Andy Murray hopes a successful defence of his AEGON Championships crown at Queen's will help him end Britain's long wait for a Wimbledon champion.
With Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal having contested the last four grand slam finals, Murray's chances of being the first British men's singles winner at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936 seem bleak, especially as he was troubled by a back injury as he was beaten in the the French Open at the last-eight stage.
The Scot remains confident he can buck the trend and win at SW19 this year, but admits his performance at Queen's will be crucial to his chances. He will have to wait until tomorrow before beginning his defence after heavy rain hit Queen's yesterday, forcing organisers to abandon play at 5pm, but he is ready to start the grass-court season with a bang.
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"I've always liked to go into a grand slam having played a couple of matches on the surface," said Murray, who will face either Nicolas Mahut or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez after receiving a first-round bye. "That's why it's good for me to play at Queen's. I've won there a couple of times and I have always enjoyed playing there. I like the surface, the courts are pretty much perfect grass courts. I won my very first ATP match there when I was 18 and since then I've just really enjoyed coming."
The efforts of Nadal and Djokovic at Stade Roland Garros did not suggest their monopoly is about to end, but Murray said: "You'll rarely see someone make the French finals and then win on grass the next week. It's a hard thing to do and it takes a bit of time. The surface change is hard. You try and take each match as it comes but changing surfaces is not easy."
Scotland's Elena Baltacha is no longer the British No.1 after dropping 23 places to 91 in yesterday's new WTA world rankings. The 28-year-old lost in the first round of the French Open and lost in the quarter-finals of the AEGON Trophy in Nottingham where she was defending champion. It means that Anne Keothavong, world-ranked No.76, is the new British No.1.
Baltacha aims to bounce back at this week's AEGON Classic in Birmingham – no play was possible there yesterday either – where she is seeded 15 and will open against Chang Kai-Chen of Chinese Taipei.