New York: Rafael Nadal has backed Andy Murray to eventually break through the Grand Slam glass ceiling and end Britain’s desperate wait for a major champion which now stands at 75 years.
Defending US Open champion Nadal clinched a bruising 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Murray on Saturday to reach Monday’s final where he will face world number one Novak Djokovic.
Despite his world number four status, and having reached the semi-finals of all four majors in 2011, the 24-year-old Briton’s Grand Slam record still reads three finals reached, all lost and without a set to his name.
“When you are in the semi-finals, when you are winning Masters 1000 events, the normal thing is win Grand Slams,” said Nadal, who is just one year older than the Scot but already has 10 Grand Slam titles from his 13 final appearances.
“He’s a little bit of unlucky in these kind of matches. I played a very, very good match today, my best match here.
“He’s ready to do it. I think if one player deserves to win a Grand Slam, Andy is the one. I seriously believe he’s going to do it, and I really wish him all the best, because I really want to see him win a Grand Slam.
“When you win one, the second is easy,” smiled the Spaniard.
Murray, the runner-up to Roger Federer in 2008 in what remains his only US Open final appearance, refuses to be despondent about the misfortune to be playing at the same time as Nadal, Federer and Djokovic
Even with the top three having shared 28 of the last 31 Grand Slam crowns, Murray shares Nadal’s optimism that he will break through.
“It’s something I want to try and achieve, but if you want to judge someone’s whole career based purely on slams, I would have had a terrible career,” said Murray whose next engagement will be a Davis Cup tie against Hungary in Glasgow from Friday.
“But I don’t really feel like I have. So there have been other things I’ve done well, and I’ve still got hopefully three or four more years where I’m playing the tennis in my peak. I need to stay healthy and improve.
“Because if I don’t, then it’s going to be difficult to win one. But if I do, then I’m getting a little bit closer each year. This year was the best year for me in the slams.”