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06-27-2005, 09:16 PM
Post some articles, news....

Tennis hero Murray set to be new McEnroe


Key points
• Rising star Andrew Murray vows to bring McEnroe-like drama back to tennis
• Murray, 18, amazed fans with his performances at his first Wimbledon
• Nine million viewers watched Murray lost in five sets in the third round

Key quote
"When you have people screaming at the top of their voice, throwing racquets a little bit, then they might get into it... I hope I have inspired some youngsters this week. That is one of the reasons why I play tennis" - Andrew Murray

Story in full HIS head may lack the trademark sweatband and he has yet to launch verbal volleys at the umpire, but Andrew Murray yesterday vowed to bring the tension and drama of John McEnroe's days back to tennis.

Nine million viewers tuned in to watch the young Scottish player's defeat on Saturday at the racquet of David Nalbandian. The battle, which lasted more than three hours and saw Murray lose three sets to two and succumb to exhaustion, attracted a 51 per cent share of the TV audience.

Yesterday Murray, 18, who was playing in his first senior Wimbledon tournament, said he hoped to inspire more young people to play tennis and that his passionate and colourful play may make the sport more exciting to watch.

He said: "When you have people screaming at the top of their voice, throwing racquets a little bit, then they might get into it... I hope I have inspired some youngsters this week. That is one of the reasons why I play tennis. I want to get more people playing the game. The way I am on the court, they might enjoy it more. They might not just think it's a pretty dull sport."

Murray has talked on a number of occasions of his admiration for McEnroe, the US player who electrified the game in the 1980s with his outlandish behaviour and familiar complaint to the umpire: "You can not be serious."

While Murray has not shown any disrespect to officials, he was unafraid to complain during Saturday's match when a linesman shouted a ball out which was actually in.

McEnroe said yesterday that Murray's style was "along the lines of what I like to see".

He said: "It comes naturally to Murray... to fire up the crowd. I remember at the end of the match against Radel Stepanek, the young Briton had a chance to put the match away at 5-3. I think he had a couple of match points but didn't win them. He could have tensed up and got all nervous, but he was still inviting the crowd to get behind him, so he was loving the moment."

The triple Wimbledon winner also said that when he beat Murray in a match last year, the young Scot thanked him, saying: "I really enjoyed the experience, Mr McEnroe."

Now a tennis commentator, McEnroe also said Murray had the potential to reap the financial rewards of a successful tennis player. "The endorsements will start coming in, if they haven't already," he said.

There's little doubting Murray's dedication - yesterday it was revealed he recently split with his German girlfriend, 17-year-old Tatjana Priachin, also a tennis pro, after their playing commitments got in the way.

At the weekend it was also reported Murray could earn as much as £60 million if he reached the top of the sport.

06-28-2005, 12:14 AM
Thanks Fed_EX, nice article ;)

06-28-2005, 10:36 AM
Yeah and i looked up for his ex gf and she wasnt that pretty at all.

06-28-2005, 10:46 AM
nice one :yeah:

06-28-2005, 03:32 PM

06-28-2005, 04:31 PM
Murray rewarded for hard work
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Despite Murray's heroics on grass, it is not his favourite surface
Andy Murray has tennis in his blood.

His mother Judy, a former pro and Scotland's national tennis coach until last year, introduced her son to the game at the age of three.

He made good progress under his mother's tutelage, but, showing the sort of single-mindedness that now makes him a contender for the very top of the sport, at the age of 14 he realised he needed to leave his home country.

That realisation came after he saw the progress of fellow teenager Rafael Nadal, and now French Open champion, had made on the clay courts of Mallorca.

So Murray persuaded his mother to send him to Barcelona's world-renowned Sanchez-Casal Academy, which has produced the likes of US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.

There, the boot-camp regime allowed Murray to continue his school work while also honing his baseline game and mental approach, without distraction.

He was also able to play all year round and was never short of quality hitting partners.

That achievement came after a trying season in which he spent the first three months sidelined after knee surgery, a lay-off which delayed him making his first steps on the professional tour.

Pato Alvarez, his coach at the time and a man who has looked after more than 40 top-50 players, said he had "never seen a better talent than Andy".

But while there was hope in Britain of a possible successor to Tim Henman, there was also caution.

The British public had seen too many youngsters fail to convert promise into reality, Jamie Delgado, Martin Lee and Alex Bogdanovic to name but a few.

However, after he won his second Futures title, British Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates was sufficiently impressed to name the teenager in his squad to face Austria in September.

And, following Henman's decision to retire from the competition, 17-year-old Murray became the youngest person to represent Britain in Davis Cup against Israel in March.

Against all the odds, Murray and David Sherwood showed incredible poise to upset the established pairing of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram.

It was in that match that Murray introduced the British public to his exuberant fist-pumping, which has become even more familiar in recent months.

Handed a wildcard for the Queen's grasscourt event, Murray quickly notched up his first ATP match win before upsetting the seeded Taylor Dent.

His run ended in a heart-breaking defeat to Thomas Johansson in which he was two points from victory but was eventually undone by an ankle injury and cramp.

The 18-year-old'r remarkable third-round run at Wimbledon on his Grand Slam debut was also ended by fatigue in a five-set defeat to David Nalbandian.

His progress at the All England Club has lifted hopes that he may one day win the title, but in fact, the 18-year-old baseliner has a better chance of triumphing at the other three Grand Slam tournaments.

Either way, with the desire and confidence he has demonstrated thus far, he seems destined to fulfil his enormous potential.

18 years old
Started playing tennis aged three
Grew up in Dunblane, Scotland
Based at Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona
Breakthrough in 1999, winning U-12s Orange Bowl world championships, Florida
Picked in Britain's Davis Cup team 2004
He joined the junior circuit in 2002, winning two titles later that year, before in 2004 he leapt into the limelight by winning the US Open junior trophy.

06-28-2005, 04:32 PM
Petchey makes Murray fitness vow
By Simon Austin
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Andy Murray's hopes of reaching the top will not be thwarted by a lack of fitness, according to the player's temporary coach Mark Petchey.

The teenager had cramp in his defeat to David Nalbandian at Wimbledon, again raising questions about his fitness.

"The top people push themselves through the pain barrier and Andy's going to have to do that if he wants to make it," Petchey told BBC Sport.

"The kid wants it too much to not go through that."

Petchey, who is the LTA men's training manager, added: "He just needs the right people to motivate him. We'll get him fit enough, I don't have any doubt about that.

"There are enough top fitness people in this country to make sure he's ok."

Murray, 18, also suffered from cramp when he lost to Thomas Johansson at Queen's last month.

And Petchey admits a lot of work needs to be done on the Scot's fitness.

"The cramping was partly dehydration and partly not being fit enough," Petchey said.

"You can see the quality of tennis is there as well as the mental attributes - now we've just got to get him fitter.

"There are no shortcuts and we'll find out about Andy's pain threshold very soon."

Some people have drawn unflattering comparisons between the fitness of Murray and another teenager - French Open champion Rafael Nadal.

But Petchey says this is unfair.

"Nadal is a year older. Sometimes it takes time to develop your game, it's not going to be an overnight success.

"It'll take a good 12, even 18 months to get it to where we need him to get it to.

"If this doesn't happen, then some serious questions will need to be asked why. If in two years' time Andy Murray isn't fit enough to go five sets, some questions will have to be asked, and quite rightly so."

Murray was out of action for six months last year after suffering a serious knee injury.

"His knee injury was pretty serious - there were question marks about whether it was a career-ending injury," Petchey said.

"You lose a bit of fitness after that and have to take it carefully. You can't go out pounding the roads.

"He's not that unfit. He's a junior coming here and there's a lot of nervous energy that's gone into what he's done. From my point of view he's handled it pretty amazingly.

"People have to be a bit realistic. Maybe it will take a while for Andy to mix it week in week out with the best players."

Aleksa's Laydee
07-15-2005, 02:49 PM

07-15-2005, 03:21 PM
Awww :hearts:

That's so cute. "I was scared about hitting to a girl." I love that.

Aleksa's Laydee
07-16-2005, 08:26 PM
From BBC Sport, today:

Andy Murray hammered experienced Israeli Harel Levy to move into the semi-finals of the Challenger event in Aptos, California.
The 18-year-old Scot, who was awarded a wildcard for the event, came through 6-4 6-0 against the world number 266.

Levy played both singles matches in Israel's defeat by Great Britain in the Davis Cup in March, losing to Greg Rusedski and beating David Sherwood.

Murray will now play American Bobby Reynolds in the last four

Aleksa's Laydee
07-16-2005, 09:47 PM
Comerica Challenger: Murray, Reynolds set up semifinal showdown

APTOS — Two teenagers played in the quarterfinals of the Comerica Challenger at the Seascape Sports Club on Friday. Only one made it to the semifinals.

Andrew Murray, an 18-year-old Scot, had little trouble with Harel Levy of Israel, dispatching him 6-4, 6-1. Scoville Jenkins wasn’t as fortunate.

Jenkins, an 18-year-old from Atlanta, came back twice when it looked like he might be toast, took fellow Atlanta resident Bobby Reynolds to the limit, but still lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Murray and Reynolds will play today, following the other semifinal of Rajeev Ram and Noam Okun. Ram beat former University of Illinois teammate Amer Delic 6-3, 7-5. Okun defeated Glenn Weiner 6-1, 6-4.

Jenkins and Reynolds provided the highlight of Friday’s play.

"He played unbelievable," Reynolds said after winning. "He was ripping it, playing just unbelievable tennis. He kept fighting. Sooner or later it’s going to pay off. He’s only 18."

The Jenkins-Reynolds match was close from the get-go. Reynolds recorded the first break of the match, in the third game of the first set, but Jenkins returned the break in the next game.


Reynolds and Jenkins both train at the same facility in Atlanta, and their styles of play are similar. Both are hard hitters with strong backhands, and they each prefer to stand on the baseline and hit lasers at the opposing player.

Jenkins easily held serve for the rest of the first set, and seemed to have a jump on Reynolds’ serve also, recording another break and not allowing an ace for the rest of the set.

Reynolds was the first to break serve in the second set, but Jenkins returned the favor in the next game. The two traded smashed balls and games for the rest of the set, until Reynolds broke Jenkins’ serve at 6-5.

The match looked all but over during the first few games of the third set. Reynolds broke Jenkins’ serve twice, and held serve leading 4-0.

Jenkins responded. Without showing much emotion, Jenkins stormed back, getting a break on Reynolds’ next two serves, and tying the game at 5. The two traded wins until the tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Reynolds again jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Sure enough, Jenkins came back, scoring five of the next six points. Holding serve, Reynolds rallied for the next two points and won the match.

"You can’t ever stop playing your game," Reynolds said. "He kept coming back, got on a roll. He was playing like he had nothing to lose."

Jenkins took the loss to the 22-year old Reynolds pretty hard.

"It’s tough," Jenkins said. "The level he’s at, compared to the level I’m at, he knew what to do and he steps up when the time is needed. He’s a great player."

Murray and Levy also have similar styles of play, but instead of big hitters, these two are expert returners.

Levy, though, suffered through an off-day and was never really in the match. He had his serve broken in the first game of the first set, and never recovered.

Murray, meanwhile, was playing his best tennis of the tournament so far. Murray’s skills are far ranging — there’s little he can’t do and few balls he can’t reach on the tennis court.

All his talent was on display against Levy in the second set. Lobs, hard forehands, slicing backhands, drop shots — every one of Murray’s shots looked as though it had a chance. Levy through up his hands twice in the second set, with a helpless expression on his face.

"His play suited me," Murray said. "He had a lot of topspin and wasn’t hitting it very deep. He competed well in the first set, ran a lot of balls down. In the second (set) I didn’t feel like I was going to miss any shots."

07-16-2005, 09:56 PM
thx, great articles!

07-16-2005, 11:34 PM
thanks :hug:

07-17-2005, 05:52 PM
from sunday times

Tennis: Scot aims at big time
British tennis hope Andy Murray can test himself against the best in the world, writes Barry Flatman

ANDY MURRAY had already done enough to officially legitimise himself as Britain’s third-ranked tennis player behind Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski when Andre Agassi’s misfortune yesterday provided a huge potential boost for the emerging Scottish teenager.

Murray’s progress to today’s final of the Aptos Challenger in northern California has not only guaranteed sufficient ranking points to enter the world’s top 200 for the first time — he will also overtake Alex Bogdanovic, Arvind Parmar and Mark Hilton to become Britain’s third-highest player when the ATP’s latest list is released tomorrow.

The 18-year-old’s position could be much higher if he maximises the opportunity afforded by the wild card he has been handed into next week’s $575,000 RCA Championships in Indianapolis following the withdrawal of second seed Agassi, due to sciatic nerve problems.

Given his form at Queen’s, then at Wimbledon, last week’s event at Newport, Rhode Island and on the hard courts of Aptos, Murray will be confident as he goes into his first-round match with Brazil’s Flavio Saretta.

The South American has not won on concrete since last October. Murray, in contrast, has made an almost seamless transition from grass to cement, reaching his first semi-final on the second-tier Challenger circuit at Aptos, near Santa Cruz, with four straight-sets victories.

Murray was too good for the 174th-ranked American Bobby Reynolds and moved through to his first Challenger final with a 6-4 6-3 win. Today, he faces Rajeev Ram, a 21-year-old right-hander, who at 291 in the world in ranked considerably lower than the fast-rising Murray.

Murray and coach Mark Petchey intended to head down Highway One for next week’s Challenger event in Tarzana Park, in northern Santa Monica. Instead, they will head east for the infinitely more lucrative opening tournament in the US Open series. Top seed Andy Roddick is intent on his third successive Indianapolis trophy and Rusedski, champion in 2002, is seeded seventh and gets a first-round bye.,,2-527-1697189,00.html

07-17-2005, 09:45 PM
Awesome. In to the top 200!!


07-17-2005, 09:47 PM
way to go:D!!

07-18-2005, 10:03 PM

Scot Andy Murray won the Comerica Challenger with a 6-4 6-3 win over fellow wildcard Rajeev Ram in the final.

Murray shot to prominence when he reached the third round of Wimbledon before losing a five-set clash to David Nalbandian on Centre Court.

The Dunblane 18-year-old played with the same focus in Aptos, California and used his full repertoire of shots to become the youngest winner in the tournament's 19-year history. He collected 60 ATP points and a £6,150 top prize.

"I had to work hard to make the right shot," said Murray. "Rajeev was getting to passing shots that nobody else has been getting to.

"It seemed like he would just stick out his racket and the ball would come back."

American Ram served at 4-5 in the first set and had two chances to pull level at 5-5.

But Murray kept coming up with big service returns and eventually won the set with an uncontested back-hand winner down the line.

"Andy has been playing very well and has been on a bit of a run this summer. I want to congratulate him. He is tough to beat when he is returning and making passing shots so well," said Ram.

Murray now heads to the Indianapolis ATP Tournament where he has again received a wildcard entry.

07-18-2005, 10:04 PM

too lazy to copy and paste :lol:

07-19-2005, 11:31 AM

19 July 2005

Scot shoots 400 places up world rankings in a year
Darren Lewis

ANDY MURRAY remains on course to smash his way into the world top 100 after winning a tournament in California.

Victory gave the 18-year-old the perfect boost ahead of his US Open bid which begins in the qualifiers next month.

It also means he has rocketed more than 400 places up the rankings from unknown to a household name in less than 12 months.

Murray, last year's US Open Junior winner, rose from 205 in the world to 164 after beating American Rajeev Ram 6-4 6-3 in the Challenger series.

The Scot received a wild card into the event after fine performances at Queen's and at Wimbledon, where he lost to former finalist David Nalbandian in the third round.

Murray repaid the faith shown in him by event organisers by not dropping a set all week. He said last night: "This tournament is very important to me.

"I've been playing very well this last four or five weeks. I want to keep up my momentum and move into the top 100 by next year."

Murray, the youngest winner in the event's 19-year history, clinched the match with an uncontested backhand down the line. He added: "I had to work hard to make the right shot. He was getting to passing shots no one else was."

The win earned him just £6,150 in prize money. But, more importantly, it offered further proof Murray has it in him to turn on the style away from the big stage such as Wimbledon.

He crashed out of the Hall of Fame Championships in America after just two matches earlier this month and lost, on a rain-soaked surface, to France's world No.111 Anthony Dupuis.

But before that world No.126 Gregory Carraz became the latest in a string of higher-ranked players beaten by Murray.

At Queen's he saw off world No.30 Taylor Dent and took world No.20 Thomas Johansson to within two points of defeat before losing. At Wimbledon, George Bastl - then 166 places above him - became a victim, followed by 14th seed Radek Stepanek. He led Nalbandian by two sets to love before falling in five sets.

Murray kicked off his Challenger quest by cruising to victories over Canada's Frederic Niemeyer and Australian Marc Kimmick. Experienced Israeli Harel Levy was next, followed by American Bobby Reynolds in the semi-final.

Murray is back on the main ATP Tour this week after being given a wildcard for the RCA Championships in Indianapolis.

The rise and rise of Andy

Aug 2004: Starts the month world ranked 571.Wins US Open Junior title: 479

June 2005: Reaches French Open junior semis: 359. Then gets through to the Stella Artois 3rd rnd: 312

July: Becomes the last remaining Brit at Wimbledon in reaching 3rd rnd: 213

Beats world No.126 Gregory Carraz in Hall of Fame at Newport: 205

Wins California Challenger in Aptos on Sunday: 164

07-21-2005, 09:44 PM
The RCA Championships have served as the Great Escape for Andy Murray after the hothouse conditions which marked his surprise appearance in the Wimbledon third round last month.
Bill Scott, Thursday, July 21
INDIANAPOLIS -- The RCA Championships have served as the Great Escape for Andy Murray after the hothouse conditions which marked his surprise appearance in the Wimbledon third round last month.

With the home pressure not a factor for the 18-year-old from Scotland at the Indianapolis Tennis Center, Murray was able to work on his game as he sampled the delights of one of the best of the ATP summer events.

British No. 3 Murray is happy to have earned a day or two of rest after putting up a major fight in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 second round losing effort against the more experienced Mardy Fish.

But his few days during his debut week in Indy left a vivid impression on the teenager who looks set to threaten at the top of the game in years to come.

"Over here, its better," admitted Murray, who has been impressed with the creature comforts on site.

Indy has long been noted for over-the-top gestures to players, including, in former years, a raffle for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But chances for golf, go-karting, unlimited video games and tickets for Indians baseball games go down well with Murray.

"It's absolutely unbelievable here," he said. "You stay at great hotels, you get to play in front of big crowds. There is internet in the players' lounge - everything."

Murray and his coach Mark Petchey, a former tour player, particularly appreciated the atmosphere on this Midwest sporting capital.

"It's best just to get away from it so I can concentrate on my tennis."

Murray arrived in Indy on Monday after catching the redeye from California after winning his first career Challenger title at the weekend in Aptos.

The teenager - even with a supply of youthful energy - admits that a 13-hour stretch of sleep upon an early morning arrival Monday might not have helped before he managed to trudge lethargically through an opening win.

Murray said that in future he'll do a bit more time management.

"I was lethargic because I came to the club quite early and hung around quite a lot. I'll hopefully be able to plan my days a little bit better."

"We had to fly through the night (Sunday) and I didn't get much sleep."

Murray will now travel to Canada for pair of Challengers as he works to improve his ranking.

While he not counting on a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw as the 2004 junior champion, he wouldn't turn down the offer if it was made. But for the hard-worker, nothing in the game can be taken for granted.

07-31-2005, 11:36 AM
Murray climbs world rankings
1.07PM, Mon Jul 25 2005
Andy Murray has risen further up the tennis world rankings after reaching the second round in Indianapolis.

The teenager has climbed eight places from 164th to 156th in the world in the week he beat Jesse Witten in the RCA Championships and then lost to Mardy Fish.

Greg Rusedski reached the semi-finals in the same event and he rises one place to 39th.

Tim Henman remains the British number one despite falling one place to 12th

08-04-2005, 04:35 PM
Tennis-Murray may reap slam success, says Wilander

By Ossian Shine, Reuters

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Scotland's Andy Murray could be the man to end Britain's long wait for a grand slam champion, former world number one Mats Wilander says.

Not since Fred Perry won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1936 has a British man triumphed at one of the big four tournaments but seven-times slam champion Wilander rates Murray's ability.

"I think that tennis-wise he's probably as good as I was when I was 17," said the Swede who won the French Open at that age.

"I was very impressed with him at Wimbledon. I had seen him play before without being too impressed, but the way he handled the situation of being the focal point of the tournament after (Tim) Henman had lost was very impressive."

Wilander, playing this week in Portugal to try and qualify for November's Delta Tour of Champions Masters at London's Royal Albert Hall, said the Scottish teenager had the right attitude.

"(At Wimbledon) he even seemed nonchalant, as if he was not satisfied with his own performance, and you have to be like that," he said.

"He wasn't playing to win Wimbledon, he was playing to improve, and that's what I always tried to do. In that way he also reminded me a little of (French Open champion) Rafael Nadal."


Since losing in the third round of Wimbledon against Argentine David Nalbandian, Murray has been racking up ranking points on the Challenger circuit in America -- one level below the main tour.

He won a Challenger title in California, and reached a quarter-final in Canada, to climb to No.153 in the men's rankings.

While Wilander is impressed by Murray's make-up, he warns the youngster still has much to prove.

Murray is yet to go beyond the second round of an ATP level event outside of Britain, and it is those kinds of tournaments that Wilander believes will ultimately determine his future.

"Andy Murray may have proved to the British public that he can play, but he's proven nothing to the guys on the tour yet," the Swede said.

"They know that he won a couple of rounds at Wimbledon, but let's see what happens when he is in the first round of an American hardcourt tournament playing in 110 degree heat.

"He's with the big boys now and he is still a junior in their eyes. He has a lot to prove."

Aleksa's Laydee
08-15-2005, 10:39 PM
Murray clinches Challenger win

Andy Murray claimed his second title in a month with victory in the Binghamton Challenger final in New York State.
The British number three, who played both his quarter and and semi-finals on Saturday, saw off the challenge of Colombian Alejandro Falla 7-6 6-3.

The victory adds to the 18-year-old Scot's win at the Aptos Challenger in California last month.

Murray, who last week rose to 145th in the world rankings, has a wildcard for this week's Cincinnati Masters.

The Scot was pleased to have held off Falla's fast start in Binghamton.

"Alejandro has gone through qualifying so he's played a lot of matches and he started out very well," said Murray.

"I managed to hold serve pretty well today and I played a pretty solid match."

Murray believes he is on target to achieve his goal of breaking into the world's top 100 by the end of the year, although he knows he has to work on his fitness levels.

"I've won against some good players, I've beaten seven or eight guys inside the top 200," he said.

"I think I'm ready. Maybe physically I'm not in as good shape as a lot of the guys inside the top 100 but I think my tennis is there.

"This isn't the same as winning on the ATP tour, but winning these tournaments gives you a lot of confidence because there are still a lot of good players here."

08-16-2005, 12:59 AM
Thanks :hug:

08-22-2005, 11:30 PM
Great article about Andy @ US Open. LOL at the lacy underwear in the post.

Murray and rock 'n' roll New York are made for each other
By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 23/08/2005)

As a teenage player now infamous for his walk-on routine, in which he emerges from the locker room listening to the thrash and drums on his iPod, it is hardly a surprise that Andy Murray lists the US Open as his favourite tournament. Playing tennis in New York, he has said, is "more rock 'n' roll" than the garden party feel of Wimbledon.

It is not just that Murray has fond memories of Flushing Meadows from last year, as it was on these hard courts that he became the junior champion, the first Briton to win the boys' singles title. The 18-year-old, like most people of his age, enjoys loud music, noise, and vibrant colours, and the US Open, the final grand slam event of the season and also the liveliest by quite some distance, has those in abundance.

"They play music during the change of ends and there's lots of noise and excitement. It's a got a real buzz about it, it's more rock 'n' roll, so it attracts a much younger audience as well as traditional tennis fans," Murray said yesterday.

"The night matches are cool, the atmosphere is great. I like to play in New York as the fans are really noisy and they support the guy who is behind as they want to see good, close tennis," he said.

First, though, Murray must qualify for the tournament. He was denied a wild card into the main draw, meaning that he is unable to rest his tiring body and his serving shoulder this week, as he had been hoping to do after seven weeks without a break in America.

There has been some concern over the shoulder, which has been sore on his serve and has caused him difficulties sleeping. The qualifying event starts today and he must win three matches in four days if he is to make his first appearance at a major without the help of a wild card.

If Murray does qualify for the US Open, it is likely that the atmosphere will help him play some of the ferocious, intelligent tennis that he is capable of - especially if he is feeling a little tired. He is far from shy on the court, a player who enjoys the theatrical nature of a tennis match as much as anyone else on the Tour, so New York is surely the crowd for him. Murray and the US Open appear to be a neat fit.

The regulars in blue-collar Queens always like a bit of audience participation with their tennis, occasionally hooting and hollering and whistling at the players, and it can become rowdy during the night sessions as the spectators' inhibitions are removed by the darkness and the effects of too many paper cups of beer. Murray will love that. The Centre Court crowd during his third-round defeat at Wimbledon this year, when he was the last remaining Briton in the draw, were strangely quiet at times.

Another aspect Murray will appreciate about New York is that, unlike at the All England Club during Wimbledon, he will not have to adhere to the white clothing rule that he found so restrictive. He said after his defeat at Wimbledon that he wanted to show teenagers that tennis "is not a boring sport", that you can scream, shout, pump your fist and wear colourful outfits. "Teenagers like colours - it's what we are about," declared Murray, who says he even admires the "flaming red and yellow logos" of the US Open.

Just as Murray has taken an interest in all things American, so the sport's power-brokers and Stateside commentators have started to notice him. Indeed, some have already bracketed him alongside other teenagers such as the French Open champion, Rafael Nadal, and the talented Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils.

The Americans probably think that he has been so very un-English with his demonstrative behaviour on court. And they would be right. As Murray has already pointed out, in quite forceful terms, to a few confused American journalists: "No, I'm Scottish."

The interest in America is understandable, if mildly surprising in a country that can be a little insular, even with a sport as global as tennis. Murray has won two Challenger titles during his summer in America, and won a match at each of the three main Tour events for which he has been given a wild card. Last week he took a set off Marat Safin, the Australian Open champion, and is now threatening to break into the top 100 for the first time. No wonder his mother, Judy, says he is starting to receive lacy underwear, among other presents, in his fan mail.

Greg Rusedski, another Briton who has had a successful summer on the American hard courts, has been impressed with Murray's attitude. "Andy doesn't go out there scared, he goes out there to win every time and believes that he can beat whoever he's playing. That is what you need. That's what makes the differences between someone who does OK and someone who does well. That is what sets him apart from the other young British players," Rusedski said.

Murray has also been greatly helped by his new coach, Mark Petchey. The pair are on the road together for the first time during this long trip to the States. They have bonded away from the court over backgammon and video games in amusement arcades, with the coach apparently winning the former and the player the latter. Murray's relationship with his previous coach, the elderly Colombian Pato Alvarez, partly broke down because the teenager would become so bored during their weeks on the Tour. However, he enjoys the company of Petchey, who is in his mid-30s. The youth appeal clearly helps.

Perhaps Murray is just being a normal teenager in preferring Flushing Meadows to Wimbledon, the most traditional of the four grand slam events. He will be determined to qualify for the main draw at the US Open, the rock 'n' roll tournament where he really covets success.

Aleksa's Laydee
08-23-2005, 12:13 AM
:haha: love it!!

08-23-2005, 08:08 PM
:rolls: I love it too. And the lacy underwear is hilarous. :haha:


Douggie Style
09-22-2005, 03:38 PM
Taken from The Times
September 22, 2005

Hold back Murray for best chance in mission impossible
By Boris Becker are so many elements that combine to make the Davis Cup one of the greatest of team competitions in sport, not least that tennis players, by and large, aren’t brought up to be team players. The lucky ones get to enjoy the sensation four times a year, because they are the two world group finalists. Great Britain and Switzerland — not to mention Germany — are a long way from that situation this week. Getting back into the world group is each nation’s priority (Germany are in the Czech Republic, a daunting task) and that means, for Britain, finding a way to beat Roger Federer, which means trying to keep him out on court for as long as possible. Which brings us to the dilemma facing Jeremy Bates.

A captain has one thing to do: select a side that can win him three points. Federer gives the tie a whole different dimension because, in normal considerations, he will be on the winning end of his three matches, two singles and the doubles. Bates, the captain, has to settle on a way to try to stop him, which brings the conversation around, inevitably, to Andy Murray.

But first, it is important to appreciate that Stanislas Wawrinka, the Switzerland No 2, is not a mug and to win both matches against him is by no means a given. But that has to be the expectation for Britain. The question is: does Murray play on the first day against Federer? There are good reasons to say that he should — better ones to believe he should be held back.

That bit is easy to say. I never wanted to miss a match, I would have kicked and screamed if I didn’t play but we had a captain in Nikki Pilic, who is in charge of Croatia in the semi-finals this week, who you did not mess around with. Of course, he would talk to me, as a good captain should, but he was also powerful and strong in his mind. He would do what was best for the team — that is the captain’s job. The players have to respect that.

My situation for Germany in the 1980s was much like Federer’s for Switzerland now. I was expected to win. The other players in the squad didn’t mind my position, they knew it came with some special privileges but so long as I came along on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and won, everything was fine.

But believe me, I don’t care how good you are, winning three best-of-five matches in successive days on a clay court is as tough as it gets in tennis. Even what seems like a routine 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 can be 2½ hours on court, then there is the doubles and, although the points are quicker, if the tie is still alive, the No 1 player plays the first match on Sunday. He will be tired, it’s only natural. I wonder whether clay was the best surface for the Swiss to choose, because on hard or grass, or indoors, no one could beat him.

So to Murray. Of course he wants to play against Federer, he will give it all he has, but surely he will lose and what has the team gained? If he is fresh for the doubles and he wins that match — as he has done in the Davis Cup before — then the tie remains alive. If Greg Rusedski has beaten Wawrinka on the first day, it is very much alive.

