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post #226 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:52 PM
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Murray knows he must turn on the style in chic Parisian bear pit

Published Date: 23 May 2009

ANDY Murray is on his best behaviour. It is not that the Scot is walking on egg shells it is just that as the No3 seed at the French Open, he knows that he has to sparkle in the next couple of weeks or draw the wrath of the Parisian crowd.

The Open will start tomorrow at Roland Garros, a frightfully chic bear pit of a place where the French crowd will happily turn on their own for sport if the mood takes them. This is the place where a player must not only win but win with élan in order to earn praise. Anything less is greeted with jeers, whistles and cat calls.

As if that were not bad enough, clay is still Murray's worst surface – although his improvement on the red dirt this year has been rapid and impressive – and lying in wait for him in the opening round is Juan Ignacio Chela. The 29-year-old Argentine learned his trade on clay and has achieved some of his best results on the stuff and despite the fact that his world ranking has slumped to 205 after a serious back injury, he will still be no pushover for the Scot.

"He's obviously a tough clay court player," Murray said. "He had a bad injury last year and he's come back this year and is playing well so I definitely can't afford to look past him.

"But I feel if I play well I've got a very good chance of doing well. I want to play well. If I play well but lose in the second round, it's not as though I'll be happy but it won't be a failure providing I have played great tennis. But I want to get to the second week and I'll try and do that. That's a good starting point for me."

Murray is also aware that he cannot allow his frustration to boil over as he works his way through the rounds. On clay, each rally seems to take an eternity and every shot that would be a winner on any other surface comes back at him to be hit again and again. For a man who has made winning appear so easy in the past year, this part of the season is a real test of his patience. And the French crowd will be waiting for him to crack.

"The crowds are very passionate," Murray said. "They love their tennis and there are great crowds from the start of the tournament. But they can be tough. You have got to be on best behaviour when you play in Paris because they don't like racket-throwing or shouting. Even if you are 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 is just different. All the Slams are different and that is what makes them special. You definitely would not get it at Wimbledon."

Murray's run on the clay courts this season has been the best of his career by far but he has still only won five matches over the course of six weeks. In order for him to live up to his seeding – and earn his reward of a semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal – he must win five matches in the first ten days of the tournament.

The draw has been as kind to him as it could be and the first seed Murray will face is Feliciano Lopez, the world No30. Although Lopez is from Spain, the home of clay court grinders, his game is more suited to the faster surfaces. Murray's potential quarter-final opponent is Gilles Simon, a man the Scot has beaten three times out of four including on clay last year in Hamburg. As a result, a path to the last four is clearly marked for Murray even if the journey promises to be long and arduous.

"Whereas on grass and hard courts, I know I have to play well if I want to go deep into the tournament," Murray explained, "I still know that I can come through matches when I'm not necessarily playing my best. But on clay I feel like I have to play tough tennis from the start and play some of my best to win all the matches. So I have to go into the tournament pretty switched on. I do feel much more comfortable on clay than I did last year. Physically, I feel better and sliding and my strength on the wide balls is a lot better than it was. I didn't have the best run coming into the French Open last year so obviously, the confidence is better this year. And confidence is a big factor."

Unfortunately, Murray will be the only Scot flying the flag in Paris after Elena Baltacha was beaten in the final round of the qualifying competition yesterday, losing 6-2, 6-2 to the top seed, Yaroslava Shvedova from Kazakhstan.
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post #227 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:58 PM
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Thanks again Getta. Always nice to have news on Andy

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post #228 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 04:08 PM
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Great Expectations

Andy Murray will carry the hopes of a nation during Wimbledon.

Published: May 25, 2009

Breaking Britain’s title drought at Wimbledon is a tough assignment in itself; when you’re also going up against Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, it seems like an insurmountable challenge. Unless you’re Andy Murray.

The British public’s expectation will be a bit different at Wimbledon this year. To be exact, they lived in hope rather than expectation when Tim Henman was playing. Now they can uncross their fingers and toes and stop holding their breath because Andy Murray is promising to make Wimbledon a pleasurable experience again for British fans and, dare one say, a successful one.

Although Murray is just as capable of taking British fans on a rollercoaster ride, he rarely ever drives them over the edge. No matter how desperate things get, he always seems to be in control. Tiger Tim played a riskier game that earned him an enviable Wimbledon record of four semi-final and four quarter-final appearances, but that never fully sated the British appetite for a homegrown champion.

A counter-puncher like Murray may never match the sheer exhilaration of Henman’s serve-and-volley game, but he may win Wimbledon. And that is because the young Scot has something that Henman did not – the killer instinct. It’s a quality Murray has in common with Fred Perry, the last Briton to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title and whose brand he appropriately now promotes. “I was always a believer in stamping on my opponent if I got him down, at Wimbledon or anywhere else,” said Perry once. “I never wanted to give him the chance to get up.”

