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post #316 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-22-2010, 04:35 PM
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If I was britian tennis director, I would begin finding good future top 100 players from countries that do not support( finacially)their players. Then, I would stop giving and funding players that just don't make results.
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post #317 of 396 (permalink) Old 03-30-2010, 03:09 PM
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Note to psychologist: Don't tell the press you're gonna talk to Andy, just do it privately.

Psychologist ready to help Murray
(UKPA) – 2 hours ago

The psychologist who helped Andy Murray battle back from a serious wrist injury has revealed he will contact the Australian Open finalist this week following his admission he is struggling mentally.

Murray was beaten by Mardy Fish, who is ranked outside the world's top 100, in the second round of the Miami Masters on Saturday.

Roberto Forzoni, who also works with the Lawn Tennis Association, said: "I'm there for him. We've got a good relationship and he can pick up the phone at any time. I'm going to be trying to contact him in the next day or so to see if there's anything I can do."

Murray first worked with Forzoni in 2007 after struggling to rediscover his confidence following a wrist injury that ruled him out of both the French Open and Wimbledon.

Following his loss to Fish, Murray said: "I just wasn't very good and I'm going to need to get a lot better.

"I haven't been tough enough on the court and that's what's most disappointing. Mentally, the last few weeks I've been really poor and unacceptable.

"It's just I need to get my mind right; I need to get focused again. It's purely down to me, what goes on inside my head.

"I've been very happy off the court but not on it, and that's where I need to be happy just now because this is my career.

"I need to start to enjoy my tennis again like at the start of the year. I need to be that person again."

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post #318 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jade Fox View Post
Note to psychologist: Don't tell the press you're gonna talk to Andy, just do it privately.
a smokescreen isn’t so unlikely. we’re supposed to be totally ignorant of the murmurings behind the curtain.

seems i can't get rid of my suspicious nature.
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post #319 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 10:42 AM
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The Independent is reporting that Andy and Kim have reunited.

I guess we'll see one way or the other if that's true in due course.
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post #320 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-04-2010, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Getta View Post
a smokescreen isn’t so unlikely. we’re supposed to be totally ignorant of the murmurings behind the curtain.

seems i can't get rid of my suspicious nature.
I don't blame you for being suspicious. It always gets on my nerves when people who are supposed to keep their mouths shut, can't. They don't rank high in my view.

Originally Posted by scoobs View Post

The Independent is reporting that Andy and Kim have reunited.

I guess we'll see one way or the other if that's true in due course.
I love the British press. Nevermind that he made a Grand Slam final without her being there, now she's his lucky charm? Since when?

Whatever their status, I just hope his game starts coming back together.

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post #321 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 01:38 AM
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post #322 of 396 (permalink) Old 04-08-2010, 10:59 PM
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I see Andy has taken a wild card for Monte Carlo. A very sensible decision, but I've read nothing about it. Anybody got any more information?

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post #323 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-16-2010, 11:33 AM
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Following red brick road: Andy Murray feels he's taking all the right steps on clay

Published Date: 16 May 2010

By Alix Ramsay, in Madrid

IT IS not often that defeat can cheer the soul and gladden the heart, especially on a chap's birthday, but Andy Murray was still sounding reasonably chipper in the early hours of yesterday morning.

He had just spend 2hrs 12mins running himself ragged around the Manolo Santana stadium at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open – and he had lost in the quarter-finals. He was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by David Ferrer, one of the most consistent and dogged of the clay court specialists, and yet he had come within a whisker of turning the match around.

When the match began on Friday night, Scotland's finest was still only 22 but as Ferrer pulled him this way and that and as the clock ticked on past midnight, Murray ended the encounter a year older – he turned 23 yesterday – and a good deal wiser about the ways of clay court tennis. He was also a lot happier about his prospects for the French Open, which starts a week today.

