By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 6:42pm PST USA
LONDON--(lawntennismag.com) Not since the sparkling tennis of fellow Brit, Tim Henman has England had a realistic chance at crowning a singles Wimbledon champion. Andy Murray of the UK reached the final at last year's US Open and now England may be dreaming of a Wimbledon run.
The 4th ranked Murray started this year with Abu Dhabi exhibition wins against both world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain and world number two Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Last week at Doha, Qatar, Murray took the singles title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open defeating the top American Andy Roddick in the final. In the semifinals Murray, topped Federer again in the 6-7(6-8), 6-2, 6-2.
Federer had taken the Wimbledon singles title five years in a row from 2003-2007 before losing in last year's final to the current Wimbledon champion Nadal.
Henman reached the Wimbledon semifinals in his best showing at London in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002. His last year's quarterfinal finish was Murray's best result to date. Murray lost to Nadal 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Andy Murray of the UK
"It has been so long since a British tennis player has won a slam. I'd love to win a grand slam.
And while Murray's brother Jamie Murray took the Wimbledon mixed doubles title in 2007 with
the Serbian women's world number one Jelena Jankovic, no man or women has taken the singles title since Virgina Wade in 1977.
Fred Perry was the last British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 1936. Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the girl's championship in 1984 and 2008 respectively. And in a possibly fitting twist, Murray's clothing sponsor is Fred Perry's brand. The Fred Perry sporting label was launched at Wimbledon in 1952 and has grown into a major global brand.
Murray, an aggressive baseliner with deft volleys as well, prefers faster surfaces such as hard courts and grass courts. After turning professional in 2005, Murray has won nine ATP Tour singles titles.
"You get used to being expected to win matches when you play at Wimbledon, Murray said. The pressure that comes with that gets you used to these situations. It has been so long since a British tennis player has won a slam. I'd love to win a grand slam.