Mats Wilander believes Andy Murray’s indifferent form and lack of coach could play into his hands at the French Open this fortnight.
It has been a distinctly up-and-down season for the Scot so far, but there were signs in his narrow loss to Rafael Nadal in Rome earlier this month that he was close to rediscovering his Wimbledon-winning form.
Murray, who plays Andrey Golubev in his first match tomorrow, is also close to naming his new coach two months after a split from Ivan Lendl that clearly hurt the 27-year-old.
The French Open has been by far his least successful slam, with Murray’s only semi-final appearance coming in 2011, and he has Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and Nadal in his half of the draw this time.
Eurosport analyst Wilander said: “I’m not sure if it’s the effect of him and Ivan Lendl not working together or if it’s the effect of trying to come back from back surgery, the effect of searching for that intensity that he had last year during Wimbledon or during the Olympics or the US Open that he won.
“The combination of those three things may make him lose his intensity a little, but at the same time the upside will be that maybe there is less pressure, and with less pressure I think that is his chance of doing really well at the French Open.
“You’re going to a clay-court tournament when you’re not that comfortable on clay and you’re going with no pressure, that is a positive thing.”
Serena and Venus Williams stayed on course for a third-round meeting at the French Open with dominant first-round victories.
Defending champion Serena beat close friend Alize Lim despite making 36 unforced errors and enduring a lengthy final game before wrapping up a 6-2 6-1 victory.
Venus had a tough draw against Swiss Belinda Bencic, virtually half her age and last year’s junior champion here and at Wimbledon.But she came through 6-4 6-1.