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post #211 of 396 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 01:31 PM
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Murray a doubt for Davis Cup

Published Date: 27 February 2009
By Eve Fodens

ANDY Murray's participation in Great Britain's vital Davis Cup tie against Ukraine in Glasgow next week is in jeopardy after the world No4 withdrew from the Dubai Open with a virus.

A stone-faced Murray faced the media minutes after formally pulling out of his scheduled quarter-final match with Richard Gasquet yesterday and admitted that he would need to assess his health next week before committing to the Davis Cup clash at Braehead Arena.

Britain's Europe/Africa zone group one tie is expected to attract a sell-out crowd of 4,000, and the chances of success for John Lloyd's team understandably rest squarely on the shoulders of the British No1.

The Scot, who will undergo a course of antibiotics, vowed to do everything he could to get himself fit for the three-day match, which begins on Friday, but stressed that he will only be able to accurately gauge his fitness next week after he has rested for a few days.

"I obviously want to try and play it," said Murray, who has also been troubled by an ankle problem this week. "I'll see how I react to the antibiotics and give it my best shot to get ready.

"Doctor says I need a week, ten days to start feeling better again, and you know, I'll just see. You never know with these things. Sometimes you can recover more quickly than other times."

Spectators in Dubai had been eagerly looking forward to Murray's duel with Gasquet after the pair shared a memorable five-set thriller at Wimbledon last year, which the Scot won on his way to a quarter-final defeat against Rafael Nadal.

Gasquet received a walkover on this occasion, leaving Murray to explain that there had been no way he could have risked playing. "I got it the first time in Australia," Murray said of the illness. "I woke up in the middle of the night sweating. I got antibiotics from the doctor yesterday evening after the match and they obviously didn't help that much.

"I got up, had some breakfast and then slept again for three hours and then the guys woke me up and I wasn't feeling good."

Murray revealed that he had felt unwell between the sets of his second-round win over Arnaud Clement on Wednesday.

"I felt really weak, and when the adrenalin wore off I felt very cold, sort of shivery," he added. "Obviously I've caught something, my temperature's up, sore throat, sore head, my body's aching a little bit, so I need to take some time off."

Murray also had to delay his return to Britain after becoming ill during the Australian Open last month, but a medical check-up produced nothing significant.

"I had blood tests and stuff and none of them came back too bad but I was still on antibiotics for five or six days," said Murray, who later won his second title of the year in Rotterdam. "I guess I started to feel a bit better towards the end of the week in Rotterdam. (But] it was really tough when you have a virus or whatever, you want to just spend time in bed, you're not feeling great."

Gasquet goes on to face fourth seed David Ferrer in the semi-finals in Dubai after the Spaniard beat Russian Igor Andreev, while Murray now plans to return to his base in London to rest and recuperate. Lloyd will be monitoring his progress anxiously.

The Davis Cup team he named to play Ukraine comprised only Murray and doubles specialist Ross Hutchins, who was selected in preference to Jamie Murray. The remaining two places are being decided this week, with six players competing at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton for the vacancies.

The final play-offs for the Braehead team are due to take place today, with Chris Eaton and Josh Goodall unbeaten so far, and in pole position, although Scotland's Colin Fleming, who lost to Goodall in his opening match, remains in with a chance of earning a call-up after defeating Dan Evans.

If Murray does pull out next week, it is likely a third player will step up from the play-offs.
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post #212 of 396 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 01:36 PM
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From The Times
February 27, 2009

Ill fortune for Andy Murray and John Lloyd

Neil Harman

They were 3,400 miles apart but John Lloyd and Andy Murray each had a disturbed night's sleep on Wednesday. The Great Britain Davis Cup captain thinks it was dodgy eggs at dinner; Murray's case is a mild form of glandular fever that has returned with a vengeance. The timing of such an illness is never good; in Britain's case, rather the captain throwing a sickie than the player on whom it depends to sustain an acceptable level in the competition.

The prognosis for Murray is that he should spend between five and ten days resting - and the Europe/Africa Zone tie against Ukraine starts in Glasgow a week today. The chances are that, for the second time in three years that a match has been staged at the Braehead Arena in his honour, the British No1 will not be able to play a significant part.

In April 2006, Murray was confined to bed for the singles against Serbia and Montenegro, managed to drag himself out for the doubles but Britain lost 3-2 - the prelude to a relegation play-off in Ukraine in which Murray won his two singles in a 3-2 victory inspired by Greg Rusedski's five-set success over Sergiy Stakhovsky, the Ukraine No1, in the opening rubber.

How troubling it is that three years on, with Stakhovsky vastly improved, Britain have the same championship status and Murray is at equal odds with his health. Better for him, surely, that he stays away until whatever is ailing him clears fully. There is massive ranking potential on offer next month, including back-to-back tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami - the first two of the new 1,000-point Masters. If Murray throws himself into the Davis Cup, playing up to three best-of-five-sets matches in successive days, the effort could be exceedingly harmful.

Murray was coughing and spluttering throughout the Australian Open, although he refused to concede that it had any effect on his fourth-round defeat in five sets by Fernando Verdasco, of Spain, when clearly he was not running on a full tank. As Roger Federer found to his cost last year, attempting to play through any form of glandular fever has a debilitating effect.

Since departing his Miami training camp in early December, Murray has flown from Scotland to the Middle East - where he played on cool evenings - to the furnace heat of Australia, to damp and dismal Rotterdam then back to the Middle East. None of this criss-crossing of continents helped his recovery.

