Wimbledon 2016: Andy Murray says being favourite won’t matter against Milos Raonic
Andy Murray insists that the fact he is the favourite to win Wimbledon 2016 by beating Milos Raonic will not affect him
Andy Murray has played in 10 Grand Slam finals but will experience something new this weekend – the pressure of being the favourite.
In his previous major finals the Scot has always lined up against either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, with their combined 29 titles.
But it’s Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic he faces in his third All England Club final, a player making his debut at this level.
Murray insists being the favourite will have no impact on his preparation against an opponent he has beaten in their last five encounters, including on grass just a few weeks ago in the final at Queen’s Club. What is making the difference though is Murray’s decision to reappoint coach Ivan Lendl.
The eight-time Grand Slam winner guided the Scot to victories at the Olympic Games in London and US Open in 2012 and his famous Wimbledon win 12 months later. The pair split in 2014 but are looking a powerful double act once again, ice man Lendl the perfect soothing influence for the often hot-headed Murray.
He sits emotionless and still life in the players’ box, keeping his head while all around loose theirs, underlining just why he was nicknamed ‘Old Stoneface’ in his playing days.
“I obviously had the best years of my career with him but there are other people that go into it, as well,” said Murray, whose support team includes assistant coach Jamie Delgado.
“The rest of the team that’s working with me has helped get me into this position but playing with this confidence and Ivan working with me again, I don’t think it’s a confidence.
“There’s no guarantees that I’ll win on Sunday but obviously I wanted to work with Ivan again to try to help me win these events. I don’t think he’d be doing this job if he didn’t believe in me and believe that I could do it.
“The information I get from him, the psychological help that I get from having him around, being able to chat to him, makes a difference. That’s why I think we’ve been a good team and I think we both trust each other.
“I also hope that over the next few months, and at the end of the year when I get time to train and work on things away from the court, is when I’ll start to really make bigger gains in my game with him.”
Murray has dropped just two sets in six matches on route to the final – both against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a closely-fought quarter-final, his only true test of the last fortnight.
Raonic – who is advised by Lendl’s old rival John McEnroe and claimed the scalp of seven-time champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals – represents a different challenge, though Murray is rarely phased by big-serving opponents.
“Wimbledon for a lot of the players, but particularly for British players, this is the biggest competition,” he added.
“To get to play in front of a home crowd in a Grand Slam final is very, very rare and there’s not many players that get the opportunity to do that.
“This is my 11th Grand Slam final and maybe I’m now more excited than I was when I was younger.
“I guess the tournaments start to mean more to you the older you get and you start to appreciate the history of the events probably more. When you’re 18, 19, you’re probably not as aware about those things.
“It never feels normal and I never take it for granted. I know how difficult it is to make the finals of these events and how hard they are to win.”