"If I hit the ball like that, I'll beat a lot of guys," Murray said, "and if I can just play a little bit better than I did today, I think I could have won that match. So, going into the French, I definitely feel better than I did a few weeks ago. I've got my intensity back, my mind's where it needs to be on the court. Maybe I'll be a little bit calmer going into the French but I think it's normal to get a little bit frustrated when you haven't won that many matches, but I'm moving good, hitting the ball well, the intensity is right so there's no reason why I can't play well at the French."

This time last year, Murray also reached the quarter-finals in the Spanish capital and matched that result at Roland Garros two weeks later. Then he was trying out his newfound clay court skills and every new tournament marked a milestone in his development. Twelve months on and he knows what he needs to do on the slow red dirt, it has just been a case of getting himself into the right frame of mind to do it. Since he reached the final of the Australian Open at the end of January, Murray has not been himself. The mental and physical effort it took to reach another major final drained him while the disappointment of losing to Roger Federer – again – took time to fade. As a result, he could not quite muster the fire and fight for the weekly grind of the tour and, since leaving Melbourne, he has won just seven matches.

Murray will never be an out-and-out clay court player but he does have the tactical nous to understand the peculiarities of the slower surface and adapt his game where needed. What matters more to him now is that, at last, he feels ready for the fight.

"I just feel like I'm in the right frame of mind on the court," he said. "If I'm like that, even if I don't play well, I'll still fight very hard. I'm just happy with the mindset I'm in just now. I'm very disappointed to have lost not because I don't feel like I left everything out there on the court, but because I lost. But I lost to a better player tonight."

Ferrer is the most infuriating of opponents. Nothing gets by him and every shot comes back over the net. As Murray threw everything he could think of at the Spaniard, he still found himself running uphill to chase the heels of the fleet-footed man from Valencia.

As half chances went begging, or were simply beaten by stunning winners, Murray was at times angry, at times grumpy and, at times, downbeat. But he still fought and scrapped and battled – and he knows that if he can do that at Roland Garros, he can put the wind up many on clay.

"After every much I play, there's something to learn from, as I always learn from the little mistakes, and I'll play well at the French Open, I'm sure," he said.

He did not look as if he was in any mood for birthday celebrations as he sat and talked at 1am yesterday, but he was far from downcast. He had just opened the best present he could receive – the realisation that he had emerged from his slump and that he was back to his stubborn, cussed and determined old self just in time for the French Open to begin.
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post #324 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 09:43 AM
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The Last Time... With Andy Murray

by Paul Macpherson

Andy Murray poses for a photo with Italy's future tennis stars during the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

Scotland’s Andy Murray reveals to DEUCE the last time...

I got into hot water with a Twitter post I made?

Haven’t had any get me in trouble yet. But give me time… I’m sure I’ll say something wrong.

I queued for tickets?

I always queue for movie tickets. I haven’t queued for any concert tickets. I don’t go to concerts that much. I go to basketball and football games more.

I bought tennis balls or paid to hire a court?

My racquet company HEAD sends me Penn balls to practise with, but if for some reason we don’t have any we’ll buy them. Hiring a court? It’s been quite a while.

I lost something important?

I can’t find things a lot. I’ve had the same wallet and phone for quite a while now. I don’ really lose things often but it’s common for me not to be able to find things for a couple of days. But they eventually turn up.

I cooked for myself?

I cooked for myself and a friend a couple of weeks ago. Although it wasn’t really cooking (laughing). Just some pasta and chicken and Dolmio Stir-in sauce.

I wasn’t requested for a press conference after a singles match?

That hasn’t happened once since I’ve been on the tour.

I missed a flight?

I’ve only ever missed one flight, and that was in Rome a few years ago – 2006, I think. I had to leave my passport with hotel reception when I first checked in and then they forgot to give it to me when I checked out. So I got to the airport and I didn’t have my passport with me. They sent it over in a taxi but I obviously didn’t know who the driver was and he couldn’t speak English. So I was just standing outside waving at all the taxi drivers and I ended up missing the flight.

I shared a hotel room with another player?

Not that long ago. I shared with Ross Hutchins in Cincinnati last year.

Being recognised helped me?

We got free dessert last night at a restaurant, which we weren’t expecting. Pancakes, ice cream, Crème brûlée – very nice.

