LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Indian Wells runner-up Juan Martin del Potro believes Britain’s Andy Murray can become world tennis number one this year.
The towering Argentine beat Murray in the quarter-finals last week on the California hard courts and is looking forward to locking horns with him on grass after confirming he will play at the Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club two weeks before Wimbledon.
“Murray is a big champion, he already won a grand slam, he made the finals in Australia and he has everything he needs to be at the top in the future,” Del Potro said in a statement.
“He will be fighting for the world number-one place this year and he can take a big opportunity in the grass season.”
This year’s Queen’s Club field promises to be strong, with Wimbledon runner-up Murray joined by former U.S. Open champion del Potro and Tomas Berdych at the event starting on June 10.
Del Potro, who has taken a while to get used to playing on the low-bouncing grasscourts, was a bronze medallist at the Olympics staged at Wimbledon last year, and believes he could challenge for the Wimbledon title.
“I have a fantastic memory from last year when I won the bronze medal at the Olympics,” he said.
”It was a magnificent experience for me. I had never played at an Olympics before so it was a big moment for me and my country. To win on grass at Wimbledon as well made it an even bigger moment.
“I think that if I play my best tennis I have a chance to win a grand slam on grass, but it will be very difficult.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Fallon)