Wimbledon Awaits: Can Andy Murray Master Henman's Hoodoo?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJune 19, 2009

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Andy Murray of Great Britain holds a press conference after winning the men's singles final on Day 7 of the AEGON Championship at Queens Club on June 14, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Spectators planning to sit back and enjoy the strawberry and cream of SW19 were dealt a blow today as they discovered they would have to do without the cream of the crop: Rafael Nadal.

The defending champion who, along with Roger Federer, treated us to the longest, and arguably the best, men's final of all time in last year's event, has had to pull out of the tournament due to his injured knee.

While the news is disappointing for fans hoping for a repeat performance of last year's final, it will bring a smile to the faces of almost all of the other competitors.

While his injury wouldn't please them, his absence will.

Roger Federer's chances of becoming the most successful men's singles player of all time, in terms of Grand Slams won, would have improved significantly with the news that Nadal has failed to come through his exhibition match.

Some of the outsiders, such as Novak Djokovic, will see their biggest competitor out of the picture.

But the man with the biggest smile on his face, and the man who could potentially benefit the most from Nadal's absence, is Andy Murray.

As with any British player, the hype surrounding his chances at Wimbledon has been electric. The fact that he is ranked third in the world, and has hit a relatively good patch of form, only furthers these expectations.

Then, inevitably, the success at Queen's last week turned the expectation that had previously been hope into anticipation of Murray lifting the Wimbledon crown.

While this is by no means a foregone conclusion, far from it in fact, it may be his best chance.

He became the first Brit to win at Queen's in 71 years, since Bunny Austin achieved the feat in 1938 and, in the process, won the first grass court title of his career, which should stand him in good stead for SW19.

The elimination of the Nadal factor could also play a major part.

As Wimbledon gets closer, the special aura surrounding the tournament, and the excitement it creates, is slowly building to a crescendo.

The importance of crowning a British Wimbledon champion for the first time since Fred Perry in 1936 is shown in the way the English are getting behind Andy Murray.

It is one of few times you will see them supporting a Scot so vehemently.

Henman was English. Murray is British.

That is how desperate the English have got for a homegrown champion.

Can he match the hype surrounding him? That remains to be seen.

Year after year the fans on Henman Hill sat and watched as the hype surrounding the former British No. 1 remained unfulfilled.

Henman Hill has now transformed into Murray's Mount, and this could well be the year that it sees some success.

Can Andy Murray master Tim Henman's hoodoo at Wimbledon? He may have to get past a resurgent Roger Federer, but I think this could be the year a Brit finally breaks the Wimbledon curse.


Quiz Question No. 9 Answer:

West Ham United


Quote No. 9:

"I sort of believe that he can win every match that he plays, and therefore if that's the case, then he's got a chance."  Tim Henman