Another thing Henman did extraordinarily well was handle the ridiculous pressure at Wimbledon each year and Murray looks capable of doing the same. Of course, this isn’t the first year that the 22 year old has represented the sum of British hopes in the men’s singles. He carried the flag last year, all the way to the quarter-finals. The difference is no-one really expected the then World No. 11 to win Wimbledon. This year, they do.

In fact, after reaching his first Grand Slam final, in New York, winning three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles (from four finals) and four additional ATP World Tour titles in the intervening 11 months, Murray is now expected by British fans to win every tournament he enters. Since going out in the third round of Roland Garros last year, Murray has made the quarter-finals or better in 17 of the 20 events he has played – and a rod for his back in the process.

“Anyone who watches sport will understand you can’t win every single match,” Murray tells DEUCE. “Unfortunately, in tennis there are no draws – even Manchester United have probably lost five or six games out of something like 60 this season. I’ll try my best at Wimbledon and I’ll have a decent shot if I play well, but I won’t view it as a failure if I don’t win it.

“I think I’m closer than I was a year ago – obviously the US Open was a good indicator of that. It might take time, but too bad. It’s not an easy thing to do and I’ve got maybe the two best players of all time playing just now. You’re probably going to have to beat one of them – maybe both of them – if you want to win a slam.”

Murray made a splash at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami

The double act of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has held centre stage on Centre Court for the past three years, but that doesn’t automatically mean an extension to Britain’s 73-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion. Murray hardly lives in fear of facing either player on grass - or any other surface. Initially, it may have appeared so in the case of the World No. 1, as Nadal racked up a 5-0 lead in their head-to-heads, but since then Murray has won three of their past five meetings.

As for Federer, while Murray has enormous respect for the great man, he has never - not even at their first meeting when he was 18 - been in awe of him. Murray had a couple of bad injuries when he was younger and spent a lot of his spare time watching Federer’s matches. He came to the conclusion that the best way of playing Federer was just to be solid and not to try to do anything extraordinary on every point, as most of his opponents seemed to do. His game plan has obviously worked because he holds a 6-2 advantage against the Swiss, which is even more emphatic than that of Nadal, who leads Federer 13-7 in their celebrated duel.

“Obviously I’d love to win Wimbledon, but I think my best surface is hard and my results would prove that so I would expect if it did happen it would be at the US Open or Australian Open, but you never know. Grass is a bit unpredictable and a lot can depend on draws and someone like a [Ivo] Karlovic serving huge against Nadal or Federer early in the tournament, which could open things up.

“Then there are guys like [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga who have big games. A lot could depend on how the grass is playing, too. If it plays slower, even someone like [Fernando] Gonzalez can be dangerous. Novak [Djokovic] has played well on grass. Also, we don’t know how the roof is going to affect the speed of the grass. There’s going to be a lot of interesting things happening during the tournament.”

For all that, winning a slam could be easier than reaching No. 1 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings. Not that he would say so, but one senses that Murray is confident of overtaking Federer this year. Nadal, however, is a different proposition. He knows he needs to improve his clay-court game considerably if he is to give himself a chance of doing so. It would be easier stepping into a bull ring armed with nothing more than a racquet than take a clay-court title away from Nadal, but after the way Murray charged back at the Mallorcan in the second set of their semi-final at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April, it did make one wonder.

“Clay is a tough surface, especially if you don’t grow up playing on it. You have to learn as you go along. After the French Open I didn’t play again on it until Monte-Carlo this year, so it’s pretty much 11 months of the year that I don’t hit a ball on clay. Consequently, throughout this year I might have the odd three, four-day practice on it. This is where someone like Rafa gets a huge number of points and if I want to catch him in the Rankings I need to play better on clay.”

Murray needs look no further than the Spaniard for his inspiration. If a clay courter like Nadal can turn his hand to grass, why shouldn’t Murray, who spent a couple of years on the red stuff at the Emilio Sanchez academy in Barcelona, make the transition in the opposite direction? Not that Murray’s a grass-court specialist just yet, but according to Henman he will achieve great things on the surface.

If Murray does win Wimbledon one day no-one will be more envious of him than the former British No. 1, who tried longer and harder than anyone to lay his hands on the holy grail. Finding himself usurped by a younger man cannot have been easy for Henman. When he lost their first encounter in 2005 all the talk about a changing of the guard had clearly begun to grate with him. “I've handed on the torch. Or is it the baton? Whatever it is, I've passed it on,” he said a trifle tartly.

However, since retiring, Henman has been nothing less than fulsome in his praise of the young man. “Andy is going to go on to achieve bigger and better things than I ever did, and I'm really pleased for him,” he said recently. “There is no doubt in my mind that he'll win multiple Grand Slams, including Wimbledon.”

You see, even Henman expects him to win.

