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Federer backing Murray to make last four
Andy Murray begins his Wimbledon campaign on Centre Court on Tuesday against Nikolay Davydenko, and he has already been backed to reach the semi-finals for the fourth successive year by six-time champion Roger Federer.
Murray is once again bidding to become the first British winner of the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936, and his results in recent months coupled with the form of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Federer means there is a little less optimism than usual. Federer, though, expects Murray to be there in the last four, where he would likely meet Nadal.
"I think he wants to first get through the first round, like all of us," said Federer, who swept aside Albert Ramos on Monday. "But absolutely. I predict him to get there. Home-court advantage, playing on grass, with his talent and his game, everything's right there for him."
He added: "It's up to him to make it happen. I guess you always need a little bit of luck along the way. Every year, I'm very excited to see him play and get out there on Centre Court most likely every time and battle it out.
"I haven't played Andy a whole lot the last couple of years. Obviously being ranked three and four for a while now, we haven't seen each other that often in the draws. I hope he does well."
Attention will also be focused on Murray's suspect back, which troubled him throughout the French Open, where he eventually went out in the quarter-finals to David Ferrer - the first time he had not reached at least the last four in six grand slams.
The Scot was criticised for how he reacted to his injury troubles, with Virginia Wade calling him a drama queen and John McEnroe questioning whether the problem was largely in his head.
Murray reacted angrily to such insinuations at the weekend, and he received support on Monday from world number one Djokovic, who has in the past had to defend himself against similar accusations.
The Serbian said: "I've known him for a long time. I know he's a great competitor. He's a great fighter. He has all the qualities to be a grand slam winner. There is no doubt. And regarding the injuries, yes, I went through that period in my life where people were questioning my injuries.
"If I'm hurt, I'm hurt. I never asked for any medical time-outs or things like that if I have no reason. So I believe that's the situation with him."