This week, as if by some stroke of divine fortune, Lloyd asked six players to show him how much they wanted to be a part of the Ukraine tie. The response has been exactly what was hoped for: they have busted a gut. They have done enough. Well, three of them have, anyway. The captain’s decision after much soul-searching yesterday was to cancel the third day of the play-offs at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, southwest London, so that those on the verge of selection do not do themselves a mischief.

Initially, Lloyd was keen for the last stage of the audition to go ahead, but from this change of heart - the LTA insisted last night it had not been given any firm indication that Murray would not be fit to play - it would appear certain that Josh Goodall and Chris Eaton, the two players who won their first two play-off matches, will be selected for their debuts; Eaton replacing James Ward in the team originally nominated and which had to be posted with the ITF, the Davis Cup organising authority, on Tuesday.

“What can you do?” Lloyd said. “I know Andy was desperately keen to play in this match. This was going to be a big test for whoever made it into the team, it may be a bigger one now.” Lloyd has not considered recalling either Jamie Murray, Andy’s elder brother, or Alex Bogdanovic, the No 2 singles player, whom he originally omitted friom the squad. Goodall was once the doubles partner of Ross Hutchins, so could well be used a lot more on his debut than he could possibly have ever imagined. Colin Fleming, another Scot, may be put on standby as first reserve.
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post #213 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-14-2009, 03:00 AM
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From The Times
March 14, 2009

Andy Murray feels the heat in Indian Wells

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Indian Wells, California

Roger Federer struts on to the court where Andy Murray's practice has not exactly been perfect. Federer is radiating health and wellbeing, blue initialled cap pulled low, not a stitch out of place, the collar of his training top clipping the ear lobes just so, socks at precisely the same height, calves shimmering. Murray is caked in sweat. They exchange the odd word, the Scot sits on the bench and watches Federer ease sweetly into his rhythm for a few minutes before taking his leave.

It is a common enough scene in the paradise venues of professional tennis, but you stop and wonder about the two men, their places in the sport and how the next 12 months will shape their careers. Federer is going to become a father; heck, they quizzed Murray on whether he thought impending parenthood for the Swiss might have an impression on the title race. “For me, family is the most important thing,” he answered. “Tim Henman had babies and it didn't affect his career too much.”

Murray has beaten Federer in five of their past six meetings, the bragging rights are his and may be enhanced here if both reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open. The Scot has not played since February 25. He then retired at the Barclays Dubai Championships and staggered into the office of Gerry Armstrong, the British ATP supervisor, who thought he had seen a ghost. The last sighting of Federer was the Australian Open final, marked for his tearful outpourings after a defeat by Rafael Nadal, the world No 1.

This is the first time since Melbourne that the elite are all in one place, Novak Djokovic completing the leading foursome after a spectacularly frenzied taxi ride from Gatwick to Heathrow, concluding the Serb's complex journey from a Davis Cup tie in Benidorm to the Coachella Valley in southern California. Djokovic is defending champion here, one of two Masters Series titles he won in 2008, a year that culminated in him taking the Masters Cup in Shanghai.

Murray's first opponent in the singles today is Albert Montañés, a Spaniard whom he defeated en route to the ExxonMobil Qatar Open title in Doha in January. The British No 1 looked lean and lithe yesterday, although he had a tendency to swallow hard before every sentence, giving the impression that something nasty was lodged in the back of his throat. “I don't exactly know how I caught this virus or exactly what it was because my symptoms changed a lot,” he said. “I went from having a sore throat, to night sweats, an upset stomach, nosebleeds and was throwing up. I feel OK now, but matches are a lot more stressful than practice. My blood tests show that I am better. I'm up for it.

“But there's no point in me coming here and saying I'm feeling perfect and I've had the best preparation possible. I didn't feel my best going into Rotterdam [for the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament] last month, but I found a way to win the tournament. As you get older, you start to understand you're not going to feel perfect every week.”

So we are not sure what we should expect from the world No 4. Barring Nadal, whose victory sweep against Serbia in the Davis Cup last weekend was frighteningly conclusive but who has woken up at 4 the past two mornings and been hitting golf balls at 6.30am, there is not much of a form guide for the favourites.

The air is clear, the sun is high and the temperatures are set to soar next week, which adds to the desirability of the location but will test athletes - and certainly those at less than 100 per cent - to the extreme. In Murray's case, just to be here beats lying in bed, watching what was left of Great Britain's Davis Cup team disappearing down the plughole last weekend.
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post #214 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 07:09 PM
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Andy Murray tweaks working parts with Alex Corretja at the forefront

Alex Corretja will spend eight weeks at Andy Murray's side

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Indian Wells, California

Miles Maclagan will be rested from the demands of keeping Andy Murray on the straight and narrow next month. In a unique experiment designed to freshen the mind and game of the British No 1, Alex Corretja, the Spaniard who reached two French Open finals, returns to Team Murray while Maclagan, his coach, takes a deep breath and recharges his batteries for Wimbledon and beyond.

In the sport’s equivalent of a spring clean, Corretja will spend eight weeks — through much of the clay-court season, although not exclusively on that surface — at Murray’s side. The decision could not be smarter for all concerned: the world No 4 gets to see the game from a novel perspective, Corretja summons a burst of energy and drive, and Maclagan has a break from the daily grind of trying to ensure that Murray realises his potential.