I have read some ill- conceived pieces about Murray’s fitness. Yes, he has had a struggle, but the pressure on the boy is immense. I am delighted to see he is teaming up with Frank Dick, the former director of coaching for UK Athletics, who came into my life a couple of years after I won my first Wimbledon. Bob Brett, my coach at the time, thought I needed someone like him to work on what were considered weaknesses in the physical side of my development.

Frank is a man of incredible detail, who put together a programme tailored to my needs. I didn’t see him every week but when I did, he was one tough SOB! I hope Andy likes hard work. It helped me, too, that Frank had Daley Thompson under his wing at that time and we trained together, Frank on one side, Daley on the other and poor me in the middle. A lot of it was frightening but it was a great opportunity for me and it will be for Murray, so long as he takes it in the right way and realises Frank is the best in his business.

09-29-2005, 05:26 PM
What Rafa thinks about Andy. I always knew Rafa was a smart guy ;)


Spanish star Rafael Nadal is confident that Britain's big hope Andrew Murray has the ability to win Wimbledon one day.

Nadal is already a strong force in the game and established himself as number two in the world with victory in the China Open - his 10th tournament win of the year, which is the same number as Roger Federer, the world number one.

Victory in the French Open has already made Nadal a Grand Slam tournament winner.

Murray, who is one year his junior at 18, still has a long way to go to reach the top although the Scot has now earned a place in the top 100.

"He (Murray) is a very good player. At the moment he is very young but I have known him for five years and know that he has very good potential, he can achieve anything that he wants in his career," said Nadal at a publicity launch for Nike Pro, a new undergarment designed to keep players dry from sweat.

Nadal himself admitted that winning on the grass court of Wimbledon has been one of his own ambitions since childhood.

"My dream has always been to win a Grand Slam, and that (Wimbledon) would be the biggest," said Nadal.

"When I was growing up I always wanted to do that ahead of anything else, like the Davis Cup, and I suppose the best one to win is Wimbledon," he said.

"It is not easy for Spanish players to play on the quicker courts like at Wimbledon rather than the clay but that has been my goal. I prefer to play in hot conditions on the clay courts."

Nadal's rise to being one of the top sportsmen in Spain has been remarkably relaxed and he appears unfazed by the media spotlight.

"I wouldn't say that my life has changed in the last year with the success that I have had. I like to do the same things like playing golf and fishing.

"I feel okay, I am used to playing and travelling from one place to another so it does not bother me," he said.

"Last year some things were new to me and now I have more to do now but other than that my life hasn't changed that much. My aim is to continue playing the way that I am doing.

"The pressure is the same and it does not bother me but it will be difficult to repeat what I have done this year. There are improvements which I have to make to my game in tournaments and I also have to do better on faster courts."

Nadal, Arsenal footballer Thierry Henry, Welsh rugby union favourite Gavin Henson and NBA basketball star Dirk Nowitzki all feature in a commercial for the new Nike garment called "Secret Weapon" which gets its first UK screening on October 2.

09-29-2005, 10:03 PM
thanks for all the articles


Douggie Style
10-01-2005, 11:55 AM
The Times October 01, 2005
Murray on the verge of final ordination
By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent THERE will be one man on Andy Murray’s side in the Impact Arena — Mark Petchey, his coach — and he may not have many supporters, at least those willing to admit to it publicly, in the whole country. Paradorn Srichaphan is about to pledge a vow of silence and one can imagine the noise levels in Bangkok today if the god of Thai tennis should lose to the precocious young titan of Scotland. It is a reckless fool who fancies getting ahead of himself in any sport, certainly in tennis, but it is impossible not to peek around the corner and notice that Roger Federer is on the threshold of his eleventh final of the year. In his previous ten, he has won every time and, given its status relative to the jewels of the season, the Thailand Open in Bangkok would normally be ticked off pretty smartish for the Swiss back pocket.

But the world No 1 — should he overcome Jarkko Nieminen, of Finland, today — will play Murray or Srichaphan in the final, which guarantees a fabulous story whatever the cut of your jib. For British consumption, the progress of the 18-year-old to his first ATP final in this, the year he made his bow on the tour proper, continues to be irresistible. The matter-of-fact, almost ho-hum manner with which the teenager greeted his 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Robby Ginepri, a career-high US Open semi- finalist three weeks ago, is a further indication that the big stage is where he knows he belongs.

Srichaphan has had, by his standards, a woeful 2005, having tumbled from No 27 to No 57 in the Indesit ATP world rankings since the turn of the year and, apart from reaching the final of Chennai Open in the first week of the season, has suffered 12 first-round losses. That and, at the end of the year, he is to be ordained as a monk, a Thai tradition of gratitude to one’s parents.

“I plan to spend a week in the Thung Setthi Temple at the end of November,” he said. “It had always been my intention to be ordained.” Most eyes will be on the female who is chosen to carry the new monk’s pillow at the service, for Thai tradition has it that the woman will become the wife of the ordained man.

If that is a bit over Murray’s head — and we are still waiting for him to finish his own growing — the quality of the tennis he is producing conclusively vindicates the offer of a wild card into the event and confirms the depths of his promise. In fact, we should not talk of his promise any more, for Murray has become a deliverer. He will be ranked around No 80 next week whatever today’s outcome.

By the end of his match against Ginepri, it was the American who was thrashing his racket into the hard-court surface, the latest in a line of players whose game has been lured into the Murray web and slowly had the life sucked out of it. For that reason alone, to defeat someone in such great shape in such a manner, Petchey was right to describe it as Murray’s finest performance to date.

“When you’re young and trying to make it in this sport there can be lots of pressure and stress but I thought today, once Andy began to serve as we know he can, things began to flow for him,” Petchey said. “He’s done a wonderful job, not least because of all the travel involved after Davis Cup. Roger [Federer] has said he’s struggled with the time zones and changes so that puts Andy’s performances into perspective.

“With the kind of game he has, I would back Andy to break anyone’s serve at least once a set and if we can just find a bit more consistency in his own service games, he’s going to be a real force. But the last two sets today were probably the best I’ve seen him play.”

TELEVISION: Today and tomorrow: Live on Sky Sports Xtra, from 8.30am

10-01-2005, 12:46 PM

Andy Murray admitted it will be a "dream come true" to face world number one Roger Federer in his first ATP final after knocking out home favourite Paradorn Srichaphan in the Thailand Open.

The 18-year-old Scot won 6-7 7-5 6-2 after recovering from losing a first-set tiebreak against the Thai star.

Earlier, Federer powered his way into the final with a convincing 6-3 6-4 victory over Finn Jarkko Nieminen. The Swiss ace, who is the defending champion and top seed, beat sixth seed Nieminen to record his 30th successive victory - the longest winning streak on tour since Austrian Thomas Muster won 35 matches on the trot in 1995.

And Murray is relishing the chance to face the Wimbledon champion.

"It's great. Hopefully I'll get off to a good start tomorrow," he said.

"To play against Federer, the best player in the world and possibly one of the greatest ever in your first ATP final, when I'm only 18 is a dream come true.

"I've just got to go out there and try to concentrate at the start and really go for it."

Murray was forced to steady himself in the semi-final after numerous unforced errors had apparently undermined his performance, but kept a cool head to overcome Srichaphan.

"I didn't start off so well, I was returning badly in the first set and a half and he had some chances off my serve early in the second. I changed the way I was playing and I think it threw him off and towards the end of the second I started to take my grab strokes much better. I feel I played pretty solidly in the third.

"It was pretty tough. Obviously the crowd wanted him to win but I had to try to block that out and I think he played pretty well but unfortunately he hurt his leg at the end of the match. But it was a good match and I enjoyed it."

Srichaphan began by holding serve and a cross-court backhand dropped just out in the second to give the Thai a break point and the Scot then smashed into the net to concede his first service game.

However, in the very next game Murray's drive wide to the Srichaphan forehand at 30-40 saw the Thai fail to return it to bring the score back to 2-1.

Murray found two good first serves to win the fourth game and took the next to deuce before Srichaphan's serve proved too powerful for a 3-2 lead.

A big-kicking serve saved break point at advantage for the third time and Murray took confidence from that to level things up before Srichaphan's serve helped him into a 5-4 lead.

In the crucial 10th game Murray began double fault-ace and then produced another unstoppable first serve at 40-30 to make it 5-5. The Scot fought valiantly but could not prevent Srichaphan holding his serve in a marathon game but he did enough to force the tie-break, though two double faults handed the Thai the set 7-3.

The first 11 games of the second set went with serve with Srichaphan looking the more comfortable. Murray's third service game began with a double fault but he recovered from 30-0 down to hold to go 3-2 up. The Scot then missed a simple net volley to go 30-0 down again but he fought back impressively to go back in front.

Unforced errors cost Murray on Srichaphan's next serve as the Thai made it 4-4 but the 18-year-old held his own only to fail to break his opponent again.

He won his own serve again but during the changeover called for the trainer to look at his right wrist.

Murray resumed the pivotal 12th game without treatment and immediately went 40-0 up against the Srichaphan serve before a net-cord handed the Scot the second set 7-5.

Murray then held his serve in the opening game of the third but further errors handed Srichaphan the next. More slack play forced Murray to save break point before he found his composure to take the game to go 2-1 up.

It was Srichaphan's turn to make errors in the fourth but Murray failed to capitalise against the crowd favourite who evened things up again before the Scot took the fifth. Then it was Srichaphan's turn to call for the trainer as he struggled with muscular problems in his left leg.

After the delay, the Thai player's restricted movement cost him as Murray continued to stretch him and forced a 40-15 lead before pushing on to take the break point.

Murray then held his serve to go 5-2 up and managed to sustain the pressure to force match point in the eighth. He secured victory with a perfectly-executed punched shot down the line.

10-01-2005, 01:46 PM
Such a great win and tournament :bounce:

10-03-2005, 02:25 PM
hey guys...i don't normally write here but i just found out today that one of my dad's friends (this guy he works with) is andy murray's uncle! :eek: he has worked with this guy for ages and only just found out today when he told dad his nephew just lost to federer! very random! anyway...i'm going to *try* and get an interview with him for my could be a while down the track but i will try and if/when it's done, i'll let u guys know!!

10-04-2005, 01:17 PM
wow, cool, let him know that his nephew is great and has lots of people who like him:)

10-06-2005, 01:24 AM
That's awesome and amazing. Good Luck with the interview!! :)

10-12-2005, 04:20 PM

Murray & Rusedski Announce Clash

Andy Murray and Greg Rusedski will clash in a Scotland versus England challenge in Aberdeen in November.

The inaugural Aberdeen Cup will be played over 26-27 November and will take a Davis Cup-style format.

"To play for a Scotland team on my home turf against an England team containing the likes of Greg Rusedski is a great opportunity," said Murray.

Rusedski said: "There's always an extra edge when England face Scotland and I'm sure that this will be no exception."

Joining Murray in the Scotland line-up will be his older brother Jamie and current British women's number one Elena Baltacha, as well as a leading Scottish girl and boy from the Fred Perry Challenge.

Invited to play alongside Rusedski for England are David Sherwood and British women's number three Katie O'Brien, as well as a leading English girl and boy.

10-12-2005, 07:58 PM
Murray Expects Wait for Top Spot

Teenage tennis star Andy Murray says he may have to wait for Tim Henman to retire before he can become British number one.

The 18-year-old rose to 72 in the world rankings after reaching the final of the Thailand Open.

That put him within sight of Henman, who has slipped to 27 in the world.

But Murray said: "Tim is still way ahead and he has got at least a couple of good years left in him, so it might have to wait until Tim has retired."

The Scottish teenager, who is currently nursing a hamstring strain, added: "I am not really looking at Tim's career and it is not a question for me of trying to better it.

"My goal is to get into the top 10 and I have said the same thing since I was young. That is my goal for the next 12 or 13 years."

Murray reached his first ATP Tour final at the Thailand Open earlier this month.

He lost in straight sets to world number one Roger Federer, but nevertheless put up an impressive fight.

And Murray beat US Open semi-finalist Robby Ginepri and former world top-10 player Paradorn Srichaphan on his way to the final in Bangkok.

"I reached the final of an ATP tournament and now I know I can live with the best players, but I still have a lot to work on," Murray said.

"My target for next year is to concentrate on some of my weaknesses and improving my game.

"Now I know I can beat some of the best players in the world and it is about improving my fitness and getting physically in good shape.

"I competed with Federer pretty well and I still saw a number of things I could improve upon, so I can be a better player and go even higher."

Murray intends to get back in action in two weeks' time in the ATP event in Basle.

He will then go to Paris for the Tennis Masters Series event, which he has been granted a wildcard into qualifying for

10-22-2005, 03:28 AM
Beckham hails rising star Murray

David Beckham has saluted the emergence of rising British tennis star Andy Murray, calling him "one of Britain's best young sportsmen".
"We've obviously got Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, but to have Murray coming through is great for our country," Beckham said.

"I think Murray is great, and it's going to be exciting watching him develop as a player.

"I think he's one of Britain's best young sportsmen."

Beckham, who was a spectator at this week's Madrid Masters, said he had been monitoring Murray's phenomenal progress in recent months.

He believes the 18-year-old Scot will cope with the pressure of shouldering British hopes in the coming years.

"From watching him, I don't think that'll be a problem in his career," Beckham added.

"I've seen his mother talk on the TV and and I think he's got strong parents behind him, and that's what you need when you start out as a sportsman."

Murray's mother Judy, who manages his affairs, acknowledged Beckham's praise for her son's feats.

"It's great for Andy to know that David Beckham is a tennis fan," she said.

"He will be flattered that one of the world's most famous footballers is taking an interest in him."

10-22-2005, 06:35 PM
That's awesome, its a pity he still supports Barca! lol

11-03-2005, 09:04 PM
Andy is listed on the early player list for the San Jose tournament in February. This tournament begins the Monday after the first round of Davis Cup.

If he's coming over for San Jose, I would bet that means he will stay for Memphis and Las Vegas too, leading up to Indian Wells.

11-04-2005, 02:01 AM
OO thanks for that!

12-09-2005, 05:22 PM
Andy won the BBC Scotland Sports Personality of the Year :)

Murray crowned sports personality

Dec 9 2005

Teenage tennis sensation Andrew Murray has been crowned this year's top sports personality in Scotland.

The Wimbledon quarter-finalist won the title of BBC Scotland's Sports Personality of the Year 2005 after gaining 55% of the public vote.

He beat off the challenge of big-name stars such as golfer Colin Montgomerie and cyclist Chris Hoy and won by the biggest margin ever recorded north of the border.

The article says he was a Wimbledon quarter finalist. Wishful thinking maybe ;)

12-09-2005, 06:06 PM
The article says he was a Wimbledon quarter finalist. Wishful thinking maybe ;)

2006 perhaps? :p

12-09-2005, 07:44 PM
:lol: Probably!

12-19-2005, 01:23 AM
Here's another article on young Andy:

New kid on the block
By Clive White
(Filed: 18/12/2005)

When Marcel Granollers-Pujol, a 19-year-old Spanish tennis player, left the court in Sunderland last month after losing in a lowly Challenger event to the unremarkable Arvind Parmar, of Britain, he must have wondered to himself where his year went wrong. Back in late May, in Ettlingen, Germany, when playing in the Badden Open before a crowd of about three people, he had thrashed one Andy Murray in straight sets.

Taking over: Andy Murray (l) from Tim Henman (r)
Granollers was the last 'nobody' to do that to the precocious Scot. Two weeks later the young man from Dunblane was lighting the blue touchpaper to his rocket-like rise to the top, as he, in turn, thrashed the world-ranked Taylor Dent, of the United States, in the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's Club. Granollers, meanwhile, was setting out on the slippery slope to Sunderland. In fact, he was winging his way to a respectable victory in a Spanish Futures event, but you get my drift.

As the 18-year-old Murray went from one Grand Slam triumph to another, one Davis Cup whitewash to a first ATP final, against the great Roger Federer, the wannabe Murray - or better still Rafael Nadal - could be excused for thinking, "Why not me?" But apart from the helping hand of a wild card at Queen's, fortune has had little to do with Murray's meteoric rise, as doubtless Granollers would be the first to admit.

Luck would not have got him through one game against Dent (twice), Radek Stepanek, Andrei Pavel, Robby Ginepri, Paradorn Srichaphan, Tomas Berdych and, of course, his idol Tim Henman, not to mention narrow defeats to Thomas Johansson, David Nalbandian, Arnaud Clement and Fernando Gonzalez. Well, actually, it probably would have done against Henman in the first set of their much-hyped clash in Basle because the British No 1 was playing so pitifully at the time.

Many people will reflect on that match as the moment the baton or the torch, or whatever it was supposed to be, changed hands in British tennis. But for Murray's much-publicised growing pains that so-called symbolic moment could easily have come four months earlier, at Queen's. The two were scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals, but Murray, when within two points of another famous victory, against Johansson, twisted his ankle and suffered the first of two untimely bouts of cramp during the summer.

Henman, who was playing even worse than he was in Basle, never got anywhere near as close to beating Johansson when they eventually met. John McEnroe, The Sunday Telegraph columnist, reckoned then that the British No 1 had probably got himself into a bit of a state over the prospect of playing Murray, a match in which he would have had little to win and everything to lose, but, as it turned out, Henman's indifferent form against the Swede was just typical of his year.

His nerves were certainly there for all to see when the showdown, for want of a better word, eventually materialised in the Davidoff Swiss Indoors. Murray's uncharacteristic lack of exuberance after his 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 victory may have been a conscious show of respect for his elder, but his reaction might have been different if "the old man" had put up a better show.

The 31-year-old would probably rather retire than lose like that again. Henman's degenerative back condition, however, makes a better showing next time the two meet unlikely and the Australian Open next month could tell us how long he has left in the game. The warm Melbourne sunshine should be good for his back but, on the other hand, the sticky Rebound Ace surface there can be unforgiving for those with physical conditions even less troublesome than Henman's.

Murray and his coach, Mark Petchey, decided to call a halt to an incredibly successful first year or more like half year on the tour, one which saw his ranking rise from 422 in March to 63 just seven months later, two matches on from the one against Henman. In those two matches, he comprehensively beat Berdych and then lost in three sets to Gonzalez, who went on to win the Davidoff. Any other young player would have been delighted to take the Chilean world No 11 to three sets but not Murray, such are the standards he sets himself.

As for the performance against the 20-year-old Berdych, a young player he can expect to cross rackets with a lot more in the years to come, that was given even greater significance when the following month the Czech Republic player, to the amazement of all, won the Paris Masters. One wonders what Granollers-Pujol made of that - or more to the point, Murray.

12-21-2005, 07:25 PM
21 December 2005 15:23 Home > Sport > Tennis
Andy Murray: 'I always believed I was going to make it'
In the first of a series of major interviews with sporting figures who shaped the last 12 months, John Roberts talks to the great hope of British tennis about finding his feet on tour, fighting back from injury, and facing Roger Federer for the first time
Published: 21 December 2005

'Wimbledon for me is obviously a big tournament, but I don't see it as my biggest opportunity to win a Grand Slam' Seated in the lobby of Aberdeen's Marcliffe at Pitfodels hotel, Andy Murray is reflecting on the impact he has made in 2005, his rookie year on the ATP Tour. By any standards it has been an extraordinary 12 months.

The lanky 18-year-old from Dunblane won the US Open junior title in 2004, ending that season ranked No 411 in the world. He has since established himself as a contender and is about to unlock tournament doors with a ranking of No 64.

Named Player of the Year by the Lawn Tennis Association, Murray may be ready to sweep past the ageing Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski as leader of a sparse British pack.

Before reminiscing about the key moments of the season, however, Murray has cause to wince when recalling how it had started. "I hurt my back in January, when I was in South America," he says. "I think it was because I was growing a lot. So the first three months didn't go very well for me. I had to take some time off, and I didn't really enjoy that too much, because I'd been out with a knee injury for six months at the start of 2004."

Murray underwent a medical examination in Dijon, France, in November. "I just need to do a lot of work on my back, which is a bit weak," he says. "Basically what happened was that when I was around 16, when I was doing most of my growing, I was playing a lot of tennis and the bones hadn't finished developing. The two bones on my lower spine is where the problem is. I just need to get my back strong and then, hopefully, the bones will fuse together, and then it'll be OK."

He is looking forward to a pain-free start next month en route to the Australian Open. "This year, I missed pretty well all of February and half of March, and then I played a few Futures tournaments in Spain in April and then in May I played the French Open juniors.

"It was after the French Open juniors that I started to play well. I got the wild cards into Queen's and Wimbledon and had some good wins. I lost two very close matches to two guys who were in the top 10 after Wimbledon, and obviously [David] Nalbandian went on and won the Masters Cup."

Nalbandian, who defeated Murray after five sets at Wimbledon, ended the year on a high, defeating Roger Federer in the Masters Cup final in Shanghai, and the Czech Tomas Berdych, defeated by Murray in Basle, went on to win the Paris Masters.

"If you look at the results I've had," Murray says, "there's only one result that I can look at and say I haven't done myself justice, and that's when I lost [to Antony Dupuis] in the second round in Newport. But the grass courts there weren't great. I wasn't enjoying playing there too much.

"I played against [Marat] Safin [at the Cincinnati Masters]. I took a set off him, and he had won the Australian Open. I played Federer [in the final in Bangkok], and had a close match with him. I was quite happy with the way I played. And Nalbandian, five sets with him. And I almost won against [Thomas] Johansson [at Queen's]. All the matches I've lost have been kind of close, bar the one in Newport. So it's been a good year for me, the last three or four months in particular. I'm just looking forward to starting next year now."

Murray twisted his left ankle during the match against Johansson and continues to wear a support. "Basically, I twisted that ankle when I was younger and it didn't heal properly," he says. "It's not that it's weaker. It's just much more flexible than my right one, so there's more chance of me turning that ankle. The support that I use doesn't actually restrict my movement and it doesn't stop my ankle doing anything it should do. It's just like running normally, but it gives me a little bit of extra support on the wide balls if I'm going to twist it. It's very light, so I'm going to play with it on all the time now."

He changed his coach midway through the season, parting from the Colombian guru, Pato Alvarez. "He's coached so many good players, and he wanted me to get to the top very quickly," Murray recalls. "At the start of the year, he said, 'Top 100 by the French Open and top 50 by the end of the year'.

"If I hadn't got injured at the start of the year and missed the first three months, he wouldn't have been that far off. A lot of people were saying, 'He doesn't know what he's talking about'. But in the end you can't really complain about what he said.

"He taught me a lot. He has a lot of experience and he taught me how to play basic tennis, which is great. But I think for me to reach my full potential I needed someone to teach me other things. Mark [Petchey], for example, is perfect for that because he used to play the serve-and-volley and use a lot of slice, and played a little bit different."

Did Alvarez want Murray to play a more defensive game?

"He wanted me to play on clay courts all the time. I do like playing on clay courts, but I probably have my best results on hard courts, so I thought it was better to change the surfaces of the tournaments I was playing. But I don't really have anything bad to say about him. He's a very good coach.

"He coached Emilio [Sanchez] when he was in the top 10. He's coached 30 or 40 players that have been in the top 50. He's coached a No 1 doubles pair. It was difficult for someone my age to be travelling alone with him, but he is one of the best coaches in the world."

Perhaps the experience of winning the doubles with David Sherwood in the Davis Cup tie in Israel in February gave Murray the feeling that he was moving towards the big-time?

"That was the first really big match that I'd played," he says, "but afterwards I didn't feel much different. It maybe gave me a bit more confidence, but I was still ranked around 400 in the world. It was only a doubles match. You can't really say that just because I won one match in Davis Cup I was going to go on and do well.

"The one thing I did know was that I could deal with the pressure. There was a lot of pressure on that match, because if we'd lost we'd have been 2-1 down and it would probably have gone to the deciding match, and I was going to play in it. And that would have been difficult, playing my first Davis Cup singles match in a decider."

A wild card for the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club was the prelude to Murray's breakthrough. "I got a lot of confidence from there. I play OK on grass, but I had a good first-round draw against [Santiago Venura] a Spanish guy who hadn't been playing that well. I won against him quite easily, and then won against Taylor Dent, who's a very good grass-court player and in the top 30. And then to play against Johansson and to twist my ankle when I was two points away from winning was pretty hard to take.

"I had to take eight or nine days off after that. I didn't have great preparation for Wimbledon, which might be one of the reasons why I got tired in my match with Nalbandian."

The spotlight was on Murray in every match of his first Wimbledon campaign. "Tim [Henman] maybe puts a bit of extra pressure on himself, because grass is his best surface," Murray reasons. "Wimbledon for me is obviously a big tournament, but I don't see it as my biggest opportunity to win a Grand Slam. When I was playing there I didn't think I was going to do that well, so maybe I was a bit more relaxed than I might be at some of the other Grand Slams. Obviously, there's a lot of media hype, but it doesn't really affect me that much. I don't concentrate on it."

Apart from the blip in Newport, Rhode Island, Murray's build-up to the US Open was promising, and he qualified for the main draw at Flushing Meadows. Many people thought that qualifying for the US Open was one of his best achievements, but he was annoyed that he was not given a wild card.

"It was quite hard for me to be told that I wasn't going to get a wild card," he said. "I thought I was going to get the support from Wimbledon, which could be a tournament where I could be the main player in the next few years after Tim and Greg stop.

"I got told [I wasn't getting a wild card for the US Open] just before I went on court against Safin [in Cincinnati], and it wasn't really the best way to prepare for my match. The reason why I wanted a wild card was because I'd been playing eight weeks in a row in America, and I'd been doing well and had done a lot of travelling. I was a bit tired. It would have given me five or six more days to rest before I played, but I had to go and qualify, which is never easy because the players all play so well now, and you have to be up for every match. It was difficult, but I was happy with the way that I played in New York. I was a bit unfortunate against [Arnaud] Clement."

Had he felt pressure at the US Open, having won the junior title the year before?

"I've never really felt any pressure in any of the matches that I've played, because it was my first year on the Tour and everything was a new experience. So all the matches I played I went into not really knowing what to expect. I wasn't thinking I was going to win against a lot of the top players, but I managed to do it. I don't think [pressure] was a problem in any of my matches. I won against a very good player in [Andrei] Pavel, who has been in the top 20. And I almost won against Clement. But I didn't put any extra pressure on myself."

Grass may not be Murray's best surface, but Henman and other attacking players reckon the Wimbledon courts now play slower than they used to do.

"When I played the juniors there for the first time, when I was 16, the courts were really quick," Murray says. "When I played this year, Court One was really slow. The ball does stay quite low, and the guys who serve-volley can still play well on it. There's more chance of the guys from the baseline doing well now. I think it suits all games now. I think the guys who are going to do best on grass are the ones who can do everything, all-round players, like a Federer."

Murray likes the rubberised concrete courts in America, and the hard courts at the Australian Open may also suit his game. "I think the courts in Australia are quite sticky," he says, "I've heard that when you go for the wide balls it almost feels like it's hard to get back into the court. I'll just have to wait and see. Everybody who I've spoken to thinks that it will probably be my best surface, so I'm looking forward to it."

Although he had predicted that he would finish his first year on the Tour in the top 100, did his success surprise him?

"It didn't really surprise me. At the start of the year I had my goal. I wanted to get into the top 100 and I believed I was going to do it. Maybe it came a month earlier than I might have expected, but I knew I was going to get my chance around Queen's/Wimbledon time. It's just about taking your opportunities when you're coming through. And I did that. I always believed in myself.

"A lot of people, after the start to the year that I had, were saying, 'Maybe he should keep his mouth shut'. It's difficult now to know what to do when you're a Briton. If I had said, 'OK, I want to get into the top 300 by the end of next year', what's the point in that? Nobody's going to take any interest. Let me believe what I want to believe."

Murray's year


'Around Queen's/Wimbledon time is when I really started to take off'


'There's only one result that I can look at and say I haven't done myself justice, and that's when I lost [to Antony Dupuis, of France] in the second round in Newport [Rhode Island]'


'I just need to win seven or eight matches in the first six or seven tournaments of the year, then I'll be in the Masters Series events. I want to be seeded around Wimbledon time'

TOMORROW 'I did promise myself just one quiet moment in the Twickenham tunnel. Those five or six seconds were the highlight of my career...'

Martin Corry looks back at his 2005

12-21-2005, 10:05 PM
Thanks for all the articles! :)

12-27-2005, 06:47 PM
You're welcome, here are more:

Review of the Year
The brilliance and frailty of the boy who would be king

The Scottish teenager eclipsed Henman at Wimbledon and then beat him in their first meeting to prove his rising stature
Steve Bierley
Saturday December 24, 2005
The Guardian

Just before Wimbledon this year Andy Murray and his mother, Judy, were strolling through the All England Club having finished a practice session in Aorangi Park. The teenager paused briefly outside Centre Court and, with the transparent confidence of youth, asserted: "I want to play in there."
"You may have to wait two or three years," said his mother, smiling. "Why?" he replied. The response typified Murray's inner belief that has always been integral to his game and his progress. Little more than a week later the 18-year-old prodigy from Dunblane stepped out into the most famous tennis arena in the world to play Argentina's David Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, in a five-set third-round match that enthralled those there and millions more watching on television.

Murray lost, yet by reaching the last 32 on his grand slam debut he had outlasted both Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski. Suddenly, dramatically, he shifted the parameters of the British game. A decade of "Come on, Tim" and "Come on, Greg" had been superseded by exhortations in his name and, if they sounded several levels more frenetic, then it was because the sporting world had moved on and the demands had intensified. Enter the young hero into a personality-driven world.
Three-and-a-half months later and the cry for change reached frenzied heights when the old and the new collided for the first time, Murray drawing Henman in his opening match of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basle, a title Henman won in 1998 and 2001. Discounting meetings at the now defunct British Championships, there had been nine previous so-called Battles of Britain between Henman and Rusedski since 1996, with Henman the 7-2 overall winner. Now his talent and status were on the line against Murray.

Mark Petchey, Murray's coach, knew only too well how Henman would be feeling: "I played Tim a couple of times when he was up and coming and lost twice. It was an uncomfortable experience and I felt a lot of pressure. You could see Tim was going to be a great player but, as the older and higher-ranked player, I was desperate not to lose."

Judy Murray, too, was on edge and took herself off to the hairdresser in Edinburgh that day in October. "I don't like watching Andy on television at the best of times because it's impossible to feel really involved. Anyway I knew this was going to be an extremely difficult match for him in all ways." Having her hair done offered an escape. "I knew nobody would be talking about tennis."