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post #229 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 05:13 PM
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French Open 2009: Andy Murray ready to get down and dirty to see off Marin Cilic challenge

The Americans sometimes call them 'dirt-ballers', players who look as though they have clay in their blood as well as all over their shoes and socks, and who would be happy to rally from the baseline for hours, maybe even for days, on end.

By Mark Hodgkinson
Last Updated: 5:33PM BST 30 May 2009

Head boy: Andy Murray practises his football skills ahead of his clash with Marin Cilic

Perhaps Andy Murray had imagined, before the draw was made, that if he made it through to the last 16 at Roland Garros for the first time, his opponent would be one of those 'dirt-ballers', but no one is about to suggest that Marin Cilic should be classed as your classic, traditional, full-fat clay-courter.

On Sunday Murray and Cilic play for a place in the quarter-finals in Paris. If Cilic can be pigeonholed as anything, it is for conforming to the stereotype of a male Croatian tennis player.

Just like Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Ljubicic, Mario Ancic and Ivo Karlovic, Cilic is exceptionally tall, at 6ft 6in in his socks, has a serve that could probably knock chips off the Arc de Triomphe, and his game would appear to be better suited to faster surfaces, such as the grass of Wimbledon, or the hard courts of Melbourne Park or New York's Flushing Meadows, than to the red clay of Roland Garros.

Still, for all that, the last week has shown that the 20 year-old is more than capable of playing some accomplished tennis on clay. It is not just 'dirt-ballers' who can be dangerous on the scorched earth of the Bois de Boulogne.

Or, as Murray said of an opponent some three inches taller than him, "he has a big game and is very dangerous". Cilic, at a career high in the rankings of 13, is the youngest man in the top 20, and his progress through the drawsheet has been more convincing than Murray's, since he is yet to drop a set all tournament, and has conceded just 21 games after his three excellent games against Czech Jan Hernych, Israeli Dudi Sela and Radek Stepanek, of the Czech Republic.

That is three fewer games than Rafael Nadal, who is closing in on a fifth successive French Open title, has lost on the way to setting up today's fourth-round encounter with Sweden's Robin Soderling. Any time anyone outdoes Rafa on the red courts of Paris, the statistic is worth recording.

But perhaps Cilic's first time in the second week in Paris should not be all that surprising, as, he has played a lot of tennis on clay as a child, and he is a former junior champion on these courts, as he won the boys' version of the French Open in 2005. The boy he beat in the semi-finals that year was Murray, and it is not a match that the 22-year-old Briton has spent too much time mulling over.

Murray played some average tennis that day, flung his racket around, and it turned out to be his last match as a junior. It is fun to go back down the clay-covered memory lane, but the real relevance of that junior contest is somewhere between zero and none. That was an age ago; both have since proved themselves on the tour proper.

One of the great influences on Cilic's career has been Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion. It was Ivanisevic, who, after practising with a 13-year-old Cilic, put him in touch with Bob Brett, his former coach.

Still, Cilic has far greater emotional control than Ivanisevic – with his Good Goran, Bad Goran and Emergency Goran shtick – ever did.

The relevance of Murray's two senior wins over Cilic, at a Davis Cup tie on the Wimbledon grass in 2007, and on an indoor hard court at last season's Madrid tournament, could also be debated, as this is going to be their first adult match on the terre battue.

While Cilic's serve is always going to be his main weapon, on any surface, he also moves well for a man of his height, and has a strong all-round game. It is no fluke that he has reached the second week without dropping a set. Murray's return of serve is often one of the strongest parts of his game, and he will need that to be the case today if he is to combat Cilic's delivery.

Murray is not a 'dirt-baller' either, with his brand of tennis at his most effective on hard courts, but he has tweaked his game to clay, so far winning eight of his 11 matches on the surface this season.

Although Murray's first week in Paris has been far from perfect, he can feel generally satisfied with his tennis, as he lost and then rediscovered his mojo in his second round against Italy's Potito Starace, and came through some early difficulties against Janko Tipsarevic in Friday evening's third-round meeting to go two sets up, at which point the Serbian retired with a leg injury.

The pills that Tipsarevic had been given on court could not keep him in the contest. If Murray beats Cilic, that would put him through to play Fernando Gonzalez, the Chilean whose forehands threaten to rip the yellow felt off tennis balls, or Victor Hanescu, the Romanian who put out Gilles Simon, the leading Frenchman, in the third round.

And, if everything goes according to the seedings, Murray will emulate Tim Henman's achievement of making the semi-finals here in 2004.

If he does, that would set up a last-four meeting with Nadal.
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post #230 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 11:15 PM
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Cheers Getta

Go Andy!

So very very proud to be a fan of Mr Andy Murray Wimbledon Champion 2013

Double Grand slam champion. Olympic Gold Medalist. Holder of 9 Masters 1000 events # legend
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post #231 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-01-2009, 09:13 AM
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Murray rolls on at Roland Garros

Published Date: 01 June 2009
By Steve Douglas

Andy Murray triumphs in Paris

ANDY Murray has set his sights on matching Tim Henman's 2004 semi-final appearance at the French Open after powering through to the last eight at Roland Garros.