“I love the work that’s going on with Miles, but some weeks it is good to be apart and I’ll spend seven or eight weeks a year, whether it’s four practice weeks and four weeks at tournaments, with Alex,” Murray said. “It’s just a little bit different. If you’re going to be on the tour for 12 years or whatever, you don’t want things to get stale.

“That’s why when I come to the States, I travel with Jez Green [a physical trainer], and in Europe with Matt Little [also a physical trainer]. Miles and I do a lot of the same things most days and it is repetitive — in a good way — but sometimes it’s nice to do something different and Alex will have different ideas, different drills and it’s good to keep your mind fresh.

“It worked in the clay-court season last year and I think it’ll help on other courts as well. It’s a little bit disrespectful for anyone to think that Alex Corretja can only help me on a clay court. The guy was a great player on most surfaces. I’m not going to spend loads of time with him, but it’s going to be quality time when I do.”

Murray intends to play the three clay-court “majors” in Monte Carlo, Rome and the newly positioned Madrid event to be played at the new Caja Magica, “the Magic Box”, before the French Open starts on May 24. “It meant a lot for me to feel that someone like Andy who has so much talent wanted to work with me,” Corretja said. “I had some other offers but this was the first time I really felt like I wanted to try to help a player.”

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post #215 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-20-2009, 10:55 PM
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Thanks, Doris.

Andy seems to be determined to do well on clay this year. Keeping his mind fresh and getting ready to absorb Alex's ideas is definitely a step in the right direction.
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post #216 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 12:55 PM
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From Times Online
March 23, 2009

Andy Murray blown away by irresistible Rafael Nadal

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, Indian Wells, California

The Weather Channel had forecast a spring fury and that was the emotion that swelled inside Andy Murray’s chest yesterday as his desert adventure was torn asunder by the brilliance of the best player in the world and a storm that threatened to bring down anything that did not have the deepest of roots.

When he comes to reflect on his 6-1, 6-2 defeat in the final of the BNP Paribas Open here, Murray should not be too hard on himself. Rafael Nadal did what the very best do: he handled everything a little bit better, his touch was astounding and, despite his victory, one imagines that the Spaniard was a touch sad that a potential classic was ruined by wind that did everything but cause the players to take flight.

Nadal established himself further as the king of the courts — any court, any time, in any circumstances. Yes, Murray had beaten him on their past two meetings and many thought that he was poised to take the the eleventh title of his career, thus achieving in four years what in took Tim Henman 14 years to manage. His time will come again. He is too good for it not to.

Too often yesterday, he was the epitome of gloom and despondency, shrugging his shoulders, unable to get the leverage on the ball he required as Nadal played near error-free tennis that was astounding.

The final aside, Murray can reflect with pleasure on his first tournament since being laid low with the virus that ruled him out of last month’s Davis Cup tie against Ukraine in Glasgow. To have reached this stage having dropped only one set, and that against Roger Federer, spoke volumes for the Scot’s character and burgeoning reputation. When he woke in the morning, though, he must have realised just how tough this day would be. Nadal at any time is a tall order, Nadal in a maelstrom is almost an impossible task.

It goes to the extraordinary talent of the Wimbledon champion that Murray did not manage to reach break point in any of Nadal’s eight service games. Once again, defeating the world No 2 and No 1 in successive days proved too much. “He played great, he did incredibly well,” Murray said of Nadal, who won his thirteenth Masters title. “Unfortunately I couldn’t get the job done today.”

At least he departed in a sharper mood than Federer. The Swiss’s 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 semi-final defeat by Murray, his fifth straight setback to the British No 1 if you count the Abu Dhabi exhibition in the first week of January, was the most troubling and the former world No 1 was at a loss to explain it other than in brief, withering tones. “Do you recall struggling that much with your backhand in a long time?” he was asked. Answer: “Yeah, I have those moments quite frequently.”

Dress it up any way you like — Federer is not the same as he was. Be it lack of energy, lack of belief, lack of an understanding as to how he can beat Nadal and Murray, something is lacking. Murray has worked out the strategy against him — play as much as possible to the backhand, deaden the pace, keep the ball in play and watch the opponent lose his discipline.

Murray took his semi-final victory with matter-of-fact plainness. He is moving to within touching distance of Novak Djokovic’s No 3 position and the Serb is not enjoying life at the moment. “I said at the start of the week that I want to try and move up the rankings,” Murray said. “It’s tough but if I keep up this form — I’ve won 20 matches and only lost two this year — and have a solid clay-court season, then I’m definitely going to move up the rankings.”
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post #217 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-23-2009, 01:00 PM
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Murray proud despite Nadal defeat

• 'It's one of the best weeks of my career'
• Scot recovered from virus to reach final

Richard Evans in Indian Wells, Monday 23 March 2009 09.09 GMT

Rafael Nadal was too good for Andy Murray in the Masters Series final in Indian Wells.
Photograph: Michael Fiala/Reuters

Not many players feel proud of themselves after a sound thrashing but there were special circumstances surrounding Andy Murray's admittedly disappointing 6–1, 6–2 loss to Rafael Nadal in the final of the BNP Paribas here yesterday.

First he never expected to recover as quickly from the virus that kept him in bed in London for three days just before the Davis Cup weekend. Second, the severity of his loss to the world No1 – a player he had beaten in their two previous meetings – was due in large part to the 50mph gale that blew in shirt-rippling, hat-flying gusts across the bowl of the large, 16,000-seat stadium.