On the return to her car she could not resist turning on the radio. "Andy had served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and they were in the third. I thought 'Oh no' and switched off." She drove home to Dunblane, listening resolutely to music, and waited for her mobile phone to trill. The text duly came. Murray had won 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 and the British tennis world tilted on its axis.

Murray, playing only his 22nd singles match at Davis Cup, grand slam and ATP Tour level, had felled his boyhood hero. True, the 31-year-old Henman, the British No1 for virtually a decade save for the sporadic intervention of Rusedski, was at a wretchedly low ebb, having won only three matches since his second-round defeat at Wimbledon in June, and he suffered a further injury during this match. But it was the occasion that mattered rather than the context.

Murray had seized his moment, although anybody now viewing the post-match photograph of the pair heading towards the obligatory handshakes with the umpire might be forgiven for supposing the tyro had lost. Lingering slightly behind Henman, with his head bowed and his right hand running rather awkwardly along the net cord, Murray looks anything but the epitome of joy. "For Andy this victory was a huge thing," says Judy. If he didn't show it, this was simply because his respect for Henman conditioned his response to what he later described as the "biggest win of my life".

The young Scot may wear his heart on his sleeve when playing - roaring against fate, leaping and punching the air after a winning shot - yet off-court he speaks in deep, measured tones, seemingly weighing every word. So that when he said, "To win against someone I have so much respect for is a pretty good deal for me and also something that's very special emotionally", the slightly understated effect was doubly forceful, emphasising the abrupt generational shift few had seriously considered when the year began.

"It certainly all happened a lot sooner than expected," says Judy. "I suppose we were looking towards a ranking of around 150-200 by the end of this year." Remarkably Murray rose from outside the world's top 400 to No63 at his highest point, an extraordinary leap for one so young. Henman, nervous at the outset, was, understandably, inclined to see this defeat in the overall context of his career as "just another match". For almost everybody else it was the changing of the guard.

As recently as May Murray's mother had her thoughts set on him adding the junior French Open to the US Open title he had won the previous year at Flushing Meadows. "I knew it wouldn't be easy because he had only recently split with his coach, and on top of that he got food poisoning. He was struggling to find any rhythm on the clay but played really well in the quarter-finals and I thought he'd go on to win the title." Instead, in a turbulent, tetchy encounter Murray lost in the semis against Croatia's Marin Cilic.

"I felt gutted but was determined not to show it," says Judy. To her surprise her son was not in the least perturbed. "He just looked at me and said: 'Oh well, I'll be able to get back to London and practise for the grass.'" It was at that moment she realised that mentally he had moved on. A curtain had been drawn on his junior tennis. His apprenticeship was over. "What happened at Queen's and Wimbledon may not have happened if he had not gone back and got in those extra days of practice. He hit with some of the world's best players and it was there and then that he knew this was where he wanted to be."

Murray never looked back. Two wins at the Stella Artois Championships and a couple more at Wimbledon brought rich praise from his fellow professionals with Sweden's Thomas Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open champion and former world No7, predicting confidently that Murray would, without doubt, become a top-50 player: "He serves 140 miles per hour and to do that at 18 is very impressive. He is going to be really, really good."

The accolades have continued, though coupled with cautions concerning his physical fitness. This he has already addressed by visiting a specialist centre in Dijon and working out a tough preparation programme this month in South Africa, where his mother will join him for Christmas before they move on to his first tournament of the year in Adelaide.

It is not his initial successes at the majors and on the ATP Tour that have impressedJudy, who coached him before he left Scotland and joined the Sanchez Casal tennis academy in Barcelona; it is the way he reacted off court. "The most remarkable thing has been the way he has handled matters and done everything that has been asked of him," she says. "He has remained polite and level-headed and, as his mum, that has been important."

Some have marked him down as a rebel. "No, he's never been rebellious by nature," says Judy. "Stubborn, yes." And she is only too aware that there may be difficulties ahead as the pressure and expectations grow. Unlike Henman he is unlikely to bottle matters up. "There may be times when he doesn't feel like speaking to people and he will always be honest. He can be your typical grumpy teenager."

It might be argued that John McEnroe did him no favours when he suggested at this year's US Open that Murray would be in the top 20 by the same time next year and perhaps capable of breaking into the top 10. "It's very flattering," says Murray, while making no effort to play the shrinking violet. His belief is implicit that he can make it happen, if not next year, then the one after. Judy feels his best tennis will develop in two or three years but then she thought the same about his chances of playing on Centre Court. His rapid progress, it seems, is taking everyone by surprise, even his mum.

Henman has always been supportive and has admired particularly Murray's attitude and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the game. Rusedski is similarly enthusiastic. "Andy is not your average young person. He hates to lose at anything and I think with him, myself and Tim it is the same sort of mentality, even though we show it in three different ways."

The one obvious difference is that Henman and Rusedski were able to feed off each other. Murray may have to plough a lone furrow and that will inevitably increase the pressure on him. "He was thrown into the limelight during Queen's and handled it remarkably well," says Judy, "but during Wimbledon Mark [Petchey] and I decided he should do just what was expected and any other requests we would handle."

This openness, coupled with Murray's natural ability to coin a telling phrase, has already engendered a different mood from the Henman-Rusedski years and one more likely to strike a chord with a younger generation. Never in a million years would the ever so correct Tim and Greg have been regarded as cool whereas Andy, with his hooded tops and his iPod, patently is. If his victory over Henman in Switzerland was indeed the changing of the guard, then it surely also had the potential to be so much more. It was not intrinsically their fault but neither Rusedski nor Henman ever possessed the "wow" factor of Freddie Flintoff or Wayne Rooney.

Henman invariably looked tense and miserable, even when he was winning, while when Rusedski flipped his lid on Centre Court and treated BBC tea-time viewers to a torrent of choice expletives, he was metaphorically patted on the head with the whispered aside: "He's Canadian, you know."

Murray, whether it was keeling over with cramp at Queen's, throwing-up at Flushing Meadows, bitterly complaining to the umpire about a dodgy call in one of his televised exhibition matches against Rusedski in Aberdeen or hitting the most sublime of winners against the world No1 Roger Federer in the Thailand Open final, brought the drama of the sport to a new audience. He showed them brilliance, petulance and frailty. He showed he was human and that tennis could live on the edge.

Henman and Rusedski may never have won a slam but between them they have 26 titles and both have been as high as No4 in the world. It was a legacy that appeared to have fallen on stony ground until Murray emerged. These are very early days but, just as the door of the British cupboard swung open to reveal bare shelves, the Scottish teenager arrived from around the back and may - just may - offer riches beyond the capabilities of Henman and Rusedski.,10069,1673631,00.html

'He knows exactly what his opponents like the least'
Jeremy Bates
Saturday December 24, 2005
The Guardian

During my career I practised with several players just before they made their breakthrough. I can remember hitting with a young Goran Ivanisevic in Stockholm and thinking "My God, this guy is playing like some of the best in the world" - which at the time was not reflected in his ranking. And it has been the same with Andy Murray.
These days a lot of the players do not have the skills to mix up their play like we saw Andy do at Wimbledon. It's a question of doing it at the right time and, as he matures, you may see a little less of it. But he has very good tactical awareness and knows exactly what his opponents like the least. He's a bit like a modern-day Miloslav Mecir, a great guy who had the ability to make anybody look inferior with the way he massaged the ball around the court. But, unlike Andy, he did not have a huge serve or forehand and that is what makes Andy so special.

Of course, next year will be very different because the top players will know about him and be ready, while there will be many more expectations of his performance. But I know he will embrace the challenge with open arms. Of course there may be a levelling off, as that tends to happen to many rising players. Rafael Nadal broke through into the top 50 in 2003 and then dropped back a few places the next year when he also had injury problems. But this time next year I would expect Andy to be consolidated inside the top 30. From there it might take longer but his biggest quality is his single-mindedness, coupled with a dogged mentality. You can't buy that.
The thing you notice most about the exceptionally good players is the time they have to play their shots. When Tim Henman came on the scene, Greg Rusedski was pretty much established and serving exceptionally fast, as we all know. I could only hope to block returns but Tim was able to pick up the ball so quickly and, with his excellent hand-eye coordination, could take a full swing. He would also do it when the pressure was on and this is a rare quality in a player.

But I don't think that when Tim was a junior it was obvious he would do as well as he has, despite many comments to the contrary. For Tim, beating Greg to become the national champion in 1995 was the turning point and we also won the doubles together that year. What he has achieved since then is absolutely exceptional and should be acknowledged as such.

I was used to playing British players and I'd always thought it was important to put yourself on the line, so nobody could accuse you of ducking out, and by and large my record was good. So I didn't mind too much when Tim came along. It would have been better for my tennis to be No2, No3 or No4 behind a Tim Henman. Anyway I knew him very well, realised I was coming to the end of my career and tried to be realistic.

I brought Andy to Luxembourg for our Davis Cup tie in 2004 for the experience because he was one of Britain's best young players. At the time he had been injured a lot and we saw it as a bit of a boost for him.

I suppose quite a few people were taken by surprise at the quality of his play when he teamed up with Dave Sherwood for the first time in our win against Israel earlier this year but all those who had been involved with him in the Davis Cup set-up knew he could play at that level. What we couldn't be sure of was whether he could do it under pressure and his performance that day in Tel Aviv opened a lot of people's eyes.

· Jeremy Bates is the Great Britain Davis Cup captain and former British No1, who won one ATP Tour title during his playing career - in Seoul in 1994 - and enjoyed his highest world ranking of 54 in 1995.,10069,1673632,00.html

12-27-2005, 06:48 PM
Murray moves to cash in on year of success
By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 24/12/2005)

Andy Murray, preparing for his first full season on the main tour next year, is understood to have opted to leave his sports management group, Octagon. The decision is immensely disappointing for the group, who signed the Scottish teenager when he was still developing on the junior circuit. They have handled his commercial and media interests ever since.

The Daily Telegraph understands that Octagon's contract with Murray is about to expire, and that the 18-year-old and his advisors have decided against renewing the deal. A source close to the negotiations said last night that the split was "without any acrimony whatsoever".

Although Murray is in a powerful position after his sudden and spectacular emergence this year - he is believed to have attracted interest from the larger companies in the sports management industry such as IMG and SFX - there is a strong possibility that he will instead join the smaller Ace Group, described on their website as a "boutique" sports management group.

Those represented by the London-based group include former men's world No 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, former women's US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini and the 2004 men's French Open winner, Gaston Gaudio. The website also states that senior management at the group have had dealings with Roger Federer, the world No 1, and Tim Henman, British No 1.

Murray's decision could be highly significant for his commercial interests. Largely unknown outside the tennis world before Wimbledon this year, Murray is now regarded as one of Britain's most bankable sportsmen. One leading figure in the sports management industry has claimed that Murray could make as much as £60 million over the course of his career, if he is able to break into the world's top 10 and then stay around that level for a decade.

Murray already has four sponsorship deals - a clothing contract with Fred Perry, a racket deal with Head, and sponsorships with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Robinsons, the soft drinks manufacturer. The contracts will almost certainly be performance-related, with bonuses for achieving certain results and for raising his world ranking to agreed targets.

It is understood that Murray will soon launch his own website, which will allow him to promote both his career and the companies paying to be associated with his hoped-for success on the ATP Tour.

He has been doing warm-weather training in South Africa to help ready himself for his first tournament of the new season, in Adelaide, Australia, which starts in nine days.

The following week he is due to appear at an event in Auckland before competing at the Australian Open, for which he has direct entry into the main draw after breaking into the world's top 100 players this year.

12-27-2005, 06:50 PM
The Times December 24, 2005
Personal touch vital as Murray changes his agents
By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

FOR Andy Murray, small is obviously meaningful. The 18-year-old Scottish prodigy’s decision to up sticks from Octagon, one of the world’s three most powerful sports management companies, and move to Acegroup, a new and innovative kid on the block, is of immense significance.
The moment it became known that Murray was considering his options once his contract with Octagon expired at the end of this year, there was a rush to get to talk to a player rightly considered potential top-ten material. As The Times reported three weeks ago, Octagon feared that it might lose someone it nurtured from a raw prospect and sent Phil de Picciotto, its president of athletes and personalities, and Tom Ross, a vice-president, to London from the United States last week to attempt to dissuade him.

Murray listened to all parties, including IMG and SFX, the other two management heavyweights, and chose instead to place his future in the hands of a company based in London that prefers a lower profile and possesses a keener sense of an individual’s worth. It is believed that a meeting with Acegroup, scheduled to take an hour, lasted almost three, so entranced was the teenager with its plans for him.

The big boys will be kicking themselves, especially if the Scot extracts every bit of his promise to become one of the leading title challengers in the next five years. There was once a theory that an international operator such as IMG needed only to crook its finger and athletes would come running. Murray has shown that he is not averse to bucking trends.

At the heart of plans for Murray lies making the most of his personality as much as his performance, utilising his gift for communication with those of his own generation to spread the word that tennis in the 21st century is a powerful, athletic, dynamic sport, and that teenagers such as Rafael Nadal, the French Open champion from Spain, and Gaël Monfils, the brilliant Frenchman, can bring kids into it in their droves.

There is no shortage of companies that recognise the value of having Murray endorse their products. It is understood that one of the reasons he chose to leave Octagon was a belief that it did not drive the hardest of bargains.

Now it is Acegroup’s turn. Its twin forces are Bill Ryan, the quiet influence behind many of the deals that have underpinned Tim Henman’s status in tennis, and Patricio Apey, who has managed Gabriela Sabatini and Fernando González.,,5205-1958400,00.html

12-27-2005, 08:41 PM
Great articles, thanks! :)

I can't wait to see how he does in Australia this year.

01-11-2006, 08:40 PM
Auckland Open
Frustrated Murray made to pay the price by Ancic
Eleanor Preston in Auckland
Wednesday January 11, 2006

Andy Murray's 6-3, 7-6 defeat by Mario Ancic in the second round of the Auckland Open last night was a salutary tale of missed opportunities. Murray had two set-points to level the match against the powerful Croatian, who is ranked 21st to Murray's 64th, but the 18-year-old Scot, playing only the 11th ATP Tour-level event of his career, lacked the nous to take the two set-points he had to take the match into a third set.

It took Ancic 39 minutes to wrap up the first set, doing so when Murray's final forehand of the set smashed into the bottom of the net with a fair slice of frustration behind it. The look on Murray's face when he let his serve go to give Ancic a crucial break at 2-3 was eloquent in its portrayal of the pain of missed chances.
Murray went into the match anxious to learn and one of the lessons he emerged with was the knowledge that the very best players in the world absorb pressure like a fluffy towel, yet are utterly ruthless when it comes to spotting signs of weakness in others. Thus Ancic held firm at times when Murray attempted to become more aggressive, taking the winners hit past him with equanimity before doing just enough to win his service games. When Murray's own serving became sloppy, he wasted no time in breaking to 15 to give himself a 4-2 lead and go on to the set.

Murray dropped his serve again at the start of the second, perhaps because of his lingering annoyance at how the first set had played itself out, and was irritated to the point of screaming out loud when he missed a chance to get back on level terms at 1-2 down, when Ancic saved six break-points to hang on to the advantage.

When the Scot did eventually break to level at 3-3, it appeared at first to bring the momentum his way, an impression which was strengthened when Murray broke again to lead 4-3 when Ancic's serve finally buckled under the strain.

With more experience and age "and more matches at this level" he will probably learn how to serve out sets against accomplished players but there is clearly still some work to do, judging by the two ugly errors he put in on the two set-points he had in the long and ultimately fruitless game he played to serve to level the match at 5-3 in the second set.

Instead he found himself in the tiebreaker, when Ancic again proved the more secure, winning 7-4.

Tim Henman has played only two matches this year but has chosen not to play this week, despite insisting that there are no current problems with his chronically bad back. His chances of being seeded for next week's Australian Open have been boosted over the last few days by the withdrawal of Marat Safin with knee trouble. Henman is ranked only 36th in the world, he now only needs one more player ranked higher than him to withdraw before the event starts on Monday in order to be seeded in the top 32.,10069,1683839,00.html

01-11-2006, 08:44 PM
Murray fighting his own expectations
By Mark Hodgkinson
(Filed: 10/01/2006)

So over-eager has Andy Murray been to rediscover his form of last year that, after yesterday's opening-round victory in Auckland, he conceded he has been forcing his tennis in the early stages of the season. The Scottish teenager would much prefer it if he could be a little less fraught, and a little more relaxed, on court.

Pumped-up: Andy Murray has been guilty of trying too hard
Murray may have defeated Denmark's Kenneth Carlsen 7-5, 6-2, but it was an indifferent showing. He said that his problems were partly caused by having expected too much of himself, and subsequently - when a few shots went wide or long - he became overly-critical.

He said that he was hoping to demonstrate a more composed and measured approach during tomorrow's meeting with the Croatian, Mario Ancic, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist.

"I want to play like I was at the end of last year. With the things that I have worked on during the off-season, my tennis should be better so I am putting a bit of extra pressure on myself. The best thing to do is to relax and try to play myself into my matches instead of trying to play so well right at the beginning," said Murray, the world No 62.

"I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself because I then go out and make a few mistakes and get a bit down on myself. If I go out and I expect not to play so well at the start, I'm sure that I'll play better throughout the match," he said.

Murray, a natural competitor, has been working hard on learning how to carry himself during matches, and has recognised that he has been wasting his emotional energies by excessive celebrations, or by fiercely admonishing himself after a couple of errors or missed chances.

The outrageous leaps into the air, the pumps of the fist, and the self-critiques are more infrequent now than when he first appeared on the main tour last season. The trick will be for Murray to become more relaxed without losing his edge and his thrusting nature.

Murray's defeat of the 32-year-old Carlsen, in a game played with a strong wind rushing through the hard court and in a frequently blinding sun, will primarily be remembered for his efforts to charm the Auckland crowd, which contained a significant number of Scots.

When Carlsen called the trainer on court for treatment to an ankle injury in the second set, Murray was caught mid-service game and he decided to spend the interruption juggling a tennis ball with the frame of his racket, his feet, and his head. "I was just keeping myself warm and I was showing off a bit. Normally when I try it in front of people, I don't get it right," Murray said of his 'keepy-uppy' skills.

During a post-match interview on the court, Murray blithely remarked that he and his opponent had "played like women" during the opening set, when there had been multiple breaks of serve, and a few spectators gently booed him for his comment.

He was slightly taken aback and later reddened with embarrassment, but the crowd appreciated that it was a joke, and the incident was entirely light-hearted and good-natured, with the boos of the pantomime variety.

Murray said he would have to read Ancic's serve to win their first tour meeting. "Ancic is always going to be difficult because he serves so well," he said.

10 January 2006: Murray braced for difficult year;jsessionid=SQUSLKQAUAOSDQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQ UIV0?xml=/sport/2006/01/10/stmurr10.xml&sSheet=/sport/2006/01/11/ixtenn.html

01-15-2006, 06:11 PM
15 January 2006 14:10 Home > Sport > Tennis
Chela the chill wind of reality for Murray
Awkward Argentinian promises a test of Scot's temperament as well as his talent
By Ronald Atkin, Tennis Correspondent
Published: 15 January 2006

Andrew Murray prepares for the Australian Open

Having recently celebrated one British ceremony, the changing of the guard, British tennis prepares to indulge in another, the charge of the light brigade, when the Australian Open gets under way tomorrow.

The charge will be light in numbers, rather than ability or commitment, consisting as it does of just Tim Henman and Andy Murray, Greg Rusedski having opted to await imminent parenthood in London.

Henman will be competing in the year's first Grand Slam for the ninth time, having fought his way into the fourth round on three occasions, and his customary phlegm will have been ruffled by the sight of Dmitry Tursunov's name emerging alongside his in the draw.

The US-based Russian was a key component in Henman's horrible 2005, imposing on the British No 1 his worst Wimbledon for 10 years by eliminating him in the second round. To complete a season in which Henman admits he began to question his involvement in the sport, he was beaten by Murray in the much-hyped "Battle of the Brits" in Basle last October, enough for many to announce that change of guard.

Having announced his eagerness to get to grips with the game's giants by attaining a ranking high enough to guarantee automatic entry into the top tournaments, Murray has had his wish granted. The teenaged Scot's first opponent, Juan Ignacio Chela, may be a giant only in terms of stature but he is one of those pesky Argentinians who specialise in wrecking the ambitions of anyone who happens to stray into their path. In the past, Henman and Rusedski have suffered Chela's tennis version of water-drip torture, allied to histrionics and gamesmanship, so this will provide an excellent test, not only of Murray's burgeoning skills but also of his nerve and temper.

Getting past Chela would merely expose Murray to the hairdryer blast of the third-seeded Lleyton Hewitt, whereas success for Henman could open the door in an easy quarter, but let's not get carried away here. One Brit in the second round, never mind the second week, would be good news.

Rusedski is not the only absentee, though the big three to fall by the wayside - the defending champion, Marat Safin, the French Open title holder, Rafael Nadal, and the ageless Andre Agassi, four times champion here - are sidelined by injury rather than choice. Clearly, the tournament is diminished by their absence, reducing as it does the number of realistic challengers to Roger Federer. The Swiss wonder man has been at it already in 2006, winning his first tournament of the season in Qatar and pushing closer to two years in residence as world No 1.

However, extra anguish for the injured trio is that Federer has been reduced to a level slightly below his best by ankle damage which has not, despite assurances to the contrary, fully mended. This small item of good news for all who labour in Federer's impressive wake should have provided extra cheer for Hewitt, only for the feisty Aussie to be socked in the eye once more by finishing in Federer's half of the draw. Last year Hewitt was beaten in the Australian final by Safin; in fact the last seven Grand Slams have seen Hewitt lose, at one stage or another, to the eventual champion, a sequence that he will be keen to terminate.

The arrival of the first home-grown Australian champion for 30 years (Mark Edmondson in 1976, since you ask) would be a clear occasion for acclaim, but Hewitt himself is struggling to hit form following a year embracing the distractions of marriage and parenthood.

So the projected Federer-Hewitt semi-final might not come to pass, though it would need a mighty upset to spoil those seedings. However, in Federer's quarter lurks an eminent seed-slayer in Germany's Tommy Haas, who beat the world No 1 in an exhibition event last week. Haas provides a rebuttal of the Samson legend in that his career has flourished since he lopped off his ponytail. There are, of course, other factors, such as complete recovery from a lengthy shoulder injury, and Haas might just derail the Federer Express.

In the other half of the draw Andy Roddick will be happy with his lot, allowing other people to have a pop at Federer until it should be his turn in the final. Possible disruption to that script could be provided by Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, who is in robust fettle and still on a high since winning the Davis Cup for his country in December. He is scheduled to face Roddick in the semi-finals. Even so, the gentlemen who lay odds are not prepared to offer any against Federer. He has won the last two Grand Slams, and a kickstart to the new season is what he seeks.

And Murray, who ran him so close in the final of the Thailand Open three months ago, will be watching with interest.

01-15-2006, 06:13 PM
Murray on collision course with Henman's nemesis
By Clive White
(Filed: 15/01/2006)

Andy Murray may have been refused admission to the Kooyong Classic, the traditional precursor to the Australian Open, until he showed his ID, but the whole of Australia may know soon enough who he is if he beats their very own Lleyton Hewitt this week.

The prodigiously talented young Scot claimed yesterday to be unaware of the fact that he could meet the No 3 seed and former Wimbledon and US Open champion in the second round and yet had predicted to his coach he would draw the Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the opening round. "I told Mark [Petchey, his coach] I thought I was going to play against one of the Argentinians," said Murray. "I told him I was going to play Chela."

Clairvoyant he may be, but he obviously doesn't believe in looking too far into his crystal ball. If he did, he might like what he saw. If there was ever a time to play Hewitt it is right now. Last year's runner-up to Marat Safin hasn't played in more than three months due to the birth of his baby daughter and had a virus when he returned to competitive action last week in his home town of Adelaide, looking nothing like his usual combative self. What a feather in his cap it would be if Murray could beat Tim Henman's nemesis. But first things first.

Chela, ranked 16 places higher than Murray at 46, will be an awkward opponent, never mind the fact that he has lost in the opening round in five of his last six tournaments. "I watched him play Tim in Cincinnati [where he beat Henman]," said Murray. "He's got a good forehand and doesn't make many mistakes off his backhand. His serve's probably not his strongest part. All the South Americans are consistent from the ground with big forehands. I'll try to keep it away from his forehand."

Being a committed baseliner, Chela won't give him a target to aim at and Murray is unlikely to put into practice all of the things he has been working on with Petchey, like coming to the net more often. Murray said he may have a chat today with Henman about Chela, who has won their last two encounters.

Henman professes to be relieved that he now has someone else to help him shoulder the burden of British expectation, but he will be deeply envious of the young apprentice if on Tuesday evening he steps out into the spotlight of the Rod Laver Arena and defeats the man who has beaten Henman eight times out of eight. Not a few experts give Murray a Braveheart's chance of doing just that.

If he had the choice, Hewitt would probably prefer to meet Chela, who he defeated here in the third round last year in a match notable for a spitting incident for which the Argentine was fined.

The 18-year-old Murray warned him against that kind of Argybargy. "It fires me up more if somebody's like that on the court," he said. "If he is, it's probably not the best thing for him to do."

The young man from Dunblane is maturing fast and he seems to have settled into the build-up to this Grand Slam, the first in which he has gained admission to the main draw as of right, like an old campaigner. After narrow defeats to contemporaries Tomas Berdych and Mario Ancic in Adelaide and Auckland, he looked good in an exhibition match against Austria's Peter Luczak at Kooyong on Friday.

The non-believers will be watching particularly closely as to how the pale-skinned Scot handles the debilitating Australian heat and how he has overcome the cramps which curtailed his otherwise mightily impressive first showings at Wimbledon and the US Open. "I've worked really hard to get in good shape for when I came over here," he said. "My tennis hasn't been as good as what I wanted it to be when I first got over here, but I've been playing better in practice. Hopefully, come Tuesday, I'll be playing my best tennis."

Since his preferred surface is a slow hard court, the Rebound Ace, while unforgiving for those with physical issues, should suit him perfectly. "It's a bit different to normal hard courts," he said. "It [the ball] comes - it doesn't absorb the pace. It gives it a little bit extra. The kick-serve jumps up pretty high. I think you have to be aggressive on this court."

A little circumspection would not go amiss at this stage of Murray's career, not so much from him but from his growing band of supporters. Murray knows that his progress cannot continue at last year's breakneck pace, when he rose 349 places in the rankings in the space of seven months.

As he said: "Not every 18-year-old is Rafael Nadal. You know, Federer, it took him three years before he won a match at Wimbledon, and now he's pretty much unbeatable there. I'm looking to have a good career when I'm older, when I'm 22, 23 not just winning matches now."

Unfortunately, if he beats Hewitt, expectation could reach heights not even Henman has known.

01-16-2006, 04:43 PM
The Times January 16, 2006
Murray remains serious about his long-term future
From Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, in Melbourne

“HE’S Yahoo Serious,” an Australian journalist, who had never set eyes on Andy Murray before yesterday, exclaimed, likening the young Scot — the facial expression, fierce mop of red-brown curls, slightly off-the-wall air — to the Australian actor who landed on the front page of Time magazine in celebration of his cinematic portrayal of Young Einstein.

It does not take an Einstein, young or otherwise, to work out that Murray is one match from becoming a genuine focal point of the opening grand-slam championship of the year, a situation he relished the first time at Wimbledon last summer, taking David Nalbandian, of Argentina, to five sets on Centre Court, and his second, dispatching his prevous night’s dinner on the Grandstand Court while defeating Andrei Pavel, of Romania, in the first round of the US Open.

Here, it would be facing Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian anti-hero, although for Mark Petchey, Murray’s coach, getting one game ahead of the game is a dangerous proposition. Nonetheless, when Murray steps out to face Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina, tomorrow — a match the 18-year-old should lose but has the talent to win — the prospect of an evening date on Rod Laver Arena against Hewitt in the second round looms irresistibly large.

But Petchey is right. The statistics bear him out to an extraordinary degree: of the ten players who have finished the year with Murray’s ranking of 64 in the past decade, only two reached the top 50 and of those, Byron Black, of Zimbabwe, has retired and Karol Beck, of Slovakia, has a greatest claim to fame that he defeated Tim Henman in the Stella Artois Championships at Queen’s Club in 2004, after winning the LTA Surbiton Challenger, but still finished the year ranked No 45.

Of those who did not immediately live up to their reputation, Fernando Meligeni, of Brazil, who reached No 64 at the end of 1995 but fell to No 93 a year later, turned his career around, reaching the semi-finals of the French Open in 1999. A lot can come to he who waits.

It is a salutary moment for those predicting that Murray is about to waltz to every title under the sun and cover every event he plays as if the outcome is life and death. Henman was barely a blot on the landscape at 18, a skinny lad of little consequence who was said to be a decent doubles prospect. Murray is much more than that — although he has declined a plea from James Auckland, his compatriot, to play doubles in the main draw here — and both he and those around him know it.

Hence the fact that he was left alone after practice with Henman yesterday, a light-hearted affair that went a long way to confirming how much the pair enjoy each other’s company, and it was Petchey who preferred to answer the pertinent questions. “Andy is going to have to find his best tennis to come through against Chela,” he said. “It is going to be bloody tough.

“There are still people who question his fitness, but you can’t expect him to become like Rafael Nadal, who is a different muscle type — that is a totally unfair comparison. It is only May last year that he was a junior, we should remember that. He will be analysed every week in public, but it will take him time to find his way. I am looking at the next few years, not the next two weeks.”

Hewitt does not have such a luxury. The demands of the Australian public are as non- negotiable on Hewitt, who will be 25 next month, as those ever placed on Henman and, terrifyingly, in the future, on Murray by the British. But for him to match last year, when he reached the final here, would be astonishing. He remains desperately unhappy with the Rebound Ace surface, claiming that it resembles more the clay of the French Open than what is supposed to be a hard court.

