Henman encouraged with Murray's form ahead Wimbledon defence
Andy Murray fourth successive French Open semi-final can well and truly be a seasonal turning point in his bid for a third Wimbledon crown, according to former British No.1 Tim Henman.
The world No.1 had not been in perfect form heading to Roland Garros, but defied the clay to make the last four before missing out to Stan Wawrinka.
But with that being the last Grand Slam before Wimbledon, Murray now heads to the All England with confidence and time on the court behind him – assets Henman believes cannot be undersold.
Indeed Henman believes Murray's French exploits could be a fundamental cornerstone in his bid for a fourth Slam title, particularly with the added pressure of having a men's singles title to defend.
"It was a step in the right direction. I wasn't overly concerned with his form heading into Roland Garros because he had been ill and injured, when you can't put in the hard yards on the court or in the gym then it's very difficult to turn it on on the match court," said Henman, speaking at the 2017 Jaguar Championships National Final at David Lloyd Raynes Park.
"He did exceptionally well to win five matches in Paris and hopefully this can be a kick-start, a turning point, to his year, particularly heading into the grass season, at home at Queens and Wimbledon – two events he has won before.
"He'll be one of the favourites going into the Championships, it will help having won it before because you've got that confidence, but that doesn't guarantee anything else.
"You've got to go out there and produce, take that responsibility and Andy has done well with that over the years, it's all about his preparation and performance."
Coupling being the world's best with holding the mantle of defending his own, home Grand Slam means pressure will certainly be on the shoulders of Murray come July 3.
But with the expectation comes the support for the Scot, an advantage Henman believes he must make the most of having benefitted from the same Wimbledon cheers in his most successful Slam.
Murray has so far eclipsed the four semi-finals Henman achieved, but the former world No.4 is adamant the sky is still the limit – predicting more success to grace the shoulders of the double Olympic champion.
Henman continued: "You go through mini-seasons throughout the year, Wimbledon is the biggest and best tournament in the world and one that he has one before and when you look at his career as a whole, it's looking to see if he can add to them.
"He's incredibly motivated, only 30, and has plenty of years ahead of him to see what he can do.
"Playing at home in the biggest and best tournament in the world, you've got to be able to manage that mentally. It's important to understand that pressure is self-inflicted, and you've got to be in control of that yourself.
"You can't worry about what's being said in the media, what's being talked about on television, you've got to concentrate on the things you do well. Andy has a great game on grass, so if he can be fit and healthy there's no reason why he can't win Wimbledon again.
"Andy has already won three Slams and we can't forget his double Olympic gold, so if he was to retire tomorrow then he's already achieved a fantastic amount in his career."
Despite Murray's form, the threat of injury will once again be an important factor to consider this summer, with Henman hoping Britain's star does not overdo it in his bid for more honours.
"Clay to grass is probably the most extreme surface change we have but Andy, with his movement and ball-striking, is very comfortable," he continued.
"He needs to make sure he has a little bit of a rest and that there are no niggles around, so his body is fresh and he is ready.
"Winning matches on any surface is good for your confidence, so to do what he did at Roland Garros – to hit the amount of balls he has done so far – is a good position to be in."