For a man who can look awfully morose on court when things are not going his way, Murray was surprisingly upbeat after he had finished his press conference. Talking before he left to catch a plane to Miami, Murray insisted he was proud of himself.

"For me, it's been one of the best weeks of my career, for sure," he said. "I'm surprised I managed to get to the final. I'm obviously playing well and beating some tough guys. There's not many times when I've been in this situation [coming off an illness] since I've been on the tour and I'm very happy and proud of what I did this week. There's not many times when I feel proud when I come off court but that's how I feel right now."

That kind of attitude bodes well for the future. It should mean that Murray will be able to shake off the disappointment of being so comprehensively outplayed and settle back into the winning rhythms that have made him unquestionably the second-best player in the world this year. With Novak Djokovic losing points here because he failed to defend his title and Murray exceeding last year's performance of only getting to the fourth round, the Scot will have closed the gap on Djokovic in third place but, even so, the ranking does not tell this year's story because it covers the past 12 months. In the past six Murray has been as consistent as anyone.

Sunday's final was a learning experience although, as he said, it is not often you get to play in those sort of conditions. He did, however, offer a fairly vivid description of what it is to try when the world No1 is on the opposite side of the net.

"It's difficult to be aggressive," he said. "When the wind is coming in your face it's tough to hit the ball deep. And obviously he's playing with a lot of topspin and the wind makes it tougher to get on top of his shots. I tried coming forward in the second set but volleying is probably the hardest thing to do in those sort of conditions because the ball can move just as you are about to make contact and you can't adjust your feet in time."

It can be windy in Miami, too, but it is unlikely to blow with the ferocity of this desert storm. And, anyway, Murray views the area as a second home after spending so many weeks practising at Miami University just before Christmas. "I have an apartment in Miami now so it'll be nice; a bit different not staying in hotels and whatnot, keeping to myself. I'll enjoy being there."
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post #218 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 09:25 AM
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Fernando Verdasco: Andy Murray 'will be world No2 by end of year'

Murray is aiming higher during this clay-court season

Simon Cambers in Monte Carlo

If Andy Murray needed any further encouragement after his stunning start to 2009, then he received it yesterday through the words of Fernando Verdasco, one of only two men to have got the better of him this year.

The Spaniard ended Murray’s hopes at the Australian Open in January when he beat him in the fourth round. Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, is the other man to defeat him — in the final of the Indian Wells Masters event last month — and Verdasco believes that it is Murray, rather than a faltering Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, who is ready to challenge his compatriot at the top of the world rankings.

“Right now Rafa and Andy are the two best players,” Verdasco said. “This year for sure if things carry on as they are, he will finish No 2 in the world.

“He’s the guy who’s the most similar to Rafa. His first serve is better than Rafa’s, but his second serve is worse. But on the baseline he has an unbelievable backhand and the better you play against him, the better he plays.

“Defensively he and Rafa are the best two players. And when he needs to play an approach to the net and volley he has a very good touch. He’s a very complete player and right now he’s so strong mentally. He believes in himself so much and believes that he can beat everyone.”

Murray will almost certainly overtake Djokovic to become the world No 3 in the next fortnight, starting with the Monte Carlo Masters this week, but the Scot knows that he needs to transfer his form on hard courts to the demands of clay, on which he has not reached the quarter-final of any event.

“It should be a good surface for me,” Murray said yesterday. “Last year, I had some good wins but I lost to the very good clay-court players. I hope this year I can have the same sort of wins and maybe do better against the top guys.

“My expectations are a bit different here. I’m trying to reach the quarter-finals and semi-finals of tournaments where I’ve never been past the second or third round before. That’s what’s exciting.”

For the second successive year, Murray has added Alex Corretja, twice the runner-up at the French Open, to his team through the clay-court season. The Spaniard will cast his eye over Murray’s progress, beginning today with his second-round clash against Victor Hanescu, the world No 35 from Romania.

“He just brings something that’s a bit different,” Murray said of Corretja. “Tactically [there are things] that are fundamental on clay that he can just point out and help me with.

“He and Miles [Maclagan, Murray's coach] get on well so they can chat through things. Sometimes if I’m doing a drill and Alex or Miles is hitting, the other can watch my movement to see if I’m doing the right things with my feet, if I’m sliding properly. It’s nice to have an extra opinion.”

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post #219 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-20-2009, 12:31 AM
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Murray falls to Nadal

Published Date: 19 April 2009

MONTE Carlo is a strange and foreign place. This is where the richest of the rich reside to show off their wealth in ostentatious displays of spending. The credit crunch shows no sign of biting here quite simply because anyone who needs to borrow money is not allowed in.

This is also where the road to the French Open starts. The Monte Carlo Rolex Open is the traditional beginning of the clay court season where the very best of the best show off their talent in ostentatious displays of patience and power. In short, this is where Rafael Nadal reigns supreme.

The world No.1 was in devastating form yesterday to deny Andy Murray a place in the final, beating the Scot 6-2, 7-6. It was not that Murray did not play well, it was just that Nadal was better. This is Nadal's surface, this is Nadal's tournament (he has won it for the past four years and has only lost one match at the Monte Carlo Country Club) and this was Nadal's afternoon.

