#SJA2023: British tennis in good place and Andy Murray still very competitive, insists Greg Rusedski

By Ben Crawford

Former British number one Greg Rusedski last took to the court in 2007, as he helped Jamie Murray conquer the Dutch in the Davis Cup.

Sixteen years later, he’s still playing tennis with one of the Murray brothers, albeit on the practice court.

And the former world number four believes Andy Murray – who will turn 37 next May – isn’t finished at the top level yet.

Rusedski said: “Andy’s still hitting the ball great. If he can transfer what he’s doing in practice onto the court, I still think he has a very good 2024.

“It’s also going to come down to the way he serves.”

Speaking on the state of British tennis at the SJA British Sports Awards, Rusedski thinks fans won’t have anything to worry about when it comes to the new crop of talent paving their way.

Rusedski was named SJA Sportsman of the Year in 1997, the only tennis player to have won the award besides Andy Murray.

He said: “The future looks bright for British tennis at the moment.

“Jack Draper, if he can stay healthy, can be a top-10 player in the world, so that’s brilliant.

“Cam Norrie has been a top-10 player in the world. Dan Evans as well has played absolutely brilliantly. We’re still playing well in the Davis Cup.”

The competition has sparked debate as to whether their new format that scrapped home and away ties, introduced in 2019, ruined what made the competition special.

Rusedski said: “I prefer the old format. Home and away ties are what makes it so special. They’re trying to find solutions but it really didn’t work, to be honest with you. 

“There’s nothing better than having a home tie. I remember Tim Henman and I always playing in Birmingham.

“Playing in 1999, we had a sold-out stadium three days in a row, and we had to play Sweden at home as well.

“Even going away to South America or the United States or all around the world, that’s what makes the Davis Cup special because it brings in tennis fans. 

“They’re there because they want to support their country. I think if they can bring back the old format, it would be a good thing, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Women’s tennis, in the wake of Emma Raducanu’s trailblazing US Open win in 2021, which saw her named SJA Sportswoman of the Year in 2021, is also in good hands, according to Rusedski.

He added: “On the woman’s side, we’re hoping for Emma to get healthy again. It’s a long road back, and the last two years have been difficult for her.

“There’s a lot of young and up-and-coming Brits but the one that I’m quite excited about is 14-year-old Hannah Klugman. She has a really bright future.”

The likes of Klugman will have their sights set on Grand Slams and the like and could see their name called at the SJA Awards in the near future.

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