Bartoli: Time key for Murray
Andy Murray will require time, patience and hard work before he can return to his best form, according to former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.
The Scot will begin his quest for a third career Grand Slam at the 2014 US Open against talented Dutchman Robin Haase, a player who gave him a scare in 2011 at the same event.
Following a lean run of form since undergoing back surgery, Murray has dropped down the world rankings and that has landed him a tough draw, with a potential quarter-final clash with World No 1 Novak Djokovic looming.
Bartoli believes Murray is unlikely to be in contention to win this tournament because he needs more time to build up his physical fitness following his injuries.
"For me, right now, what Andy has to look for is try to come back to his base shape physically, as good as he can be really, like when he won Wimbledon last year," she said.
"I never really thought he was lacking any kind of experience, basically he won two Grand Slams, and he has a gold medal at the Olympics.
"So he absolutely knows what he has to do on the court, but when you have an injury it takes time before you are physically at your peak.
"I think everyone has to give him a bit more time before that happens."
Murray has dropped to number 9 in the world but is seeded 8th for this tournament following Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal due to injury.
He has not beaten a top-10 player since his stunning triumph over Djokovic in the Wimbledon final two years ago and he will have to reverse that trend if he is to challenge at Flushing Meadows with dangerous Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also on his side of the draw.
Despite Murray’s past Grand Slam success, Bartoli believes he will find it difficult to cope mentally if his body is not at 100 per cent.
"That winning mentality comes from a lot of things," she adde. "It comes from your own confidence so that when you go on the court you feel so strong physically; you feel that no one will be able to beat you.
"Again, maybe because he has been injured and knowing it takes a long time to come back to your peak level physically, maybe you feel a little bit big in a way, in his muscle or in his back maybe.
"And then it’s hard to battle, because you almost doubt yourself, whether you will be able to survive the match, to survive the difficulty of it.
"It all forms part of the puzzle and the first part is definitely the physical level, and the second piece is the confidence you gain from the training, and how well you train, and all of these pieces you put together into the match, and then you start to win matches and all of a sudden it comes back.
"But without the physical strengths and without making sure you are absolutely ready and 100% to battle for seven matches in a row, then it is hard for a player."
Bartoli is well placed to speak about the challenges of the mental side of the game as she struggled for much of her career to make a breakthrough at a Grand Slam prior to her Wimbledon success.
Like Murray, she was coached by Amelie Mauresmo and revealed her compatriot was a key component in her finally having the confidence to achieve that success.
Bartoli believes Mauresmo can help Murray regain his confidence in a similar fashion and sees no reason why the pair should not go on to win Grand Slam titles together.
"Definitely you have to be able to raise your game and to play at your highest level and succeed," she said.
220;But Amelie really helped me with this, to make sure I was confident in my own abilities that I was ready to win it.
"I think Amelie is an amazing coach and Andy is an amazing player, so I don’t know or see why that shouldn’t happen for them. Absolutely no reason for me why Andy will not win another Grand Slam and I think Amelie will definitely be able to help him."
As for who will win this year’s US Open men’s and women’s events, Bartoli tipped Swiss maestro Roger Federer and home favourite Serena Williams to win the 18th Grand Slam titles of their illustrious careers.
"Roger Federer really has a massive chance this year, because he has been doing really well," she said.
"He was so close to winning that match at Wimbledon, but afterwards he did play some great tennis in the leading up tournaments to the US Open, making the final in Toronto and winning in Cincinnati.
"On the women’s side you have to go with Serena, especially in New York and following the kind of performance level she has been able to put up in Cincinnati. But there are definitely some names we are looking at to see how they do at the US Open, especially Bouchard after that final at Wimbledon and seeing how she is able to deal with the pressure now.
"Petra Kvitova as well, after winning Wimbledon obviously, let’s see how she comes back and performs."
The US Open begins on Monday August 25 and will be live on Sky Sports 3 from 4.00pm.