Andy Murray’s bid to become the first British man to reach the men’s singles final at Wimbledon since 1938 faces the ultimate challenge – a semi-final on Friday against defending champion Rafael Nadal. Murray has barely been tested so far, but knows he is going to have to play at his very best to beat the 10-time Grand Slam winner. The Scot has managed only four wins in 15 encounters with Nadal and lost in straight sets to the Spaniard at this stage last year, and again recently in the French Open semi-finals.
Tennis experts Tim Henman, John McEnroe give their tactical analysis on how he can beat Nadal.
TRY TO GET UNDER HIS SKIN – JOHN MCENROE
“Murray has beaten him on four different occasions, including the US Open semi-final. “I would make sure the umpire is aware of the rules on time-delay warnings. Nadal seems to take his time often, so try to get under his skin. He’s got a routine, Murray should say ‘I’m not accepting this’. “I would try to cut off Nadal’s wide serve. Then when Murray is serving I would say that instead of going big and hitting 50% of his first serves in by going flat-out, he should take a little off so that he doesn’t have to have as many second serves, which Nadal can pounce upon.”
ANDY HAS GOT TO BE PROACTIVE – TIM HENMAN
“Strategy is very important. If he plays too cautiously then I think Nadal is just so good from the back of the court – he hits the ball so hard. “Andy’s got to try and make things happen, but he’s beaten Nadal before and I definitely think he can win on Friday. “It is so difficult to pick a weakness in Rafa’s game, but I would say it is his backhand return at the deuce box. I think that is where I would like to see Andy using a slower serve out wide and maybe sneaking in to serve and volley a bit, as I think he can win some cheap points. “It’s an option Juan Martin del Potro exploited in his fourth-round match with Nadal and it is something for Andy to look out for. “His second serve percentage of 65% against Feliciano Lopez was good, but it’s flattering because Lopez doesn’t really have the baseline game of Nadal. “He has still got to be aggressive on his second serves as he doesn’t want to let Nadal dominate. It’s about him getting this balance right. He has to be proactive and look to be aggressive.