I visited a country for the first time?

When I went to Shanghai in China.

I asked someone for their autograph?

Probably when I was 10 or 11 when I went to Wimbledon. I prefer photos.

I had a bad hotel experience?

I’m really not that fussy with hotels, as long as the internet is okay.

I was asked to sign something unusual?

I’m asked to sign shoes a lot. Arms. Someone in Australia asked me to sign their forehead.

I met a childhood hero?

Agassi would be the last one – a few years ago. I had the chance to go to dinner with him and practise with him. That was cool.

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post #325 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-22-2010, 12:01 AM
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From The Times
May 22, 2010

Andy Murray’s worries far from skin-deep at French Open

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

Andy Murray will undergo a course of antibiotics to treat a skin infection over the next couple of days in the hope that it will not interfere with his preparations for the French Open, the grand-slam tournament that is at the bottom of his expectation list.

The British No 1, who will play Richard Gasquet, of France, in the outstanding first-round match of the men’s draw at Roland Garros, has been troubled by skin irritations over the past two days and the medical staff prescribed antibiotics in the hope that that will clear it up.

Murray did not want to make much of a fuss of this yesterday, but he was not in the lightest of moods when discussing his prospects for a championship in which he reached the quarter-finals — his best achievement here — last year.

“There have been a lot of surprises here in the past, it can happen,” he said. “I just need to concentrate on my first match against a very, very tough opponent.”

Gasquet has returned to something approaching his finest form, after a debilitating spell when he had to fight a doping charge, brought when traces of cocaine were found in a urine sample taken in Miami in March last year.

Gasquet successfully argued that the substance found its way into his system by virtue of kissing a girl he had met in a nightclub.

The 23-year-old, who defeated Potito Starace, of Italy, 7-6, 7-6 yesterday to reach the final of the Open de Nice, has always found the demands of appearing before a Paris crowd unnerving. He lost in the first round of his first three attempts at Roland Garros. Murray knows how difficult this can be.

“There’s expectation but you have to be a bit selfish and play for yourself because it would be impossible to play if you are thinking about everybody wanting you to win,” he said.
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post #326 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2010, 08:43 PM
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Richard Gasquet angry as French Open refuses to delay Andy Murray match

• 'Injured' Gasquet asks for match to be postponed
• Roland Garros officials refuse to budge

Sunday 23 May 2010 16.00 BST

Richard Gasquet picked up a leg injury during Saturday's win in Nice.
Photograph: Christian Alminana/AP

Andy Murray will face an angry Richard Gasquet tomorrow after the latter's pleas to have their French Open first-round match postponed fell on deaf ears.

Gasquet asked the tournament referee Stefan Fransen to move the match to Tuesday after he suffered a leg injury on Saturday, while winning his first ATP title in more than three years.

But Fransen refused to make an exception for Gasquet, who beat Fernando Verdasco in the Nice Open on Saturday.

Gasquet is understood to be upset with the decision, claiming before a second appeal was turned down that it would be unfair to force him to play within a day of his arrival in Paris from the south coast.

However, moving his and Murray's match to Tuesday would almost certainly have meant the victor playing two days in succession at some point during the tournament.

It is unclear how seriously the Frenchman's left leg is troubling him, although he twice required on-court treatment during his 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 win.

That result was a 10th victory in a row for the former world No7, who also won a Challenger event in Bordeaux before that. After falling to 68th in the rankings following injury and a ban for taking cocaine, Gasquet is coming into form at just the wrong time for the Scot.

However, his win in Nice saw him demonstrate the mental fragility that cost him dearly in the pair's last meeting, at Wimbledon two years ago, when Gasquet squandered a two-set lead.

He claims to be feeling good ahead of tomorrow's match, but he is taking nothing for granted against world No4 Murray. "This run in Nice has made my confidence return," he said. "The fact I have put 10 victories together in two weeks has made all the difference, but I know Murray is going to be tough.