The 22-year-old became only the third British man to make the quarter-finals in the Open era in Paris, after Roger Taylor in 1973 and Henman five years ago, thanks to his 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 win over 13th seed Mario Ancic.

Murray is proud to be in such company but is not planning to stop there. "Every time you do something like this, it's nice," said the world No 3.

"Tim obviously made the semis here and it would be nice to try to match that.

"I always felt I could play well on clay. I just needed a bit of time to find my game. The results have got better because I've played more matches. That's nice but I'll try to go further."

Murray's hopes of going further in Paris were given a huge boost later yesterday afternoon with the news that world No 1 Rafael Nadal, never previously beaten in Paris, had lost his fourth-round match against Sweden's Robin Soderling.

The Scot could hardly find fault with his superbly consistent performance against Cilic, who came into the match without having dropped a set.

"I came through all the tough situations well," said Murray, who plays the dangerous Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter-finals.

The Scot added: "I played maybe two bad service games but you are always going to get moments like that in a best-of-five-set match.

"I was obviously happy to win in straight sets because he's been playing very well."

Murray, who made just 14 unforced errors, is managing to conserve much-needed energy as he sweeps aside all before him. He broke twice in the first set yesterday and, after squandering a 4-2 lead in the second, he was never worried in the tie-break.

In the third, Cilic was 3-0 down when he called on the trainer to treat a strain in his left thigh. The encounter was all over by then, though, Murray clinching victory on his second match point.

"I'm playing well – you don't get to the quarters of the French by not playing good clay-court tennis," added the Briton, whose best previous display here was a third-round appearance last year. "This clay-court season has been good. It's much better than in previous years. I try to keep improving."

Gonzalez, the 12th seed, should be an even tougher opponent for Murray, as the Chilean has yet to lose a set. He was very impressive in his 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 win over 30th seed Victor Hanescu, with his powerful forehand hitting the spot time and again. "I tried to win every point," said Gonzalez. "And then I'm trying to not be risky if I don't need it."

Murray knows his upcoming quarter-final, which should be played tomorrow, will be a stern test. "It's going to be a very difficult match for me," added the Scot. "I'll have to play well."
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post #232 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 11:44 PM
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Murray falls to the force of Gonzalez

Chilean's forehand proves too powerful as World No 3 crashes out in quarter-final

By Paul Newman at Roland Garros
Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Andy Murray loses his temper during his 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 defeat
by Chile's Fernando Gonzalez at Roland Garros yesterday

Andy Murray always knew that Fernando Gonzalez's mighty forehand posed the greatest threat to his passage into the French Open semi-finals. Appreciating the danger, however, was never going to be the same as dealing with it and the 22-year-old Scot was gunned down here yesterday by the biggest shot in tennis. Gonzalez won 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 and will play Robin Soderling for a place in Sunday's final.

There was a time when Gonzalez was a trigger-happy maverick who would go for the kill at even the most inappropriate moments, but age – at 28 he was the oldest of the quarter-finalists – has brought maturity. The Chilean always tries to play on his forehand, which he described yesterday as "a beautiful weapon", but is generally more selective about when to unleash it with all his power.

Murray, who was attempting to join Tim Henman as the only Briton in the Open era to make the last four here, did his best to keep the ball off the world No 12's favoured side, but that was easier said than done as Gonzalez hit a number of forehands from the tramlines on his backhand flank.

The point that gave Gonzalez the only break in the first set typified Murray's frustrations. Serving at 3-4 and 30-40, the Scot kept feeding Gonzalez's backhand, only for the Chilean to run round it and hit a winner.

Gonzalez, moreover, is no one-trick pony. An accomplished clay-court player who has won eight titles on his favourite surface, he can hit some lovely drop shots and has a stylish one-handed backhand and potent serve.

Murray, nevertheless, made a real fight of it, even if his backhand, which is usually his most telling shot, was rarely in full working order. The world No 3 played an excellent second set in which he did not make a single unforced error, breaking serve on his fourth break point of the sixth game. It was the first set Gonzalez has dropped here this year.

The Scot had the momentum, but Gonzalez responded superbly. Murray won only seven points in the third set, which Gonzalez took in just 24 minutes. The Chilean broke to lead 5-3 in the fourth, only for Murray to hit some splendid returns in the following game to break back to love. The Scot faltered again, however, making four successive errors to give Gonzalez the match.

"There were a couple of things I was disappointed with, like at the start of the third set," Murray said afterwards. "I had a few chances there to hold serve and didn't take them. Then, at the end of the match, I played a poor, poor game after I broke back, which is not like me. I got myself back into the match and played four bad points."

Nevertheless Murray was quick to pay credit to Gonzalez. "I played against him before and he hits the ball hard, but today he was hitting it huge," he said. "No one else hits the ball that big. If that happens, sometimes you've got to say: 'Too good.'

