BRITAIN’S Andy Murray believes he is playing better than ever after stepping up his preparations for Wimbledon by winning the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club for a record-equalling fourth time.
Murray yesterday brushed aside big-serving South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 in a final that barely lasted an hour, having earlier completed a rain-delayed semi-final win over Serb Viktor Troicki.
A third title of 2015 continued a hugely encouraging season for the world No3, who this month capped the best clay-court campaign of his career by reaching the last four of the French Open.
The seemingly effortless nature of his success at Queen’s will fuel hopes that the 28-year-old can claim a second crown at Wimbledon, which starts next week, and Murray himself believes he is in even finer form than in that landmark 2013 triumph at SW19.
“Both the matches today were good performances. I played a little bit better as the week went on. It has been a great week for me and hopefully I can continue that form through into Wimbledon,” he said.
“I’m playing better than then [Wimbledon 2013], I feel. But you know its extremely difficult to win these events and everyone is improving all the time.
“You’re playing against some of the greatest players who have ever played so you need to keep working hard to get better.
“I still feel like there’s things I can improve on and learn, and I’ll just keep trying to do my best and play like that more often.
“You want to go into Wimbledon with matches under your belt on the grass. I need to make sure I use the next seven days as best as possible. It’s been a long few months already and I need to make sure I take a day or two off and then use the preparation as best I can because I want to continue playing this way through Wimbledon.
“I need to keep practising hard, train well and then see what happens in a couple of weeks but I’m looking forward to it.”
Murray’s win saw him join a select group of players to have lifted the cup four times at Queen’s Club, including Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick.
The Scot, rated second favourite behind world No1 Novak Djokovic for Wimbledon, had looked a cut above all of his opponents at the Aegon Championships and repeated the trick against Anderson.
The 6ft 8ins powerhouse had already accounted for former Wimbledon champion Hewitt and recent French Open winner Stan Wawrinka on his way to reaching only his second ATP 500-level final.
But Murray proved more adept than most at returning Anderson’s serve and exploited his own greater mobility to break the world No17 once in each set, winning with minimal fuss.
It was his second victory of the day, having earlier completed a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) triumph over Troicki in a match abandoned on Saturday when heavy rain hit west London.