Andy Murray has set his sights on Wimbledon glory after winning his second Queen’s title with a 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Murray became the first Briton for 97 years to win the Wimbledon warm-up event twice thanks to a gutsy comeback against Tsonga and the world number four will be among the favourites when the All England Club tournament gets underway next week.
The 24-year-old has endured three painful defeats in Grand Slam finals, including the Australian Open this year, but he believes he is in the perfect form to finally end his long wait to win a major.
“I’m going to Wimbledon with the feeling I’m going to win the tournament. I don’t think you can go in with any other attitude,” Murray said.
“I feel like I am playing good tennis but I will need to improve in the next week because I have to play my best throughout the tournament to win it.
“I will be switched on from my first match. I’ll really look forward to the challenge because Wimbledon is one of the most important tournaments of the year, if not the most important.”
Murray underlined his sky-high confidence in the third set of the final against Tsonga when he hit a remarkable between-the-legs forehand winner from an acute angle near the net.
The British number one admitted it was the kind of spectacular shot he loves to play and he refused to apologise for a piece of show-boating some saw as a sign of arrogance.
“I enjoyed hitting them, it was good fun,” Murray said. “You don’t get a chance to do that very often and it just came off.
“I was up 40-0 in the game, I probably wouldn’t have gone for it at 30-30.
“If it works I will try it anywhere. It is not something I will think about too much.
“I don’t know if he was annoyed but it was frustrating for me when he was hitting dive volleys and getting net cords in the first set.”
It has been a perfect week for Murray, but the Scot revealed he nearly pulled out of the tournament after his first match against Xavier Malisse.
Murray had arrived nursing serious concerns about the ankle ligament injury he suffered at the French Open and he felt it was still painful enough after the Malisse match to consider withdrawing.
He eventually opted to keep playing and it proved a wise move.
The ankle has responded well to treatment and Murray was able to play some of the best tennis of his life to demolish three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick in the semi-finals.
“I was very close to pulling out after the first match,” he said. “I was feeling my ankle and didn’t feel comfortable on the court.
“The best thing would have been to rest it, but I ended getting four matches on grass and winning the tournament.
“The last two tournaments have been very difficult with things I’ve had to go through, but you get rewarded for that if you go on court and fight through it.
“This was great preparation. When you look at the names of the people on the trophy, it’s not an easy tournament to win.
“It’s always been great preparation for guys going into Wimbledon and it shows you are playing well on the grass.”
While Murray’s between-the-legs winner drew gasps of admiration from the capacity crowd, Tsonga was initially angry that the Scot had been so cheeky.
But the Frenchman — who put out world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals — is no stranger to a flamboyant stroke or two himself and even he had to admire Murray’s skill.
“I don’t remember anyone doing it against me before. Of course it is a bit frustrating,” Tsonga said.
“First I was pissed off, then I said ‘good play’ and finally I know it’s good to watch on the television!”
Tsonga was impressed with the way Murray handled everything he threw at him and he believes the Scot is capable of winning Wimbledon this year.
“Of course he can beat everybody. Why not? You can see how well he reads the serve,” Tsonga said. — AFP