"If you want to beat Nadal, you've got to - on clay - play great, solid, serve well and concentrate the whole way through," said Murray. "If you give him one chance, he's one of the best - probably the best - at taking them and making you pay for lapses. I had a few too many early in the match.

"At the end of the match, I wouldn't have changed a whole lot. I went for my shots, played aggressive. He just played a little bit better, which sometimes unfortunately you have to accept. But it's been a great week for me. I didn't have huge expectations coming in and now I'm looking forward to the next tournament."

Murray's clay court game is still a work in progress and when he arrived in Monaco his one aim was to get used to the unreliable surface beneath his feet and bank a few ranking points along the way. He had never reached a quarter-final of a clay court event before so that would make a decent starting point – and then, in the space of one day, he achieved that goal and bettered it, beating Fabio Fognini in a rain-delayed third-round match on Friday morning and then doing for Nikolay Davydenko late on Friday evening in the quarter-final.

The win over Davydenko clearly meant the world to him. In the past, he had never managed to win three consecutive matches on the red dirt and even if he had played reasonably well against the regular clay-court specialists, he had always come up woefully short against the very best. Davydenko, the world No.9, is one of the very best, and clay is one of his favourite surfaces, yet the Scot finished him off in straight sets. That was another goal reached.

"Last year, I had some good wins on clay but I lost to the very good claycourt players," Murray had said before the tournament started. "I hope this year I can have the same sort of wins and maybe do better against the top guys."

The top guys are one thing; Nadal on the march to a final is entirely another. There were times when Murray had his rival on the ropes, bossing the rally from any quarter of the court he could find to call his own, but he could not make them last.

Chances against the Spaniard on this surface are as rare as hen's teeth so when the moment comes to put away the winner, the pressure is immense. Sure enough, Murray manoeuvred himself into position from time to time, getting there by dint of lung-bursting effort and careful planning, but when the final shot had to be inch-perfect, he could not quite pull it off. The howls of frustration from the Scot when an opportunity went begging could be heard as far as the Italian border.

The French newspapers describe Nadal as an "ogre". They may mean it in the nicest possible way, but the simple fact is that he is a monster on a clay court. He has now won 137 of his last 141 matches on the red stuff, a run that goes back to 2005. On any other surface Murray knows that he has a chance to beat the Spaniard – he has done it twice before – but on clay, everything works in Nadal's favour.

Only in the dying stages did Murray start to make any impression on the Spanish defences. With nothing to lose, he went for broke and attacked as Nadal was serving for the match. He saved one match point with a delicately-played drop-shot and he pushed and pulled the world No.1 around the court as he worked his way to three break points. That got the crowd, relatively subdued until this point, on their feet and cheering – they love Nadal but they love a good scrap just as much. As Murray broke back to 5-4 and then levelled the score for 5-5, there was a buzz around the stands. The possibility of an upset was still too outrageous to contemplate, but Scotland's finest was making Nadal work harder than anyone had dared to expect. Murray had claimed that he would need to play the match of his life to beat the Spaniard on clay and he did everything in his power to achieve that, especially in the last five games.

The bad news for Murray was that forcing Nadal into the tiebreak brought out the real ogre in the world No.1 as he clattered his forehand. The good news is that this is only the start of the clay-court season and the Scot is getting better with every match.
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post #220 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-22-2009, 08:27 PM
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David Beckham, Andy Murray and Denise Lewis back new charity Malaria No More UK

Today, Monday 20 April 2009, three of the UK’s sporting heroes; David Beckham, Andy Murray and Denise Lewis, will visit No. 10 Downing Street to mark the launch of Malaria No More UK – a not-for-profit organisation committed to ending suffering and death caused by malaria.

Malaria is the world’s most serious, preventable health crisis. Malaria threatens half the world’s population and those most vulnerable are pregnant women and children. In Africa, malaria kills one child every 30 seconds; it kills more children under five than any other single disease.

But malaria is preventable and treatable. One of the most effective means of stopping suffering and death from malaria is to invest in preventative measures now. Blanketing Africa with mosquito nets is one of the most simple and effective ways to help prevent the spread of malaria and yields life-saving results. In recent years countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea have successfully used bed nets, insecticides and medicines to cut malaria deaths by over 50%.

Beckham, Murray and Lewis have been named as members of the Malaria No More UK Leadership Council. These three sporting heroes will campaign to raise awareness about malaria. They start with the simple message that for just £5 a bed net can be bought, transported and delivered to an African family protecting a mother and child or brother and sister against malaria for up to five years.

As part of the launch, Malaria No More UK will be visiting No.10 Downing Street. Last year the Prime Minister pledged the UK would deliver 20 million bed nets to Africa by 2010. Today the prime minister has confirmed the UK has already delivered almost half this total (9.7 million nets) and a further 1.9 million nets are on order. The charity wants to ensure the UK delivers the remainder of this pledge and encourages the EU and G8 governments to deliver their bed net promises totaling 100 million bed nets by 2010; and that global leaders deliver $3 billion committed to tackling malaria in September 2008 at the UN high level event on the Millennium Development Goals.

“It’s truly incredible to think we can stop this killer disease forever and it’s such a simple thing to do” says David Beckham, “for less than the cost of a football you can protect a family from dying. I urge the UK public to get behind the Malaria No More UK campaign to save a life and make malaria no more.”

