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Wimbledon - Tennis: Can Andy Murray win Wimbledon?

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is one of only four players to have won the tournament since 2002, but he goes into this year's event as one of the outsiders.

Murray has won 46 singles titles over the course of an illustrious career and came close to adding to that tally when losing 4-6 7-5 3-6 to Matteo Berrettini in the final of this month's Stuttgart Open.

However, his body will have to go through much greater stress if he is to land a fourth Grand Slam title.

Murray's experience could come into play

What: Wimbledon Championships
Where: All England Club, London
When: Monday 27th June-Sunday 10th July
How to watch: BBC, Eurosport and Sports Live Streaming
Odds: Novak Djokovic 4/5, Rafael Nadal 13/2, Matteo Berrettini 7/1, Carlos Alcaraz 8/1,

Murray, priced at 25/1 to win Wimbledon, will be more aware than anybody of the advantages of knowing how to win a Grand Slam.

He lost four Grand Slam finals before his 2012 US Open success when he played arguably his greatest ever match to overcome Novak Djokovic 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in the final.

The belief gained from that match was evident the following year when he defeated Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4 in the Wimbledon final.
And he hardly put a foot wrong when cruising to a 6-4 7-6 7-6 success over Milos Raonic in the 2016 final.

Gold medals were secured at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics as Murray enjoyed the most successful period of his career and, if he was to put himself into a strong position at Wimbledon this year, there would be no doubting his mental capacity to get the job done.

Tennis players are winning more in their thirties

Rafael Nadal has just lifted the French Open title for the 14th time at the age of 36 and he is far from the only tennis player to have thrived after turning 30.

Novak Djokovic has landed eight of his 20 Grand Slam victories since passing thirty, including three of his six Wimbledon titles, and Roger Federer posted the most recent of his 20 Grand Slam successes as a 36-year-old at the 2018 Australian Open.

There has also been evidence of increased longevity in the women's game with Serena Williams contesting 14 Grand Slam finals since turning 30 and succeeding in eight of them.

Murray celebrated his 35th birthday in May and he may look at the feats of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Williams as sources of inspiration when attempting to chalk up what would be the greatest achievement of his career.

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A home crowd should help

It took a while for Murray to learn how to harness the fervent support of the Wimbledon crowd but he had mastered the art long before he was forced off the court by his increasingly troublesome hip.

Murray's all-court game was often widely regarded to be best suited to hard courts and it was not seen as a huge surprise when his first Grand Slam triumph came in New York rather than London.

However, over the years he has adapted to grass court conditions by mixing up a more aggressive style with some well-executed volleys and drop shots, and he has learned how to feed off the energy of the crowd.

As Murray's level of comfort at Wimbledon has increased the results have followed and his record there is now superior to his statistics at any other Grand Slam.

The Scot reached the last eight or better at every Wimbledon tournament from 2008 to 2017 and he would dearly love to go deep this year.

Fitness will ultimately decide his fate

Few sports demand as much physical exertion as tennis and the harsh reality is that fitness will be the ultimate deciding factor in Murray's Wimbledon challenge.

Murray was never going to lose his touch and feel around the court but his physical capability to last the course at a Grand Slam is open to question after having to spend so long on the road to recovery.

Murray has already massively over-achieved by getting to where he has (inside the world's top 50) almost four years after a surgical procedure which would normally signal the end of a singles career.

However, having come so far, the fierce competitor inside him is sure to want to take further steps forward.

He reached the third round last year – losing out to eventual semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov – and is in undoubtedly better shape 12 months on.

Murray's run to the final of the Stuttgart Open featured notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kygios and, if he can play at that level for an extended period, he would be a threat to almost any opponent.

However, winning a Grand Slam is a gruelling exercise for even the fittest, freshest players and it may be asking too much for Murray to deliver the fairytale this summer.

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