"Murray reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year and also made the semi-finals in Monte Carlo this month. So, in my view, he is one of the top 10 to 15 players on clay."
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post #327 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2010, 08:44 PM
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The long road back from Melbourne agony takes Andy Murray to French clay

Published Date: 23 May 2010
By Alix Ramsay

SLOWLY BUT surely, bit by bit, Andy Murray is coming back to life.

• Digging deep: Andy Murray is determined to do well on his least favourite surface.
Photograph: Getty Images

The long road back from the bitter disappointment of losing the Australian Open final to Roger Federer is at an end and now the world No 4 is eager for the start of the toughest six weeks of his year.

Today the French Open, the only grand slam of the four that Murray is not expected to win, gets under way. From here, he heads straight back to the grass courts of London to defend his Queen's Club title and launch his Wimbledon campaign. Wimbledon is where a nation hopes and prays that Murray will do well; Roland Garros is a French oddity, a place where, traditionally, the Brits do not fare well.

But if the clay is not particularly suited to Murray's style of play and the pundits are not tipping him for success, the man himself is still expecting to do well. Murray does not do defeat. Not happily, at any rate.

"I want to try to win the tournament," he said confidently. "It's just a bit different to the other ones where I am not necessarily one of the favourites to win. It's a little bit different for me going into it, but I am still very, very excited. These are the tournaments that make your career, the ones you're probably going to be remembered by and that's why you want to play your best in them and give a good account of yourself.

"I'm going to have to give everything to each match physically, and obviously play very good tennis to do that. That's really all I want to do. I was happy with the way I played in Madrid a few weeks ago. I'll try and play well again here. If I do that, I'll be happy."

The Madrid Masters was the fist sign of real progress as Murray tried to work his way out a slump in form. He reached the quarter-finals there nine days ago and fought tooth and nail to get the better of David Ferrer. He did not succeed but it was not for a want of trying or a want of understanding about what he was trying to do on the slow, red brick-dust.

If his game settled down in Madrid, his mind had settled a handful of weeks earlier in Barcelona. Coming back from the Miami Masters after losing his opening match, he went back to basics. Barcelona is where he learned his tennis as a teenager and that is where he returned to rediscover the passion and the fire that had made him one of the best players on the planet.

"I spent a week there and was practising twice a day," Murray said. "I was going to the gym every day and just got away from everything. It was nice just to be away. I've always trained best when I've been abroad – when I've trained in Miami, when I've been over to Spain to train – I've always feel like I've practised better and, yeah, that just kind of refocused me. I knew I had to work on some things. It is as basic as working hard, hitting loads and loads of balls, getting yourself in a rhythm again. For me, I get a lot of confidence from feeling good physically and working hard in the gym and that's what I did over there. I felt a lot better because of it."

But if Murray is as prepared as he can be for the physical and mental challenges ahead, he can do nothing about the luck of the draw – and he has been handed a draw that can best be described as hellish. Kicking off with Richard Gasquet, his path to the semi-finals – his scheduled finish according to the seedings – could include meetings with Juan Ignacio Chela, Marcos Baghdatis, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Should he deal with that little lot, he should find himself in the last four and facing one R Federer of Switzerland, the world No 1 and the defending champion.

In Australia, Murray found just the right balance between attacking play and patience to reach the final for the loss of only one set. But once he got there, he faced Federer – again – and hesitated slightly. And he who hesitates against the Mighty Fed is a goner.

In the past, Murray's counter-punching style has driven Federer to distraction but, then again, his new attacking style had swept him through the rounds to get to the final. What to do? And in that moment, Federer ran away with the match.

Andre Agassi made a career out of beating the odds and surprising people. His first grand slam success came at Wimbledon, the tournament he had studiously ignored for years, and he then dragged himself from the wilderness to reinvent himself in his late 20s and complete his career Grand Slam by winning at Roland Garros in 1999. As he surveyed the field in Paris, his only concern was that Murray may have too many options.

"Murray's game has been off the hooks at times, but I don't know if he believes in himself as much as he should," Agassi said.

"Did his loss to Federer in the Aussie Open final take the life out of him, or will it make him better? That's his choice.