Andy Murray says, “This is the first global charity I’ve been involved with in this capacity and it was an easy decision. Malaria is completely preventable and stoppable but yet it still kills more children in Africa than any other single disease. We can radically change this, it is a huge opportunity and I’m urging the UK public to help save a life and get behind Malaria No More UK, a truly world-changing and life-saving initiative.”

Denise Lewis, says, “As a mother of three, finding out that pregnant women are four times more likely to contract malaria than other adults, well that really hits home. Here in the UK, malaria is not something an expecting mother needs to worry about. It shouldn’t be in Africa either, especially since malaria is a preventable disease. It’s so easy for us to make a massive difference. Buying a £5 bed net will protect a mother and her child for up to five years. The time has come for us to work together to make malaria no more”.

Malaria No More UK Executive Director Sarah Kline says: “Malaria No More UK is launching a mass campaign to help stop the suffering and death caused by malaria. Our first mission is to help reach the UN target of getting everyone at risk in Africa under a bed net by the end of 2010. We are delighted the Prime Minister has announced today that the UK is has already delivered 9.3 million nets of the 20 million pledged and look forward to seeing the rest delivered on time. We are calling on him to press other EU and G8 governments to deliver their share of the 100 million bed nets they promised last year.

“I have seen mothers nursing their children, gravely sick with malaria. But I have also visited communities protecting themselves from malaria using bed nets and shared their joy, as they talk of no longer losing children to this terrible disease. We are part of an international effort to make malaria no more and we kick-start that in the UK today”.

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post #221 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-28-2009, 09:51 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

From The Times
April 28, 2009

Andy Murray keeps eye on vital statistics

Neil Harman,
Tennis Correspondent, Rome

It was the perfect day for pen-sucking and dreaming of sunny portents because play at the Rome Masters was spoilt by winds that whipped clay into the eyes and nostrils, and one match on the Foro Italico's temporary main court was completed in a torrential downpour that formed small puddles into which balls plopped and stopped. Work on the new Centre Court appears no more advanced than a year ago. A roof? That was still up for discussion.

Andy Murray lost a first-round doubles match yesterday with Ross Hutchins, his Davis Cup colleague, which is probably just as well because his second-round singles today against Juan Mónaco, of Argentina, will require every bit of the British No1's powers of concentration.

Murray is a bit of a statistical nerd - the ATP does not need a computer to work out the rankings, he could do it using mental arithmetic - and is more aware than anyone how close he is to becoming the highest-ranked player from Britain since the authorities decided to use scientific methods rather than rely on the opinions of a journalistic cabal. If Novak Djokovic fails to defend his title here, Murray will leapfrog him to No3 and should Roger Federer's socks remain around his ankles for much longer, the Scot could be at No2 by the time Wimbledon swings into view.

Lest we be accused of getting ahead of ourselves, the player himself said that he could have been No3 before now had he fulfilled his tour commitments last year - he withdrew from the event in Indianapolis, unaware of a new rule that condemned him to a “zero-pointer” on his ranking record that could have been retrieved had he flown to Indiana and carried out promotional work on behalf of the tournament. That is a long way to go to shake a few hands.

He will not make the mistake of ignoring the fine print again. Murray, who has held the No4 spot for 32 consecutive weeks since September 8 last year, has made a career-best 29-3 start to the year to close quickly on Djokovic, who has been ranked No3 every week bar one since Wimbledon 2007. With last year's Monte Carlo points dropping off from the player's average next Monday, Federer loses 700 points, Djokovic 450 and Murray 150, which equates to a mere 110 points separating Serb from Scot as we start this championship.

At the very least, when the French Open begins next month, Murray, who reached the third round at Roland Garros last year, will be only 280 points adrift of Federer, who was the runner-up in Paris. Should Murray overhaul the Swiss - which is very much on the cards - Federer would have to hope the grass-court formula that Wimbledon figures into its seedings prevents him from being relegated at SW19 by virtue of the five-times former champion's record of excellence there. That would be hard to swallow.

How does Murray feel here after making such a resounding impact on his seasonal, clay-court debut in Monte Carlo, where he reached the semi-finals. “It has been windy, tough to play and tricky, but I feel confident,” he said. “Even if I don't start the matches well, I think I can get into a rhythm much quicker than I could even a couple of months ago.”

He has to continue to play with the courage and sheer excellence that he has demonstrated thus far in 2009 and Mónaco, who rose to No14 last year before a bout of pneumonia and ankle problems knocked him back, is a spikey first challenge on wettened clay.

As something out of the ordinary, Murray visited 10 Downing Street last week with David Beckham, on behalf of Malaria No More, a charity of which they are patrons. One wondered if he had had the temerity to ask Gordon Brown, his fellow Scot, about the new 50 per cent tax rate? “No, unfortunately,” said the man who in 2009 has won $1,695,887 (about £1.1million) in prize money.
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post #222 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-29-2009, 11:08 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

Andy Murray plays it cool after Juan Mónaco inflicts an early exit

Steve Bierley in Rome
Wednesday 29 April 2009 22.00 BST

It was a match Andy Murray should have won, particularly after dominating the opening set, and yet it was almost as if this 1–6, 6–3, 7–5 defeat to Argentina's Juan Mónaco in the second round of the Rome Masters was a disappointment he had seen coming. "Mentally I'm a little bit tired," Murray said. "I'm not used to winning as much as I have done at the start of the year, and I played very well in Monte Carlo. I still nearly found a way to come through the match."

