Judy Murray can’t wait to see young contender challenge tennis royalty in Roland Garros final


Whatever men triumph today in the singles semifinals at Roland Garros, the stage will be set for an exciting final. In one half of the range, veterans Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will compete for a place in Sunday’s showpiece while in the other, newcomers Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will face each other for a chance to win a first Grand Slam title.

Whoever wins this afternoon’s semi-finals, we know the final will be compelling as the next generation of tennis stars attempt to reshuffle the current crop that has been around for so long. Whether it’s Nadal or Djokovic, Zverev or Tsitsipas, the challenge remains the same.

Judy Murray can’t wait to get in on the action and see if a young contender can steal the crown at the helm of tennis royalty. And the fact that Nadal and Djokovic are still competing at the highest level of the sport, she insists, will work both for and against them. On the one hand, their longevity is a source of inspiration for young players who are embarking on a career in tennis. On the other hand, it inevitably invites a challenge.

“It’s interesting how the draw went,” said Judy Murray ahead of the Cinch Championships in Queens. “What’s remarkable is that you have Djokovic and Nadal, who have won so many slams between them for so many years, still strong and playing great tennis.

“They are both so motivated and passionate in everything they do and they are the best example for young players to follow.

“They show the possibility of increasing the longevity of your career. So many advancements in sports science and sports medicine over the years prove that players can stay on top of a very grueling, individual sport with a stacked schedule. They play 11 months a year and continue to produce five incredible and epic sets over the course of a fortnight.

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“It’s just amazing. I’ve known Novak and Rafa since they were both about 11 years old – Jamie and Andy both played them in under-12 competitions in Europe – so they’re part of our furniture. I love that they’re there, doing great things, and inspiring everyone.

Djokovic and Federer – the world No.1 and No.3 respectively – may well be an inspiration with their tirelessness, but Murray believes their Grand Slam dominance will push Tsitsipas and Zverev to match their achievements.

She added: “On the other side of the board with Tsitsipas and Zverev, you have the young goalkeeper playing his own exciting brands of tennis; a lot of power, a lot of cunning. They are great athletes and they represent the future. They’re coming for these older guys.

“It’s a fascinating game because anyway you’re going to get a final between the old guard and one of the emerging players. In the top half you have the two guys with heaps of Grand Slam tournaments between them against Tsitsipas and Zverev who don’t. These are the young suitors who face the kings of the castle.

“I hate when people say they have no idea who is going to win – of course not, nobody knows! It will be a fascinating semi-finals and you will get that contrast in the final between the old guard and the next generation. So there is much to look forward to.

Judy Murray was speaking before the cinch championships. cinch is the main partner of the LTA, for more information, visit cinch.co.uk.

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