Seven-time major champion Mats Wilander is backing Andy Murray to win two or three more grand slams but says the Scot’s body language is still a key weakness against the top players.
Murray is likely to be the calmest man on court when he begins his US Open campaign against volatile Australian Nick Kyrgios today but the Scot remains his own harshest critic when struggling in the heat of a battle.
After their most recent meeting in the French Open third round, which saw Kyrgios defeated in straight sets, Murray took to social media to apologise for his colourful language, which had caused some viewers to complain after being picked up by television microphones.
Murray is gunning for his third grand slam title, his second in Flushing Meadows, and he arrives in good form after overcoming Novak Djokovic in Montreal this month to end a run of eight straight defeats against the world number one.
Beating Djokovic over five sets, at a grand slam, is likely to prove an altogether more difficult task but along with Roger Federer, Murray is one of the few capable of preventing the Serb from claiming a third major title this year.
Wilander said. “I think when you can beat Novak Djokovic in the final of a Masters tournament, you are going to be OK,” “Jonas Bjorkman is going to help Andy a lot, Amelie Mauresmo has already helped him a lot, and I think Andy is going to win another grand slam title, or even two or three.
“His body language is getting better all the time, he seems happier, and I think he showed at Wimbledon that he’s a different person now.
“He’ll always have a fight with himself in terms of body language, on the outside, but on the inside I think it seems that he is calmer, more relaxed.
“It’s always a work in progress, just like anybody’s weakness. It’s always a work in progress, and Andy’s weakness is his body language.” For perhaps the first time in his career, Murray has been less talked about than his first-round opponent, with Kyrgios still fighting off criticism for his vulgar remarks made towards Stan Wawrinka three weeks ago.
Kyrgios will have to be on his best behaviour in New York as he sits on a suspended 28-day ban and $25,000 fine.
“Obviously Nick Kyrgios went a bit too far,” Swede Wilander, who is working with Eurosport during the US Open, said. “He is so up and down emotionally, but it’s not a good enough excuse to say that he’s young, because he’s also highly experienced.
“He needs to clean up his act if he’s going to win a big tournament.”
Meanwhile last year’s men’s US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori crashed out in the first round in New York as France’s Benoit Paire beat the fourth seed in a five-set thriller. Paire, ranked 41st in the world, saved two match points in the fourth set before claiming a decisive break in fifth to clinch a shock 6-4 3-6 4-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 victory.
Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the ladies first round yesterday, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.
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