London: Australian tennis legend Rod Laver has said that Andy Murray can never end Britain’s 75-year wait for a Grand Slam tennis champion if he doesn’t learn to kill off his opponents.
Laver, 72, the only male player in history to twice win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same calendar year, admits to shaking his head in disbelief as he watched the Scot capitulate to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in last week’s Wimbledon semi-final for the second time in as many years, and, overall, his third consecutive last-four defeat in SW19.
Murray, 24, runner-up in two Slam finals and four semi-finals, is rapidly falling further behind his main rivals in the men’s game.
Serbian Wimbledon champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic, 24, is already a three-time Grand Slam winner, while 25-year-old Nadal took his personal tally to 10 after winning last month’s French Open.
Roger Federer turns 30 next month but five years ago had already won the ninth of his world-record 16 Grand Slam titles, underlining the magnitude of Murray’s task.
Laver said: “Andy did well to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals. But he’s become too complacent and his waiting game – in playing not to lose instead of to win – has brought about his downfall too often in Grand Slam tournaments.
“He doesn’t play enough ‘kill’ shots and, until he learns to be more aggressive, he won’t win a Grand Slam title,” Laver added.
“There’s nothing wrong with Andy’s tennis brain, he just needs to play more consistently under pressure, and improve his erratic second serve,” Laver added.
He said: “If he doesn’t, his form will keep going up and down like a yo-yo.”