"I thought this was going to be his year to break through and take over and he has the game to do it. But sometimes, if you depend too much on your wheels, you don't step into court with conviction and you shouldn't wait for someone to lose when you get into big matches. He needs to rely on what he can do offensively, rather than what he prefers to do, which is to counter-punch."

Murray does not intend to counter-punch against Gasquet. They last met at Wimbledon in 2008 when the Frenchman was on the verge of victory and serving for the match in their fourth round encounter. But then Gasquet froze, Murray pounced and it was Scotland's finest who advanced to the quarter-finals. He has no intention of cutting it so fine this time but, should Murray find himself in a corner, he thinks the memory of that great escape can only help him. "It'll definitely give me hope that if I am behind I can come back," he said.

Apart from the usual aches and pains that go along with playing on clay – Murray's right knee is always sore after weeks on the dirt – the Scot is ready for the next six weeks. The workload is daunting but the rewards can be spectacular.

"It is a great time," he said. "You have the French, the chance to take a little break after Wimbledon, so you can focus real hard for the next five, six weeks, get yourself in good shape and focused on the tournaments and that's really all that matters for the next few weeks."

Winning at Roland Garros might be asking a little too much, but a decent run in Paris might just make winning in SW19 seem a little more possible.

2006: lost in first round to Gael Monfils

THIS was Andy Murray's introduction to the French Open and it was a brief one.

Drawn against the Frenchman Gael Monfils, left, he was up against another young player and one with amazing stamina and the vociferous backing of the partisan Parisian crowd.

The pair had met just weeks beforehand in the ATP Hamburg Masters and Murray had won that one in straight sets but, on the clay of Roland Garros, they contested a gruelling five-set battle and, this time, Monfils emerged victorious 6-4, 6-7, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1.

It was a tough encounter for the 19-year-old Scot, who had been prone to backache and cramp due to the fact his spine was still not fully grown and he needed treatment for pain in his lower back early in the third set. He later admitted he had considered pulling out but had feared he was getting a reputation for being injury prone and lacking fight so decided to see out the game. Despite taking a two-sets-to-one lead, he eventually succumbed to Monfils after three hours and 42 minutes.

2008: lost in third round to Nicolas Almagro

HAVING missed the 2007 French Open event due to a wrist injury, Murray returned to Roland Garros seeking to improve on his one previous showing there. Again he was drawn against a Frenchman in the opening head-to-head and had to battle hard to overhaul Jonathan Eysseric in five sets. Victory afforded him a meeting with the established clay-court specialist Jose Acasuso in the next round but Murray made light work of bettering his opponent. Looking relaxed and confident he conceded just four games on his way to a straight-sets triumph and secured safe passage into the third round. But there he met Nicolas Almagro, right, whose CV suggested he was far more at home on the surface than the Scot. In a high-class encounter which saw the momentum swing back and forth, it was the Spaniard who was able to see out the match in four sets, eventually winning 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.

But Murray was undaunted. He maintained it was a work in progress. "To win against me on clay is a very good result," he said."I'm not someone who's going to be taken lightly on this surface in the future. I'm going to be one of the top players on clay in a couple of years. I just need a bit more experience, a bit more strength and a bit more understanding and I'll be up there with the best players."

2009: lost in quarter-final to Fernando Gonzalez

MURRAY'S best ever showing when he became only the third British man in the modern era to reach the French Open quarter-finals and underline his own assertion that he is an improving force on the dirt surface. Beating Juan Ignacio Chela in the first round, he had to battle back from a mid-match slump against Potito Starace in the next tussle and although he lost 11 out of 13 games in the second and third sets to gift his rival the second set and leave himself trailing 5-1 in the third, he regained his composure and his fighting qualities and responded by putting together a run of six games which allowed him to win not just that set but, ultimately, the match, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Next up was Janko Tipsarevic and although he had the potential to cause problems, the Serbian retired injured with Murray already two sets ahead. That took the Scot into the fourth round for the first time and there he met Croatian Marin Cilic. Murray refused to mess about, showing a focus and tenacity that the 13th seed couldn't live with. Having made just 14 unforced errors all match, the Scot progressed to the quarter-finals to play Chilean Fernando Gonzalez, left.