None of these shenanigans, however, fazes Roger Federer, who remains a short-priced certainty. “I enjoy being the big favourite, not just the favourite, but the big one,” he said. “I always said, I prefer to be the favourite because the contender needs to do their work and this is where the favourite, he can see what the other guys do. I have to make sure I win my matches, but mentally I’m that tough that I don’t have a problem with that.

“We cannot underestimate because we all know guys ranked outside of the top 150, 200, who are dangerous opponents. I beat [Carlos] Moyà when I was No 300 and he was No 4. Everything is possible. You don’t know how to win a slam [for the first time] — you have got to create a way to do it, to keep a great intensity level up for a long time.”,,5205-1987709,00.html

02-19-2006, 10:15 PM
The Times February 16, 2006
Murray prepared for second-year growing pains
From Simon Cambers in San Jose, California

WHEN Andy Murray climbed 449 places in 12 months to end last year as the world No 64, many observers, including John McEnroe, the former world No 1, felt it was only a matter of time before the Scot reached the world’s top 20.
McEnroe suggested that it could even come before Wimbledon and with almost no ranking points to defend before the Stella Artois Championships, at Queen’s Club, West London, in June, it is by no means impossible. But life at the sharp end of the tennis world is cut-throat and Murray is finding it tougher at the top.

A first-round defeat at the Australian Open last month suggested that expectations, elevated after he reached his first ATP Tour final, in Bangkok, in September, were weighing on his young shoulders. But any additional pressure he may have been feeling was not in evidence as he crushed Mardy Fish, of the United States, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the SAP Open here.

“I know this year is going to be more difficult,” Murray said. “I know a lot of people think that once you get into the top 100, that’s the hard part done and that it’s easy to move up. But it’s not. It gets even harder because you’re playing against the top guys every week.”

The history of the tour is littered with players who break through one year only to slide back down the rankings as they are unable to match their achievements the next year. Players they beat the first time learn quickly from mistakes.

“I don’t think they [the players] are gunning for me or anything, but I just think they know your game a bit better and know how to play against you a bit better,” Murray said. “But if I play like I did [against Fish], I think things will go in the right direction.”

Murray’s path here was made easier, in theory at least, when James Blake, the No 5 seed from the US, lost 6-3, 7-5 to Wang Yeu-Tzuoo, the world No 88 from Taiwan, on Tuesday night. Murray, the world No 60, will expect to beat Wang today to claim a quarter-final place and the Scot, back in the part of the world where he stormed up the rankings last summer, is enjoying being out of the spotlight.

“It’s much more relaxed here,” he said. “It’s a little easier to concentrate on tennis. The questions are a bit easier — they’re only usually about tennis. At home, even the smallest thing you say is picked up on.”

After his defeat by Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina, in the Australian Open, Murray criticised the British press for putting too much expectation on him. But after speaking to Tim Henman, the British No 1, who knows a bit about deal- ing with the media, Murray appeared much more content.

“It’s difficult because I am not sure he [Henman] has always come across the way he would have liked to, but he has helped me,” Murray said. “I just try not to say anything too controversial.

“I had a few really good conversations with Tim and my coach [Mark Petchey] after I came back from Zagreb [where he lost in the first round to Ivan Ljubicic, the No 1 seed],” he said. “He helped me with a few things and speaking to him gives me quite a bit of confidence because I think he believes in me and that’s great.”

Murray also had an interesting take on the discussion as to whether the length of the Tour is contributing to an increase in injuries among the players.

Henman withdrew from the tournament in Marseilles this week and Andre Agassi pulled out of the one here, but this week is the first of five consecutive events for Murray.

“I don’t think the schedule is too long,” he said. “Why not play just 15 events instead of playing 22 and saying you’re tired at the end of the 22nd one? Maybe the Masters Series events should not be back to back, especially at the end of the year [in Madrid and Paris], but that’s about it.”,,5205-2042512,00.html

02-19-2006, 10:16 PM
Murray on course for world elite
By Robert Smith
(Filed: 19/02/2006)

Andy Murray is beginning to reap the benefit of a tough coaching regime, according to American great John McEnroe, who believes that the Scot will soon usurp Tim Henman as Britain's No 1.

McEnroe watched Murray reach the semi-finals of the SAP Open in San Jose yesterday - he beat the Swede Robin Soderling and his own outbursts of temper in a fractious three-setter - and reckons that he is learning from every match. Murray's reward was a semi-final against the sharp-serving top seed, Andy Roddick.

"Mentally he has proven to be a pretty tough customer and his body has grown as well recently," said McEnroe. "He doesn't seem to need a whole lot of help. Mark Petchey is doing a great job but Andy believes in himself and his attitude is something that I like. He plays hard, he shows a lot of emotion and he's a breath of fresh air. The type of player we need on the circuit."

McEnroe says "the sky is the limit" for Murray, who is still only 18. "A lot of the time there is hype and people talking about players when deep down they know it's not going to happen, but this time you have a guy who is really capable of being a great player.

"He has a way of keeping you off balance, he has a feel for the game and he's playing with the most confidence he has ever had."

Murray's world ranking - 60 at the start of the week - should improve significantly, another indicator, in McEnroe's eyes, that he is ready to assume the mantle of Henman and Greg Rusedski, both now in their thirties.

"Is there a changing of the guard in British tennis? I think there is," said McEnroe. "I predicted a few months ago that Murray would be in the top 20 around Wimbledon and I think there is an excellent chance of that happening. You see a guy like Murray and you see the potential that is there."

Murray had to overcome the big-serving Soderling and his own temper to advance with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory. He threw his racket four times and was given a code violation after appearing to swear at chair umpire Norm Chryst after losing the first set.

"I was trying to get myself going because I started the match so sloppy," Murray said. "It obviously worked. I was a little frustrated at the four or five bad calls on big points."

After losing the first set and falling behind in the second, Murray broke back from 1-3 with a sublime forehand crosscourt winner. Both players agreed that shot turned the match.

"I was the better player for almost two sets, but after that point, he didn't miss many first serves and he wasn't missing much of anything," Soderling said. "You have to hit winners against him all the time."

After Murray hit a simple reflex volley winner in the sixth game of the third set, Soderling approached Chryst to complain about Murray's behaviour.

"He was talking before the point was over a lot," Soderling said. "I asked the chair umpire if he could do that and he said, 'Yeah.' " Murray retorted: "You don't want to be unpopular on tour, but when you are on court you have to do what you have to do to win."

Roddick crushed German Bjorn Phau 6-3, 6-2, while Lleyton Hewitt also reached the last four with a 7-6, 6-2 win over fellow Australian Wayne Arthurs.

"My first percentage was up where I wanted it to be," said Roddick, "and it totally changed the dynamic of the match." He won 94 per cent of his first-serve points. "It might make people think about it a little more on their own service games. Early in the week I felt I was hitting clean but the ball was not going the way I wanted it to, so tonight it felt good."

McEnroe and doubles partner Jonas Bjorkman, playing together in the SAP Open on a one-off basis to bring attention to the ATP's Doubles Revolution campaign, beat Ashley Fisher and Tripp Phillips 6-1, 7-5.;jsessionid=GHHBFIRGYVAPNQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQ UIV0?xml=/sport/2006/02/19/stmurr19.xml&sSheet=/sport/2006/02/19/ixtenn.html

02-19-2006, 10:17 PM
SAP Open
Murray strings it together with hard graft
Steve Bierley
Saturday February 18, 2006
The Guardian

Andy Murray completed his first back-to-back victories of the season when he beat Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Taipei 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the SAP Open in San Jose. After a diffident start to the year it was an important win.
The 18-year-old Scot first demonstrated his potential on American hard courts when he won the junior title at the US Open in New York in 2004 and he had to work exceptionally hard for his victory.

"I think that in the first set they were some of the toughest games I've played and I actually burnt a hole through my insoles because I was running so much," said Murray, who lost the first three games of the match.
"I'm really happy to come through with a win because I didn't feel like I served very well and I was under a lot of pressure in my service games. I held it together pretty well."

The pivotal moment came when he was serving at 4-3 down and held on to level. "I think I kind of knocked the stuffing out of him a little bit because I really went for it the next game. I was still out of breath from the 4-3 game, so I had to take some risks."

Meanwhile Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus has been granted a 12-year exemption from compulsory military service. The 20-year-old, who reached the final of this year's Australian Open in Melbourne where he took a set off the world No1 Roger Federer before losing in four sets, had previously been allowed limited postponements from military duty while he pursued his tennis career.,,1712484,00.html

02-20-2006, 12:54 AM
Great articles, thanks! :yeah:

02-23-2006, 07:32 PM
How embarrassing for the ATP Official Show ;)

Just had a feature on Andy Murray after he won San Jose

They were talking about his hair cut and said when he first played on the ATP he had blond hair :eek:

They then showed him playing Hewitt at Queens in 04

Trouble for their researchers was it was Jonathan MARRAY
:retard: :retard:


03-07-2006, 06:11 PM
New article on Andy from Smash Tennis magazine:

The Fighter

Ask Andy Murray about the reaction to his success in England and this is what you'll get: “In the story you have to say ‘Scotland.’ I don’t particularly like England or the English,” he jokes.v
If Andy Murray were an American or maybe a Spaniard, he would be allowed to be what he is: the best 18-year-old tennis player in the world, a young gun with a nice game, a good head, and a solid chance to be a top pro. But in Great Britain, home of the world’s most important tennis tournament, he’s much more than that. He’s the Great White Hope, a slightly scruffy heir apparent to the throne once occupied by Fred Perry. (Don’t feel bad if you don’t know who he is. He played in the 1930s.)

Murray, who could pass for Hayden Christensen’s skinny little brother, started last year ranked No. 514 and finished it at No. 65. In March, at 17, he became the youngest-ever member of a winning British Davis Cup team. During the season, he scored wins over Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri, and Paradorn Srichaphan. He played Roger Federer close—6-3, 7-5—in the Bangkok final, in October.

The reason why these promising early results loom so large is that British tennis has long been the story of style over substance. Virginia Wade, who played in the 1970s, once said in so many words that she’d rather play beautiful tennis than win. On the men’s side, John Lloyd was best known for his brief marriage to Chris Evert. Tim Henman’s game, for all its grace and elegance, lacks the explosiveness that it takes to win a Grand Slam title (so far), while Canadian-born Greg Rusedski has nothing but explosiveness.

Here’s the reality check: Fred Perry, who won three Wimbledons and achieved a career Grand Slam between 1933 and 1936, was the last British man to win a major. So pardon Great Britain’s tennis fans if they’re starved for consummation.

Knowing that Rusedski and Henman have their best tennis behind them, Great Britain, and especially its press, have heaped a huge burden of expectation upon Murray. His Wimbledon debut last year was solid, but hardly McEnroe ’77. Yet that didn’t stop the needy British tennis world from overreacting. After Murray won two rounds and was the last Brit standing, Henman Hill was renamed Murray Field. When Murray beat Henman in Basel, Switzerland, last fall, it was a huge changing-of-the-guard story.

“British tennis has had only Tim and Greg for the last 10 years, so I’ve prepared myself for it,” Murray says wearily. “I just have to try and get used to it because [the press] is going to be around for the next 10, 12 years of my life.”

The spotlight will be especially bright when he plays Wimbledon. Good thing Murray prefers the U.S. Open. “Wimbledon’s not my favorite tournament,” he blasphemes. “I don’t particularly like some of the rules there, and the atmosphere’s not as good as what it is at the U.S. Open. There’s much more noise there. Night matches. Playing under the lights. Rock music on the changeovers.”

Murray’s on-court behavior is more suited to Zoo York, too. “I throw my racquet sometimes and lose my temper a little bit,” he says. “But I think that shows that you care about what you’re doing.”

Murray’s love of the Open shows that while he is part of the British tennis world, he’s not really in it. Indeed, if English tennis has been a passion play, waiting for the next Wimbledon champion, then Scottish tennis before Murray has been nothing more than a punch line. The perception of Scottish tennis is best summed up in a Monty Python sketch in which John Cleese jokes, “Scots folk dinna know how to play the tennis to save their lives.” Then a kilt-wearing Scot named Angus Podgorny wins Wimbledon only after two spectators devour his opponent, a blancmange. Yes, if not for a couple of ravenous fans, the pride of Scottish tennis would have been defeated by a giant jellylike dessert.

Of course, Murray’s heritage will remain a double-edged sword. “He’ll only be Scottish on the BBC when he loses,” suggested one Scottish weekly.

When Murray began to show promise as a player in his teens, he left Scotland for better weather, tougher competition, and softer courts in Barcelona, Spain, where he still lives. (He says red clay is his best surface.) “I was practicing with guys who were ranked around 200 in the world when I was 15,” he says. “I was losing to them at the start but after about a year I was getting closer and closer and then I started to win against them. It’s good for your confidence.”

Murray showed his backbone when he played Federer in Bangkok. While he came away impressed by the world’s best player, Murray was hardly awed. “It took me five or six games before I settled down and figured out a good game plan to compete with him,” he says. “If you go for winners too early, he can get you running with his forehand. His forehand is the best shot I’ve played against. But the rest of his game I didn’t feel was so far away from mine.”

“Murray has a big repertoire of shots, a lot of qualities,” Federer said after the match. “He’s got to figure out how he wants to use his potential. If he works hard he’ll be a good player. I was impressed by him.”

Murray is a huge boxing fan—last fall he sparred with Olympic silver medalist and countryman Amir Khan—and you can see the fighting spirit in his game. While he’s got a powerful serve and a strapping forehand, it’s his grit that sets him apart. He plays with a grind-it-out mentality beyond his years. Unlike so many young players who fall in love with their strokes, happy to trade two sloppy errors for one flashy winner, Murray cleverly constructs points with topspin and slice and well-timed changes of pace.

The defining moment of his fledgling career took place at last year’s U.S. Open in a long first-round five-setter against Andrei Pavel. At the beginning of the deciding set, Murray took a big swig of Lucozade, an electrolyte drink, and he, well, spewed. It will go down as one of the great gastrointestinal moments in Flushing Meadows history, right beside Pete Sampras losing his lunch against Alex Corretja and James Blake’s technicolor yawn against Lleyton Hewitt.

“I drank too much,” says Murray, who fought through the incident to win the match. “I went to burp and I was just sick. I felt a little embarrassed and I felt a bit bad for the guy I was playing because a bit of the sick went on his bag. We had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to get cleaned up.”

In his next match Murray clawed his way back from two-sets-to-love down before losing against Arnaud Clement, one of the peskiest counter-punchers on tour. But when he came into the pressroom, the inquisition began. British scribes wondered why he wasn’t fitter. Murray answered the questions patiently, but you couldn’t blame him if he secretly seethed. He was 18, had played eight weeks in a row without losing in a first round, was only a few months past his last junior tournament—and he had to win three qualifying matches just to get into the Open’s main draw. Even the fittest pros wilt at the end of back-to-back five setters, yet the British press was holding Murray to a standard that Andre Agassi would be hard pressed to live up to.

But Murray seems to have a sense of the challenges ahead of him, some on the court, and many off it. “Sometimes,” he says, “I like when I get criticized because I want to prove people wrong.” He’s done a pretty good job of it so far.

Plays right-handed (two-handed backhand)
• Sponsored by Fred Perry
• Favorite film: The Girl Next Door
• Favorite CD: Encore, Eminem
• Favorite food: Subway
• Prematch ritual: Listening to his iPod
• Also plays soccer, and was once offered a chance to play with the Glasgow Rangers soccer team

“I throw my racquet sometimes and lose my temper a little bit,” Murray says. “But I think that shows that you care about what you’re doing.”

03-08-2006, 03:33 PM
Andy playing Estoril beginning of May now instead of Barcelona at end of April.

04-01-2006, 01:49 AM
Murray Still Doubtful for GB Tie

Andy Murray will wait until next Wednesday before deciding whether he is fit to play in Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Serbia & Montenegro.

A scan has revealed that the Scottish teenager damaged ankle ligaments at the Nasdaq 100 Open in Miami last week.

"The ligaments have not fully healed so we will need to monitor my progress on a daily basis," said Murray.

"I will practise with the team and continue the rehabilitation with caution so as not to aggravate it."

The 18-year-old added: "I will re-assess the injury on Wednesday after practice to determine whether or not I am fit to play on Friday."

Murray suffered the injury in his first-round defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka when he slipped and split the brace he has worn on his ankle since last summer.

The Davis Cup tie begins on Friday 7 April in Glasgow.

I hope that if Andy does decide to play that he is fully fit and back to normal. I don't want to see him make it worse in the tie. :o

04-01-2006, 02:46 AM
I hope that if Andy does decide to play that he is fully fit and back to normal. I don't want to see him make it worse in the tie. :o

Yea same here but I think if Andy's not healed he won't play. Well at least I hope not cause I know some will pressure him to.

04-01-2006, 03:11 PM
Let the DC alone. The most important thing is, a fit Andy winning on clay. Now he has to show which is his best surface;)

04-03-2006, 09:34 PM
Murray Illness Threatens GB Place

Andy Murray has been diagnosed with a fever and swollen glands just four days before Great Britain's crucial Davis Cup tie in Glasgow.

The 18-year-old is already struggling with damaged ankle ligaments, and is due to make a decision on whether or not to play after Wednesday's practice.

But Murray was forced to pull out of a charity coaching event in Glasgow on Monday after consulting a doctor.

Britain face Serbia & Montenegro from Friday at Glasgow's Braehead Arena.

A scan last week revealed that the Scottish teenager damaged ankle ligaments at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami last month.

"The ligaments have not fully healed so we will need to monitor my progress on a daily basis," said Murray.

"I will practise with the team and continue the rehabilitation with caution so as not to aggravate it."

The 18-year-old added: "I will re-assess the injury on Wednesday after practice to determine whether or not I am fit to play on Friday."

Murray suffered the injury in his first-round defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka when he slipped and split the brace he has worn on his ankle since last summer.

Poor Andy :sad: First he's injured and now he's sick :hug: Feel better soon!

04-06-2006, 09:06 PM
Murray Out of Opening GB Singles

Great Britain will be without Andy Murray for Friday's opening Davis Cup singles matches against Serbia & Montenegro in Glasgow.

But Murray, who has been suffering all week with a bacterial infection, has been selected alongside Greg Rusedski for Saturday's doubles.

Murray said: "I feel 10 times better than on Sunday and Monday but I felt I couldn't justify playing on Friday."

Rusedski and Arvind Parmar will now play in Friday's singles rubbers.

The first match at 1200 BST will see Rusedski face Janko Tipsarevic, followed by Parmar - yet to win a singles match in the Davis Cup in five attempts - against Novak Djokovic.

"From a totally selfish point of view it's a great opportunity for me to have another go and get back out there," Parmar told the LTA's website.

Rusedski and Murray will face Nenad Zimonjic and Ilia Bozoljac in the doubles at 1300 BST on Saturday.

Murray said the ankle ligaments he injured in Miami last month were no longer a concern.

"I hit balls for the first time yesterday and felt okay afterwards, and I played for an hour today, but I didn't think it was right for me to play if I was not 100%."

And Murray admitted that he had been advised not to play at all.

"The doctor's advice would be not to play because of what can happen with infections if you come back too quick," said Murray.

"He told me if it was his son, he would say not to play but it was obviously my decision if I wanted to play."

Great Britain captain Jeremy Bates added: "I'm not prepared to put Andy in a position that jeopardises his health.

"He is well on his way to recovering from a serious infection and it's a question of letting that run its course.

"To expect three days out of him is a little much and it's a question of being sensible really.

"He is very keen to play and be involved and everyone wants him to be involved, but you can't risk him playing here and then being out for three months."

I think that this is a very smart decision on his part. Get Well Soon Andy!!

04-07-2006, 07:06 AM
I hope he gets better soon. He prob shouldn't be playing at all but DC esp in Glasgow is a big pull.

04-09-2006, 05:09 PM
DC News: - Missing Murray? - Britain Fined for Murray Outbust - Britain Must Find New Players - GB Struggling After Doubles Loss - Rusedski Defeat Ends GB Challenge

04-09-2006, 05:11 PM
An interesting article:

Britain's Becker?

Davis Cup veteran John Lloyd believes Scottish teenager Andy Murray has the ability to reach the highest level and in doing so revolutionise tennis in Britain.

The Dunblane youngster's meteoric rise has already made a significant impact north of the border.

For the first time in 36 years a Davis Cup tie is taking place in Scotland, due largely to his involvement.

And last year's televised Scotland v England clash for the Aberdeen Cup would have been unthinkable were it not for the 18-year-old.

"It's been the problem in Britain for years that the public generally think of tennis as just Wimbledon," Lloyd told BBC Sport.

"And after a couple of weeks of excitement the public interest goes back into hibernation. We have to get the message out that tennis is a year-round game.

"It helps when you get stars in your own country and, if Andy Murray becomes the player I think he will, I think he's going to generate an unbelievable amount of interest in the sport.

"I really believe he has the potential to emulate what Boris Becker did in Germany because kids will always want to copy stars.

"He will have to win big tournaments to keep up that momentum and I believe he will.

"Okay, we had Tim Henman - and don't get me wrong - Tim has been a great example for British tennis, but Andy brings something different to the table.

"He has a more obvious appeal for youth in this country.

"And if we can get a few more kids taking up tennis then we have a larger talent pool and our sport will get bigger and better, and I really think Andy can help do that."

Murray missed the first day's play of the Davis Cup with Serbia and Montenegro due to illness.

But he wasn't afforded much rest at court-side in the Braehead Arena as long queues of children mobbed him for autographs - which he willingly provided.

"Another problem for the game is that is has an upper class image," continued Lloyd.

"And Wimbledon, great tournament that it is, in some ways has been detrimental to the game's growth.

"With the strawberries and cream and the ivy, a lot of people think it's out of their range and expensive.

"Andy Murray can change that because he doesn't view it as the ultimate event and talks about other tournaments.

"We need to stress that tennis is not such an expensive game. We can all play it and it's a wonderful family sport. It's a game for life."

04-09-2006, 05:30 PM
From a Q & A with Thomas Muster

"Take Pressure Off Murray"- Muster

The British media and public must take the pressure off Andy Murray, says former world number one Thomas Muster.

Murray, 18, has stormed up the world rankings in the last year and overtaken Tim Henman as British number one.

"Britain is a bit like Austria and Germany," Muster told BBC Sport. "You tend to push people to the skies when they have not really done anything.

"Then when they are down you step and spit on them! I would advise you to keep a neutral position."

Murray has always said his favourite surface is clay after spending his formative years training in Barcelona.

But Muster, who is currently playing in the Chevalier Champions in Hong Kong on the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions, believes the Scot may have more success on other surfaces.

"He's playing reasonably well but time will tell how his skills improve," said the Austria Davis Cup captain. "There is certainly a lot to improve in his game but he is a young guy.

"He can do very well on hard courts and grass and he grew up on clay, but I think he has developed a game which is better suited to hard courts.

"If I was his coach I would move him in the grass, hard court and indoor direction - he has a really good serve but a lot of players have that.

"There's a big difference between having a good game and being consistent, so I would not predict him to win the French Open at the moment!"

04-11-2006, 01:48 AM
Andy Murray also has been nominated for the Laureus Newcomer of the Year Award. The Scottish teenager made the biggest jump of any player in the Top 100 from the previous year, climbing 449 ranking spots. He was the second-youngest player in year-end Top 100 and the first teen from Great Britain to finish in year-end Top 100 since Buster Mottram in 1974. He reached at least the second round at nine of 10 ATP events.

He won't win, but at least its nice to be nominated for something :) (I'm going for Rafael since I think he deserves it)

04-11-2006, 03:50 PM
I don't know if this is the sort of thing that would interest any of you... but here goes anyway!!

it's a little bit of an old interview with my mate David Brewer in which he is talking about Andy...

it is quite old but it makes me giggle!!

On Thursday Brewer was doing the double act with 15-year-old fellow Scot Andrew Murray. With two years’ seniority over his compatriot and having made big strides in junior tennis, does the older Brewer pass on any tips to the talented Murray?
"I just made the leap from being in that position," he points out. "I’m still finding out what it is all about. So it is tough to pass on any information to Andrew. But just earlier he was asking: ‘How many points do I get for this?’ I’m like: ‘30’, and he’s like: ‘How many have you got?’ I say ‘300’, and he says: ‘Oh, I’m never going to get there.’ But it’s just gradual build-up; I tell him: ‘You’ll get points every week if you keep performing,’ and he’s like ‘Oh, okay.’"

i'm new around here, so i'm sorry if you've all seen this before!

04-11-2006, 09:22 PM
Welcome pal83 (Sorry I don't know your real name) :wavey:

Thanks for the article. I never saw it before :)

04-13-2006, 03:39 PM
i will be seeing David and a few of the other guys this weekend or next...
so i'll see if i can dig up anymore Andy gossip for you all! ;) :angel:

04-14-2006, 02:31 PM
Andy will play doubles with Tim at Monte Carlo

04-17-2006, 09:46 PM - Murray In No Hurry to Find Coach

04-20-2006, 02:26 AM
:wavey: Interesting!

The Times April 20, 2006
Murray returns to roots with approach for Perlas
By Neil Harman

The Scot opts for a Latin influence in his search for a new coach

JOSÉ PERLAS has been asked if he would fancy taking over as Andy Murray’s coach. The answer was “no”, but it was well worth the inquiry because Perlas, a Spaniard, has coached two French Open champions in Carlos Moyà and Albert Costa and it is to him that Juan Carlos Ferrero has turned to rejuvenate his career from its relative low of No 26 in the world.

It was a touch odd, during his defeat by Jean-Rene Lisnard here at the Monte Carlo Masters Series event on Tuesday, to see Murray turning to his girlfriend, manager and physical trainer, when they can offer only moral support. The decision to replace Mark Petchey after ten productive months prompted grand debates about why the crunch came — a couple of on-court clashes in Indian Wells last month were the beginning of the end — and it leaves Murray vulnerable at a crucial moment.

The networking has already begun and Perlas would have been a mighty catch. However, Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion, pounced when Perlas split with Guillermo Coria after a year trying to coax the Argentinian to live up to his talents. Antonio Martínez, who has mentored the 26-year-old Ferrero since he was 9, remains in the background for spiritual guidance.

The player just wanted a different voice offering the daily mantra. “I want to show everybody and especially my new coach that I can be the same as before,” Ferrero, who became No 1 in the world after reaching the 2003 US Open final, said yesterday. “I want new words and new motivation.” Nothing there about changing styles, said to be the sole reason behind Petchey’s departure.

So what is a coach other than, as Brad Gilbert, who has tutored Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, says, someone to blame when his player loses? They do whatever they can to make their charge comfortable, speak when spoken to, give encouragement at the appropriate moment — coaches invariably nod at their players even when they have made a total hash of a shot — make sure the courtesy car arrives when wanted, scout the opposition and pray their man or woman does not wake up one morning and loathe the sight of them.

Perlas lasted a year before Coria, on whom Murray bases much of his game, responded to a fractured 2005 (two defeats in finals by Rafael Nadal and one grand-slam quarter-final) by dropping him like a stone in favour of José Higueras, another Spaniard who inspired Michael Chang and Jim Courier to their French Open successes. But what can a man in the stands do when, as Coria was against Paul-Henri Mathieu yesterday, his charge is 6-1, 5-1 down and serving like Anna Kournikova at her double fault-ridden worst?

Coria kept shooting glances across and what he got back from Higueras was the sense of calm that finally transported itself into his game. He saved four match points and on his own seventh, nailed a forehand pass to win 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 47 minutes. He could almost forget the 20 double faults. “I hired Higueras especially because I want to get to a higher level,” the world No 9 said. “We are in a period where we’re getting to know each other. We will work through Wimbledon and make another decision. He had very good results as both a player and a coach.”

One player is usually enough to be getting on with, but Riccardo Piatti, of Italy, coaches two — Ivan Ljubicic, the world No 5, and Novak Djokovic, the teenage Serb at No 67 coming of age every bit as swiftly as Murray. “I consider Novak to be one of the top players already. He has more talent at his age than Ivan, but he has to learn about the vision of a professional, he needs to understand ‘the way.’ ” Piatti said. “Like Murray, he needs to make mistakes, to go through all the experiences. They have to be able to control themselves through so many problems. Only that way can they learn.”

Bob Brett, who took over Boris Becker’s stellar career in 1987 and remained until 1991, described his role as “managing the product”. Ion Tiriac, Becker’s manager, had preferred to hire someone with a prodigious playing record, but Becker held sway and chose Brett — “because he wanted commitment and passion, which I had brought to the careers of both John Lloyd and Robert Seguso,” Brett said. “And we just clicked.”

Murray requires that clicking sensation and his own product management. The move for Perlas indicates the likelihood of a return to Latin influences. The Scot spent the best part of three years at the Barcelona academy run by Sergio Casal and Emilio Sánchez, two former professionals, learning the basics of point construction, how hard he would have to work for his pay and they, in turn, found him an excellent pupil. Turning that into gold is the next man’s task, whoever it may be.,00.html

04-21-2006, 04:22 PM

Murray ponders Bollettieri offer

British number one Murray is currently ranked 45th in the world
Veteran tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has offered a "guiding hand" to British number one Andy Murray as he steps up his search for a new coach.
The 74-year-old American played a key role in the careers of Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova.

"I've spoken with Andy's mum, Judy Murray, in the past couple of days and Andy knows my offer is on the table," Bollettieri told The Independent.

"They have a lot of options and will take time to make the right decision."

Murray, 18, split from coach Mark Petchey last week after only 10 months together, citing a "difference of opinion".

Andy's got that radical streak I saw in a young Agassi

Nick Bolletttieri
Bolletttieri is not keen on a day-to-day role on the tour, but feels he could become part of Murray's support team.

"There can be a role for an older guiding hand to offer advice, perspective, sometimes one-on-one intensive sessions ahead of big events - it's the job I think I could do for Andy," he added.

Murray's mother Judy is a coach herself in Scottish tennis and is familiar with Bollettieri's famed academy in Florida.

Graeme Dyce: A New Braveheart
One of her former charges, 16-year-old Graeme Dyce from Edinburgh, is currently a student there.

Bollettieri outlined Murray's "natural talent" and "attitude" as reasons why he would like to work with the teenage Scot.

"I've likened him before to Jim Courier, the ultimate workhorse, because I see his determination to give his all," he added.

