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HE'S A CERT FOR A SLAM; Pistol Pete backs Andy to gun down rivals and be huge star TENNIS SPECIAL...

Byline: BY TED TRACEY

ANDY MURRAY has been tipped for a Grand Slam triumph - by the man who has won more than anyone else.

Pete Sampras - who has 14 major singles titles to his credit - believes the Scot is close to matching the world's top two Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Murray, 21, has just enjoyed the best season of his career.

He reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, defeated Nadal en route to the US Open final where he lost to Federer and climbed to world No.4.

And Sampras reckons there is even more to come.

He said: "Andy's moved himself right up to one notch below Roger and Nadal. He's right on the edge of breaking through and winning a major. He's got the game.

"The US Open was a great breakthrough for him and I'm impressed. He's competitive, he's a great mover and he's got a ton of talent. He's definitely got the game to win a major.

"He'll do it, I really believe that. He's the real deal."

Sampras, who won seven of his record 14 Grand Slam titles atWimbledon before retiring six years ago, reckons the key to Murray landing his first major is psychological with no physical barriers in the way of success.

Asked what he needs to improve to match Federer and Nadal, Sampras said: "He needs a bit more selfbelief and confidence he can win a major.

"Watching the US Open, I sensed he didn't really believe he could win that match. But he's right there ready to break through. He's only 21 so has many years to keep it together."

Sampras has not given any hints to Murray, saying the Scot has his own people for that, but jokingly added: "I sure know what it takes to win Wimbledon if he wants advice on that."

Sampras reckons Federer will regain the world No.1 spot and break his record for Grand Slam wins.

The Swiss, who is just one title short of the American's record, was expected to at least equal the haul this year but had a disappointing season as he lost the world No.1 spot to Nadal. Sampras, however, has tipped him to come back stronger.

The American, in London for the first time since 2002 for the Tour of Champions' BlackRock Masters, said: "There's a lot left in Roger.

"I think he'd like to get back to No.1 and he's looking forward to breaking my record soon. He can win as many Wimbledons as he wants - he's got the game.

"Roger's probably going to break it over the next couple of years."

Sampras admits he still dreams of playing one more time at Wimbledon. He said: "I miss the place. I'd love to play on Centre Court again."

Greg Rusedski beat Guy Forget 6-3 7-6(7-5) and Stefan Edberg saw off Pat Cash 6-4 6-3 in last night's Group B Masters openers.

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HE'S DOING A GRAND JOB: Murray has been tipped by Sampras to win a major; PRAISE: Sampras, top, says Federer will snatch record
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 3, 2008
Words:511
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