"You can hit the ball short to his forehand side, because normally he's waiting on the backhand side to run around and hit it, but he hits some of his forehands from a metre wide of the tram line – and hits winners off them. Even if you try to hit a ball to his backhand, he makes his mind up to run around it and spank a winner.

"He can hit huge forehand returns. He hits it great on the run. He can hit his forehand from anywhere on the court. That's why it's very dangerous."

Gonzalez called Murray "a great player" but added: "Maybe he doesn't have enough experience playing five sets on clay courts." As for his forehand, the Chilean said: "On the attack I always try to hit and I have no fear. I just go for it. Some days I can miss, but I know that if I have to win an important match, I have to do it on that side."

While Murray might feel some disappointment at not taking full advantage of the early exits here of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have been the year's two best players on clay, he can take heart from his campaign on terre battue. The Scot had never reached a quarter-final before this year on his least favourite surface but has proved that he can compete with the very best on it.

"It's been very good for me, a lot better than previous years," Murray said. "Physically I felt good on the court and I thought I moved better."

He will now get ready for his first grass-court tournament of the year, the Aegon Championships starting at Queen's Club on Monday, and for Wimbledon, which begins a fortnight later. "Normally I have a lot longer to prepare," Murray said with a smile.
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post #233 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 11:47 PM
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Fernando González tips Andy Murray to dominate men's tennis

• Chilean says Murray can develop into world's best player
• Scot looking to rise beyond current No3 ranking

Wednesday 3 June 2009 15.34 BST

Andy Murray in action during the French Open. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Andy Murray has been tipped to go on and dominate men's tennis if he continues his current rate of progress.

Fernando González ended third seed Murray's impressive run at the French Open at the quarter-final stage, with a four-set win over the British No1 yesterday. The Chilean, though, has seen enough to predict a bright future for the Scot as he looks to break the hegemony of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the top of the rankings.

"Andy is number three in the world, and he's only 21," said the 12th seed González, whose booming forehand proved too much for Murray on Philippe Chatrier court yesterday. "He's a really good player and he's going to dominate the tour in the next [few] years.

"I mean he's dominating now – he won a couple of Masters Series events and he made the final at the US Open last year. The only thing he needs is time and to work a little bit. Just that."

With world No4 Novak Djokovic going out early at Roland Garros, Murray has consolidated his third position in the world rankings. But he is only looking upwards now.

He had a chance this week to oust Federer from second place but he would have had to win the title. Given he has not won a clay-court tournament so far in his career, that was always unlikely.

"I didn't know the exact ins and outs of how I would have got there [to No2]," Murray said. "But it's sometimes easy to wait for guys to lose and stop focusing on your own matches. I was just trying to win my own matches – I had the chance but obviously not now."

Murray's progress on the dirt in 2009 has been impressive nevertheless. He only broke through to his first quarter-final on clay seven weeks ago in Monte Carlo where he eventually lost in the semis. Roland Garros was the first clay-court tournament in his career where he won four matches in a row.

Being coached by Alex Corretja, a runner-up at the French Open in 2001, during the clay-court season is paying dividends and González has urged Murray to maintain the partnership with the Spaniard.

"He has many things to learn from Alex," said the experienced González, who at 28 was the oldest of the eight quarter-finalists at Roland Garros this year. "The best thing his coach had was patience so maybe [he should] try to be a little more patient. But he has a really good coach on his side."

With three of the world's top four now out of the men's draw in Paris, there is finally a chance for an outsider to shine at a major.

"It's been slightly predictable the last few years but I think this year has seen a big change," said Murray, who will rue missing out on a rare chance to win the crown at Roland Garros following Nadal's shock fourth-round exit.

The 22-year-old can now look ahead to the next few weeks on grass, a surface he feels a lot more comfortable on.

With a superb five months on the tour behind him – which has taken in three tournament wins in Doha, Rotterdam and Miami – Murray cannot wait for the upcoming AEGON Championships at Queen's and then Wimbledon.

"Normally I have a lot longer to prepare for grass than I have this year, so I might find it a little bit tougher at Queen's!" he said. "But I don't feel like I'm going to be rusty at all going into the grass, because I've played a lot and still feel confident."
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post #234 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 09:06 PM
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From The Times
June 15, 2009

Andy Murray beats James Blake to be king at Queen's

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Andy Murray won his first grass court title at Queen's

The photographers were bemused that Andy Murray could not be persuaded to raise much of a smile or pitch the London Grass Court Cup above head height for as long as they were demanding.

Their reaction was music to the ears. This is a nice one to win — Murray is the first Briton to triumph in the event for 71 years, he earned a decent cheque, it was on grass and only a week before Wimbledon — but that is all it amounts to.

