Tim Henman interview: Andy Murray defying the odds and in mix for titles again ahead of US Open

In the mix: Andy Murray  (Getty Images)
In the mix: Andy Murray (Getty Images)

At the time when Andy Murray returned to the ATP Tour, the man he had replaced as British No1 readily admits he never expected him to be able to rely on his movement as he once did.

The Briton's scurrying around the court was one of his stand-out attributes which Tim Henman thought he would struggle to replicate with a metal hip.

But this summer Henman believes Murray is moving as well as he ever has done and has tipped him to win main ATP Tour titles in the future and force his way deep into the grand slams once more.

This is despite the fact that Murray has not made it into the second week of a major since undergoing surgery, his best run to the third round.

But Henman predicted the Scot was on the cusp of a breakthrough, which could yet come at the US Open when it gets under way next week, using the example of his narrow second-round loss by Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon earlier this summer as a precursor to that.

Andy Murray looked much improved at Wimbledon (PA)
Andy Murray looked much improved at Wimbledon (PA)

"If he wins that Tsitsipas match at Wimbledon when he had the momentum, you could see him having a deep run there," he said. "And I think what very much motivates him is to get into the second week of slams and see where it takes him."

Murray came within a whisker of being seeded for Wimbledon after winning titles in Surbiton and Nottingham in the lead-up to his home grand slam. And then hopes of a seeding in New York were curtailed by an abdominal strain stopping him playing the warm-up event in Cincinnati.

Despite the setback, his former Davis Cup team-mate Henman said: "I've been massively impressed. If I'd have predicted Andy's path back from surgery, I would have got it completely wrong because I would have said his tennis level will come back and he'll hit the ball well but I think he'll struggle with the physicality and the movement.

"But actually it's kind of been the opposite. Now he has been able to build up that resilience and playing week in, week out without any issues with his hip. Now he's ranked inside the top 40 and it's not going to take much to move the needle.

"Title wins on Tour are a definite, so too runs into the second week of a slam. In my opinion, it would be very difficult for him to win another slam."

Henman is part of a new-look Sky Sports commentary team to mark the return of tennis to the channel, starting with the US Open over the next fortnight. As a player, Henman's best finish in New York was a spot in the semi-finals but he played a key role as something of a consultant for Emma Raducanu in her path to that shock US Open title win back in 2021.

Emma Raducanu won the US Open in 2021 (PA Media)
Emma Raducanu won the US Open in 2021 (PA Media)

Raducanu is slowly getting her way back to fitness after surgery on both her wrists and her ankle, issues she has struggled with since her sole title win of note.

Henman is confident she will get back to her best as a player once more.

He said: "It's great that she's drawn a line in the sand to say, 'I've got fit, I've got healthy. And don't rush it'... it's going to be a long road back but with her ability — mentally and physically — I'm sure she can be back playing at the very top of the game again in the future.

"I really hope this is the opportunity that she can utilise so she gives herself that chance to have the resilience physically to get out on court and consistently compete in tournaments, because I've no doubt that her tennis is absolutely essential.

"I think for her the tennis bit is the easy bit. Where she has struggled is to have the physical robustness. That's the area she'll need the foundations for so she's able to compete five, six weeks in a row. So, it's a really good opportunity to put in the hard yards now and I'm sure she's doing that."

The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with access to all court feeds from August 28.