"And he's got that radical streak I saw in a young Agassi when I was his coach. He knows his mind and he's not afraid to voice it.

"Andy has the potential, with hard work and the right guidance and the proper dedication, to win major tournaments."

05-14-2006, 11:28 AM
Hi :wavey: I admit that I have never posted here before because I'm not a Murray fan :o (hope you can forgive me) - but I found this article on Fernando Gonzalez' Forum and thought you might be interested to read it:-

Murray wants coach Stefanki
Richard Evans
Sunday May 14, 2006
The Observer

Larry Stefanki, the American who spent a period of mixed success in charge of Tim Henman's career two years ago, is the man Andy Murray wants to succeed Mark Petchey as his coach. Stefanki, however, may not accept. Murray admitted last week that Patricio Apey, his agent, had been talking to the coach he had in mind. That man is Stefanki, but because of family commitments the coach might not be prepared to travel the circuit with Murray for 30 weeks a year.

Stefanki has two sons, aged 15 and 11, and wants to spend as much time as he can with them at his California home. Stefanki was not available for comment yesterday. In the past, he has said that his days as a globe-trotting coach are over, but it is thought he may contemplate 10 weeks on the road.
It remains to be seen whether a compromise can be reached. Murray likes California and if he were prepared to spend time near San Diego, where the weather and facilities are as good as anywhere, a deal is still possible.

Stefanki is also being wooed by Fernando Gonzalez, who split from his long-time coach, Horatio de la Pena, earlier this year. I understand the Chilean would not want a coach travelling with him all the time and, while Stefanki is a huge admirer of Murray, a lighter travelling load would appeal to him more.

Apart from Bob Brett, there is no coach currently unattached with better credentials than Stefanki. Helping John McEnroe resurrect his career in the late 1980s was the least of Stefanki's achievements. Accepting the unenviable job of taming the truculent Chilean Marcelo Rios, Stefanki guided the gifted lefthander to number one in the world in 1998 and was promptly fired for his efforts.

Undaunted, Stefanki took on another player considered to be high on the difficult list, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and was rewarded almost immediately when the Russian won the Australian Open. Soon, he, too, was number one in the world.

It was this success that prompted Henman to seek Stefanki's services in the summer of 2001. Henman reached his fourth Wimbledon semi-final the following summer and claimed his highest world ranking of four a few weeks later.

But Stefanki was soon being criticised for toning down Henman's first serve in an effort to make it more accurate and the pair parted on good terms in 2003. Very soon after Henman won his first and only ATP Masters Series title in Paris and, in 2004, achieved a feat that most experts thought beyond him - a semi-final place at the French Open. Almost as impressive was his run to the US Open semi-final that same year and, although Paul Annacone was working with him by this time, Henman did not deny that the things he had learned from Stefanki had enabled him to prove himself on surfaces other than grass.

Top seed Roger Federer advanced to his thirteenth straight final with an errorfilled 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) win over third seed David Nalbandian at the Rome Masters. Federer struggled with his accuracy for long periods, but regained form midway through the third set.

After trading breaks twice in the decisive set, Federer took control of the tiebreaker with a backhand service return winner to go up 6-4. The match ended when Nalbandian's forehand sailed long on Federer's second match point.

In today's final, Federer will meet either second-ranked Rafael Nadal or fellow 19-year-old Gael Monfils of France, who meet in the other semifinal.

05-18-2006, 09:41 PM
Murray Expected Felgate Dismissal

Andy Murray says he was not surprised that Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) performance director David Felgate was sacked earlier this week.

New LTA chief executive Roger Draper dismissed Felgate, along with two other senior directors, on Tuesday.

"A lot of people were expecting it," said the British number two.

"It shows Roger isn't afraid of change and if he saw the standard Dave was achieving wasn't good enough, then you could argue that's a good thing."

Murray, who spent most of his early career outside the LTA system learning his craft in Spain, hopes Draper's arrival last month signalled the start of long-term change at the LTA.

Felgate spent three years in charge of performance, the same amount as his predecessor Patrice Hagelauer.

"There has been a lot of restructuring but nothing has really got a lot of time," said the 19-year-old.

"Patrice wasn't in the job long enough to make huge changes and neither was Dave.

"Hopefully, whoever comes in next will be given plenty of time because, with the standard of British tennis at the moment, it is difficult to make a difference in just three years."

Murray, 19, is widely expected to become Britain's only world-class player when Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman, both in their thirties, decide to retire.

But the Scot could be joined by talented Serbian teenager Novak Djokovic after his parents discussed a possible move to Britain with the LTA.

Novak is understood to want to become a British citizen and is a close friend of Murray on the tour.

"I don't have anything against it if he does want to become British," said Murray.

"It is his decision. I haven't spoken to him about it but if there is any truth in it then I'm sure I will."


12-05-2006, 06:20 PM -- Goran Ivanisevic believes Andy has what it takes to be the world number one. :eek:

Very interesting read :)

12-30-2006, 02:05 PM
I found this report on the news and thought it would be interesting for you :wavey:


Andy Murray: 'With Brad I know what I'm doing out there'

In the last of our series of interviews with major sporting figures for whom 2006 was a pivotal year, Andy Murray reflects on his amazing charge up the rankings, explains his change of coach and recalls his first ATP Tour win and a victory over the world No 1

By Paul Newman, Tennis Correspondent

Published: 30 December 2006
In the five months since he started working with Andre Agassi's former coach, Murray has climbed from No 35 to No 17 in the world

It was not what you might have expected in a job interview, especially if you were the one doing the recruiting. Andy Murray was thinking of hiring Brad Gilbert as his new coach and was in the middle of their first meeting, at this year's French Open in Paris, when the American asked him to take off his shirt, so that he could get a better idea of his physique.
"For most people I wouldn't have done that, but because it was him I took it off," Murray said. "That was what I liked. He has very strong opinions. And when you get two people together like me and him with very strong opinions, you either get on or it blows up.
"He didn't really listen much, but that was another of the things I quite liked. I felt I needed someone who could tell me what to do. If I was going to go and run for 10 miles, I'd go and run for 10 miles." Gilbert has been doing most of the talking ever since, but Murray - who decided at that first meeting that the American was the coach he wanted - has no complaints. If the first turning point in the 19-year-old Scot's breakthrough year, his maiden tournament victory in San Jose in February, came when Mark Petchey was still his coach, it has been under Gilbert that Murray has established himself as a major player on the international stage.

In the five months since he started working with Andre Agassi's former coach, Murray has climbed from No 35 to No 17 in the world, played in the last 16 of the US Open, reached one tournament final (in Washington) and a Masters series semi-final (in Toronto) and beaten major opponents like Roger Federer, the world No 1, and Ivan Ljubicic, the No 3, in Masters events in Cincinnati and Madrid respectively.
Those who have doubted Murray's credentials in a year which has also brought occasional disappointments should consider that he will not be out of his teens until next May; when Federer was Murray's age he finished the year ranked No 29 in the world and had yet to win a title.

If there was one performance that made the rest of the game take notice of Murray it was his stunning 7-5, 6-4 victory over Federer in August. Rafael Nadal, who got the better of the Wimbledon champion in four finals in the first half of the year, is the only other player to beat him in 2006.
While excuses were made for Federer, who had played seven matches in the previous eight days, it was conveniently forgotten that Murray had played six times over the same period and, moreover, had played five matches in Washington the week before that, when the Swiss was not competing.
"Even when Federer loses to Nadal on clay everyone says he didn't play his best match, or that he could have done this or that better," Murray said. "The opponent sometimes doesn't get the credit. He only lost five times this year, so how many times did he not play at his best and still win? I know he didn't play his best against me, but he still has to be beaten and only Nadal and myself did that this year."

Having been encouraged by his performance in losing two tight sets against Federer in his first senior final in Bangkok last year, Murray went on court in Cincinnati believing he could win, as did his coach. "Brad said very little before I went on," Murray recalled. "He gave me one tip before the match - though I'm not going to tell you what it was. I think he spoke to Agassi beforehand. He speaks to him pretty much every couple of days anyway. Brad told me to believe that I could win, to have fun and go and do it. That was the last thing he said to me before I went on.
"After the match I saw Brad as I came off court and he just said to me: 'Act like you belong.' When I went into the locker room a few of the other guys came up to me and said things like: 'Good job.' Afterwards I just had a shower, went for a burger with Brad and had a massage. That became my routine for the week after each match." It was no surprise that Murray enjoyed his biggest win in the States. His affinity with the country and its people was evident at this year's US Open, where he was hugely popular with the crowds.

"I love America," he said. "All the major milestones in my career so far have been in the States: I won the Orange Bowl there when I was 12, I won the US Open junior title, my first senior tournament in San Jose. I always felt I would work well with an American like Brad. I'd prefer to be with someone who's in your face and always positive rather than someone who's maybe a bit negative and doesn't speak as much."

Parting from Petchey in the spring was one of Murray's hardest decisions. "He's a great coach and helped me a lot with my game," he said. "However, I just felt that things were starting to get progressively worse. We were disagreeing on a lot of things and I wanted to stop on a high note, when I was ranked No 37 in the world, having been No 437 or whatever it was when we started working together last year." Murray denies that he and Petchey saw his game differently, with the coach wanting him to be more aggressive and the player feeling more comfortable as a counter-puncher. "It wasn't a case of him trying to pull me in one direction. I just think that it's easy to say to someone that you need to be more aggressive. You need to know how to be more aggressive.
"With Brad now I know what I'm doing out there. I know what I need to work on and you have to be able to change during matches. It's a case of knowing how to play each opponent. I know my failure to be more aggressive has cost me dearly in some matches where I've done a lot of running. That's something I'll work on in the next few weeks before the Australian Open." Next month's Grand Slam tournament Down Under is a timely reminder of the progress Murray has made in the last year, on and off the court. In particular, he has learnt much about coping with the close attentions of the media.

If Murray was unhappy with what he saw as unrealistic media expectations when he lost to Juan Ignacio Chela in the first round in Melbourne, he was aghast at some of the outraged reaction to his swearing in a Davis Cup tie in Glasgow and found himself at the centre of controversies for innocuous remarks about women's tennis and who he would be supporting at the World Cup.
"I was getting frustrated with that sort of thing but now I think I handle it with much more class than I did at the start of the year," Murray said. "I'm not getting down about questions that I'm being asked or stories that are written about me. It doesn't affect me any more." That growing maturity brings its own rewards, for Murray has become one of the game's most marketable figures. TAG Heuer, for example, invited the Scot to join its select group of sponsored "ambassadors", which includes Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt and Maria Sharapova, the only other tennis player on the Swiss watch company's books.

If falling at the first hurdle in Melbourne dented Murray's confidence it was quickly restored in California, where he beat Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt in successive matches to win his first title. "I played great for the whole week in San Jose, from the moment I was broken in my first service game against Mardy Fish and went 2-0 down," Murray recalled.
"Then I was thinking: 'Oh God, this is going to be another bad week.' But after that I won seven or eight games in a row and started playing great. I only played one bad set in the whole tournament, against Hewitt in the final. That was probably down to nerves and it was good to come back against, and beat, a player of his class." Nevertheless, inconsistency became a recurring theme of Murray's year. Some niggling injuries in the spring did not help during a run of 10 defeats in 13 matches, though he has always insisted there is no long-term problem with his fitness. "I just don't see how you can be in the top 20 in the world when you're only 19 years old and have a problem with your body," he said.

"I played the whole year without withdrawing from a single tournament through injury. All of the other young guys were pulling out. [Gaël] Monfils got injured after Wimbledon, [Richard] Gasquet was injured for two months after the Davis Cup, Nadal was injured for five months at the end of last year, [Novak] Djokovic pulled out of three or four tournaments this year."
Murray put his back problems down to growing pains, which remain a factor. "I'm still growing," he said. "In the two weeks I had off last month I grew five millimetres. I had some problems with my knees when I started practising again and I think that was because I'm still growing and also because I'd taken some time off. Maybe my body was recovering." The springtime blues were rapidly dispelled in the summer. "I literally felt things change from the moment I walked out on to Centre Court at Wimbledon," Murray said. "I was nervous in my first few games against [Nicolas] Massu, but my confidence came back very quickly. I felt a different player. In a very short space of time I didn't feel nervous. I wasn't low on confidence, I was just enjoying being out there.
"I think that showed in the way I played. Before Wimbledon I was getting annoyed on court and having a few injury problems. I probably wasn't at my happiest until that point, but from there onwards my tennis got so much better, right to the end of the year."

The straight-sets Wimbledon win over Roddick, the No 3 seed, brought particular pleasure. "I was getting sliced lobs over his head, I was bringing him into the net, I was hitting passing shots, I was reading his serve. I got broken once in the whole match and even then I broke him straight back.
"It was as if everything was going my way, even though we exchanged some words across the net. I hit a forehand that hit the line and was called out, but the umpire correctly overruled. I started speaking to the umpire and Roddick turned round and said: 'What are you complaining about? You haven't had an over-rule against you the whole match.' I said something back to him and he started trying to get in my face a bit. I felt I dealt with everything well during the match. I didn't get angry once, I didn't throw my racket once, I wasn't shouting. I just played my best tennis."

More was to follow on his favoured hard courts in north America. Murray rates his wins over Federer in Cincinnati and Hewitt in San Jose alongside his mauling of Roddick at Wimbledon as his year's best victories, though he reckons his finest tennis was in a three-set victory over Jarkko Nieminen in Toronto. "I was enjoying the way I was playing that day," he said. "I was coming into the net. I think I won maybe 27 out of 32 net points. I was hitting good volleys and I was dictating all of the points."

Nevertheless, the wins over Roddick at Wimbledon and Fernando Gonzalez, the No 10 seed, at the US Open were followed by disappointing exits at the hands of Marcos Baghdatis and Nikolai Davydenko. Murray was not unhappy with his display against Davydenko, who went on to reach the semi-finals and finish the year as world No 3, but felt he played poorly against Baghdatis.
"I was missing returns which I don't normally do, making basic mistakes. I changed my game around a bit in the third set. I started playing a bit of serve-and-volley. I had a chance when I was 6-5 up and 30-30 second serve, but I mis-hit a backhand return off the second serve, which is generally my best shot. I couldn't quite get any momentum. I just wasn't playing well enough."
The good news for British fans is that Gilbert believes Wimbledon could provide Murray with his best chance of winning a Grand Slam tournament. And Murray himself? "I still think the courts at the US Open suit my game a bit better, but maybe there aren't as many guys who play as well on grass. If a couple of the big guys fall it might open up a bit more. The draw doesn't tend to open up as much at the US Open because there are so many guys who can play well on hard courts."

* Where did you watch the World Cup final? At a tournament at Newport, Rhode Island. I was a bit disappointed that Zidane didn't headbutt Materazzi on the nose. What Materazzi said was out of order. It was going to be Zidane's last match anyway, so why just headbutt him in the chest?

* Which event outside of your own sport did you most enjoy watching? The event I enjoyed most over the last 18 months or so was Floyd Mayweather Jnr beating Arturo Gatti inside six rounds. Mayweather was brilliant. Gatti was constantly getting hit but Mayweather was almost untouched.

* What was the funniest thing that happened to you this year? In Washington Brad [Gilbert] asked me the name of one of the ATP Tour managers, Stephen Duckitt. For a laugh I told him it was Paul. For the rest of the week whenever Brad saw Stephen he'd say: 'Hi, Paul!' On the night before the final I said to Brad: 'I think I'd better tell you his name is actually Stephen.' Brad was distraught and said: 'I must apologise to him.' He rushed over to see Stephen but just missed him as he'd got into a lift. The next day Brad was so confused he saw one of the trainers, whose name is Paul, and said: 'I'm so sorry, Stephen, I've been calling you Paul all week.' Paul looked very confused and replied: 'But I am Paul.' Brad was just totally bewildered.

* What is your main aim for 2007? I have a world ranking in mind but I'm not going to make that public because if I had to take a couple of months off with injury it could be tough getting my ranking up, especially at the level I'm at now. One opponent I'd love to play next year is Rafael Nadal. I've played against a lot of the top 10 guys but not him. I'd rather not play him on clay, but if we met on an American hard court it would be a good chance to see where I'm at.


12-30-2006, 03:07 PM,,1980174,00.html

Sorry, I haven't cut and pasted the whole article, but it's about Andy's endorsement deals and his new deal with Highland Springs water. There's also a nice bit at the end about Andy still travelling on the Tube and generally keeping it real!:D

The same newspaper (Guardian, Saturday 30th December) also bigs up Jamie's chances as a doubles player next year.

12-30-2006, 03:18 PM
Hairy moments fail to halt Murray's progress


WHILE Andy Murray's year ended with water it began in the soup in New Zealand. Lucrative sponsorship deals with Highland Spring were far from anyone's mind as he remarked after a tournament in Auckland that he and his opponent had played "like girls". Cue a storm of protest, something Murray did well to ride both then and later, when, during Wimbledon, his progress sparked a furious debate on whether middle England should wish this moody Scot well.
Murray had angered some when making a throw-away remark about supporting England's opponents in the World Cup, and the comments section on his website duly went into meltdown. Murray's tennis meant that the debate was a sustained one, since the Scot made it as far as the second week. This run, which saw him memorably dispose of the third seed, Andy Roddick, in straight sets, was finally ended by Marcos Baghdatis in the fourth round.
Losing to the in-form Cypriot was no disgrace, and, indeed, Baghdatis made it to the semi-final. Inevitably Roger Federer claimed the Wimbledon crown for the fourth time, although Murray proved that the world No 1 is not invincible in what was, perhaps, the defining moment of his last 12 months.
At a Masters event in Cincinnati in August, Murray posted the biggest win of his career when becoming the first person to defeat Federer in 14 months. The 7-5, 6-4 victory helped nudge him further up the rankings, and a year which began with Murray outside the top 50 has ended with him eyeing a place in the top ten. This, according to his new coach Brad Gilbert, is achievable in 2007, with Murray currently at No 17. The highly-regarded American, who was credited with rescuing the career of Andre Agassi, was tempted to work with Murray after Wimbledon. The Scot had already broken off his working relationship with previous mentor, Mark Petchey.
It had been a surprise decision to dispense with the services of Petchey, who had been with Murray as he lifted his first ATP Tour title at the SAP Open in San Jose in February. The Scot defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the final, but also swept past Roddick in the semi-final. This was the first real indication that he was ready to compete at the very top, with his first major of the year in Australia an unhappy experience. Murray crashed out in the first round against Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela, and afterwards railed against those who expected him to flourish in every match he played.
"If you guys [the media] expect me to play well in every single match and every single tournament then it's not going to happen," he warned. But Murray did little to lower the expectation levels with his subsequent endeavours.
By the time he arrived at Wimbledon in June, even a first-round exit at the French Open, against fellow teenager Gael Monfils, had done little to douse Murray-mania. This was further stoked by an incredibly efficient win over Roddick in the third round. Unfortunately, a flat Murray fell to Baghdatis 48 hours later, and if there is something he has to work on next year it is his consistency.
In Newport just a month after Wimbledon, and after defeating Robert Kendrick 6-0, 6-0, he fell to a straight-sets loss to No 111 Justin Gimelstob. But the recruitment of Gilbert is designed to help iron out these flaws, and with a million pound-plus sponsorship deal announced on Thursday with mineral water company Highland Spring, the Scot now seems set to make 2007 another year of progress.
Whatever happens, few in the country can claim not to be interested in the unfolding story of Scotland's most promising sports star. Even when he got his hair cut it made national news, with 13,000 visitors to his website deciding what style he should adopt. A short back and sides came up tops, and the money raised - nearly £10,000 - going to Children in Need.
He also helped give Scotland something not seen since 1970 - a Davis Cup tie. Unfortunately, not even Murray, hampered by a virus, could prevent Great Britain losing against Serbia & Montenegro at Braehead, although he did manage to land his side with a first-ever fine for misconduct in the competition after swearing at an official.


01-11-2007, 03:13 PM
Murray's fitness problems "a thing of the past"

That's according to track legend Michael Johnson anyway.

Olympic legend Michael Johnson believes Andy Murray's fitness problems are a thing of the past after training the British tennis star this winter.

The former US sprinter put 19-year-old Murray through a gruelling track session in California last month before designing a series of workouts for him.

"Andy has been doing well with the track sessions and working hard in the weights room," Johnson told BBC Sport.

"I'm certain we will see an improvement with Andy this year."

The partnership came about following a conversation between Johnson and Murray's coach, Brad Gilbert.

"Brad is a long-time friend and neighbour of mine," said Johnson, who is the world record holder at 200m and 400m.

"I just happened to be at his house one day and he asked my advice about working on speed, conditioning and movement.

"That planted a seed in his mind. So we started to talk to Andy and he was very interested in learning how he could improve his speed and condition.

"We decided to go down to the track and then I put together some workouts for he and Brad to do."

Gilbert began working with Murray last July, and one of his first aims was to improve the teenager's strength and fitness.

The Scot's stamina was questioned during his breakthrough season of 2005, when he suffered cramp at Queen's and Wimbledon and vomited during a match at the US Open.

Murray has worked hard on his fitness since then and Johnson said he was impressed with his overall condition.

"Andy was already in great shape but he wasn't used to track training," Johnson said.

"We started with a session where he had to run 200m within a certain time, have a short rest and then sprint again. We did that over and over.

"At the start it was a shock to his body, but he got more comfortable as he got used to it and it will certainly help his game.

"The aim is for him to go out there and reach a peak in a tennis match and sustain it for a long period of time.

"If he can sustain that top level for much longer, and delay the fatigue, then that is certainly going to be advantageous."

Johnson, 39, said he was very impressed with Murray's approach to training.

"His maturity was more than I had expected," said Johnson.

"Andy is very young, so he doesn't know a lot about training yet. But the advantage he has is that he wants to learn. He's full of questions, which is great.

"When we talked about doing a workout at the track, he wanted to know exactly how it was going to help him.

"He asked me, 'How is this going to help me and is it going to hurt me in any way?' That's great because a lot of athletes go out there and train for hours without knowing exactly what they're going to gain from it.

"That's never the case with Andy, because he's always analysing what he's doing and why he's doing it.

"And he's bought into the fact that Brad is very much into conditioning and hard work.

"Brad understands from his own career that you've got to go out there and work your butt off in order to reap rewards."

Murray is currently playing in the Kooyong Classic ahead of next week's Australian Open, where he will seeded for the first time.

The Scot is ranked at an all-time high of 15 in the world and will have the same seeding in Melbourne.

Johnson, who runs a company helping athletes with their training, is keen to work with Murray again in the future.

"If Andy needs help, he knows he can give me a call," he said.

"I'll certainly be talking to Brad from time to time. I spoke to him the other day in Australia and things seemed to be going well.

"Brad's always looking for advice and ways to do things better."

01-12-2007, 06:32 PM
More Guardian gold! ;) I especially like the included index of Gilbert-isms.,,1988726,00.html

Buffed-up Murray backed to 'bust sleeveless'

There was a time when the thought of Andy Murray striding on to Centre Court in a sleeveless shirt, à la Rafael Nadal, might have been cause for a smirk or two but, if his coach, Brad Gilbert, is to be believed, this summer audiences may be marvelling at the Scot's ripped biceps. It would have been tempting to assume Gilbert was joking when he suggested it until he began detailing just how much work Murray has been putting in to buff up his physique.

"We were hoping that he could bust sleeveless at Wimbledon '08 but now, if he works hard enough, it could be Wimbledon '07," said Gilbert yesterday, using his own peculiar interpretation of the English language. "That's the litmus test, busting sleeveless. Then you've got some guns."
For those who have not done the evening course in Gilbert-speak, he meant that Murray has added some conspicuous firepower, speed and stamina to the thoughtful, clever tennis that comes naturally to him. Murray is set to get stronger still as he continues the programme Gilbert's fitness trainer, Mark Grabow, worked out for him during the intense 10-day training block they had in California in December.

Pull the rip cord.

Elevate one's performance in order to disarm one's opponent.

Do the worm.

Perform celebratory dance.

Give big props to.

Praise fulsomely.

Ride the pine.

Sit idly on the sidelines.

Take to the wood shed.

Defeat comprehensively.

I'm bummed for him.

I share his disappointment at another first-round, straight-sets defeat.

He puts his hard hat on week after week out there.

He strives relentlessly for perfection.

This guy's dishes are off the hook.

The head chef's dover sole really is a must.

01-12-2007, 06:41 PM
Thanks Cherry@Cupcake, nice article! :wavey: :lol:

Seeing Murray in a sleeveless would be an interesting site, he needs to have the 'guns' to show off though. Lol.

01-13-2007, 01:42 PM
I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to see Andy in a sleeveless shirt, no matter how much he's buffed up his guns :eek: :o :lol:

On the other hand (and :topic: ) I'm busy doing the worm thanks to Andy's win over Marat.

Okay, that just sounds rude and slightly disturbing.

02-24-2007, 11:33 AM
McEnroe sees much of himself in Murray

By Mark Hodgkinson

An excitable presence on court? Touch and craft off the strings, rather than just slugging the ball? Notice any similarities there? Not only has John McEnroe disclosed that he sees some of himself in Andy Murray, the New Yorker also predicted for the first time that the British teenager "absolutely" has the talent to become a grand slam champion.
McEnroe and Murray are those rare beasts, instinctive tennis players. "Only certain players have a natural feel for the game - that's what people said about me, and Murray's got the same ability to come up with the shots. It's like his mind is a computer, and he can work certain things out and he can do any number of things which seem real easy, but which are actually a lot more difficult than they seem. Just like me, he has a sort of natural ability to play tennis," McEnroe said, and some have seen the two as kindred spirits.
"I think that he can definitely win a grand slam, absolutely. Obviously, a lot of that depends on Roger Federer and the luck of the draw, but there's no question that he's among a group of young guys on the way up - like Richard Gasquet, Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych - and one of them is going to make the next step this year. I'm not sure which one it will be yet, but it looks as though Murray is the slight favourite. I would definitely put him as the likeliest guy to step up."
As a three-time Wimbledon singles champion, McEnroe knows a thing or two (or three) about how to compete on the All England Club grass, and he maintained that the London grand slam represented Murray's best chance of winning a major.
"Even though Murray's game may be better suited to hard courts, and playing at the US Open, he may actually have a better shot at Wimbledon, even though he doesn't realise that yet," said McEnroe, who has been in Belfast this week for the first stop of the BlackRock Tour of Champions, which climaxes at London's Albert Hall in December. "There aren't as many people who can play well on grass. I always thought Federer was better on hard courts than he was on grass, but where did he win his first grand slam? At Wimbledon. You could make that same argument for Murray, that it's more likely to happen at Wimbledon."
McEnroe said Murray could help his cause at Wimbledon this year by being "happier on court". The American has no issue with Murray "getting mad" during his matches - after all that is what McEnroe did for all of his career - but he feels that the young Scot should have more positive energy when his tennis is working. So, whether a match is going Murray's way or not, McEnroe said, the world No 13 should let out all his emotions.
"You're asking me whether being animated is good for Murray? Animation is my middle name," McEnroe said. "Whether it's me or Murray or anyone else, I prefer it when players are animated on court. There has been talk that he needs to pull back and control himself on court, and I totally disagree with that. I feel like he sometimes get his emotions all bottled up - I think he did that at Wimbledon last year, and that really hurt him in the match that he lost in the fourth round. He seemed very tense. But he's in a different situation now. He's on his way."
McEnroe argued that Murray needed to control any negative thoughts. "I'd like to see him get a bit more fired-up, but some of the time he gets too negative," he said. "Some people use that negativity in a positive way.
"I had the same problem with being too negative. I look back and I think I could have been more positive at times. So I'm not going to say that it's easy to do, but I would like to see him feeling better about himself when he does good things, as opposed to just getting mad when he does the bad things.
"You know, a combination would be good. I don't mind him getting real mad, just so long as he shows some happiness when he is doing real great." Such has been Murray's tennis in recent months, McEnroe said, that the 19-year-old will now be able to put the fear into his opponents. He added: "People have realised that Murray is going to be in the top 10 in six months or less - he could be there in a month. People are going to look at him differently, and that means that he is able to intimidate a few people.
"On the other hand, people are going to be shooting for him now. It will be interesting to see what happens when Murray gets into the top 10 and what happens this year. He's 6ft 3in tall and he's getting stronger, that's going to come in handy. There's something about Murray."


03-16-2007, 07:20 PM
Murray now planning to slam-dunk Haas
March 15 2007

Andy Murray might have grown up watching Hibernian and dreaming of playing the kind of football that involves a round ball and no shoulder pads, but there are signs his coach Brad Gilbert's influence now extends to Murray's taste in sport.
Gilbert is obsessed with all American sports and, as he is never short of a word on any topic, it is safe to assume that Murray has been bombarded with information about who is doing what to whom in the wacky world of NBA, NFL, NHL, ESPN and any other acronym associated with sport Stateside.
But it is Gilbert's interest in basketball which has really paid dividends. Murray's work with the basketball trainer Mark Grabow is undoubtedly one of the key reasons why he goes into today's quarter-final against the world No.9 Tommy Haas at the Pacific Life Open with a far better chance of winning the match than he would have had a year ago.
"Physically, I'm much stronger, that's the No. 1 thing that's different," said Murray. "Last year against guys like him who do a lot of running, I'd be out of breath after two, three points, and I'd play some sloppy shots to kind of get my breath back and end points too quickly.
"Now I feel like I can run out there for 21/2 hours, three hours in that heat and feel okay. So I'm not panicking when I'm having to do a lot of running. I feel fine when I have to do it, and that's the main difference between now and last year."
Murray has been to watch the Golden State Warriors team Grabow works with and has met some of the players, as well as used some of the same training methods as they do. He has also become something of a convert to their sport.
"I don't like American football because it's too slow, but basketball I actually like. I went to a couple of matches and I really enjoyed it," said Murray. "Obviously Brad speaks about American sports a lot and I started following it. There's more stats to learn and I'm quite into that."
He will need to be every bit as physically strong and mentally resilient against Haas as he was against Nikolay Davydenko in the previous round. Although Haas is ranked lower than the Russian, he made the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January and has already won a title this year in Memphis.
Murray has never played the 28-year-old German before but the pair know each other from training together in December at Nick Bollettieri's academy in Florida.
"He's a tricky player," said Haas. "He walks around the court like he can't go on anymore after like two points and you think he's going to retire any second. But at the same time, he moves around the court pretty well, almost as good as anyone out there. He's got some fantastic hands, great touch, and he competes hard, even though he let's his emotions out as well, which I like."
Murray and Tim Henman, meanwhile, lost 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles quarter-finals in Indian Wells yesterday to top seeds Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman.
The Brits combined well, but not well enough to get past the World No.1 and No.2 in doubles. The Belarussian and the Swede put Murray's serve under relentless pressure to elicit an early break of serve in the first set and though Murray and Henman were twice a break up in the second set, the more settled pair were simply too quick and clever for them.