Murray became the first AEGON champion at Queen’s Club, West London, yesterday and there were more than a few hints in his 7-5, 6-4 victory over James Blake, that the burden of being a British player expected to leave the field in his wake on home turf is a peculiarly onerous one. The diffidence of Murray’s celebration — a peck on the cheek for Judy, his mum, aside — spoke volumes about the depth of his character.

The snappers may have wanted to see a player wreathed in smiles, but even five wins in five days, all of them in straight sets, is no reason for a Highland fling. Murray, 22, wants to temper the adulation, stifle the praise, put a lid on the expectation and try to prepare as coolly and calmly as he can for the ventures to come.

It will not be easy, of course. Today, in full view of the cameras, he will model the new kit that he is to bear at Wimbledon for Fred Perry. The clothing manufacturer is named after the famed Lancastrian who, of all the varied things he did in an extraordinarily colourful life, never celebrated with the Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy on the Queen’s lawns. We are promised bold images of a dapper Murray, a young man respectful of the past and undaunted by the future.

In becoming the first of five British finalists since Bunny Austin defeated Sin-Khie Kho, of China, 6-2, 6-0 in 1938 not to be broken by the opportunity, Murray clinched his twelfth tour title and his first on grass. He achieved it with aplomb, serving as consistently well as he has done in a tournament week, moving with a grace that belies a sometimes lumbering appearance and, as soon as he had the measure of an opponent — Blake was particularly tricky because he does not strike a conventionally consistent ball — accelerating ahead of them without a backward glance.

That he was apprehensive yesterday was to be expected. This was a novelty for him. He broke first and was immediately broken back, which does not happen very often. Then he so stunned Blake by reaching a midservice box slice with deft racket-head control and a sidespun slice of his own that the American, ranked No 16 in the world, promptly dropped his next service game when he misread a flighted return and raked a forehand out of court.

One break was enough in the second set, secured in the seventh game by one of those crisp backhand service returns that are the Murray métier. A Lleyton Hewitt-like disguised fist-pump greeted his success in 67 minutes, around the norm for his matches this week. Now we move on, and up.

Tomorrow, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal arrive in London to begin to piece together their grass-court games; the Swiss still on one of the biggest sporting highs of his life after winning his first French Open title in Paris, the Spaniard — who won at Queen’s last year in his fullest pomp — needing the simple security of feeling good about running around without any throbbing pain in his knees.

Murray was asked whether he thought that because he had been hitting tennis balls against an opponent while the world No 1 and No 2 were imagining it, he was at an advantage. “I can only talk for myself and say it’s been very good preparation,” he said.

“I’d be very confident if I’d just won the French Open and Nadal is someone who likes a lot of matches, but we won’t know until he steps out on to the court.

“I don’t think it’s impossible [to win Wimbledon] but I go into every tournament with that mentality. I know it will have to be my best tennis ever to do it and that’s why no one in Britain has done it for such a long time, it is very difficult.

“I’m not planning to get caught up in the whole hype because that isn’t going to help with what I want to do. I’m just going to live normally and not do anything I wouldn’t normally do.” Let us hope he can.
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post #235 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 09:09 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

Now the hype goes mad...
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post #236 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 09:10 PM
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Let's cool it on the Wimbledon hype, says Andy Murray

• 'I'm going to live my normal life'
• Beating Blake was 'pretty special'

Sunday 14 June 2009 21.00 BST
Steve Bierley at Queen's

Andy Murray carries the Queen's Club trophy after beating James Blake.
Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

Andy Murray did everything right. He won the Aegon Championship, beating the American James Blake 7-5, 6-4 to become the first Briton to take the Queen's title since Bunny Austin in 1938. And he remembered to kiss his mum, Judy.

"I played some of the best tennis of my life," he said, instantly raising expectations that on the 100th anniversary of Fred Perry's birth, here finally was a British player capable of breaking the 73-year drought since Perry, at the 1936 Championships, last won a men's grand slam. Murray, not renowned for his hyperbole, said it was "pretty special". Tim Henman, who never won a title on grass, lost three finals at Queen's.

In the past 30 years only seven of the Queen's champions have not won the *Wimbledon title. "I'm not one of them, unfortunately, but I'm going to try my best to change that." And so a week of hype will intensify, although on this occasion, with Murray No3 in the world, and having reached the US Open final last year, there is at least justification for it. "I'm not planning on getting caught up in the whole hype and the pressure. I'm going to try and just concentrate on playing and winning matches. You can let the pressure affect you if you want to. You can let the expectation get to you, but I'm just going to play tennis and not worry about the rest of the stuff."

Not that Murray will retreat into a monk's cell for the next seven days. "I'm going to live my normal life," the Scot said. "I'm not going to start switching the TV off or not listening to the radio when I'm in the car. Or if there is a paper on the table I'm not going to not look at it. Everyone deals with the situation differently and I'm going to live normally."

It may not be easy. But Murray has come so very far since he won his first ATP match here in 2005 when he also suffered severe cramp. "I'm a way, way better player than I was back then." This was his 12th title, already one more than Henman. "I'm playing very well just now. But there are some great players out there, and even if I'm playing great, I can still lose."

