Rafael Nadal’s ‘level was impressive’, says Tim Henman as he dreams of one last Nadal-Andy Murray dance
Tim Henman admits he would be the first to sign up to see Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray face each other one more time before they retire as he also gave his views on the two tennis greats’ recent performances.
Nadal spent the bulk of the 2023 season on the sidelines due to a hip flexor injury that he sustained at last year’s Australian Open.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner finally made his long-awaited comeback at the Brisbane International at the start of this year and won his opening two matches before going down in three sets against Jordan Thompson.
He picked up another injury during his defeat, which ruled him out of the Australian Open, but he is set to return to action at the Qatar Open.
Murray, meanwhile, has struggled as he is yet to win a match in 2024 with his latest defeat coming in the first round of the Open 13 this week, but he has vowed to continue playing.
With both tennis greats expected to play fairly regularly this year, there is always a chance they could meet again on the ATP Tour and Henman says it would be great for the sport.
Nadal and Murray have met 24 times on the ATP Tour with the former leading their head-to-head count 17-7 although Murray won their last match at the 2016 Madrid Open.
“We would love that. To see them both healthy and back on the court… I’ve got to say, Rafa’s level in Brisbane was impressive,” Henman told Metro.co.uk.
“Having not played for a whole year and then to come back and play like that. He lost a really tight one against Jordan Thompson and then had a bit of a setback.
“We’ve been blessed with so many great rivalries in the sport. Murray and Nadal, I can’t remember how many times they have played, but I would certainly sign up to see them play one more time!”
Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray’s poor run of form dates back to the second half of the 2023 season as he was 2-5 during his final seven matches of the campaign while he is 0-4 in 2024.
Some had suggested that the former world No 1 is tarnishing his legacy by continuing to play, but Murray came out fighting as he insisted he will not quit.
Henman is confident Murray can “fight his way out of this”.
“This year, to not pick up any wins, you can see and hear how frustrated Andy is,” he said. “There has been some chat around his retirement but for me I don’t agree with that in any way, shape or form.
“As long as he wants to be out there, working hard and putting the hours in and making sacrifices, he should do it for as long as he wants.
“But he’s a competitor. He doesn’t want go into tournaments making up the numbers and winning a match here or there.
“So he has got to fight his way out of this. Getting matches under your belt is what you need and match wins.
“When you look at the tournaments he’s playing and the opponents he’s up against, it’s not easy.
“If he wants to drop down to Challenger level to get some matches then so be it. He’s done that in the past with success to build that momentum. He’s so experienced and knows what’s best for him. He’ll work it out and I hope he can get back to winning ways.”
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