Britain number one Andy Murray eased through to the third round of the 2015 Wimbledon men’s singles championship as he earned a 6-1 6-1 6-4 victory over Dutch tennis star Robin Haase. Murray, who lifted the trophy back in 2013, has his eyes set on glory this year after a difficult spell with numerous injury problems and will be well supported throughout the entirety of the two-week tournament. If he is to reach the final, the 28-year-old must overcome some very talented players after he was handed a nightmare draw. In fact, if results go completely against the Scot, he could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last-16 before a semi-final encounter with Wimbledon legend Roger Federer. If Murray is going to lift the men’s singles championship on 12th July, he is going to have to do it the hard way and may face close rival and world number one Novak Djokovic in the final.
Murray has been in exceptional form since the turn of the year and has looked full of confidence in his opening two matches at Wimbledon so far. Earlier in the season, Murray was beaten by Djokovic in the Australian Open final but gave an excellent account of himself on the Serbian’s favoured hard court surface. Since then, he has won three tournaments – the Bavarian International Tennis Championships, the Miami Masters and the Queen’s Club Championships – and is one of the leading candidates to achieve success at Wimbledon. It could be argued that Murray is in the form of his life and, on current form, it would be difficult to back against the British number one as he chases down a third Grand Slam title. Throughout the course of the year, Murray has won 42 matches and lost just six – helping him to climb back up to number three in the world rankings. The Scot is certainly receiving plenty of support from the public this week and British fans will be hoping that this can spur Murray on throughout the competition.
Good luck to @andy_murray today at Wimbledon! Let's hope he can win his third Slam.
— Liam (@OffsideLiam) June 30, 2015
In his opening match of his home event, Murray was paired against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin. Murray disposed of the world number 59 with relative ease as he claimed a 6-4 7-6 6-4 victory in straight sets to reach the second round. Although there were a few hairy moments, the Scot played a number of breathtaking shots to send a timely reminder to the likes of Tsonga and Federer. In his second match, Murray was unplayable and dominated all three sets against Haase to claim victory in just 87 minutes. The British number one put on a brilliant show for the fans as he made a huge statement of intent ahead of his third round fixture – which will be against either Croatia’s Borna Coric or number 25 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy. Some of the key statistics from Murray’s opening round clash with Kukushkin can be seen below.
However, world number one Djokovic remains a formidable figure and the Serbian will be extremely confident of claiming his second Grand Slam title of the year. Djokovic, who beat Roger Federer in a five set thriller in last year’s final, is looking to cement his place as one of tennis’ greatest ever players and is looking for his ninth major championship title. He is coached by the legendary Boris Becker and has been outstanding since teaming up with the German back in 2013. This season, Djokovic has won 43 matches and has lost just three – with one of those defeats crucially coming in the French Open semi-final to dash any dreams of a calendar year Grand Slam. As always, the Serbian – who hasn’t been knocked out of a Grand Slam tournament before the quarter-finals since 2009 – will be looking forward to the business end of the competition and could face Stanislas Wawrinka in the last four. The Polish star beat Djokovic to the French Open title last month and there is no doubt that the world number one will be looking for revenge if they clash once again.
So far, the world number one has breezed past his opponents with ease and is yet to face a serious challenge. In his first round match with Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, Djokovic claimed a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory in a relatively straightforward contest. The German, who was ranked as highly as 16th in the world back in 2012, struggled to perform at his best and made a number of unforced errors as the Serbian dominated proceedings. Many had suggested that the 31-year-old, who is the last tennis player to knock Djokovic out of a Grand Slam tournament prior to the quarter-finals, could cause the world number one problems but the defending champion was good enough to get the job done and advance to the second round. In the second round, Djokovic made light work of Jarkko Nieminen as he earned a 6-4 6-2 6-3 victory in just 91 minutes – four slower than Murray’s victory over Haase.