But that's where it all ended, when one of his opponent's good days clashed with one of the Scots more ragged performances and he was overpowered 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.
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post #328 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-23-2010, 08:44 PM
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Murray out to add name to unlikely finalists

By Paul Newman in Paris

Sunday, 23 May 2010

The waiting is all but over for Andy Murray. The 23-year-old Scot, for whom winning a Grand Slam title has become an all-consuming ambition, has had nearly four months to put his defeat to Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open behind him. Now, as the French Open gets under way here today, he has another chance to become Britain's first male winner of a Grand Slam for 74 years.

Although this is the most difficult of the four majors for Murray, who has to reacquaint himself every season with the art of clay-court tennis, the world No 4 still believes he has every chance of victory. He reached the quarter-finals 12 months ago, when Robin Soderling became the latest in a long line of unlikely finalists at Roland Garros. Since the turn of the century, the list has included Magnus Norman, Albert Costa, Martin Verkerk, Gaston Gaudio and Mariano Puerta.

"I want to try to win the tournament," Murray said. "This is just a bit different to the other Grand Slams because I'm not necessarily one of the favourites to win. It's a little bit different for me going into it, but I'm still very, very excited. These are the tournaments that make your career, the ones you're probably going to be remembered by. That's why you want to play your best in them and give a good account of yourself."

If Murray's clay-court season has taken a while to come to the boil, that was no more than he had expected, particularly after his disappointing run in the wake of the Australian Open. Since Melbourne, his best results have been two quarter-final appearances, in Indian Wells and Madrid, but at no stage was he too concerned about his apparent loss of form.

"When things aren't going that well, you need to get on the practice court," he said. "I knew I needed to work hard on the practice court and in the gym. Every time I've done that I've started to play better. It's not tough mentally, because I actually enjoy doing that. As much as I'd love to win every week it's very, very difficult. This year I wanted to make sure I was peaking for the Slams. I managed to do that in Australia. I played my best there.

"Since I came on to the clay each week has been better. Monte Carlo wasn't good, then Rome was definitely better. I started to play better again and I thought I had a very good week in Madrid last week. I had two good wins and then a very tough match with [David] Ferrer. I've been practising since then and I'm hoping that by the time the tournament starts here I'll be playing very well."

Although Murray has played only six competitive matches on clay this year – Richard Gasquet, his first-round opponent here, played his 20th yesterday when he beat Fernando Verdasco in three sets in the Nice final – he has spent many hours on the practice court and is now feeling comfortable on the surface. Most players need a while to adjust to the slower bounce of the ball on clay, to the need to play a more patient game and to sliding into their shots.

"It takes four or five matches," Murray said. "I felt I was moving well from the first match in Madrid, but even in Rome I still didn't feel like I was. I was moving better, but not as well as I can. Even in Monte Carlo last year I won some matches, but a lot of that was through confidence I brought from winning in Miami. I was not necessarily playing like I should have been, but I had some good wins. It just takes me more time and I need to practise more than I do on the other courts."

The one problem with playing on clay is that it aggravates the long-term problem Murray has had with his right knee. The Scot was born with a bipartite patella – his kneecap is in two parts – and the joint can become sore when he bends it.

"People say clay is the best surface for joints, but that's rubbish," he said. "The way my knee is, clay is the worst surface. The sliding puts a lot of stress through my kneecap. There's a lot more balancing that I have to do with it, a lot more stabilising, and that makes it sore.

"My physio keeps notes of how things are every day. Every year on the clay it does get worse. It takes more maintenance and time to get it right. It normally hurts after every match on clay, but on the other surfaces it has some days where it's better, some where it's worse.