Source: ning_to_slamdunk_haas.php

03-22-2007, 03:59 PM
Murray round table press conference in Miami

Free login to access audio section

04-14-2007, 02:27 AM
Hey, Muzzah is in the Top 10

05-02-2007, 08:14 PM

McEnroe: Murray can find feet on clay

John McEnroe has backed British number one Andy Murray to conquer his clay court issues and continue to establish himself in the world's top 10 in the coming months.
Murray won just two matches in five tournaments on the surface last year including a five-set defeat to Gael Monfils in the first round of the French Open in Paris.

McEnroe told the Blackrock Tennis Podcast: "He needs to get out there and get some confidence. This is his most vulnerable surface but I think he can be successful."

The Scot hopes to kick off this season's clay campaign next week when he returns from injury in the Masters Series event in Rome - and McEnroe believes he has what it takes to succeed.

McEnroe added: "It is going to be tough for him initially. His fitness levels have improved and he has got some good variety, and he grew up playing on clay.

"However, there are a lot of guys out there that think they have a better chance against him on clay. He can't change pace
as easily and hurt people as much as he would like.

"I think he can win two, three, four rounds at the French. He certainly won't be easy to beat and he is capable of getting to the round of 16 or the quarters.

Meanwhile McEnroe insists world number one Roger Federer needs to alter his own tactics on the surface in order to keep pace with the undisputed king of clay Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard beat Federer on the surface for the fifth time in Barcelona last week and McEnroe said: "It is quite clear that Nadal is the man to beat and Roger is going to have to do something different to beat Rafael.

"I think he should step it up and put some pressure on Nadal by going to the net more - make him hit passing shots on the big points. I'm not saying do it on every point, but he needs to give Nadal a different look."


05-03-2007, 09:36 PM
Gilbert: Andy's hurting, but it's just clay

American Brad Gilbert says that it's better that protégé Andy Murray be "banged up" during the clay season, rather than later in the year.
"Andy's been banged up, he's hurt his groin, his hip and now his back, but I guess if you have these problems, you might as well have them in the clay-court season," Gilbert told The Times.
The 19-year-old Scot entered the ATP top-ten for the first time in his career last month, but has not played since injuring his back in a first-round doubles match with brother Jamie at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Murray is set to make his return at the Rome Masters next week after the top-ranked Briton and his American coach flew to Rome for four days of preparation.
"The next one is all that matters," Gilbert said of the fourth tournament in this year's Masters Series. Murray reached the semi-finals at Indian Wells and Miami Masters before pulling out of Monte Carlo earlier this year.
Gilbert reflected on coaching as a foreigner in the United Kingdom, saying that results are all that matter to the LTA and the British public in general.
"If [former England coach Sven-Göran] Eriksson had won, he'd be a knight," Gilbert said.
"It's about winning. Everybody wants results. They [the LTA] haven't been afraid to hire good people. We bring something new. It's probably a five-year cycle, but I see so much that is positive. There are no lazy people. The young coaches are so fired up, they fire me."
As for Murray's progress in the ten months since he took over as the young Briton's coach, Gilbert feels that Murray could enter the same class as world numbers one and two Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - so long as he puts in the required work.
"It's about me working with him every day, about not acting surprised when he is doing well or not so well," Gilbert said.
"As a coach, you must not be overwhelmed. Andy's an incredible talent and he just has to look at the top of the leaderboard and see where Federer and Nadal are and keep pushing. [World number five] Novak Djokovic, who is a week younger than Andy, he's pushing the envelope."
And as for how Murray compares with some of his previous students, Gilbert says Murray has the chance to stack up to the best of them.
"I worked with Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick; they were hungry to be No 1, the best they could be. Andy Murray is the same," the 45-year-old Gilbert said.
"Andy needs a longer routine than some players to recover from matches and getting his body right is the first priority. I look at things very simplistically.
"Sometimes you find people who are super-talented; they have a genius quality and when you bring simplicity to genius, good things can happen."


05-06-2007, 06:22 AM
Nice article about Andy in yesterday's Times.

06-20-2007, 10:29 AM
wertheim article :
The Atlas of Britain
As Wimbledon approaches, Scotland's rapidly improving Andy Murray, like Tim Henman before him, bears the hopes of an entire tennis-mad kingdom on his slight shoulders
Posted: Tuesday June 19, 2007

06-24-2007, 04:59 PM
the tartan twat has taken the cowardly way out and withdrawn from wimbledon

06-24-2007, 05:39 PM
the tartan twat has taken the cowardly way out and withdrawn from wimbledon

:o He had a pretty serious wrist injury...he made the correct decision. If he had played he could have been putting his future career in jeopardy.. Now we wouldn't want that would we Jamie? :D

06-24-2007, 07:54 PM
the tartan twat has taken the cowardly way out and withdrawn from wimbledon

just look at Nicolas Kiefer and you will know how serious a wrist injury can get. It took him a whole year and 3 surgeries to return to the tour. I hope Andy will have more luck.

06-24-2007, 08:08 PM
:o He had a pretty serious wrist injury...he made the correct decision. If he had played he could have been putting his future career in jeopardy.. Now we wouldn't want that would we Jamie? :D

yes we would, the shorter his career the better

just look at Nicolas Kiefer and you will know how serious a wrist injury can get. It took him a whole year and 3 surgeries to return to the tour. I hope Andy will have more luck.

i hope andy has less luck

07-14-2007, 06:01 PM

Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic insists Andy Murray can be a threat at next month's US Open - and is sure he will break Britain's Grand Slam singles duck.

Murray has endured a frustrating time since injuring his wrist in Hamburg two months ago, missing both the French Open and Wimbledon.

The 20-year-old is on the verge of a return to action when the tour decamps to the US ahead of the season's final Grand Slam at Flushing Meadow which begins on August 28.

And despite his lay-off, Ivanisevic is sure the British number one can make an impact in New York.

"It was unlucky that he could not play at the French Open and Wimbledon. But he is going to have a lot of Grand Slams," the Croatian told The Sun.

"He could be dangerous soon - maybe even the US Open next month. He can beat anyone, with the exception of Federer - but Roger won't be playing for ever.

"I'm sure Andy will win a Grand Slam. Maybe Wimbledon, maybe the US Open, maybe Australia."

09-16-2007, 06:20 PM
for those of you who are curious, andy murray has his rackets strung with big banger

12-23-2007, 10:36 AM
Hahaha.This magazine article was on (there are other good Andy spoofs there as well)

Recommended Christmas Books for Andy Murray

The Spoof's Book Reviewing Team has compiled a list of suggestions for British tennis sensation, Andy Murray......

1. Teach Yourself Haircutting and Styling
Instead of just hacking away at the hair, here's how to create a professional look. With easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

2. The Rough Guide to Argentina
With the potential of a 'rough' time in Argentina in February's Davis Cup tie, this essential guide features chapters on basic survival skills and how to avoid any argy-bargy, both on and off the court.

3. The Bluffer's Guide to the English
Tips on how to bluff your way when dealing with the English and those situations where dry sardonic humour is not appreciated eg when talking about sacred topics such as the national football team.

4. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tennis
Ideal for all levels. Here you will find helpful hints on how to tackle those on-court "dumb tennis" moments.

5. 101 Uses for Weird Tennis Trophies
A mine of useful and unusual advice on what to do with those tennis trophies which are simply too weird to display.

6. How to Devise your own Playstation Games
A book for addicts who crave greater challenges. Full of tricks and tips to test your own inventiveness.

7. The Fred Perry 2008 Catalogue
For a Fred Perry sponsored player, this is a must-have visual guide to 'the look' for the coming year.

8. Go-Karting Circuits of the World
Wherever you are on the ATP Tour, a go-karting track is never too far away. With clear directions and detailed circuit descriptions.

9. The Puffa Jacket: the Solid Winter Accessory
Essential reading for all proud owners. This book has practical tips on how to look good in it, and how to care for it.

10.The Big Book of Teambuilding
Provides plenty of topics to sit down and have a discussion about. In fact, it covers everything you could possibly ever need to know about teams, rotating or otherwise.

Happy Christmas! Can't wait for Andy's 2008 season to start.

01-01-2008, 05:46 PM
Linda might appreciate this when she comes back. :wavey:

Davis Cup - Murray questions Cup commitment
Eurosport - Tue, 01 Jan 14:13:00 2008

Andy Murray has repeated his concern that the Davis Cup could interfere with his career and questioned his commitment to the British team ahead of his season-opening match at the Doha Open.

"I don't know exactly how long I will continue playing Davis Cup," Murray told the Guardian.

"I'm not going to just say I'm going to retire from it when I'm 21."

The 20-year-old Scot helped lead Britain to a victory over Croatia at Wimbledon in September and into the Davis Cup World Group in 2008.

Britain play Argentina in the first round of the World Group next month and Murray expects a difficult test in the team's first tie since Tim Henman retired from the sport.

"The Argentina match is a tough tie but I'm doing my best to make sure that I can schedule my tournaments around it so that I can play," said Murray, who begins his season against Belgian Olivier Rochus in Qatar on Tuesday.

"If there (were) a home tie straight after (the Australian Open) it (wouldn't) make sense for me to miss the tie.

"It's a pretty easy option just to play in Britain but, when it's an away tie, the last thing I want to be is on the tour and travelling here and there all over the place."

Murray, who sacked his American coach Brad Gilbert in the fall and will now travel with a rotating team of coaches and trainers, hopes to improve on his best season on the ATP Tour this year after finishing the 2007 season with his best end-of-year ranking at 11th in the world.

"I've said all along that the most important thing is to keep developing. I just think it's better for me to have a longer and more consistent career than to have a couple of great years and then fall off the radar," he said.

"I'm still developing physically a lot. I still think I can develop my game a lot. I'm only 20. In a lot of other sports it's like it's unbelievably young, give him a chance, let him take his time.

"But in tennis in Britain they want you to be winning from a really young age, which is fine but it's not exactly how I view it. I think I have done a lot of winning so far, at the highest level. I've been in the top ten already."

After an injury ravaged 2007, during which he missed three months but still came within one victory of reaching the season-ending Masters Cup, the British number one has made his primary goal for the upcoming season to remain fit.

"This year is an important year for me but if I don't finish number two or three in the world it's not a disaster as long as I keep improving.

"And if I'm improving my ranking's going to get better, so I'll just keep hopefully playing like I did last year and hopefully be in better physical shape. If I'm in better physical shape and I'm playing like I did last year then I'm going to have more consistent results.

"The most important thing is not to start thinking about my ranking first and start chasing points all over the place.

"It's to keep developing my game and improving my fitness and hopefully by improving those things my ranking's going to get better."

Jeremy Stahl / Eurosport

01-05-2008, 11:42 PM
Murray backed for Grand Slam glory after surge to third title
Last updated at 00:14am on 06.01.08

Andy Murray today flies from the desert of Qatar into the heat of the first Grand Slam of the year. At 20, he is approaching his peak years and after his victory in the Qatar Open final yesterday, he launches in earnest his preparation for the Australian Open, which opens in Melbourne in eight days' time.

Murray's mindset — obdurate, self-focused and driven — adds a crucial supplement to his shot-making.

"Andy has an old head on young shoulders,' said British Davis Cup captain John Lloyd. 'Right now, make him one of the five players with the best chance of winning the Australian Open, placing him in the mix with Andy Roddick behind Roger Federer,Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic."

Lloyd applauds Murray's boldness in breaking with Brad Gilbert,who experienced great success over eight years with Andre Agassi and then further triumphs in a brief spell with Roddick.

"For top tennis players, loyalty can never be an issue," said Lloyd. "Look at Roger Federer, the nicest tennis player on the planet. Yet he still sacked Tony Roche last spring. Players base decision-making on what they think is going to improve their game, nothing else.

"Andy knows Brad did well for him. He helped him reach the world's top 10, an unbelievable achievement, but Andy will not settle for that. He wants to be champion. He thinks he can improve in other areas without Brad — and I don't doubt him."

Murray's obvious frustration with Gilbert outside the court hastened their separation six weeks ago.

"The bottom line is you are on the road together for 30-plus weeks a year and if that is not harmonious it places the work under enormous strain," said Lloyd. "If the pieces don't fit, you change them. Brad is very good at his job, but Andy is a quick learner.

"There are certain guys who figure out how to change things on the court during a match and Andy is clearly one of those. I'm not saying he has all the answers — because who does? But he's taken a professional decision in pursuit of his ambition to be a champion."

With Gilbert relegated to the margins of British tennis and not due to begin work with Alex Bogdanovic until after Britain's Davis Cup tie in Argentina next month, Murray has been taking counsel from Zimbabwe-born Miles Maclagan, who has Scottish parentage, and Louis Cayer, a Canadian specialist doubles coach. Cayer was employed by the Lawn Tennis Association ostensibly to assist Jamie Murray.

Matt Little, a fitness trainer, like Cayer, has been 'leased' from the LTA's payroll to travel with him through this part of the season while in the winter he underwent intensive training in Florida with Jez Green.

His mother Judy remains central to the blueprint to make Murray the greatest British success story since Fred Perry ruled the game in the Thirties.

Murray, who defeated Stanislav Wawrinka 6-4,4-6, 6-2 yesterday, is returning to Australia in his fittest condition to play in a Grand Slam since he took Nadal to five sets in a scintillating fourth-round match in Melbourne 12 months ago.

An injury to his right wrist caused him to miss the French Open and Wimbledon, while he had still not properly recovered to play at the US Open late summer.

"Andy is going to be a threat at all the Grand Slam tournaments this year," said Lloyd. "He's moved up another level. At the beginning of 2007, I believe he was surprising himself with some of his results. I don't think any of his results are a surprise to him any more. He knows he belongs in elite company.

"He's taken on board that you have to perform week in,week out. Even though I suspect we will not see the best of Andy for another three years, he has come on great strides since he rattled Nadal. Most of those in the top 10 will be looking over their shoulders to see where Murray is in the draw."

Twelve months ago, Nadal's experience enabled him to survive a match with Murray that kept the Melbourne crowd spellbound until the early hours. In the aftermath, Nadal said: "For sure, Murray has big chances to be a champion. He plays good on all surfaces."

Injury,of course,prevented Murray proving that last year but the British No 1 said: "I've never trained so hard and I'm really looking forward to my new way of doing things."

This week he completes his preparation for the Australian Open in an exhibition tournament in Melbourne which includes Federer.

Source: er%20surge%20to%20third%20title/

Sunset of Age
01-05-2008, 11:50 PM
Very nice article, thanks for posting Doris!
I can only wonder why John Lloyd considers Roddick to be a title candidate, :lol:.

01-06-2008, 09:18 AM
Very nice article, thanks for posting Doris!
I can only wonder why John Lloyd considers Roddick to be a title candidate, :lol:.

:lol: Yeah, I wondered that too!

Wasn't this his fourth title?

01-06-2008, 09:36 PM

New coaching team inspires Murray
Andy Murray celebrates victory in Qatar
Murray began the new year in the best possible fashion
Andy Murray's winning start to the year is due to technical changes made by his new coaching team, says his mother.

Murray won the fourth career title and the first since splitting from coach Brad Gilbert when he beat Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4 4-6 6-2 in the Qatar Open.

"He is quite confident in terms of his physical ability and one or two of the technical changes he has made," Judy Murray told BBC Radio Five Live.

"He's made changes on his forehand and serve. They make a big difference."

Interview: Andy's mother Judy Murray

Your views on Murray's win and future prospects

Murray, who will now turn his attention to the four-day Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, suffered an injury-plagued 2007 season.

And it ended with him splitting from Gilbert, and opting to work with a team of coaches, rather than one specific individual.

Miles Maclagan and Louis Cayer, his brother Jamie's coach, took care of Murray in Qatar and saw instant reward as he secured a confidence-boosting win in the build-up to the Australian Open.

"One of the things Andy really needed to improve with was first serve percentage and in doubles it's so important to serve well, and he certainly served well in Doha," said his mother.

She was also keen to clarify the roles of the new coaches.

"Louis is definitely Jamie's coach - he is more the guru guy to Andy, the consultant guy, and Miles Maclagan is the coach who does the travelling with him," she said.

"So far it has worked very well, they are all people he's comfortable with and has fun with off the court, so yes he's enjoying it."

The 20-year-old will face competition from Roger Federer and Andy Roddick in the invitational Kooyong Classic when the event starts on Wednesday.

01-07-2008, 07:47 PM
Rusedski: Murray can be number one

Greg Rusedski believes Andy Murray is one of the world's top three players - and is well on the way to being the best.
The British number one has moved up to ninth in the ATP rankings after he opened his season by claiming his fourth tour title in Doha on Saturday.

"He is playing the best tennis of his career and, to my mind, right now he is the third best player in the world," the former top-ranked Briton and US Open finalist told BBC Radio Five Live.

Victory in Qatar was precisely the start to 2008 that the Scot was looking for after injury hampered his rapid progress last year.
And after proving that the wrist problem which kept him out of the French Open and Wimbledon is no longer a problem, Rusedski is confident the 20-year-old is poised to take his place among the game's elite.

"If he continues as he is, he can be the number one and win a major in the next few years."

Rusedski believes just Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal can claim to be better than the youngster from Dunblane.

He added: "Only they are above him at the moment."


Sunset of Age
01-11-2008, 12:52 PM
^^ The British press in overhype-mode... :lol:

Hope they don't jinx him for the AO. :angel:

01-15-2008, 01:31 PM
^^ The British press in overhype-mode... :lol:

and the Aussies pulling them down to earth again, or maybe not:

Britain knows the score: 29-zip

HERE'S a measure of what Andy Murray's defeat yesterday by a Frenchman meant for their respective nations: His conqueror, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is one of 29 French remaining in the men's and women's singles draw. The United Kingdom has none.

France 29, Britain 0, is a pretty devastating scoreline in a comparison between two grand slam nations, and the score is even more damning for English tennis when one considers that the two Brits who bit the Plexicushion yesterday, Murray and qualifier Jamie Baker, are Scottish.

So whereas Tsonga's victory over a highly ranked opponent is a bonus for the French — who have nine men in the top 50 — Murray's loss cruels Britannia, which has about three times the media presence here as its cross channel rival.
In the two years since he went out in the first round at Melbourne Park, 20-year-old Murray has become accustomed to the great expectations that accompany him, especially at grand slams; in 2006, the then teenager became teary and lashed out at the vast English media pack, suggesting they demanded too much of him.

There were no such histrionics last night. Murray took this first-round exit on the chin. "I don't think it's the end of the world," he said. "I mean worse things could have happened to me out there … it wasn't I feel I got completely outplayed at the match."

The ninth seed blamed "silly shots", a poor start, some net cords and a touch of misfortune for his conquest by Tsonga, who prevailed in a fourth set tiebreaker, despite cramping that prompted him to seek medical help after Murray swept him 6-0 in the third set.

It was poor shot selection , and a passive game-style that contributed most to his undoing, as Tsonga attacked, rushed the net and Murray failed to pass him. As Murray acknowledged, the Frenchman "was dictating all the points" in the first two sets. "I didn't really hit any winning passing shots and I wasn't getting much angle on them," said the Scot, whose failure to kill points was a feature of this match.

This time last year, Murray was bracketed alongside his Serbian contemporary Novak Djokovic. In 2007, Djokovic made the quantum leap to be the world No. 3, reaching a US Open final and the semis at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, while Murray moved up the rankings less dramatically, from 17 to 11 at year's end, and then entering the top 10 (No. 9) last week.

Murray's past year was commendable, however, considering he missed more than four months with wrist and back injuries and did not play at either Wimbledon or the French Open. He finished the year with a surge and came to Melbourne on a high, having won at Qatar a week ago, defeating world No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko on route to the title.

Murray had parted company in November with coach Brad Gilbert, the former mentor of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick and whom Britain's Lawn Tennis Association was paying a reported £750,000 a year to coach Murray; no longer wanted by Murray, Gilbert remains on the LTA payroll, despite the absence of any serious players to coach.

Murray, who replaced Gilbert with two coaches, said last night he intended to "stay in the top 10" this year. "That's obviously something that is tough to do, and at my age is a really good effort, you know, if you can stay there, be among the best players in the world."

Murray said he had shown he had the "potential to challenge for grand slams in the future", but his inexperience had shown yesterday. "The more slams I play and the more big matches I play, I'll learn from them and won't the mistakes I did today."

Millions of Brits, the LTA and a fleet (street) of tennis journalists are counting on it.


02-20-2008, 05:29 PM

Court of King Andy can't disguise this charmless man

Wouldn't it be strange if Andy Murray was the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry and nobody gave a toss?
Simon Hattenstone
February 20, 2008 12:50 AM
Can Andy Murray and Jamie Murray really be related? Sure, the two Scotsmen have physical similarities, but look again - Jamie's smile, Andy's scowl; Jamie's rounded, pleasing face; Andy's dolichocephalic (eat your heart out, Will Self) Donald Duck features.

Then there's the way they play. Think of Jamie winning the Wimbledon mixed doubles last year with Jelena Jankovic. If we'd put a speech bubble against him during that final, it would have said:

"I get to do what I love for a living, get a suntan into the bargain, earn a decent whack, and get to hang out with some of the most gorgeous women in sport - Jesus, I'm a lucky bugger."

Compare this to the younger, more successful Andy. He plays with his face frozen into a grimace. He blames everybody for his failings (mother, coach, the Davis Cup) but himself. There's a six-second sequence on YouTube that sums Andy up. He loses a game and sarcastically gives his then coach, Brad Gilbert, a thumbs up while muttering "You twat" at him. He also famously screamed mid-match at Gilbert "You're giving me nothing".

Actually, the Lawn Tennis Association has given him everything, only for him to throw it back in their face. In July 2006, the LTA appointed Gilbert, a world-class coach who masterminded Andre Agassi's great triumphs, to work with Andy - for a gobsmacking £750,000 a year. Andy was then 19 and ranked 36th in the world. Within a month he had beaten Roger Federer, and within nine months he was in the world's top 10. But within 16 months he had ditched Gilbert, swapped him for a "team of experts", stating that the time "has come to move on to the next stage of my career".

A couple of years ago I met Andy's mother, Judy. She talked openly about the differences between her two boys. "Jamie is quieter, he's more sensitive than Andy, he's the good-looking one. He's the one who all my mum's friends fawn over. They love him. 'Oh, he's so polite, he's so nice.' They don't say that about Andy!"

It endeared Andy to me. After all, it was about time British tennis had a ruthless winner. Then I interviewed him and he turned out to be one of the most charmless sportsmen I've met - believe me, the competition is tough out there. Surrounded by a coterie of minders, he was terse, impatient and sour. The one time he softened was when he talked about how he would love to be like Agassi, but he thought he didn't have the personality.

Agassi was loved because he emanated warmth and cheek and passion. While the game has had its share of bad-tempered or po-faced champs, they have usually had something about them - Ilie Nastase and John McEnroe were rude but they had chutzpah and wit; Martina Navratilova and Bjorn Borg didn't smile much but they had soul. All Andy has at the moment is his petulance. Everything about him reeks of petulance - even his sideburns and bum-fluff tache.

Earlier this month, the Murrays had a public falling-out after Andy withdrew from the Davis Cup matches against Argentina at the last moment as a precautionary measure, wrecking the small chance that Britain had of winning the tie. Worst of all, he didn't tell his brother or the team manager. He sent a message via his agent.

Jamie made no attempt to disguise his fury. "It was a shock to me. It's a shame that he decided that it was best for him not to come here. It kind of affects the way we feel about him."

A week later the Murrays were playing again, and on Sunday they both won their tournaments. Jamie triumphed in the doubles in Florida with Max Mirnyi. Meanwhile, Andy took his second title of the year and the fifth of his career at Marseille. Any ATP win is a fine achievement but it's hardly a grand slam. He didn't beat Federer or Rafael Nadal in the final; he beat Mario Ancic, who is currently ranked No92 in the world.

I was delighted that Jamie won his tournament, but couldn't care less that Andy won his - just as he seemed not to care that he let down his fellow players in the Davis Cup team.

After his injuries, Andy is once again in the top 10 and perhaps he will go on to be a true champion. But wouldn't it be strange if, after all the years of Henmania and near misses, he turned out to be the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in the mid-16th century and nobody gave a toss? Perhaps he'll learn one day that loyalty and affection have to be earned. Until then, we've always got Jamie to root for in the doubles.

:tape: Though... They have a point. *ducks*

03-04-2008, 05:38 PM
Tim Henman: Murray's adversity beat Federer
By Mark Hodgkinson

Swiss diplomacy disappeared over the desert dunes this week, with the normally gracious Roger Federer turning all grouchy in Dubai as he attacked Andy Murray for supposedly not improving his game since 2005.

But Tim Henman yesterday firmly countered Federer's argument, insisting that Murray has developed and bettered the mental and physical sides of his game.

Federer experienced his first opening-round defeat since 2004 when he lost to Murray at the Dubai tournament, but it is a moot point whether the most newsworthy event of Monday evening actually came later when the world No 1 made his contentious post-match critique.

Federer suggested that Murray's tennis was still the same as it had been during their first meeting in the Bangkok final in the autumn of 2005. He also said that the 20-year-old Scot's tactics were far too passive, and in the future he could end up having to "grind out" wins.

Harsh words, unfair words. Federer clearly doesn't believe that Murray's home library includes too many self-improvement manuals.

"I don't think that he's changed his game a whole lot since I played him in the Bangkok final. Not that I'm disappointed but I really would have thought he would have changed it in some ways. It sort of works for him but he's going to have to grind very hard for the next few years if he keeps playing that way. He stands way far behind on the court and that means you've got to do a lot of running. He tends to wait a lot for an opponent's mistake," an unimpressed Federer said, sounding as though he had brought some sour grapes into the largely 'dry' Gulf city.

"I gave him the mistakes in the match, but over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than wait for the guy to miss. That's what has served me well, but who knows, he may surprise us and do it for 20 years."

But the retired Henman, who watched Murray's win on television, took a different view. As Henman sees it, Murray has made himself a stronger player.

"Andy has definitely improved his tennis. He is getting better and better and that's the most exciting thing, that he is still so young, and his best tennis may be a year or two years away. Things have happened so quickly for him, and he has made improvements to his game both mentally and physically. And there is still room for improvement. I think that there are going to be some exciting things ahead for Andy. But it's difficult for people to be patient after he has a win like this, beating Federer," Henman said.

Two recent improvements that Henman has noticed in Murray's game have been to his on-court temperament and to his serve.

"I was struck by how composed Andy looked against Federer. I think the biggest change to Andy has been in his attitude on court. He is controlling his emotions a lot better. Before, it was always a little bit up and down. But when he in that great frame of mind, and he is dealing with adversity - he had set point in the first set and lost it - he looks extremely good. That attitude gives him a platform to play from. It was one hell of a win," said Henman, who was speaking at a Sport Relief putting competition with Colin Montgomerie at HSBC's Canary Wharf headquarters.

"I had thought that Andy's serve was fantastic. I like what he has done to his serve. He has made some technical changes to his serve, and it looks as though he is serving bigger and more consistently, and what more do you want in your serve? The proof was in the pudding against Federer. Andy held serve throughout, and had no break-points against him, and that's incredible. That just doesn't happen."

Henman said that Murray could soon challenge Federer, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open, at the grand slams.

"But I don't think it's possible to say that Federer is not as dominant as he used to be. He played some phenomenal tennis towards the end of last season, and he has set his bar so high, and it's inevitable that he is going to lose from time to time," Henman said.

"But it will be interesting to see how the year unfolds because there is competition. Djokovic is playing brilliantly, and I still think that Nadal will be the guy to beat on clay. And Andy is coming up towards that top bracket of players."

Henman was speaking at a Sport Relief putting competition with Colin Montgomerie at the Canary Wharf headquarters of HSBC.


03-13-2008, 08:35 AM
This was posted on the Federer forum, but I thought you guys might like it, it has a stupid title but I was very impressed by Andy's maturity. Just like in the Dubai interview his answers were great, he didn't take the journalists bait but stuck to his gun, well done :hatoff:

I'm Not Fed Up With Federer

Mar 13 2008 By Alix Ramsay

Tennis: Pacific Life Open Murray Plays Down Swiss Star's Outburst

ANDY MURRAY won't hold any grudges against Roger Federer but insists he will not change his style of play when he faces the world No.1.

The 20-year-old could face Federer at the Pacific Life Open next week if both players make their way to the quarter-finals in Indian Wells.

A last-eight clash would be their second meeting this month after Murray shocked the Swiss star in the Dubai Championships.

In the post-match press conference Federer criticised the British No.1's style claiming it hadn't changed since their first meeting in 2005.

Federer has backtracked somewhat since while Murray believes the Swiss star's comments were probably taken out of context and wants to put the episode behind him.

Given a first-round bye, Murray will play on Saturday against either Marat Safin or Jurgen Melzer and is refusing to be distracted from his task in California.

He said: "Federer's obviously not like that - if he's said it was taken out of context, then I'll take him at his word.

"I know what it's like when you walk off the court from a match and the press comments come straight off the court. Obviously you're a bit disappointed and you can say things you don't necessarily mean.

"But I'm not going to change the way I play against Federer because it's been successful the three times I've played him. I believe that's the correct way to try and play him.

"Depending on who I'm playing my game style changes and I think that's one thing that I'm quite lucky with.

"I can do a lot of different things on the court so, depending on who I'm playing, that's how I will play."

If Murray sees off either Safin or Melzer he should face a tougher clash against Andy Roddick in the last 16.

But after beating Federer he fears no one in the draw.

He added: "It was nice for me to win against Roger in the first round of a tournament where he's played very well in the past.

"He made the final five years in a row and won it four times so it's obviously a tournament he does well in.

