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'You've got to respect Murray - he is lethal, mentally' | Luke Jensen

Andy Murray has had a torturous road back to competition following numerous surgeries on his hips...



'You've got to respect Murray...
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'You've got to respect Murray - he is lethal, mentally' | Luke Jensen

Andy Murray has had a torturous road back to competition following numerous surgeries on his hips. While injuries have curtailed his career in recent years, he is still as fierce a competitor as ever, according to Luke Jensen.

Jensen, a former doubles winner at Roland Garros, joined Joe Molloy on Wednesday evening's Off The Ball, to discuss the Scottish titan's prospects after an opening-round win against Yoshihito Nishioka at the US Open.

Murray was made to work exceptionally hard for the victory, coming back from two sets down to overcome Nishioka.

It is difficult to have anything but respect for the grit Murray has shown to return to the top-level following a 2018 retirement from tennis, and Jensen is no different. The American labelled Murray "a fighter" for the determination he has shown in the latter stages of his career.

Andy Murray strikes a ball during a match.

"Murray looked old, you can't pace yourself at this level. He is using his mind as all veterans do as his main weapon. He did not panic. He had to win the third and fourth sets in tie-breakers and God the guy is a fighter."

"You've got to respect Murray. He's lethal mentally."

A former Grand Slam singles champion at Flushing Meadows and at Wimbledon, Murray may not have what it takes to achieve the heights of success that he once attained.

His presence, in New York, however, is a testament to the decades of work that is required for a player to become a champion. It is inspirational to younger players at the tournament, according to Jensen.

"You would see all these players watching this comeback not because they are peers because they were kids when they were watching Murray make his run. Murray was the one who inspired all these youngsters to play and they were all watching him from their suites."

"That he can play at this distance and this level is truly incredible and it really speaks to his training and his love for the game of tennis," Jensen continued.

Novak Djokovic speaks with an umpire during the singles final at the 2020 ATP Cup Tennis in Sydney, Australia January 12, 2020, Sydney, NSW, USA: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia talks with the chair umpire during day ten of the singles finals at the 2020 ATP Cup Tennis at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 12, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Speed Media/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

In a narrow playing field, with Rafael Nadal choosing not to play at this year's tournament, and Roger Federer injured, the firm favourite is Novak Djokovic.

Outside of a "punchers chance" causing an unlikely upset, Jensen does not see anyone derailing Djokovic on his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title.

The women's side of the draw is a lot more open. Serena William is chasing her 24th Grand Slam title but has a difficult route to another championship.

"I think she is pressing," Jensen said when questioned about William's prospects of victory in New York.

Serena Williams stands with her daughter after winning at the ASB Classic in Auckland Serena Williams from the United States with daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. and the ASB trophy after winning her singles finals match against United States Jessica Pegula at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan 12, 2020. (Chris Symes/Photosport via AP)

"She has got a tough little road here. In the third round, possibly, she could play Sloane Stephens who won the 2017 US Open and that girl can ball, a young American who's not afraid of anybody."

Williams, although still highly competitive and capable, is coming towards the end of an illustrious career.

Like Murray, she will have to overcome much younger competition at the tournament to achieve success and Jensen, while buoyant of Williams' prospects is unsure whether she can win the 24th title.

"The only undefeated player in the history of everything is Father Time," said Jensen. Can Williams turn back the clock and reach another milestone on her career?

Only time will tell.

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Andy Murray Luke Jensen Novak Djokovic Serena Williams US Open