"It's not great at the moment, but I hardly felt it in the first four or five months of the year. It's annoying, because there's nothing I can do about it. I was born with it. It's always going to be there. You can't really have surgery for it, though maybe I will when I finish playing."
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post #329 of 396 (permalink) Old 05-26-2010, 08:16 PM
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This is informative but with undertones of worry

Insider view on Murray's knee trouble

Murray says he has suffered from knee trouble since the age of 16

By David Ornstein

If Andy Murray is to fulfil his lifelong ambition of winning a Grand Slam title, he will have to do more than beat the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - he will have to overcome his own body.

The star of British tennis was born with a bipartite patella - or split kneecap - and revealed after his first-round victory over Richard Gasquet at this year's French Open that the condition has been causing him pain since the age of 16.

But what exactly is a bipartite patella, why is it affecting Murray now, how should it be treated and could it prove career-threatening?

BBC Sport spoke to leading sports physician Dr Andy Franklyn-Miller for an insight into the problem afflicting the world number four.


The split kneecap irritates the patella tendon and causes pain

In essence, it is a kneecap made up of two separate bones instead of one. During childhood, most kneecaps form as a single segment but occasionally - as seen with Murray - they form as two, fused together by fibrous tissue.

"A bipartite patella is very rare," said Dr Franklyn-Miller. "It occurs in about 1% of the population and often goes unnoticed because it is only when you exercise at the intensity of a top-level sportsman like Murray that you might see symptoms.

"It tends to be found incidentally - you would be X-raying for another reason, such as knee pain, and come across a bipartite patella - but the two bones have a very close join that normally settles down and doesn't cause any problems."


Scot Murray, 23, believes he played too much tennis while he was still growing and recalled how the stress on his split kneecap became so severe that "it got to the point where I couldn't walk".

Dr Franklin-Miller explained: "It's very unusual that pain would stem from the actual join between the two pieces of bone. It's more about how the separation affects the patella tendon, which attaches the kneecap to the lower leg.

"As our thigh and lower leg bones grow in adolescence, they put enormous force on the patella tendon. If you're involved in high-level sport, these forces are even greater.

"When your thigh muscle contracts, a regular kneecap will pull the patella tendon in one direction but a bipartite patella will pull it in different directions. This abnormal loading irritates and inflames the tendon, resulting in pain."


Murray revealed he has trouble bending beyond a certain point and that sliding is particularly unkind to his knee. So his pain may be particularly acute during the clay-court season. A gruelling five-set battle against Gasquet on the red dirt of Roland Garros may well have prompted his comments.

"At a Grand Slam tournament, you could play as many as seven five-set matches with very little rest," added Dr Franklyn-Miller. "Tennis is all about explosive movements. The longer a match, the greater the load on your knees.

"The load through the tendon is at its greatest when you come to a sudden stop. In that sense, clay should be more forgiving than hard courts because the give in the surface acts as a shock absorber.

"But then again, clay plays slower than hard courts so there's a lot more scampering into the net, stopping sharply, bending down to retrieve low balls and twisting to get back in position."


Not particularly. The British number one says he is experiencing the same sort of pain now as he was during his junior days at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona.

"Murray's knee shouldn't have got any worse over the years and, provided it is managed correctly, it shouldn't do so in the years ahead," stated Dr Franklyn-Miller.

"The back of our kneecaps come into contact with the joint itself and it's possible that his bipartite patella could be roughening the cartilage, which can lead to osteoarthritis.

"But most elite athletes are susceptible to an element of osteoarthritis. Although it may affect them later in life, it is unlikely to ever cause pain during a match."


When Murray was diagnosed with his problem at the age of 16, he was forced to rest for six months. But with care and attention he can manage it through a season and it will not determine his future in the game.

"It's certainly not career threatening," insisted Dr Franklyn-Miller. "The problem with modern-day tennis is that it's a year-round sport but Murray and his team will have a routine set out for dealing with the knee and it seems to have been pretty successful so far.

"Because a bipartite patella is formed at birth, there is no cure and there is no way of predicting exactly how the condition will develop in the future.

"But Murray will have the very latest biomechanical technology available to him. That will ensure he can monitor what's going on inside the knee and treat it accordingly."


The tried and trusted Rice principal (rest, ice, compression, elevation) continues to prevail. Murray's methods include Bikram yoga, ice baths and physio, all of which keep his injury at bay.

