Rusedski: Djokovic is favourite

Published: Tuesday 23rd June 2015 by The News Editor

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Andy Murray could not have enjoyed a better preparation for Wimbledon, but defending champion Novak Djokovic remains the unknown factor at the All England Club for 2015, according to former British number one Greg Rusedski.

Murray will head to SW19 following a record-equalling fourth victory at Queen’s Club in the Aegon Championship last week and believes his game is at least as good as 2013, when he defeated Djokovic in the men’s singles final to complete an emotional and historic triumph in front of a partisan home crowd on Centre Court.

Rusedski, who reached the 1997 US Open final and was ranked number four in the world, believes the fact Djokovic has chosen not to play during the extended grass-court season after defeat in the French Open final makes for an intriguing contest ahead over the Wimbledon fortnight.

“Andy is in pretty good shape, having won at Queen’s, but for me Djokovic still has to be the favourite because he is the defending champion, and we have not seen his form yet,” Rusedski told Press Association Sport.

“But Andy has been very impressive in the last two months, he looks better all the time and winning at Queen’s was the perfect preparation for him, so the draw will be very important.

“Whether Andy will meet Djokovic in the semi-finals or the final, that could make all the difference because Djokovic has lost the last six of nine Grand Slam finals, while Murray has still not beaten him in those eight times since 2013.

“It is going to be very interesting, because you just still don’t know what Djokovic’s form will be on grass, and we just have to wait to see when he gets out there.

“Everybody is saying it will be down to those two, and we will know a lot more when the draw comes out to see who can do what.”

Rusedski helped launch the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic at The Hurlingham Club in west London on Tuesday, the exhibition tournament which will see the likes of Gregor Dimitrov, who defeated Murray at Wimbledon in the quarter-finals last year, get in some final preparation.

“You are just tweaking small areas on the grass, your movement, to get more acclimatised to what you want to do for Wimbledon, making those slight adjustments,” Rusedski, 41, said.

“Andy has won at Queen’s, so he does not need any more matches, but for guys like Dimitrov, who went out a little bit early, they are looking for match-play, so events like these are absolutely outstanding for them to get extra court time.

“The guys who are favourites at Wimbledon don’t really want to play a full tournament, they just want a couple of warm-up matches in a relaxed environment, which is all personal preference.

“It has been great at The Hurlingham Club, they have a fantastic event here in the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic, with some players trying to get matches before Wimbledon, as well as guys like me, Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic.”

Published: Tuesday 23rd June 2015 by The News Editor

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