The British Wimbledon tennis public will doubtless close its ear to that.
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post #237 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 11:30 AM
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From The Times
June 25, 2009

Wimbledon looks to Andy Murray to lift gloom

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

Tennis star Andy Murray trains ahead of the meeting
with big-hitting Ernests Gulbis

Andy Murray practised for a while yesterday wearing a cricket helmet, but before anyone gets the idea that this is mandated issue for anyone connected with British tennis at Wimbledon, the world No 3 was merely paying off another forfeit to his coaching team for playing touch football so lousily.

Retaining a sense of humour is vital and though Murray quite likes having a reputation as a miserable git — Tim Henman once described him as such — he is a devotee of stand-up comedy, with Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais and Michael McIntyre his favourites.

When you are Britain’s No 1 and it is the two weeks of the year when expectation soars to nonsensical levels, chilling out is essential. Murray was even roused to join the debate on John McEnroe’s 6-Love-6 phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday night, when he could have been mercilessly ribbed. McEnroe was kind to him. Keep it light, keep it loose.

Today, Murray plays his second-round match at the championships against Ernests Gulbis, a 20-year-old Latvian who once gave Henman a shellacking at the French Open and is every bit as awkward as Robert Kendrick, the American, proved to be on Tuesday.

The last time the pair met on grass, at Queen’s last year, Murray landed awkwardly on a hand and had to withdraw from a subsequent quarter-final. Gulbis took it as an affront, suggesting that the Scot played fast and loose with the medical time-outs. That tested his good humour.

“I didn’t know there was a problem,” Murray said, “but I know I couldn’t grip the racket the following day. There are so many things in matches where guys take toilet breaks, injury time-outs or delay when you are trying to serve and take a little bit longer between the points than they are meant to. It happens all the time. In 50 per cent of the matches here, guys will have problems on court with line-calls and stuff. It’s just part of sport, I guess.”

He resented Gulbis’s insinuation that he had indulged in gamesmanship. “I never have,” he said. “It’s a form of cheating, bending the rules to gain an advantage. It’s a bit like diving in football. It does go on and certain players do it and certain players don’t. I’m one of the guys who doesn’t do it.”

We can expect a good, clean fight today then, with Murray once again having to wait until eventide for his Centre Court appointment. Elena Baltacha, the other remaining British player in the singles, faces Kirsten Flipkens, of Belgium, on No 4 Court — couldn’t the authorities have done better than that? — in a match given added piquancy in that Carl Maes, the former head of women’s tennis at the LTA, who quit two months ago to spend more time with his family, is back on the road as Flipkens’s coach.

Behind the scenes yesterday, the LTA decided to call the media to a pow-wow with the three men who bear the responsibility for the present mess after nine of the 11 British players who entered the tournament had gone within 48 hours.

Steve Martens, the Belgian who is the player director, introduced Nigel Sears, the Fed Cup captain, and Paul Annacone, the head coach of the men’s game, and asked them to explain the results. Not all of their answers were entirely convincing.

When Annacone talked of being happy with Alex Bogdanovic’s “process orientation” but not his “result orientation”, he lost the audience. Annacone will not have been happy later with Bogdanovic’s “doubles orientation”, when Britain’s No 2 singles player, who has earned a six-figure sum from his participation at Wimbledon on wild cards and has had a lot more than that invested in him by the governing body, indicated that his future lay in doubles.

We thought that Bogdanovic was having a laugh, but no. “I’m serving good and returning good,” he said after teaming up with James Ward for a straight-sets first-round victory over a pairing few can have heard of. “I think I could be a really good doubles player. I think I might start that route. Singles, who knows, I could play some of the [qualifiers] of ATP events and see what happens, but maybe concentrate on doubles.”

That was a bit of a kick in the teeth for the LTA and it was not the only one that it received yesterday. Gerry Sutcliffe, the Sports Minister, spoke in exasperated tones about the lack of return on the huge investment that the players receive.

“Two players out of 11 into the second round at Wimbledon is not acceptable,” Sutcliffe said, indicating that he would consider a cut in the LTA’s lottery funding. In Sport England’s Active People Survey for 2008, 14 sports have shown an increase in participation while tennis numbers have remained defiantly static. Is the LTA growing tennis at all?

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was revealed last night that TenniscoachUK, the professional body for UK coaches, is reporting the LTA to the Office of Fair Trading for “potential anti-competitive practices” in the new benefits package for their coach licensing scheme, due to launch next month. It is claimed that the LTA scheme has been designed to compete directly with those provided by TenniscoachUK at the same annual cost.

Mike Lynch, chief executive of TenniscoachUK, said: “We welcome the competition, since it will provide coaches with more choice and highlight the difference in the quality of the service we provide to coaches compared to that traditionally given by the LTA.

