Nadal still ranks stricken Murray as a Wimbledon contender


Rafael Nadal insists Andy Murray must be considered a contender at Wimbledon despite the defending champion's injury woe.

Murray won at SW19 for a second time in 2016 and embarked on a stunning end to the year, including victory at the ATP World Tour Finals, which catapulted him to the top of the men's game.

However, the Scot has endured an indifferent season and, although he reached the last four at the French Open, arrives at his home grand slam under an injury cloud due to a troublesome hip.

Veteran Roger Federer and Nadal, the respective victors of the Australian and French Opens this year, have by contrast enjoyed a 2017 renaissance and are considered the favourites at Wimbledon.

But Nadal says it would be foolhardy to write off Murray's chances.

"The chance always is there," Nadal said of Murray, who is due to face Alexander Bublik in round one. "If you are playing, there is always a chance. If you are not playing, there is not a chance.

"Andy, he won twice here. Probably [grass] is maybe his best surface.

"He will have his chances. I really don't know, but I saw him practicing. He will be there and he will be fighting for important things here."

Nadal is a two-time champion at Wimbledon himself, but since losing the 2011 final to Novak Djokovic he has failed to go beyond round four.

The Spaniard, who starts against John Millman, did not even play 12 months ago due to a wrist injury and he was philosophical about his prospects over the next fortnight.

"I cannot tell you exactly because I experienced all the things. I had success without feeling myself in great shape," he added.

"I experienced very negative moments when I was trying to play, and I was not in great shape, like last year in Roland Garros, or like here in 2012.

"So there is always decisions that you have to take. On the decisions, you take risks. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes [things] are not going that well."