Tim Henman: Andy Murray heading in right direction and can win on ATP Tour again

Andy Murray looking ahead

Tim Henman believes Andy Murray is heading in the right direction, but admitted the Grand Slams may prove a step too far.

The former world No 1 played his first tournament of the year in Italy last week on the second-tier ATP Challenger Tour, reaching the final before losing to Illya Marchenko.

It was a jarring sight seeing Murray battling away in a sports hall while the world’s best players competed in the Australian Open but an ill-timed bout of coronavirus prevented him from travelling to Melbourne, and the 33-year-old did not want to waste time.

He was still deciding on Monday whether to stay in Biella and compete in a second Challenger, while it was confirmed he will make his ATP Tour return at next week’s Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Henman, who is working as a pundit for Eurosport during the Australian Open, said: “I watched some of his matches last week and spoke to (coach) Jamie Delgado and it’s great that he played five matches in six days.

“I think it also speaks volumes about his hunger and desire. It can’t be easy when you’ve got the Australian Open going on in the background and you’re at a lower-level event.

“The more I’m seeing him compete, I think his movement is going in the right direction and so the more he can play matches and his body can recover, then I think the more opportunity he’s got of stepping up to the next level.

“When I look back to the tournament he won in Antwerp at the end of 2019, his movement is much better now. If he could win that tournament, can he get back to win again on the main Tour? I think he can.

“The Slams, best of five sets and the recovery, I don’t know the possibilities there, he doesn’t know the possibilities, but he wants to give himself that opportunity to challenge himself.”

Henman said: “I don’t think she will (win). Not through lack of effort. I just think the competition is getting better and better all the time. It can’t be any easier at the age of 39.

“For me, it could easily be a little bit of a psychological hurdle. Having lost in four major finals, trying to break the record. I would go with one of the seven others.”

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