Andy Murray is expecting to be fit to play at the US Open and former British No 1 Tim Henman believes he will relish the tag of being an underdog as he aims to make it through to the second week.
The 2012 US Open champion has tried in vain to get through to the latter stages of a Grand Slam since his hip surgery in 2019, with draining five-set matches taking their toll on his ageing body.
Many observers have questioned why Murray is continuing in the game, yet Henman insists the former world No 1 has every right to decide when to call time on his stunning career.
Murray face Grigor Dimitrov in the second round and Alexander Zverev in the third round at the US Open before a potential meeting with defending champion Alcaraz.
Navigating his way through that draw seems highly unlikely given his form in recent years, but Henman suggests he is still playing the game for that kind of challenge.
“Andy loves the challenge of playing the top players and he will go into those matches as the big underdog, that can’t be denied,” said Henman, speaking at a Sky Sports event ahead of their return to tennis to broadcast the US Open.
“With his experience, on-court knowledge and problem-solving ability, he always had a chance. Best of five sets makes it harder because of the physicality that goes with that, but that’s why he is playing – to put himself in a position to play the best players in the biggest tournaments.
“If Andy does get a chance to play Alcaraz, he will have a few wins under his belt and will get confidence from that.
“Hopefully he is fit and healthy and because he needs to be to do himself justice.
“It’s up to Andy to decide when he wants to stop playing and at the moment, he still has the desire and the passion to compete and try and find ways to win matches. I always say you are a long time retired, so don’t stop until you have left everything out there.”
Henman went on to suggest the British players at the US Open will need to defy their doubters to enjoy success, with Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Katie Boulter lacking consistency this season.
“Cam made a very good start to the year, but has lost a little bit of that momentum,” added Henman of Norrie.
“He just needs to add that confidence on that match court. It’s very important that he keeps working hard and he has a great team around him, so I don’t think there is a need to panic.
“He just needs to get wins under his belt and that was the same with Evo (Dan Evans), who was wondering where his next win was coming from and then suddenly he has the biggest tournament win of his career in Washington a few weeks back.
“As Evans highlighted in Washington, things can turn around very quickly. Form is temporary and class is permanent and Cam and Evo have to keep working and hope it turns around.”
Former British No 1 Johanna Konta also gave her verdict on Murray’s US Open hopes, as she set the bar of expectation at a realistic level.
“It would be nice to see him late in the first week and maybe going into the second week,” said Sky Sports analyst Konta.
“With it being best of five sets, it would be nice to see him string a few match wins together and while he is still playing, we should enjoy it.
“He is still playing because he believes there is more in him and areas he can still improve on in his game. While he still feels that way, we have the privilege of watching him play and watching one of the best competitors ever to play the game.”
The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with access to all court feeds from 28 August.
The article Former British No 1’s on why Andy Murray is still chasing US Open glory appeared first on Tennis365.com.