it – Grigor Dimitrov has to make damn sure his serving is too much for Murray’s returning. The Bulgarian has been serving well – holy cow, he has been playing pretty well all over the court – with a first-serve percentage averaging in the 80s and it will need to be up at that level again.

It has the makings of a classic contest: two players who cover the court well – though I put Murray a little ahead in that – two players who serve well, two players who can mix it up and two players who go out there with plenty of confidence. Murray has the edge in most areas, though, and so he should as the defending champion at the peak of his career. But Dimitrov is tomorrow’s guy, the coming man. The question is when will tomorrow come? Soon I think because I like what I have seen at Wimbledon – man do I have a thing for his one-handed backhand.

Everything is there and since he took on Roger Rasheed as his coach he has taken off this year. Finally that talent that saw him called “Baby Fed” a few years back is beginning to be matched by results on court. Now he is maturing into Grown-up Grigor – winner at Queen’s a couple of weeks back, conqueror of Murray on the way to winning in Acapulco, where he came back from a set down.

Another thing I said last week is that if I could pick out one man to coach right now it would be the 23-year-old Bulgarian. I haven’t changed my mind about that, this guy has it all, but Murray is just full of it at the moment, he has the strut of the champion. Look at some of those drop shots he was pulling out against Anderson on Monday. He could’ve landed  them on a dime. Murray is top class right now.

Wednesday’s big game: Murray v Dimitrov

Andy Murray/Grigor Dimitrov

British Nationality Bulgarian

27 Age 23

London Residence Haskovo, Bulgaria

6ft 3in Height 6ft 3in

Right-handed Plays Right-handed

5 World ranking 13

28 Career titles 4

$31.5m Prize-money $3.27m

41-7 Wimbledon record 7-4

Winner (2013) Wimbledon best Q-f (2014)

Won 3 Head-to-head Won 1

Bollettieri’s prediction Murray in four

Coaching report: Kyrgios has proved we can’t predict anything

Holy shoal of mackerel! What a day that was. Who saw that coming? Nadal – out. Sharapova – out. What a tournament Wimbledon 2014 is becoming and who knows what is coming next? I have one piece of advice for you – keep your money in your pocket, boys and girls, because this is one unpredictable tournament.

The teeny boppers are playing their tunes all over Wimbledon – there’s new talent on the women’s side and now here’s this Aussie guy. Nick Kyrgios, 19 years old and he has just blasted Rafa Nadal clean off Centre Court. Kyrgios has a thunderous serve and a thunderous forehand and he’s clearly got balls, too. What a performance.

I didn’t see Maria Sharapova going out like that to Angelique Kerber either. And look at the match stats and it gets even more confusing. Most of them are in Sharapova’s favour – half as many double faults, a better first-serve percentage, equal on the second serves and more than twice as many winners, 57-27. That doesn’t add up, does it? Now take unforced errors: Kerber 11, Sharapova 49. And there you have it. Maria made the mistakes and Kerber didn’t.

The most amazing stat of the day, though, belongs to Sabine Lisciki. She sends down 20 double faults and on Wednesday she will play in the quarter-finals again. Wow! I know all too well from the time she spent at the IMG Academy that Sabine is a fighter who can guts her way through a match. It was a good job that forehand was in good working order otherwise she would have been in deep trouble. She got it done but she won’t get away with that broken-down serve in the quarters against Simona Halep.

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003