Murray can win French after solving clay puzzle: Courier

Fri May 22, 2015 4:10pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray looks like he has solved the puzzle of claycourt tennis and is a serious title challenger at the French Open, according to twice Roland Garros champion Jim Courier.

World number three Murray is in the same half of the draw as favorite Novak Djokovic and nine-times champion Rafa Nadal and could play gritty Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarter-finals.

Yet with back-to-back titles on the slippery red dust in the build-up, the first of his career on the surface, those obstacles will not feel insurmountable for the in-form Scot who is unbeaten since getting married in April.

Courier, who will be commentating for British channel ITV Sport on what promises to be an intriguing fortnight, believes Murray's title runs in Munich and in Madrid, where he outplayed Nadal, would have been an eye-opener.

"I do think that in Madrid he was more offensive in the semi-finals and finals than we are used to seeing him," the American told Reuters from Florida before jetting off to Paris.

"I loved his tactics in those matches and seeing him go on the attack. He is such a skilled tennis player that I've found it disappointing not to see him use all his assets.

"He's a very good defensive player but sometimes relies on that too much and maybe underestimates his offense. Maybe he trusts his defense more than his offense but it was an eye-opener to see him utilize that.

"He's standing closer to the baseline, taking time away from his opponents and is beating people with ball speed. He's always been a player who likes to solve puzzles, but he's now hit on the formula that works for him on clay."   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain  in Rome, Italy, May 13, 2015.  REUTERS/Max Rossi