Sampras predicts top honours for Murray
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:10
Murray, 21, enjoyed a prolific 2008 season, reaching number four in the world and beating world number one Rafael Nadal en route to the US Open final in September, only to lose out to world number two Roger Federer.
“He’s moved himself right up to one notch below Roger and Nadal,” said Sampras, who is in London for the first time since 2002 for the Tour of Champions’ BlackRock Masters. “He’s right on the edge of breaking through and winning a major. He’s got the game.”
He added: “The US Open was a great breakthrough for him and I’m impressed.
“He’s competitive, he’s a great mover and he’s got a ton of talent. He’s definitely got the game to win a major.”
Sampras, who won a record 14 grand slam titles – seven at Wimbledon – before retiring six years ago, reckons the key to Murray winning a maiden grand slam is psychological rather than any physical aspect of his game.
Asked what he needs to improve to reach the same level as Federer and Nadal, Sampras said: “He needs a bit more self-belief and confidence that he can win a major.
“Watching the US Open, I could sense that he didn’t really believe he could win that match.
“But he’s right there ready to break through and he’s only 21 so he’s got many years to keep it together. He’ll do it, I really believe that. He’s the real deal.”
Sampras has not given any advice to Murray, saying the Scot has his own people for that, but he jokingly added: “I sure know what it takes to win Wimbledon if he wants advice on that.”