This was Murray's earliest defeat since last year's Beijing Olympics. He had reached the semi-finals or better in six of the previous seven Masters series events – second only to the slams in their importance – on his way to winning the titles in Cincinnati, Madrid and Miami, and he also made the semi-finals of the end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. It has been a rich run of success that, coupled with his reaching the US Open final, has enabled Murray to join Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the world's four best players.

On this occasion, there were times when he looked leaden-footed and short of breath. "There were a lot of long rallies and it was hot," Murray said.

"We played nearly three hours, but I don't think it was a huge issue. I'm disappointed, but sometimes when you're on a great run a guy just plays a little bit better than you on the day, and unfortunately it happened here. But I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'll go home and practise and hopefully be playing better in the Madrid Masters."

He had reached his first ever clay-court semi-final in Monte Carlo, winning numerous plaudits, not least from Nadal, though Murray knew Mónaco, a former top-20 player who missed a large chunk of last season with pneumonia, was a potential stumbling block.

"It was not like I was playing awesome in Monte Carlo," Murray said. "I understand my clay-court game needs to get much better. If this match had been on a hard court I might have found a way to win, but he's a bit more experienced than me and played a bit more solid. I just need to learn, go back and practise, and not over-think the match too much. I know what happened, and I'll work on those things."

Murray spoke of the conditions changing during the course of the two-hour, 40-minute match, but that was an unconvincing argument. As the heat increased, and the courts became faster, it should have suited him more. The simple fact was that he let Mónaco off the hook and paid the price.
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post #223 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-17-2009, 10:44 AM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

Andy Murray: Heir to the throne

Published Date:
17 May 2009
By Jon Henderson

FAST APPROACHING is one of those anniversaries that remind us what an underachieving tennis nation Britain has been. Tomorrow marks 100 years since the birth of Fred Perry – and expect the day to excite much maudlin prose about the 73 years that have elapsed since Perry's third Wimbledon victory without another male player from these islands winning the game's crown of crowns.

I would like to try to lighten the gloom a little by reflecting on quite what a remarkable person and player Perry was and how in Andy Murray we now have someone who could emulate the son of cotton-mill workers from Stockport, near Manchester.

I know both these things to be true, having just completed the first biography ever written of Perry and having followed Murray's career closely since an agent friend of mine alerted me to his extraordinary potential while he was a skinny kid in his mid teens.

It really is a pity, then, that such a hard shell of cynicism has formed around the idea of Britain ever again producing a Wimbledon men's winner that even if Rafael Nadal were granted British citizenship tomorrow he would instantly be regarded as a no-hoper. As a result we are denying ourselves the pleasure that should follow from our having a player in our midst as breathtakingly talented as Murray.

That Murray is a special player becomes clear when viewed through a lens other than one distorted by decades of British failure. Also, look a little deeper and what is intriguing is that Murray, whose 22nd birthday is this month, has so much in common with Perry. So much, in fact, that it is not entirely coincidental that, for one thing, the young Scot started wearing Fred Perry clothing with its distinctive laurel-wreath insignia well before he gained wide public awareness as a player. John Flynn, the managing director of Fred Perry Ltd, says of Murray: "He's corporate but roguish, like Fred."

Neither Perry nor Murray was from that well-off, genteel milieu that is still regarded as tennis's natural heartland. Perry most certainly wasn't. Born in a determinedly working-class area of Stockport, his parents, Sam and Hannah, both toiled in cotton mills. The family escaped through Sam Perry's political ambition – he would later become a Labour MP – that brought them south to live in London at the end of the First World War. It was while on a family holiday in Eastbourne that Perry strayed from the beach, came across lawn tennis being played at Devonshire Park and was instantly seduced by the game and its wider possibilities that were evident from the expensive cars parked nearby.

Given the far more competitive era in which Murray is playing – for a start Perry was protected from great contemporaries such as Ellsworth Vines who had turned professional in the pre-Open era – it may be asking too much of him to match Perry's achievements. But enough similarities do exist to offer legitimate hope that, if not this year, then some time in the next four or five he can win at least one title on the emerald courts of the All England Club.

Like Perry, Murray is some distance removed from the posh English set who regard Wimbledon as part of what they still refer to, quaintly, as the summer season. This may help to account for the fact that, also like Perry, Murray has the hard edge of a career tennis player. This contrasts with the approach of other young British hopefuls that seems perpetually ready to yield to less stressful ways of making a living. It would be stretching things to surmise that what hardened Murray was the experience of being a pupil at Dunblane Primary School in March 1996 when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and a teacher. It would be surprising, though, if someone as naturally purposeful as he is did not undergo a little clenching of his resolve that day.

Overwhelmingly, though, what makes Murray a latter-day version of Perry is having, in addition to all the right physical attributes, an intrinsic understanding of and feel for the game. Mark Petchey, Murray's former coach, has enthused about the time he spent as a teenager at a tennis academy in Barcelona, which gave him the foundation on which to build his "unique" way of playing. He was referring to Murray's ability to surprise with a game that is more nuanced than any other out there at the moment, and that includes Federer's. There have been plenty of outstanding athletes with unbelievable determination who have been coached to become tennis champions – think Ivan Lendl, think Rafael Nadal – but there have also been a few players who have thrilled us by following their own script. Murray is the latest in this distinguished line that can be traced back to Perry through players such as Federer, John McEnroe and Ken Rosewall.

