Murray ready to storm Wimbledon after Queen's triumph
A fourth title in Wimbledon warm-up event augurs well for Scot's chances in SW19 this year
Andy Murray claimed his fourth Queen's Club title on Sunday and declared that he was in better shape now than in 2013, when he went on to win Wimbledon.
Rain on Saturday had delayed Murray's semi-final against Viktor Troicki of Serbia, but he saw off his opponent 6-3, 7-6 on Sunday morning, before turning his attention to the big serving South African Kevin Anderson.
In the event the final was not much of a contest, with Murray winning 6-3, 6-4 in a little over an hour.
He joins an elite group of John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick who have won the Queen's title four times.
"I feel I have improved," he said afterwards. "Physically I'm definitely in a better place than I was [in 2013], when I was having problems with my back. I feel I'm using my variety very well now, something that maybe I wasn't the past couple of years."
If Murray feels his game has improved, so do most onlookers.
"This was one of those matches in which the losing player can walk away with a shrug and an acknowledgement that they gave their best," writes Simon Briggs of the Daily Telegraph. "Anderson landed 73 per cent of his first serves – which are among the most potent on the tour – and gave up only two break points in the match. Unhappily for him, that was all Murray needed. The second of those critical points produced a rally that few players could have bettered, ending in a forehand drop-shot winner hit with baffling underspin."
He notes that Murray has prospered under the tutelage of Jonas Bjorkman, who has joined his coaching staff alongside Amelie Mauresmo, who is pregnant and was not at Queen's. "Bjorkman's record as a courtside spectator now stands at nine wins and no losses, including two ATP titles," notes Briggs.
Together Mauresmo and Bjorkman have got Murray playing his "best tennis in two years", says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian, who notes that the Scot is "growing in confidence by the day".
It augurs well for Wimbledon, says Barry Flatman of The Times.
"The nation invariably demands that Andy Murray reserves his best for Wimbledon and this year anything other than a second title would come as a disappointment. The manner in which the Scot won a fourth Aegon Championships title at Queen's Club suggested that, with a week to go before the action starts in SW19, he could not be in a better position to grant their wishes."