"To beat him and not face a break point on my serve the whole match was good for the confidence - to know you can win against the best player in the world."

03-13-2008, 09:55 PM
Thank you. Hopefully Fed will not play better than he did in Dubai not because Andy couldn't take him but just for safety measures. Plus it's a short court. Would that give Fed or Andy an advantage? Also, Roddick in current form will be tough.

04-08-2008, 10:26 PM

Murray will compete at Olympics

Andy Murray insists he will represent Great Britain at the Olympics in Beijing this summer, despite the Games being very close to the US Open.

"I'm definitely going to play at the Olympics," said the British number one.

"It's something that not all athletes get the chance to do in their career. It's an honour to represent your country and I'm looking forward to it.

"I'm just hoping I can get a good run this year and not have any problems with injury."

The tennis competition at the Olympics is set to finish on 17 August, with the US Open scheduled to start on 27 August.

The Games have been in the news for reasons other than sport this week, with the torch relays through London and Paris targeted by protesters displaying their anger over hosts China's human rights record.

However, Murray, 20, is simply focusing on the court challenges ahead.

"For me, the Olympics is more about the sport," he added.

"I'm just concentrating and looking forward to playing in the tennis. I'm not a politician."

The Scot may face world number one Roger Federer in China, with the Swiss star striving to improve upon an indifferent start to the season.

Federer has failed to reach a final this season but Murray expects the 12-time Grand Slam champion to recover in time for the grass court campaign.

"He has lost more matches than he has done for the last four or five years early on so he's obviously not playing his best but he's still number one in the world and he's probably going to stay there this year," stated Murray, who is travelling to Spain for next week's Valencia Open.

"He's not lost on grass for five years so I'm guessing he's still going to be in good form come Wimbledon time."

Murray, who spent most of his teenage years at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona playing a lot on clay, is eager to get back to form on the surface.

"I practised on it a lot when I was younger and had good results," he said.

"When I went over to practise in Barcelona I won some tournaments on the clay so it's a court I can play well on.

"But I've hardly played on clay for the last couple of years so I'm going to try to get some good practice in and try to get used to it again."

05-09-2008, 07:06 PM
It's time for Andy Murray to come of age
By Mark Hodgkinson

Two significant milestones are approaching in the life of Andy Murray, but he will probably only appreciate receiving cards in the post for one of them.

This year's Hamburg Masters begins on Sunday, and so Murray will soon be back on the red clay courts of the German port city for the first anniversary of when he mistimed a forehand, howled in pain and was later diagnosed with a wrist tendon injury that put him out of last season's French Open and Wimbledon.

But hold on to your cards and stamps over that one; it's an episode that Murray understandably doesn't care to dwell on. "I don't think about that too much," Murray has said, but the other date in the diary will bring smiles, as next Thursday, whether he is still in Hamburg or back in Britain, he will blow out 21 candles on a birthday cake.

Turning 21 is an important event for any young man, but it is also an age at which a tennis player should be coming into his prime, if he is not there already. Serbia's Novak Djokovic, Murray's junior by a week, won his first grand slam at the Australian Open this January.

So what stage is Murray at in the development of his career? There is no question that he can do almost anything with a tennis ball but make it sing Flower of Scotland, and he has been regularly spoken of as a possible grand slam champion of the future. He arguably has more talent than Djokovic. But there is no getting away from the fact that his last few months on court have been almost as jerky as taking a taxi ride through Italy's capital city.

Young players should never be slaves to the ranking system, as improving their game is the most important goal, but it is still worth looking at the numbers. Murray is ranked 18 in the world, 10 places lower than his career-high of eighth that he hit last summer, and nine lower than the ninth spot he was in this January. That ranking is calculated over 52 rolling weeks, and he is likely to climb over the next few months as he has nothing to defend on the computer until after Wimbledon.

On the ATP Race, which shows only the points accumulated during the 2008 season, he is doing better, in 11th spot. Murray has suggested that the race is the yardstick he pays most attention to, as it gives players a better guide to who's hot and who's not.

When Murray has been 'hot' this season, he has won tournaments in Doha and Marseille, taking his career tally of singles titles to five. He also beat Roger Federer in Dubai. When he has been 'not', he went out in the first round of the Australian Open, albeit to eventual finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and lost his opening match at the Masters Series event in Miami, the most prestigious event after the four slams.

Since Miami, Murray has been on clay, the surface he finds most demanding, and he has managed two wins in Monte Carlo, none in Barcelona, and one in Rome, after he was beaten in the second round by Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka.

Murray, who is working with former French Open finalist Alex Corretja, played some fine tennis during his two wins in Monte Carlo, but he noted before his exit in Rome that his confidence was not what it could be.

"I feel like I'm starting to play my game a bit better. I need to play more matches and get physically stronger, win matches and get some confidence on the surface. Then I'll be able to win more matches," said Murray. In this context, reaching the third or fourth round of the French Open would be a decent result.

Murray has a wide selection of shots at his disposal, and thinks about the game more than most. But there have been occasions this year when he has been far too passive, when he has spent too much time waiting for his opponent to make mistakes rather than going for his shots himself.

In a contradictory way, the over-use of the risky drop-shot has also been a concern. When it works, it works beautifully and he looks like a racket-wielding Albert Einstein. But when it doesn't work, it does not look pretty.

Murray's game is not clicking as it could be, and there is just Hamburg and the French Open to go before he next month finds himself on the lawns of Queen's Club and Wimbledon. However, Murray is one of the players with the best natural talent for grass, and he certainly has it in him to reach a semi-final there this summer.

Reaching the quarter-finals or better at Wimbledon or the US Open this season would do him the world of good.


Team Murray

Alex Corretja Former world No 2 and twice a beaten finalist at the French Open, he provides specialist advice for the claycourt season.
Miles Maclagan Murray's regular coach, his role is to "get Andy to fulfil his potential, arrange practice, talk about matches, and lots of organising day-to-day stuff on the road".
Louis Cayer Tactical and technical consultant.
Jez Green Physical conditioner.
Andy Ireland Physiotherapist.
Patrico Apey Agent
Not forgetting: Mum Judy, brother Jamie

Win some...

Murray has won 17 matches this year, and lost eight.
He has won titles in Doha and Marseille.
Current world ranking: 18

Players who have beaten Murray this year
and their world ranking at the time

Australian Open, first round: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 38.
Rotterdam, first round: Robin Haase, 94.
Dubai, quarter-finals: Nikolay Davydenko, 5.
Indian Wells, fourth round: Tommy Haas, 36.
Miami, second round: Mario Ancic, 63.
Monte Carlo, third round: Novak Djokovic, 3.
Barcelona, second round: Mario Ancic, 51.
Rome, second round: Stanislas Wawrinka, 24.


06-24-2008, 11:39 PM
Andy Murray eager to stand in spotlight

After missing Wimbledon last year through injury the British No1 is looking forward to playing in a grand-slam event that he believes he can do well in
Andy Murray trains on the practice courts at Wimbledon ahead of the 2008 Championships

Neil Harman, Tennis correspondent

Two summers ago, Brad Gilbert took up semi-permanent residence in the British writing room, eager for any titbit of information he could glean on Andy Murray. The pair were a month away from a union bankrolled by the LTA, which heralded it as the initiative that would save the sport's skin. Today, on No11 Court, Gilbert will sit as far away from everyone as he can, watching Alex Bogdanovic try to win his first Wimbledon singles match in seven attempts and will not be saying a word to anyone about it.

Only two players have worse records in the men's singles in SW19 but neither Andrei Chesnokov, of Russia, (0-7) nor Patricio Cornejo, of Chile, (0-8) was ever granted a place in the main draw thanks to a wild card. As of today, Bogdanovic, 24, is the least successful invitee in grand-slam history and is ranked No271, 21 places outside the cut-off that had been established by the LTA as beyond which no player should be granted a wild card. (Bogdanovic was No242 when the list was presented to the All England Club for ratification on cut-off day).

When Roger Draper, the chief executive of the LTA, proposed that Gilbert work with Bogdanovic six months ago, it was on the promise of “upskilling” him to the world's top 100. It is no wonder that the American cannot wait for a new gig, one that is likely to follow once the championships are over. Simone Bolelli, Bogdanovic's Italian opponent, has played four times on grass, the 22-year-old is a rising star in the firmament and he will be a significant test of the state of the British No4's game.

Murray has a day of rest before beginning his campaign against Fabrice Santoro, the wily Frenchman. Murray has not been slow to speak the painful truth about the dire situation of the sport here, viewing it objectively rather than through the rose-tinted spectacles that are the most common accessory. One asks Murray about the fact that Chris Eaton, ranked No659, has qualified and his answer is likewise.

“If what I said [that British leaders should be more realistic in their appraisal of its position] made a difference to the way the players are going to be on court and towards me but their results got better, that's absolutely fine with me,” he said. “I said what I felt. The guy [Eaton] is ranked 659, so let's get real about that. He's still a long way from being at the top. Yes, it's a great effort to qualify but I'm speaking generally. I'm not saying to every single player that ‘you're lazy and you don't work hard', but it's just the general feeling in British tennis as a whole. I think the work ethic needs to get better.

“I haven't spoken to many people about my opinions, but if someone wants to discuss it with me, that's fine. I'll give my opinion and I'll go into as much detail as you want to, but I believe that it needs to get better. If anyone is happy with the state that it's in, then I don't agree with them.”

Carrying the standard used to be Tim Henman's prerogative, now it is Murray's. There is a light in his eyes and a lightness in his stride that one has not seen for quite a few months. “The first time I played Wimbledon [2005] I was so excited about everything,” he said. “Every media thing that got requested I was like ‘yeah, I'll do it'. After that it started to get quite difficult because there were a lot of people starting to give opinions on my game and telling me what I had to do to get better. That's when it becomes hard - when you are not used to hearing loads of different voices and hearing about yourself, when two or three weeks beforehand, I was playing in ATP Futures events in front of ten people and nobody was really that bothered about how I was getting on.

“Now, I'm just excited to play again. I missed a huge chunk of last year and this was, for me, the most exciting time of year. It's a slam that I think I can do well at. It was hard last year, but it's made me look forward to this year even more. I just think that when it comes to things like this you have to be yourself and do what feels right to you and kind of be as natural as you can be because if you start trying to be someone that you're not, then it's quite stressful and hard work. It's easier to do what comes naturally.”

Told that Henman has been especially complimentary about him - Henman interviewed his successor yesterday in his debut as a BBC pundit - Murray was asked if he felt he could possibly cope with the levels of adulation and pressure he might be expected to feel these next two weeks? His straight-faced response was, “I don't think I can cope with it at all. Absolutely no chance.” The Scot cracked into one of his mischievous smiles. It could be a fascinating fortnight.


08-24-2008, 08:51 AM
Andy Murray hoping to reap rewards from Etienne De Villiers's work

The outgoing ATP chairman has helped to generate vast amounts of money and the Scot is well placed to cash in
Neil Harman,
Tennis correspondent, New York

If the outgoing executive chairman of the ATP is correct - and if he is, one wonders why Etienne de Villiers should choose now to leave his post - Andy Murray is among those who are about to reap unprecedented rewards from tennis. Those earnings would have been unthinkable when the concrete colossus of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre was built on a patchwork quilt of old football fields called Flushing Meadows 30 years ago.

De Villiers has decided that three years trying to hack his way through the labyrinth of professional tennis and its enclaves of self-interest is enough hard labour and has quit while he is still ahead. The South African discovered to a cost that shook him to the core that talking change was one thing, but that carrying everyone with him on the bandwagon of change was something different again.

Murray may be too naive in the sport's politics to have a view on De Villiers's departure - the world No6 was tuned more into his two practice shifts yesterday in preparation for the US Open that starts on Monday. He has been drawn in the first round against Sergio Roitman, the 29-year-old Argentinian who is ranked No102 in the world. The US Open lauds itself as the richest of the four grand-slam tournaments. The winner of the men's (and women's) title will take home $1.5million (about £800,000) and Murray is as decent a hard-court player as anyone these days.

De Villiers was not involved in the allocation of prize-money at these championships but has pointed to his period in office having benefited the sport to the tune of $1billion in additional investment, a lot of which will find its way into the players' bank accounts. “I believe we have delivered the biggest modernisation of the ATP Tour since its inception and have begun to feed the growing appetite for men's tennis globally, both in established and emerging markets,” he said in his farewell speech yesterday.

So why did he feel that he had to go, especially after he had just taken on, and won by a stretch, a court case in which the Hamburg tournament sued the ATP over its demotion from Masters status to the second tier in a calendar he had fought tooth and nail to establish? He was deeply hurt by the demand of the sport's leading players - three quarters of the top 20 signed a petition in March - that the ATP not rubber-stamp a new contract for its chairman without identifying other candidates for the post.

De Villiers's predecessor, Mark Miles, spent ten years straddling the middle ground in an organisation that is shared between tournaments and players and had enough; De Villiers tried, perhaps a little too hard, to make his mark and alienated the players he sought so eagerly to befriend.

Few of the people who will walk through the gates of Flushing Meadows in the next two weeks would be able to pick De Villiers out of a one-man line-up, so little do they know of or care about the machinations of the sport. They only want to see Americans win the men's and women's singles events and if not, urge Rafael Nadal to a third grand-slam tournament title in succession.

Murray is one of those who could stop the Spaniard from adding the US Open to the French, Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal he won in Beijing. They are potential semi-final opponents, although that is getting rather ahead of oneself. The British No1, whose year was turned by his heroics in the fourth round of Wimbledon, when Richard Gasquet, of France, served for a straight-sets victory and Murray hauled himself back to win, is in a decent section of the draw. Feliciano López, of Spain, is his first possible seeded opponent, in the third round.

Roger Federer is not the No 1 seed for the first grand-slam tournament in 18, having lost his status after Nadal's phenomenal sequence of results. Federer, the defending champion here, may face Radek Stepanek, of the Czech Republic, in the third round, one of the nine players to have defeated the Swiss this year.

Anne Keothavong, the British women's No1, playing in the main draw here for the first time as a direct entrant, faces a qualifier in the first round.

08-24-2008, 08:52 AM
Beijing exit a bonus for Andy Murray

By Mark Hodgkinson in New York

One of the biggest British disappointments at the Beijing Games was that Andy Murray didn’t even come close to making the podium.

But John Lloyd, Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain, suggested that Murray had in some way benefited from his first-round singles defeat at the Olympics, as that had given him extra time to rest and prepare for the final grand slam of the season, the US Open, which starts on Monday on the New York City cement.

Don’t tell Britain’s cyclists, rowers, sailors, runners and jumpers, but tennis has already moved on from Beijing. Murray would patently have been thrilled to have won a medal of any colour, whether in the singles or with his brother Jamie in the doubles. But early defeats in both mean that he should be primed for Flushing Meadows. This could be the tournament at which he reaches his first grand slam semi-final, having played in his first slam quarter-final at this summer’s Wimbledon.

Lloyd said: “It was disappointing for Andy that he lost early at the Olympics, as he wanted to do well, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing for his US Open chances. I think it could actually work in his favour, as it means that he will have had a longer rest period between playing in the Olympics and in New York. If Andy had reached the semi-finals or better in Beijing, he wouldn’t have had so long to prepare for the US Open and fatigue would have been an issue.”

Before the Olympics, Murray had been striking the ball with power and poise, beating Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati final to win his first Masters Series trophy and the most important title of his career. Perhaps that is the best form guide for Murray; not what happened in China.

Lloyd said: “I don’t believe that his confidence would have been affected by his Olympic defeat; it was just one of those strange results that happens every so often, and he knows that he was playing some great tennis on the North American hard courts before Beijing.

“I believe that the US Open is the toughest grand slam to win. The weather can be a factor, and everyone can play on the hard courts, so it is a level playing field. It is the final grand slam of the season, so there is the possibility of fatigue, especially as the night matches can go on to one, two in the morning. So Andy having extra rest before New York will have done him no harm at all.”

The draw hasn’t done sixth seed Murray any harm, either. He will open against Argentina’s Sergio Roitman, the world No 102, and is in probably the weakest section, with a projected quarter-final against David Ferrer, the Spanish fourth seed. Still, another possible quarter-final opponent is Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, a teenager whose clumped forehand has brought him a remarkable streak of four titles in a row. Del Potro is probably best known in British tennis circles for having insulted Murray’s mother during an argument with the British No 1 in Rome this spring, but there is clearly much more to him than the ability to antagonise Scottish tennis players. Unlike most South Americans, Del Potro prefers the pace and bounce of a hard court to dusty, red clay. So he will be one to watch in New York.

When Murray appeared at last summer’s New York slam, he was still on the road back from the wrist injury that had put him out of that year’s French Open and Wimbledon, and he went out in the third round. But this summer Murray is healthy and the draw is kind. So he has the opportunity here to make the semi-finals, where he would expect to meet Rafael Nadal, the new world No 1.

Murray is Britain’s only direct acceptance into the men’s draw, while Anne Keothavong is the first British woman since Sam Smith, in 1998, to gain direct acceptance into the women’s US Open, and will play a qualifier.

Lloyd predicted great things for Murray, the winner of the junior US Open title in 2004. “Andy has been playing the best tennis of his career since Wimbledon,” he said. “Winning his first Masters Series title was a step up for him, but the next goal for him will be to win a grand slam title. Andy can be a threat at this year’s US Open. He loves the surface and he loves the let-it-all-hang-out attitude of the crowd.

“Unlike at Wimbledon, he won’t be the centre of attention. He’s one of a leading group of players. I feel that he could have a damn good US Open.”

08-24-2008, 08:52 AM
Andy Murray's hopes still sky-high for US Open in New York

By Clive White in New York

After his tortuous journey to Beijing, only to lose sight of a medal quicker than you can say Lu Yen-Hsun, it felt good to Andy Murray to be back on home soil, well, familiar territory at least.

The young Scot loves New York and now that the days of Federer rule appear to be over there's no reason why the British No 1 should not be the one to succeed him in the city where the Swiss has reigned supreme for the past four years.

It wasn't so long ago that that kind of expectation would have rattled Murray. Not any more. Now he welcomes being spoken of as a contender – at least by his peers – and unlike Marlon Brando's character in On the Waterfront he may very well get his shot at the title this next fortnight. They may have started taking a dive in tennis but young pretenders like Murray, thank goodness, are still in this game for the glory.

Ever since he first appeared here as a junior five years ago at the age of 16 – he won the junior US Open the following year – Murray has loved everything about the place. Missing Wimbledon last year because of a wrist injury made him realise how much SW19 means to him, but there is nothing like New York for getting his adrenalin flowing, not to mention his game.

Putting aside his lacklustre performance at the Olympics against a little-known Taiwanese player, Murray is the man in form on the North American hard courts this summer. He reached the semi-finals in Toronto last month before winning his first Masters Series title on a speedy surface in Cincinnati not dissimilar to the one here at Flushing Meadows. The 'Kid' showed Federer how to bring the giant Ivo Karlovic to his knees in the semi-finals, and then cried, "Bring on Nadal" in good old pugilist fashion. Instead they brought on his nemesis Novak Djokovic and he, too, found Murray just a little too cute for him.

This summer – Murray also beat him in Canada – may well have marked a turning point in their rivalry. Djokovic, whose first grand slam success might have been here last year rather than in Melbourne had nerves not got the better of him in the final against Federer, is seen by many as the one to beat at this US Open. But after four consecutive defeats to the young Serb, Murray feels he has finally "figured him out".

"Sometimes it takes a while to figure out how to play against guys – I struggled against [Nikolay] Davydenko a couple of times and obviously Federer the first time I played him, but I think I got the tactics right against Djokovic in both matches and forced him into hitting a lot of errors," said Murray. "I'm sure he will know he is going to be in a tough match whenever he plays me in future."

At this US Open that would not be until the final. The draw has looked kindly on Murray and his new No 6 ranking means he will not have to deal with the relentless game of the new world No 1 and Olympic champion Rafael Nadal until the semi-finals, which would be further than the Spaniard has ever gone here.

Murray does not believe that Nadal's reign will last as long as Federer's 237 weeks. "Federer's record will stand for a long, long time," said Murray. "It's not like Nadal has come out of nowhere. He's been around, just behind Federer, for three years, so for him to stay another three years right at the top of the game is going to be very difficult. He's probably going to dominate the clay for the next few years, but on other surfaces I don't think he can dominate like Federer did."

Even though he believes we may have seen the end of the Federer-Nadal monopoly (17 slam wins out of 21), he still thinks the new Wimbledon champion is going to be a force to be reckoned with outside of London and Paris. "The only time I've seen him look nervous on the court was in the Wimbledon final this year and I think that was huge for him to come through that in the end," said Murray.

As for the deposed champion, Murray thinks the next half-a-dozen slams or so will be crucial in his quest to overhaul Pete Sampras's record of 14 titles (he currently has 12). "If he stays injury-free I think he'll probably do it. It's amazing, considering the amount of matches he's played and won that he hasn't slipped or fallen over and hurt himself. He's turned 27 now and if he wins one of the next few slams he'll definitely at least tie it. Then again, he might go five or six without winning and then win one and decide to stop while he's on top – like Sampras did. That's why it made Sampras's US Open win so special."

08-26-2008, 08:43 AM
Andy Murray hungry to be New York giant

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, New York

The British No 1 and world No 6 looks leaner as he hopes to build on his Wimbledon performance at Flushing Meadows.

The chatter among those who spend hours training their cameras on tennis players is that Rafael Nadal has lost a bit of weight and muscle since the All England Championships. That might serve to give the rest of the men's field at Flushing Meadows hope because the Spaniard offers every impression of being supremely grooved to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year.

Andy Murray also looks a touch leaner than during those halcyon Centre Court days of early summer. His mood is every bit as casual as it was at SW19. He is inclined to break into a wide smile when you least expect it and when he does so, it alters the entire complexion of his character.

He was wreathed in them four years ago when he lifted the US boys' title and was escorted with Judy, his mother, to the top tier of the Arthur Ashe Stadium where the images were of a young man who was well on his way to reaching for the skies. The interim period has not been without its moments of turbulence, but back then Murray had his sights set on becoming a top-ten player and having achieved that on the back of his finest performance in a grand-slam tournament - reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals - and winning his first title in a Masters Series event within the past seven weeks, he is ratcheting up his levels of ambition.

“Wimbledon was clearly a turning point because what had become a good season for me now has the potential to become a great one,” Murray said. “My target this year was to qualify for Shanghai [the top eight players of the year compete for the Tennis Masters Cup in November] and that has become a very realistic prospect. The next one after that is to win a grand slam. I don't think you know if you are ready to win a tournament like this one - you just have to do the things you have to do to give yourself the best shot. If the opportunity comes, you either take it, or you don't.

“I would like to think that I will take that opportunity when [notice the when and not if] it comes, but I've not been beyond the quarter-finals of one of these tournaments. I'm putting in all the work on and off court, I feel I can do it physically and so it will come down to putting my game together consistently over two weeks.”

When Murray agreed to have a chat yesterday, it was on the premise that he was not asked about the Olympic Games, where his first-round defeat to Lu Yen Hsun, of Taiwan, was one of those shattering episodes that happen from time to time. What that setback did allow Murray was a little more breathing space after the Games which, as brilliant as they undoubtedly were, served as yet another debilitating drain on mind and body, especially if one's medal hopes were dashed at the start.

From the North American hard-court circuit, to Beijing and back, takes an awful lot out of people, even those at the front of the plane. The US Open, which starts today, has long been the survival of the fittest and those who can keep their head amid the chaotic tumult of much of what goes on in the name of grand-slam tennis, will come out on the other side. A year ago here, Murray's wrist was bothering him, he stayed in the same hotel as Brad Gilbert, his erstwhile coach, to try to keep the peace and no one was overly surprised when he was beaten in the third round by Lee Hyung Taik, of South Korea.

This time around, with the intensity of the Gilbert partnership replaced by the “keep it light, keep it upbeat” Team Murray that, with his personal press attaché here, numbers seven, everyone is walking around with a ready smile. “Every new relationship takes time to settle down,” Murray said. “Though I didn't have a particularly good spell immediately after Dubai and was constantly being asked about what I was doing having this team around me, it was something I always felt was going to be the best for me in the long term.

“I knew I would enjoy playing and travelling much more, it was a new experience for all of us but they have been a massive factor in why I'm playing much better this year. Each time I have made a decision on my coaches, the period immediately after it has been tough but it worked out in the end. All the decisions have been hard, especially having to tell Mark Petchey that we should part, but my ranking has gone up steadily over the last few years and every change has been of benefit for me.

“I have set myself lots of goals. Last year, to become a top-ten player was huge for me, but it does not matter so much now. The players I have beaten, my record against the top players, bar Nadal, those are the things that matter. I would rather go into a slam ranked No12 in the world but with the best players thinking I have a shot at winning, rather than be No5 or No6 and not be given much of a hope.”

In the first round, Sergio Roitman, of Argentina, who lost at this stage last year in his only appearance in the main draw, should not pose too much of a threat in a match scheduled for today, but Murray speaks about being on his guard and his game right away. There is no room for the early laxity that characterised many of the performances at the outset of his professional career.

A semi-final against Nadal is the juiciest of prospects. This is New York - a lot of beers will have been downed in the stands, a lot of planes will have flown from nearby La Guardia airport, a lot of hype will have been expended, but Murray senses he is ready. And that is what matters.


08-26-2008, 04:42 PM
Andy's thought on his win:

Q. Thoughts on that, Andy?

I thought it was pretty decent. Didn't lose my serve the whole match. I thought he played pretty well for about a set and a half. He was hitting his forehand really hard and making me do a bit of running. It was a decent test and I came through it pretty well.

Q. Did you step up, or did he just kind of go off the ball a little bit?

I think a little bit of both. It was quite tight. You know, the end of the second set, and then I think once I won that, it was going to be a long way back for him. And obviously I felt much more relaxed after I won the second set and started to return a bit closer to the ‑‑ stepping a little bit closer and coming forward a little bit, and being a bit more aggressive.

Q. Did you enjoy the last point?

Yeah, it was good. Yeah, it was one of the better shots I've hit this year. Iit was a nice way to finish.

Q. Is there a mindset when you play in the first round. I'm just watching the match with Nadal and he had a little scare. Is there kind of a pressure on the prohibitive favorite against the underdog? Nobody wants to be embarrassed in round one. I'm curious what goes through your mind when you step out on court?

I think before you get out on the court there is always maybe more nerves, the first round. Maybe the second, third, fourth round, you get used to the court.

Yeah, like you say, no one wants to go out in the first round. But actually once you get onto the court and you play sort of four, five, six games, you get more comfortable and you relax a little bit. I was lucky I got off to a good start today and calmed down a little bit after that.

Q. Did it hurt when the ball hit you?

No, not really. It was only like a 90‑mile‑an‑hour serve. I think it's probably the first time it's happened in a match, where I was hit by a serve. I can't remember being hit by one before.

I nearly got hit a couple of times actually. I couldn't really see his serve that well.

Q. You didn't take it personally?

No, not really.

Q. It's important, Andy, just to sort of get back to winning ways and somewhat back to the way you ‑‑ I know it wasn't as challenging as Cincinnati, but just to kind get back on the winning road?

Umm. Yeah. I'm feeling really confident just now regardless of what happened in Beijing. I feel I'm hitting the ball well. I feel mentally strong and physically I'm not tired, so I want to do well here, and today was a good start.

Q. You're one of several who have taken a victory over Roger this year. In the past several years there's been a feeling he's almost unbeatable, and that's come out in many, many, many press conferences. The last few days we had a chance to talk to James Blake and Andy himself, and many others, and they described maybe a little bit of a different atmosphere this year, maybe a sense that, you know, that any number of players could take this championship. Do you feel a little different this year in that respect?

Yeah, I mean, I think that's ‑‑ I think even though Federer was still the favorite for Wimbledon, I think there was still guys that had a chance of doing some damage there. And I think this is really exciting for tennis I think for the first time in quite a while.

There's obviously quite a few guys that have the potential to win it. I'd still say Federer is one of the favorites, but in terms of being unbeatable, I think that's the mindset that isn't great if you're going on the court believing that you can't win against someone. You know, it's not really going to happen, and I think it's taken a few of the top guys to see Federer lose to lower‑ranked players to start believing they can win against him. I'm sure it's been tougher for Roger this year than it has in the past, because he's lost to players that he's beaten, sort of four, five, six times a row.

Q. James said he felt Roger really hadn't lost anything. He just feels that tennis has just progressed and players have progressed and gotten better. Would you agree with that assessment?

Yeah, I mean, I said that a month or so ago. It happens in all sports, when someone sets the bar that high that's not going to happen straight away, but over three, four, five years, guys have caught up and realized that's the level they're going to have to get to if they want to be competing for Grand Slams, and I think this year has been another. I still think Federer is playing great tennis, but I think just the mindset of the other players has changed because he's lost more this year than he has in the past.

Q. Would it be correct to sort of view you this year or in your own mindset as previously you believed you could win a Slam like this. Now you know you're equipped to win a Slam like this?

I think a lot of things go into having the ability to win a Slam. You know, talent gets you to a certain level and then the hard work starts to kick in, and if you're not putting in the hard work, you're not going to get the opportunities to win a Grand Slam. I think that's something I've learned since I first came on the Tour, that your talent can get you to a certain level, and I've really stepped up my workload off the court and started traveling with a fitness trainer, and I think that's the big difference in my game, and the reason why I have the potential to come through and win a Slam.

Q. Can you talk about your Olympic experience. Not so much on the court but the atmosphere and what it was like to compete in the Games.

I mean, it was something different to anything I'm sure all of the tennis players have experienced before. So many great athletes around you. I didn't leave the Olympic Village at all from when I arrived, and it's a little bit strange, sort of ‑ there's no cars, and you don't hear any planes. It's like no noise in the Village.

I really enjoyed meeting all the other athletes and started collecting these ‑- you get pins from your country. And you go and you speak to the other athletes and switch pins and stuff, and that was one of the highlights to me. I got to speak to people from the Cook Islands, British Virgin Islands, and I collected like 120 pins.

Q. I know you are a fight fan, did you get to see any of the boxing competition?

After I lost I went to watch boxing and badminton. I saw a couple British guys fight. I enjoyed that.