“The reason we have reported them for anti-competitive practices is because they are clearly using substantial funds that should be spent on growing the game to heavily subsidise their scheme, to add benefits that we are unable to compete with.” Pass the protective helmets.
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post #238 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 01:10 PM
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Wimbledon 2009: Andy Murray's food for thought

Andy Murray is in such a laid-back state of mind as he attempts to end Britain's 73-year wait for a Wimbledon men's singles champion that he is amusing himself by thinking of tennis stars with food-related names.

By Simon Hart
Published: 1:07PM BST 26 Jun 2009

Following his straight-sets demolition of Latvia's Ernests Gulbis on Thursday evening, Murray posted three updates on Twitter.

His first posting at approximately 10.30pm read: "Tennis player-snack name game going on. lleyton chewit, james flake, boris doubledecker, dorito starace. Get thinking..."

This was followed by further food for thought: "juan martin del popcorn, vania kingsize mars bar, gilles muller fruit corner, novak yorkie-ovic."

And finally: "john MacEnrolo, cod woodbridge, mardy fishcakes, prawn borg, martina haggis, mince spadea, egg rusedski, spotted dick norman. Too good."

After winning in less than 90 minutes, he is clearly a young man with too much time on his hands.

Any other ideas for foody tennis players? As Murray says, "Get thinking."
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post #239 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 03:55 PM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

funny stuff there...
someone on the facebook's wimby page said Mardy Fish it's kinda lame but it made me laugh
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post #240 of 396 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 01:02 PM
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Next up for Murray: the other Swiss Olympic gold medallist

Published Date: 28 June 2009
By Alix Ramsay at Wimbledon

IT IS strange how, in a competition of 128 men, the absence of one player can make such a difference. When Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament, the whole of the top half of the draw opened up. Without the world No.1 to shatter their dreams, everyone fancied their chances.

The feel-good factor has trickled down to even the lowliest ranked chap and yesterday even Jesse Levine, the world No.133 and a wild card entry here, thought that a place in the second week was his for the taking. Stanislas Wawrinka disabused him of that notion 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 but he had to do an awful lot of running to get the job done.

The Swiss will be Andy Murray's next opponent and is through to the fourth round here for the second year running although that is usually his limit at any grand slam event on any surface. No matter, Wawrinka is one of life's triers and, with a level-headed approach to life, he is neither excited by the prospect of reaching his first quarter-final nor is he overawed.

Murray and Wawrinka have been doing battle since the Scot first appeared on the main tour and, overall, Murray just leads their rivalry with four wins to three. But last year they ran into each other with monotonous regularity. Five times in nine months they locked horns and, save for one loss on clay in Rome, Murray won the lot.

Not only is there mutual respect between the two men, they are also friends. Wawrinka is just the sort of man that Murray likes: a straightforward, down-to-earth guy who may not be the most talented player on the circuit but he works his socks off to make the most of what he has got. And it is that work ethic that elevated the Swiss from being a top 30 regular at the start of last year to breaking into the top ten last May and keeping him there until late into the autumn. Now ranked No.18, he has the experience of playing the top men on the biggest courts and he knows he has what it takes to beat some of them, too.

There is nothing flashy about the Swiss No.2. He is not one for extravagant spending, extravagant partying or extravagant indulgence. His only one claim to anything approaching a celebrity lifestyle is having a television commentator, who just happens to be ten years his senior, for a girlfriend.

His game is pretty much the same as the rest of his life – uncomplicated and unspectacular. His main line of attack is power: a good first serve and crunching weight behind his ground strokes on both flanks. The slight flaw in this plan is that it is his only plan – when things start to go wrong, Wawrinka has nothing to fall back on. When everything is in good working order, he has the strength and the ability to barge through to the latter rounds of any tournament but once there, he comes unstuck. Tackling the real elite remains difficult.

He can push the Federers, the Nadals and the Djokovics, but getting the better of them seems beyond him. He did beat Federer in Monte Carlo this year but that was only Federer's second match on clay of the season and it was just a few days after he had married his long-time girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec. Federer, then, was just a mite distracted.

If Wawrinka has a secret weapon, it is his ability to rise to the occasion. At the Beijing Olympics last summer, his form had deserted him and he played poorly in the singles before teaming up with Federer to play just as poorly in the doubles for the first couple of rounds.

But then, on the same day that Federer had been beaten by James Blake in the singles and appeared to be in the depths of despair, he and Wawrinka were called at midnight to play Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes. And it was Wawrinka who carried the match, dragging Federer through the two sets and on to the semi-finals. There it was Wawrinka again who provided the backbone of the team as they headed to the final and on to the gold medal. Federer's bizarre post-match celebration in which he seemed to be drawing energy from his friend, acknowledged the fact that, for that week in the doubles, Stan was indeed the man.

Whether Wawrinka can find that fighting spirit again remains to be seen. In Beijing, he had one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen by his side to help him but, then again, this week the world No.1 is not standing in his way.
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