Five years have passed since Andy Murray featured in the second week at Wimbledon, but Tim Henman believes that could change this year.
Murray was world No 1 and defending Wimbledon champion when the Scot was last in a quarter-final at SW19, with injury denying him a chance to get past Sam Querrey on that occasion.
It proved to be a significant match for Murray, as he found himself on an injury spiral that resulted in two operations on his hip and cast a huge cloud over his future in the game.
Appearances in ATP finals in Sydney and Stuttgart this year highlighted Murray’s return to the top of the game and speaking to Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event, Vodaphone ambassador Henman suggested Murray is a dark horse to shine at Wimbledon this summer.
“His level of play has got better and better and a run deep into the second week is realistic now,” Hemman told us.
“I think the way that he has really started to move has been incredible to watch. His resilience physically and mentally is incredible. It was 2017 that he was No 1 and defending champion and then he limped out of the tournament. Then he had four years of just enormous challenges trying to get back on the tour. To see him now in Tour finals in Sydney and Stuttgart is incredibly impressive.
“On grass, no doubt (he has a chance to put a good run together). The other surfaces are harder for him as there are so many very, very good hard and clay court players. On grass, it is still a little bit more specialized so he can go deep at Wimbledon.
Play Your Way to Wimbledon, Powered by Vodafone is the UK’s largest grassroots tennis competition and is delivered in partnership with the LTA, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and Vodafone.
Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone, is the largest individual mass participation tennis competition in the UK,
The competition looks to inspire the next generation of tennis talent; allowing junior players to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and compete for a chance to play on Wimbledon’s iconic courts.
Formerly known as the Road to Wimbledon, the competition launched in March and is delivered in partnership by the LTA, The All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, and Vodafone.
Thousands of 14&U and 18&U players will take part in the qualifying stages this year, leading to county and regional finals in June and July, with the winners progressing to the national finals on Wimbledon’s Aorangi Courts in August.
With 2,034 events planned across 716 venues, this year’s tournament will deliver over 15,000 playing opportunities across singles and doubles competitions.
From 2023, the LTA and The All-England Lawn Tennis Club are planning for the competition to expand further, through the introduction of additional age groups and disability categories, which Vodafone is proud to support, whilst helping to encourage more kids to pick up a tennis racket.
“This is a massively exciting opportunity to encourage youngsters to get involved in the game, with 15,000 kids involved and the best ones getting a chance to play at Wimbledon,” added Henman. “This is a great opportunity to bring young people into our sport and I’m excited to be a part of it.
“Tennis is a happy, helathy outdoor activity and it is a great way to meet people and have fun.
“There is a great buzz around British tennis at the moment with the success of Emma Raducanu and the good wins for Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Andy Murray being back, so we need to tap into that and get as many kids out on court as possible.”