"There are a variety of techniques designed to settle the pain - like rest and use of a leg brace. You can also go down the surgical route to alter the pull of the thigh muscles or remove the second segment of bone but these are completely inappropriate to a top athlete like Murray," concluded Dr Franklyn-Miller.

"So he will probably manage inflammation with lots of icing, leg-strengthening exercises, stretching and perhaps things like shock-wave lithotripsy and simple injections of water. He will carefully manage training but the critical focus should be on recovery after matches.

"The good news for Murray and the British public, with Wimbledon coming up, is that he's fit and his strength and conditioning has improved enormously over the last five or six years, which will help to support what is a pretty unique problem in his knee."
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French Open 2010: Andy Murray wins through after staving off Marcos Baghdatis comeback

Sunshine, and some semblance of order, returned to Roland Garros, though there was still the opportunity for a little chaos and weirdness on Court Suzanne Lenglen where, without warning, Andy Murray dropped a 0-6 set in his third-round match with Marcos Baghdatis, a tubby but talented Greek Cypriot.

By Mark Hodgkinson in Paris
Published: 7:15PM BST 28 May 2010

In between producing some smart tennis to take the first two sets, and later winning the fourth set, he played one of the most peculiar sets of his grand slam career. This was The Mystery of The Missing 23 Minutes, an afternoon when Murray's French Open performance had a beginning and an end, but no middle.

So far in this tournament, Murray hasn't done straight sets or straightforward, but he has kept on going through the draw and tomorrow he plays Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, for a place in the quarter-finals of the clay-court slam. The Scot is yet to play on the main stadium, Court Philippe Chatrier, but he can hardly have done more to attract eyeballs in the sixteenth arrondissement.

In the first round, he played an entertaining five-setter, coming from two sets down against France's Richard Gasquet, and his rain-interrupted second-round match with Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela was played over two days. When Murray led by two sets to love against Baghdatis, a former Australian Open finalist, it did look as though the Briton was going to have a fairly uneventful afternoon, but then, suddenly, there was that strange 23-minute set or interval, during which Murray won just 10 points.

Just after Murray had been broken in the opening game of the fourth set, which was the fourth time in succession that he had lost his serve, and which gave Baghdatis a seventh consecutive game, the Briton was heard chuntering to himself at the back of the court about having no feeling in his "bat", meaning his racket.

And we had imagined that Baghdatis, who is gloriously erratic, was going to be the most unpredictable of the two. "I just played a bad set," Murray said of the interlude during his 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 victory.

Berdych, who is 6ft 5in tall, who has a quick serve and a giant forehand, and who likes to go for his shots, played superbly for a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 victory over John Isner, a 6ft 9in American. All three of Berdych's wins have been in straight sets, and he has dropped a total of just 25 games during this slam. Murray hasn't played Berdych for a while. Murray beat Berdych on a carpet court in Basle in 2005, and Berdych defeated Murray on a hard court in Adelaide in 2006.

It was in 2006 that Baghdatis went on a laughter-filled journey to the final of the Australian Open, where he was the runner-up to Roger Federer, and later that season he made the semi-finals on the Wimbledon lawns. Yet he has been unable to replicate that sort of form at the slams, and last season he drifted out of the world's top 150. A likeable man, Baghdatis has spoken about going through some mental difficulties.

Around 18 hours after the completion of Murray's match against Chela, which had finished at 9pm on Thursday evening, the world No 4 was back on court. There were some bursts of class from Baghdatis in the first couple of sets. But there were many more horrific errors. There were periods when Baghdatis was consistently dumping forehands into the net, when he struggled to put the ball back into play.

Still, from nowhere, Murray lost a 0-6 set for the first time since his defeat to Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the quarter-finals of last season's French Open. Then Murray went down an early break in the fourth set.

But Murray's touch and range came back to him, and he immediately broke Baghdatis back for 1-1, the first game that the fourth seed had won in more than half an hour. Murray broke a couple more times, and so the set and the match was his.
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