Murray just behind top 3 says Henman

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Former British number one Tim Henman believes Andy Murray must find something exceptional to deny Wimbledon’s ‘big three’ - and he expects the Scot to come out firing in the second week.

All the talk has been of a leading quartet in the men’s singles, however Henman is struggling to see beyond Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer for the title.

“I think they’re fractionally ahead. They’ve got 28 slams between them. But I think Andy is a very close fourth,” four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Henman told Press Association Sport.

“The distance between third and fourth is much closer than the distance between fourth and fifth, so Andy has definitely separated himself from the pack.

“But with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, I couldn’t make one a favourite in front of another, but I would put all three just in front of Andy.

“He’s played very, very well. The good thing is he can play better, but he’s still winning and that’s important.”

Murray has survived three rounds, dropping two sets, and the way he spoke after Friday’s success over Ivan Ljubicic indicated he is overflowing with confidence.

Almost everything about the 24-year-old’s demeanour in the first week exuded positivity.

He tackles Richard Gasquet today in a repeat of their classic 2008 fourth-round clash, and Murray stands every chance of beating the Frenchman, just as he did that day when he came from two sets and a break behind.

Henman promises there is not even a remote chance of Murray underestimating the size of his task against the world number 13: “He’ll know that it’s a tough match and he’ll have to play well.

Serena Williams would not bet against herself winning the Wimbledon title for the third time in a row, and she would not bet against another all-Williams final either.

Serena and Venus both came into the Championships short of matches after injury and illness, with Serena having been out of action for almost a year, and the first two rounds were tricky for both.

Venus was taken all the way to 8-6 in the third before seeing off 40-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round while Serena dropped sets to both Aravane Rezai and Simona Halep.

The third round showed both in ominous form, though, with Venus thrashing Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-0 6-2 and Serena making light work of Maria Kirilenko to win 6-3 6-2.

Venus will today have the chance of revenge over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who knocked her out in the quarter-finals last year while Serena has a tough assignment against ninth seed Marion Bartoli.