The distinction is subtle, but Perry and Murray took to tennis rather then being taken to tennis. They recognised instantly their compatibility with the game. For both of them football was the obvious sporting choice. Neighbours of Perry remembered his early obsession with the game, while Murray might have had a tennis-playing mother but was far more susceptible to tales of footballers such as Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen and of the great managers such as Bill Shankly and Alex Ferguson. Among his peers, tennis was an alien sport.

Perry's early empathy with racket sports was evident from the way as a youngster he would commandeer the family kitchen, push the table up against the wall and play table tennis against himself.

Murray's feel for racket sports from a young age can be gauged from a story told by his mother about a visit to a badminton tournament when he was still quite small.

"It was in Glasgow," she says. "He'd never played the sport in his life, but after a short while he said, 'If I was playing that guy I'd just drop short, because every time he does that he lifts it up the backhand side, and then I'd do this, because he doesn't move back into the right place.' He has this very clever, quick mind."

Anyone who has any doubt that Murray is not a special player did not see him play his first Centre Court match at Wimbledon against David Nalbandian in 2005. The 18-year-old Murray teased and tormented the 2002 Wimbledon finalist to build a two-set lead, at which point factors other than tennis took over and the Argentine scrambled through. In those first two sets, Murray may have played the best tennis by a British player on Centre Court since Perry won his three Wimbledon titles in 1934, 1935 and 1936. That is how good he is. Enjoy him when he returns to SW19 next month.
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post #224 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:47 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

Relaxed Murray ready to win over Roland Garros
Scot relishes the chance to prove new-found clay form before Paris's hostile crowds

By Paul Newman in Paris
Saturday, 23 May 2009

Andy Murray faces the media at Roland Garros yesterday. 'I feel more comfortable on clay,' says the world No 3

The crowd at the French Open, which starts here tomorrow, can be the most unforgiving in tennis. Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams and Martina Hingis have all been the object of their boos and whistles in recent years.

Even Rafael Nadal, unbeaten in the 28 matches he has played at Roland Garros, was persistently jeered after complaining about a line call against Sébastien Grosjean. Not that being French necessarily saves you from peeved Parisians, who turned on Henri Leconte after his 1988 defeat in the final by Mats Wilander when he suggested some of his fellow countrymen had not understood his tactics.

Although Andy Murray has never been a racket-thrower – "I prefer shouting," he said with a smile here yesterday – the 22-year-old Scot can wear his heart on his sleeve and appreciates how easily the crowd at Roland Garros can be alienated. "They're very passionate, but they can be tough," he said. "You have got to be on your best behaviour when you play here because they don't like racket-throwing or shouting.

"Even if you're not playing well and are playing badly, it's not as though they help you through it. They try and get on top of you. It's just different. All the Slams are different and that's what makes them special. You definitely wouldn't get it at Wimbledon."

In the not-so-distant past, Murray was an on-court scowler and grumbler who would berate himself – and, on occasions, his coaching entourage – if things started to go wrong. Whether there is any connection between his appreciably calmer demeanour and his improved results could be a subject for debate, but Murray admits he has never felt better going into the finale of the clay-court season, which is usually his least productive part of the year.

"I do feel much more comfortable," he said. "Physically, I feel better. My sliding and my strength on the wide balls is a lot better than it was. Obviously, confidence is better. I didn't have the best run coming into the French Open last year."

Murray has played here only twice before, losing in the first round to Gaël Monfils in 2006 and to Nicolas Almagro in the third round last year. This year, however, building on the outstanding run since Wimbledon 2008 that has taken him to No 3 in the world rankings, the Scot has enjoyed his best results on clay, reaching the semi-finals in Monte Carlo and the last eight in Madrid.

The major difference is that Murray has not substantially changed his game style to suit the surface and now tries to dictate the pace of his matches. "I can still play the same way as I do on hard courts, though I need to move better," he said. "Against the real clay-courters who play with a lot of topspin, you can almost try and make it a hard-court match by playing a little bit flatter and coming to the net a little bit and shortening the points."

He added: "The courts here are quick and there is a big difference between playing on the outside courts and playing on the stadium courts, where there are huge run-backs. Last year, Almagro hit over 20 aces against me on one of the smaller courts. Guys can come through the draw playing very aggressive tennis. It's quicker than any of the other clay courts."

Murray's first-round opponent is Juan Ignacio Chela, who beat him at the Australian Open three years ago but has lost their last three encounters. The 29-year-old Argentinian, a clay-court specialist, has played eight tournaments (compared with Murray's three) on terre battue this year, but has gone beyond the second round only twice. In eight visits to Roland Garros, he has made the second week just once and from a career-high 15th in the world rankings he is now down to No 205, having missed the second half of last year through injury.

Thereafter, if the rankings and seedings work out, Murray could play Germany's Mischa Zverev in the second round, Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the third and the Croatian Marin Cilic in the fourth. In the quarter-finals, he is seeded to meet the Frenchman Gilles Simon, with Nadal, aiming for his fifth successive title here, likely to await in the semi-finals, although the world No 1 may have to beat Lleyton Hewitt, David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco along the way.

Roger Federer, beaten by Nadal in the last three finals here but revitalised by his victory over the Spaniard in Madrid last weekend, is seeded to meet Novak Djokovic in the other semi-final.
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post #225 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:51 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

Thanks for that Getta Good luck to Andy tomorrow

MURRAY - the World No. 2

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