The Serbian has a brilliant record at Wimbledon and has won 45 of his 53 matches at the iconic grass court venue. He has reached the semi-finals in each of the past five years and has gone on to lift the trophy twice – once in 2011 and then again last year. Meanwhile, he has a staggering 85% win ratio at Wimbledon and the world number one has always insisted that it is one of his favourite competitions on the calendar. His aggressive style suits the grass court and his incredible ability to return excellent serves means that he very rarely concedes aces to opponents. Many people will be backing Djokovic to go on and win his ninth Grand Slam title on 12th July and, at the time of writing, betfair are pricing the world number one at 6/5 to lift the Wimbledon trophy this summer. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Serbian compete in yet another Grand Slam final and, if he’s matched up with Andy Murray, the two players are sure to put on a great show for the fans. Here is a repeat of their recent encounter in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
Concurrently, the British number one also has a fantastic record at Wimbledon and is more than capable of beating the best players in the world on the grass court. Murray has a very similar record to Djokovic at the venue and has won 41 of his 49 matches in the competition throughout his career – earning an impressive win ratio of 84%. The Scot has reached the quarter-finals in each of the last seven years and has performed admirably at other Grand Slam events throughout the same time period. On current form, he is capable of beating any player on the planet and the likes of Tsonga and Federer will be worried after his demolition of Haase. Although the Dutchman made 24 unforced errors, Murray also hit plenty of winners as the confidence began to flow. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him compete in Centre Court’s showpiece event for the third time in four seasons and hopefully, for British supporters anyway, he can go all the way and win his second Wimbledon title.
Tennis is a psychological sport and Murray will need to be completely focussed if he is to claim his second Wimbledon title this summer. Over the course of the season so far, the Scot has lost four times to Djokovic at either the semi-final or final stage of a competition – giving the world number one a huge psychological edge over Murray. If Murray reaches the final but then allows this statistic to play on his mind, he may struggle to compete against the Serbian star. However, the British number one is tenacious and is made of stern stuff. He appears to be level headed and can control his emotions throughout matches. Furthermore, although Murray holds a dismal record against the world number one, he is yet to lose to Djokovic on a grass court. The Scot earned a thrilling win against the Serbian at the Olympics in 2012 before claiming the Wimbledon title against the Serbian just 12 months on.
Another key factor for Murray will be the home support and the huge boost that the supporters provide when he is struggling. The Wimbledon crowd have always supported British competitors, from the days of Sue Barker and Tim Henman to today’s era with Murray and Heather Watson, supporters have always provided great encouragement at the venue. Tennis legends such as Federer and Rafael Nadal will always have impressive followings at any Grand Slam event but the Wimbledon crowd tend to remain loyal towards any British competitors throughout the tournament. After Murray’s victory back in 2013, the Scot praised the crowd for their role throughout the competition and admitted that he couldn’t have lifted the trophy if it wasn’t for their continued support.
It would be foolish to dismiss Federer’s chances of claiming a phenomenal eighth Wimbledon crown this summer. The Swiss athlete, who is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, reached the final of the grass court event last year but will be looking to go one better and further stake his claim as the best to ever grace the court. The 33-year-old hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since victory at Wimbledon back in 2012 but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the veteran raise his performance level for one last push at the crown. Federer, who could play Murray in the semi-finals, failed to reach the last four of both the Australian Open and French Open earlier this season and this could be his last realistic chance of success at the iconic grass court event that has been so good to him over the years. The supporters certainly believe that Federer can still challenge for the crown this year.
In 2015, Federer has already won a number of tournaments and has emerged victorious in 36 of his 42 matches. He opened the calendar year with a triumph in the Brisbane International event before beating Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. The Swiss star also claimed victory in the Istanbul Open on the clay surface before the 33-year-old earned a win in the Halle Open – the last grass court event that Federer entered before the start of Wimbledon. This achievement may have provided the seven-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion with the motivation and confidence he needed to push for one last moment of glory on Centre Court. It will be by no means easy for Federer to reach the final but he is more than capable of producing a world-class performance to beat any of the sport’s elite competitors.
If the draw goes as expected, Murray will face world number one Djokovic in the Wimbledon men’s singles final on 12th July. On current form, it’s difficult to split the two players as they have both played some scintillating tennis throughout 2015. However, if the Scot can cope with the psychological side of the rivalry, Murray will stand a great chance of lifting the Wimbledon trophy for the second time and earning a third Grand Slam triumph. The Serbian is a phenomenal player but, in front of his home crowd, Murray could edge it in a match that could go the full five sets.