Q. There's a contrast between no cars and no planes and New York, what is it about playing here that you really enjoy and what is it you feed off?

I've just always loved being in America. I think the people here are very upbeat. You know, they're always have been really helpful and I love the courts. And also the atmosphere, it's just a bit different to all the other Slams. I enjoyed playing here as a junior. It was the first time I stayed in a five‑star hotel, and I really enjoyed the way I got treated as juniors here, and it's been my favorite tournament since then.

Q. I don't know if it's Gabashvili or Llodra at this point, but could you just talk about both of those players and have you had much experience with Gabashvili?

I know him really well. I've known him since I was 12 years old. And also when he used to train at the academy I was at in Spain. He still lives there, but trains at a different academy. He hits the ball really hard, both sides, doesn't have too much variety, but if he's playing well he's a tough guy to beat.

Llodra is really talented. He played really well at the start of the year and hasn't had too much success lately, but tricky, serve volley, lefty, I played him once before in Metz and won quite comfortably, but I think he's playing a bit better than he was when I beat him.

Q. Anne won today. Very rare to have two Brits in a Slam.

The girls have been doing really well in comparison to the past, and as far as the results of the qualifying and I think both Mel and Bally, both had chances. I think Bally was up a couple breaks, maybe, in the third set. And I left when Mel was up in the first set of her match. It's getting better slowly it's great that she won her first match and I'm sure that will move her ranking up and give her some confidence.

Q. Will you be taking some pictures at the end? Can you tell us what that was about?

Yeah, got a camera, it's from a charity called "Right to Play." A lot of the athletes had the cameras in Beijing and you basically, you take pictures and charity takes your best 10 pictures at the end of the year and auctions them off and the money goes to the charities. So I'm just trying to get some different ones.

Q. Tim Henman used to say he felt the weight of the whole nation on his shoulders. Do you feel that way or is it Andy Murray playing for Andy Murray?

No, I play for myself, and I work really hard off the court to try and get the rewards in these tournaments. In the past I felt nervous coming into the bigger tournaments, but now that I've started to work really hard off the court, you go into the matches with sort of no excuses, no worries. You just go on the court, and just to play tennis, and that's one of the few things that I'm good at, and it's worked out much better for me this year.

Q. Was there a moment where you became aware of this, you were now at "no excuses, no worries" period? What have you done? When did you first feel like that?

It was the start of this year in Doha. I spent about four or five weeks out in Florida training. That means being away from your family for obviously that period of time when you could be at home; training in really hot conditions and going in the gym a couple of times a day, you sort of ‑‑ it's a complete waste of time going on the court and finding reasons why you might lose the match and what have you.

You know, you just go out there and fight for every single point, because that's a complete waste of time putting the work in if you're not going to use it out on the court. And it's really been the first time early this year when I felt really good going on the court physically, and it's something that -- it's nice to show that you're in great shape, because I think it sends a message to the other players.

08-26-2008, 04:45 PM
Murray sweeps past Roitman with the minimum of fuss in New York

Published Date: 26 August 2008
By Alix Ramsay

ANDY Murray could not have asked for a better start to his US Open campaign. After the disappointments of the Beijing Olympics, Scotland's finest was back in the winning groove with a straightforward 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over Sergio Roitman.
Murray was not at his best but he did not need to be. At this stage in the tournament he merely wants to get through the rounds as quickly as possible in order to keep as much fuel in the tank as possible. He can keep his more impressive tennis for later when the seeded players stray into his path – until then he just needs to take care of business.

The 29-year-old Roitman had never won a match at a grand slam tournament in 10 attempts and only made his debut here last year at the somewhat advanced aged of 28. He was soon on his way home after managing to win just eight games against Richard Gasquet. Then again, winning anything on a hard court has always been tricky for the Argentine and in his 12 years as a professional he had only won two matches on the cement. Against Murray, he showed no sign of improving on that record.

It did not take Murray long to work out Roitman's tactics. The Argentine has one shot of note – a thumping forehand – but not a lot else. From time to time, he would crack a winner off that side but, for the most part, everything he threw at Murray, Murray countered and bettered.

If he was drawn into a forehand battle, the Scot showed greater imagination and variety, not to mention muscle when the occasion called for it. If the Argentine steered the ball to Murray's backhand, he tended to pay a heavy price as Britain's No1 was guiding his that into the corners almost at will.

The only slight problem was Murray's first serve which stubbornly refused to land in play in the opening set. There were times when his figures dropped to a miserable 15 per cent accuracy but, luckily, it was only a temporary aberration. He may have muttered a few words of complaint under his breath at his inability to get the serve firing properly, but having broken Roitman's serve in the second game, he was always playing from a position of power.

Murray's serve may not have been at its sparkling best but the Argentine was never able to manufacture a break point until late on in the third set. Even then, he did not convert it.

The serving figures improved considerably in the second set while Murray began to ramp up the power on the other weapons in his game. He grabbed the advantage by breaking for a 3-2 lead with another backhand winner and marched on towards the third set with a purposeful gait.

By this time Roitman had run out of ideas and so opted for the direct approach – he drilled the ball straight at Murray using the tried and trusted theory "if you cannot beat them, hurt them". Murray turned away just in time but still yelped in pain as the ball thumped him on the back.

It was all good natured stuff – Roitman grinned broadly and apologised profusely in the hope of avoiding painful retaliation – while Murray simply got on with the business of breaking for an early lead.

This time, the damage to the Argentine's defences was terminal. Murray was too good, too strong and too experienced and Roitman offered up his serve yet again to give the Scot a 3-0 lead in the third set and the end was only minutes away.

Murray revealed that the Olympics were already a fading memory. "I'm feeling really confident just now regardless of what happened in Beijing," he said.

"I feel I'm hitting the ball well. I feel mentally strong and physically I'm not tired so I want to do well here and today was a good start."

Murray did admit to first-round jitters as he returned to competitive action for the first time since that Olympic defeat.

"I think before you get out on the court there is always maybe more nerves in the first round. Maybe by the second, third, fourth rounds, you get used to the court," he admitted.

"No one wants to go out in the first round but actually, once you get onto the court and you play sort of four, five, six games, you get more comfortable and you relax a little bit.

"I was lucky I got off to a good start and calmed down a little bit after that."

Murray revealed he had adopted a new approach to big tournaments and his work ethic away from the court was also paying dividends.

"I play for myself and I work really hard off the court to try and get the rewards in these tournaments," he insisted.

"In the past, I felt nervous coming into the bigger tournaments but now that I've started to work really hard off the court you go into the matches with sort of no excuses, no worries.

"You just go on the court and just to play tennis and that's one of the few things that I'm good at. It's worked out much better for me this year."

That change in approach, Murray felt, was evident at the beginning of the year in Qatar when he picked up his first title of the season in Doha.

"I spent about four or five weeks out in Florida training," he said.
"That means being away from your family for obviously that period of time when you could be at home training in really hot conditions and going in the gym a couple of times a day, it's a complete waste of time going on the court and finding reasons why you might lose the match and what have you.

"You just go out there and fight for every single point because that's a complete waste of time putting the work in if you're not going to use it out on the court.

"And it's really been the first time early this year when I felt really good going on the court physically and it's nice to sort of show that you're in great shape because I think it sends a message to the other players."

• Britain's other No 1, Anne Keothavong, notched up the first win in three years by any British woman at grand slam event other than Wimbledon when she beat Alexa Glatch 6-2, 6-2. Britain's last winner was Elena Baltacha at the Australian Open in 2005 when the Scot came through the qualifying competition and went on to reach the third round. It was the first time the world ranked 82nd Keothavong had claimed direct entry to the main draw of a major event other than Wimbledon.

08-26-2008, 04:51 PM
Neil Harman's US Open verdict: impressive Andy Murray was so clinical

Neil Harman

How impressed were you with Andy Murray?

It was a near-perfect display from Andy: confident, clear-cut and clinical. He took control from the start and never looked back. There weren't any dramas and that is just the sort of performance you would expect from a player ranked fifth or sixth in the world. In terms of the tournament it has taken very little out of him, at least I don't think it will have, which is just what he would have been looking for.

But after his lack of tennis following his early exit from the Olympics, do you not think Andy would have preferred a sterner test?

I don't think so. It seems when you have an easy win there is a thought that you would have been better off having a tougher test but when you are pushed to the limit an easy match is what is called for. It was a very warm day, the wind was blustery and when the conditions are as difficult as they were you want to get off court as quickly as you possibly can. Better to get it over with, I think, and keep your powder dry for the tougher tests that lie ahead.

How far do you think he can go?

Michael Llodra [the Frenchman, Murray's opponent in the second round] is a handful on any surface because of his left-handed serve. But, having said that, where Andy is in the world right now [he is currently the world No6] you would have to say that anything less than making the second week would be a disappointment. He will be aiming for the quarter-finals as an absolute minimum.

Do you think Andy will be disappointed he is the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, the world No1?

I don't think so. We were all worried when we saw Nadal being treated for blisters [during his first-round victory over Bjorn Phau of Germany, the world No 136] but he seemed to come through that fairly comfortably in the end. This is the one grand slam tournament where Nadal hasn't played well and the one he now wants to win more than any other. But Andy pushed him close a few weeks ago and I truly think that he himself believes he can get close to Nadal.

And what about Anne Keothavong, another Briton into round two?

6-2, 6-2 [against Alexa Glatch, the American] in a Grand Slam tournament is a very comprehensive win. Her opponent was slapdash and her play at times was horrid. Francesca Schiavone [Keothavong's next opponent] is an old trier who has been around a long time but is past her best. Reaching the third round of a grand slam tournament would be a fantastic achievement for her and there is no reason why she shouldn't do it.

08-27-2008, 04:56 PM
Murray must beware Llodra's shock tactics

Eleanor Preston at Flushing Meadows
The Guardian, Wednesday August 27 2008

When Andy Murray takes on Michaël Llodra in the second round of the US Open today the Frenchman is likely to spring one or two surprises. That is his speciality on and off the court. This is the man, after all, who once stripped naked and hid inside a fellow player's locker as a prank.

Llodra's penchant for bizarre practical jokes means that Murray will probably open his locker with more than usual care, and though the eccentric 28-year-old would probably draw the line at squeezing in with Murray's belongings and leaping out at him before they play he is certainly equipped to give the British No1 a fright once they get on court.

They have played once before, in Metz last autumn in an indoor match which Murray won with some ease, but the 21-year-old Scot expects the left-hander to do a better job of imposing his unpredictable blend of serve and volley and improvisational ground strokes on today's contest.

Llodra's tennis is almost as quirky as the rest of him and that makes him dangerous on his better days. Murray will not need reminding of that, for the Frenchman is an accomplished doubles player who, in partnership with Arnaud Clément, knocked the Murray brothers out of the doubles event in Beijing to put the seal on Murray's miserable Olympics.

"Llodra is really talented. He played really well at the start of the year and hasn't had too much success lately but he's tricky..." said Murray.

Llodra is already planning how to disrupt Murray's rhythm and prompt the sort of bursts of frustration which were once a regular feature of the Scot's performances. Murray has worked hard to eradicate those mental meltdowns and is maturing into a far more controlled and contained personality on court but if anyone can force him back into bad habits it is a player such as Llodra who specialises in unsettling the opposition.

"I think I have some good strokes, you know, to disturb him. We'll see what's happening," said the Frenchman. When asked how he planned to do that he gave a cheeky smile. "That's my secret, you know."

As much as he has ambitions of beating Murray, Llodra is also among the locker-room residents who have taken note of the Scot's recent surge of form, which began when he beat Llodra's compatriot Richard Gasquet to reach the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and achieved new heights when he won his first Masters Series title in Cincinnati this month.

"I saw his match against Richard in Wimbledon and after the match I said if he can play this kind of match - he was down two sets to love - and win I was impressed," said Llodra.

His first-round defeat in singles at the Olympics aside, there is an air of confident security about Murray these days, born, he says, of improved fitness as much as anything. Replacing his coach Brad Gilbert with a team which includes the physical trainers Matt Little and Jez Green, who travel with him in rotation, has paid huge dividends.

"Talent only gets you so far. That's something I've learned since I first came on the tour. I work really hard off the court to try and get the rewards in these tournaments," Murray said.

"In the past I felt nervous coming into the bigger tournaments but, you know, now that I've started to work really hard off the court, you know you go into the matches with no excuses and no worries. It's a complete waste of time going on court with reasons why you might lose the match or what have you. I think that's the big difference in my game and the reason why I have the potential to come through and win a slam."

If he can avoid any nasty surprises from Llodra, Murray will be a step closer to turning that potential into a reality.

08-27-2008, 05:01 PM
Murray - I'm back on track

Andy Murray says he has already put his Olympic disaster behind him after racing into the second round of the US Open.

The British number one, winner of the Cincinnati Masters in July, lost in the first round of the men's singles in Beijing to world number 77 Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan.

After seeing off Argentina's Sergio Roitman 6-3 6-4 6-0 on the opening day of the season's final grand slam at Flushing Meadows, Murray declared himself over that disappointment.

"I'm feeling really confident just now regardless of what happened in Beijing," said Murray, who is seeded sixth in New York.

"I feel I'm hitting the ball well. I feel mentally strong and physically I'm not tired so I want to do well here and today was a good start."


Murray did admit to first-round jitters as he returned to competitive action for the first time since that Olympic defeat.

"I think before you get out on the court there is always maybe more nerves in the first round. Maybe by the second, third, fourth rounds, you get used to the court," he added.

"No one wants to go out in the first round but actually, once you get onto the court and you play sort of four, five, six games, you get more comfortable and you relax a little bit.

"I was lucky I got off to a good start and calmed down a little bit after that."


Murray revealed he had adopted a new approach to big tournaments and his work ethic away from the court was also paying dividends.

"I play for myself and I work really hard off the court to try and get the rewards in these tournaments," he insisted.

"In the past, I felt nervous coming into the bigger tournaments but now that I've started to work really hard off the court you go into the matches with sort of no excuses, no worries.

"You just go on the court and just to play tennis and that's one of the few things that I'm good at. It's worked out much better for me this year."

That change in approach, Murray felt, was evident at the beginning of the year in Qatar when he picked up his first title of the season in Doha.

"I spent about four or five weeks out in Florida training," he said.

"That means being away from your family for obviously that period of time when you could be at home training in really hot conditions and going in the gym a couple of times a day, it's a complete waste of time going on the court and finding reasons why you might lose the match and what have you.

"You just go out there and fight for every single point because that's a complete waste of time putting the work in if you're not going to use it out on the court.

"And it's really been the first time early this year when I felt really good going on the court physically and it's nice to sort of show that you're in great shape because I think it sends a message to the other players."

08-28-2008, 09:55 PM
Andy Murray reprieved after war of attrition

Neil Harman

If Andy Murray does what he thinks he might do and makes the last weekend of the US Open, he may pause to reflect on a French gift received in the second round last night. To say that Michael Llodra choked away the tie-break that decided the match in favour of British No1 is not mere hyperbole for hyperbole's sake.

Llodra had a fifth set on his string, a forehand volley a couple of yards from the net that would have set up a third set point, and he feathered it into the net. Murray, reprieved and raging inside at the same time, completed the task on the subsequent point to secure a third-round meeting with Jürgen Melzer, of Austria, another left-hander, but one without Llodra's suicidal tendencies.

These matches are loathed by leading players - and Murray is certainly one of those. He knew that he should win, preferably in straight sets, that Llodra's one hope of an upset lay in continually coming forward, because if he stayed at the back of the court, he would be a sitting duck to someone of Murray's pedigree. Yet the Scot cannot shake off a lingering passivity.

Eventually all looks fine, a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 victory and satisfaction guaranteed. Brad Gilbert, who was Murray's coach this time last year, when his player might have lost his rag completely and perhaps squandered his chances, said that his former charge has stopped playing “possum” tennis, that he had cured himself of dropshot-itis, eschewing negativity. In many respects, Gilbert is spot-on.

But there was something strangely lacking in intensity from Murray from the word go yesterday; even on the Grandstand Court at Flushing Meadows, a stadium that ought to bring out the gladiator in one. Murray knows all about it - he had left a trail of vomit there when he played Andrei Pavel, of Romania, in a five-setter on his professional debut at the Open in 2005 - and edged a fascinating five-set encounter on it in the third round a year later against Fernando González, of Chile.

It is a court where Andrew Castle was so inspired 20 years ago that he took a set from Boris Becker. Castle was never a contender for anything other than a decent first week here; Murray sees far beyond that and that can be a danger. Llodra has won two hard-court titles this year, though they were both done by February, since when he has suffered with arm problems that have curtailed his programme.

There was also the little matter of pride for Murray who, in company with Jamie, his brother, had performed abjectly in the Olympic Games, where they were beaten by Llodra and Arnaud Clément, the 2007 Wimbledon men's doubles champions. Llodra is essentially a doubles player who dabbles in singles, yet he is competent enough at it to have reached No38 in the world and to have played just as many singles matches at the Open - ten - as his British opponent.

One break of serve settled the opening set for the No6 seed, but he seemed to be playing in neutral, not wanting to expend too much energy, hoping that he might lure and suffocate Llodra, the Scottish net to the French trident. But the Frenchman's peppery approach began to have a defining effect. He chipped and charged, volleyed securely and took a toll of the Murray serve, which, the second delivery especially, was worryingly ineffectual. The second set went by in a terrible 23-minute flash.

The points were short, though, it should not have taken too much out of Murray, but he had to withstand three break points in the opening game of the third set and at one stage in the eighth he had a long discourse in the direction of Miles Maclagan, his coach, and the rest of his coterie, though he might have been talking to the air.

Then he was given a helping hand by Llodra who, in the twelfth game, double-faulted on the first point, missed a simple backhand on the second and was punished by the best two service returns from the Murray strings all afternoon.

Llodra broke in the first game of the fourth, but Murray responded. He broke in the seventh; Murray responded. Murray had a match point at 6-5, but Llodra came up with an unreturnable serve. Murray disliked every call that went against him. He double-faulted away a 5-3 lead in the tie-break, Llodra had two points to extend it to a fifth, but they melted away. Murray survived. Just.

08-29-2008, 10:05 AM
Andy's thought on his win

Q. If there had been a challenge system on that call, could you have proven the world record?

I think it was just one part of the court that lines judge was struggling with pretty badly was on the ‑‑ from the umpire's chair to the umpire's left. On the far line, there was good five, six calls that every single one I think was ‑‑ I mean, there was like four or five that were for sure, and then there was a couple that ‑‑ there was one second serve that he hit that was so far out.

I mean, it was like this, way out. Didn't get called. So, yeah, you realize how much it helps. When you play on the courts without the challenges now, you know, sort of 90% of the matches I played this year have had the challenge system.

Q. Tricky match for you?

Yeah, it's always going to be tough. He's got a huge serve obviously making it ‑‑ being a lefty makes it tougher. He's won doubles Slams before; won two tournaments at the start of this year.

You know, he will give anyone a tough match. Very rarely will he lose easily. He moves really good up at the net, doesn't give you a lot of rhythm, and he's ‑‑ I think probably he's definitely in the top two or three net players for right now.

There's very few guys that play that well up at the net. And he moves well up there, too. It was a tough match.

Q. Is it hard because there are not many players who attack the net as much as he does, chips and charges on second serves so much?

No, I don't mind playing against guys that come to the net a lot, because he serves so well. That's what makes it tough. When you find it hard to break someone and they're coming in all the time against you, then it makes it tricky.

I started to return well toward the end of the third set. Obviously broke him twice in the fourth. That was the difference compared with the first three sets, even though I won the set. Apart form the game where I broke him, I won very few points on his serve. Same again in the second set, so it was really tricky.

Q. Did you come out of that thinking that's a job well done, or do you come out that thinking you're going to have to raise your levels?

No, I was very happy with the match. I thought I hit the ball from the back of the court very well. I didn't feel like I was making many mistakes from the baseline. Not too many unforced errors.

For a huge part of the match, it was very tricky for me to serve from the end where the tough calls were. The sun is right in your eyes around that time. So, you know, he's a really tough guy to play against, and I was happy I won in four sets.

Q. What do you think about your next opponent, Melzer? You played him once this year.

Yeah, he's again a lefty. He comes to the net a lot. Plays aggressive. Tough guy to play against. You know, he's ‑‑ I think he won really quickly today.

He's a tough guy to play against, just, again. Doesn't give you too much rhythm. But I feel like I'm playing well just now. I'm confident and I look forward to the match.

Q. When you're playing a guy who is serving very well and you're not making much headway, how easy is it to get frustrated, and how pleased are you with the job you did kind of not losing it when you weren't getting anywhere on his serve?

Yeah, it is tough, you know. And also, like when you do get yourself in front ‑‑ I mean, I wasn't behind at all the whole match, apart from 1‑0 in the first set.

I stayed ahead of him for the majority of the match. And also the tough thing is when I won that third set and then I'm up 30‑Love on my serve, at and 30‑All I hit a clean winner up the line, and it gets called out and you get broken, it's like, you put in so much hard work to get the initiative to get the momentum, and then all of a sudden you're behind in the fourth and you need to come back.

And that was the most pleasing thing for me was each time I got broken in the fourth set was that I came back straightaway.

But I thought that the whole match mentally was tough, and I dealt with it well.

Q. He was also quite upset about the line calling, as well. Would you take that any further or...

No. both of us were asking the other one how the ball was, and, I mean, I know him pretty well. He's a very funny guy. I think we were quite honest with each other, when we didn't give each other any calls.

We gave honest answers when we're asked about how we saw the balls. It was, yeah, it's just frustrating when both of us know that it's called wrong. I think they moved the lines judge from the far line and moved him over to the near line after we complained about him for a third or fourth time, the umpire, I think said he moved him. Yes, it was tough.

Q. There are times when you vented your frustration verbally. In past years, could that have got further? Are you better now at just dealing with it, getting rid of it, and moving on and getting the win?

I mean, I didn't let any of it linger on too long. I said what had to be said. I felt like, if there's calls like that and it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world it's not nice to have that sort of lack of confidence in a lines judge or in the umpire.

You want to just be able to go and play, and I think for a little bit of the match neither of us felt that comfortable with the calling. So that's what makes it difficult.

But I was happy with the way I came back from all of the different situations that he put me in, and I managed to come out on top.
Q. Did you hear the guy heckling you?

Heckling me?

Q. Yeah.

I don't think he was heckling me.

Q. Something about you and the Queen, I think.

No, I think he was heckling Llodra. I think he said something like, Go back to France. I don't know. I don't think he was heckling me. I think it was more towards him.

Q. Is it a bit unfair that the Grandstand, which is, you know, a major court here, doesn't have Hawk‑Eye?

I think when there's a huge crowd like that, I mean, it's absolutely packed, great atmosphere, the crowd are enjoying it, they're making a lot of noise, the crowd ‑‑ Hawk‑Eye is obviously for the players.

But also I think the reason why it came into tennis is because the fans really enjoy it. And I think it's tough, as well, for officials. There's a lot of pressure when you've got a court that's that close, you know, the fans are making a bit of noise.

It's tough for the officials, as well. So I mean, I'd rather have Hawk‑Eye on every single court, but I understand that it's very, very expensive. Would have made a difference today.

Q. How easy is it to kind of stay in the present? I know you say you have to take it one match at a time, but is that, in practice, that easy, or do you try to avoid looking too far ahead into next week?

Well, I mean, in the past, if you do ‑‑ for me, if you do start doing that it doesn't work out particularly well for you.

And also, the guys that I'm playing are not guys that I'm 100% expected to beat. If there's a chance I can lose the match, you're going to take it very seriously.

The guy I played today has won two tour events this year, so he can beat really top players. There's no point in looking ahead. You understand what's going on in the draw and which half of the draw you're in and whatever, and where the top seeds are.

But it doesn't make me start looking into the semis, quarterfinals, because I only made the quarterfinals of a Slam once. I'm not good enough to be able to do that.

08-29-2008, 10:10 AM
Murray edges to win over Llodra

British number one Andy Murray had to dig deep to reach the third round of the US Open with an erratic 6-4 1-6 7-5 7-6 (9-7) win over Michael Llodra.

Murray began well but was outplayed in the second set before raising his game at a vital moment to snatch the third.

The Frenchman twice went a break up in the fourth set but Murray took it to a tie-break, saving two set points before eventually sealing a hard-fought win.

Murray, the sixth seed, will play Austria's Jurgen Melzer in the last 32.

"(Llodra) is such a tricky guy to play against, he is very good at the net," said the 21-year-old Briton.

"It was a tricky match and I knew it was going to be tough but I am glad I came through. I think everyone feels a bit of pressure in those tense moments.

"I think he served well on those big points but he did miss an easy shot and I managed to get a few returns back."

After the ease with which he dispatched Argentina's Sergio Roitman in the first round this match should act as a wake-up call for Murray, who was lucky not to be taken to five sets by an opponent he had been expected to beat comfortably.

It all looked straightforward enough for the Scot in the early stages when he broke Llodra in only the third game of the match, and that proved enough to give him the first set.

Llodra, a doubles specialist who is ranked 38 in singles, was charging to the net at every opportunity and played some brilliant shots but Murray seemed to have his number at that stage.

The situation changed drastically in the second set, when Murray's weak second serve allowed the Frenchman to continually attack him.

Murray's first delivery was also far too inconsistent and, as a result, Llodra broke twice to level the match.

Things were a lot tighter in the third set before Murray struck at 6-5, taking advantage of an uncharacteristic wobble from his opponent to break to love and snatch the set.

There were still plenty of twists and turns to come, however, as Murray was still serving poorly and was also clearly frustrated by some of the calls that were going against him.

Twice Llodra went a break up only for Murray to raise his game and reply instantly and, after Murray saw a match point come and go at 6-5, that pattern continued into the tie-break as both players mixed brilliant shots with some inexplicable errors.

Serving at 5-3 after a brilliant cross-court winner, Murray appeared to have the match within his grasp but a double-fault handed the initiative back to Llodra.

Llodra then had two chances to take the match to a deciding set, one on his own serve, but sent a backhand into the net to allow Murray to level at 7-7.

Another mistake by Llodra handed Murray his second match point and this time the Briton made no mistake, powering a forehand down the line to set up a smash to clinch victory.

Murray's resolve was admirable but he will need to iron out his inconsistencies, particularly on serve, when he faces Melzer, the world number 48.

Melzer, who Murray is also likely to face in Britain's Davis Cup tie at Wimbledon in September, trounced Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic 6-0 6-2 6-2.

If he gets through his next two matches, Murray is scheduled to meet world number four David Ferrer in the last eight, and world number one Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.

But the 22-year-old says he would be foolish to look that far ahead.

"The guys that I'm playing before are not guys that I'm 100% expected to beat if there's a chance I can lose the match," Murray said.

"They're really top players so there's no point in looking ahead.

"You understand what's going on in the draw, you know which half of the draw you're in and who the top seeds are, but it doesn't make me start looking into semis or quarter-finals.

"I've only made the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam once and, you know, I'm not good enough to do that."

Andy's brother, Jamie Murray, saw his bid for success in the men's doubles end at the first hurdle.

Murray and Max Mirnyi of Belarus, the 14th seeds, were edged out 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (10-8) by Slovakia's Micah Mertinak and Lovro Zovko of Croatia.

And Anne Keothavong, who like Andy Murray is into the last 64 of the singles, was knocked out in the first round of the women's doubles.

The Londoner and her Russian partner Anastasia Pavlychenkova lost 6-3 6-4 to Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic and Italy's Mara Santangelo.

08-30-2008, 02:40 PM
Jurgen Melzer awake to the threat of Andy Murray's latest tactics

By Mark Hodgkinson in New York

Flushing Meadows is one of the last places on earth to come for a snooze, unless you can doze off to some of the grating announcements over the public address system, and the sound of the planes passing overhead from LaGuardia Airport.

But one concern that Austria's Jurgen Melzer has had ahead of their third-round match at the US Open is that the counter-punching Andy Murray will try to send him into a deep sleep.

Will Melzer hit the snooze-button? "When the ball is on your side of the court, his body language suggests he does not have much energy," said Melzer, the leading Austrian and the world No 48. "But when the ball is on his side of the court, he bursts into action. He tries to make you fall asleep by playing lots of long rallies."

John Lloyd, Britain's Davis Cup captain, will be one of those hoping that Melzer's eyelids start drooping. If Murray beats Melzer, it will give Britain's Davis Cup team a psychological edge before next month's tie against Austria at Wimbledon.

There was a Murray-shaped hole in Britain's team when they lost February's World Group first-round tie in Buenos Aires, but the world No 6 is available again for a tie Britain must win to retain their elite status.

But Lloyd would have had more to think about before he named Alex Bogdanovic as his second singles player yesterday. There has never been any doubt over Bogdanovic's ability, but plenty over what is going on between his ears; he has lost all four of his live Davis Cup rubbers. Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins will complete the British team.

08-30-2008, 02:43 PM
Murray braced for another battle

By Simon Lewis

ANDY Murray believes he is in for another tough assignment when he faces Austria's Jurgen Melzer in the US Open third round, but insists he has the mental toughness to come through it.

The British No 1 and world No 6 reached the third round of the year's final grand slam for the third time in a row when he defeated France's Michael Llodra, ranked 38th in the world, in four sets on Thursday.

Melzer is ranked 10 places lower than Llodra but shares a number of his attributes,meaning another tricky test for the 21-year-old Scot today in a match scheduled for second on Grandstand Court.

"Again, he's a lefty, comes to the net a lot, plays aggressive," Murray said of Melzer, who crushed Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday morning. He won really quickly, he's a tough guy to play against, just, again, like Roger (Federer]. He doesn't give you too much rhythm.

"But I feel like I'm playing well just now. I'm confident and I look forward to the match."

Murray will do so with the belief that he negotiated a difficult second-round challenge from Llodra not just tactically and physically but also mentally.

Facing a big-serving left-hander and some debatable line calls that may have in previous years brought out the worst in Murray temperament, the sixth seed was pleased to have kept his focus on the task at hand, twice breaking back immediately in the fourth set on the way to victory.

"The tough thing is when I won that third set and then I'm up 30-0 on my serve. At and 30-30 I hit a clean winner up the line and it gets called out and you get broken, it's like, you put in so much hard work to get the initiative, to get the momentum, and then all of a sudden you're behind in the fourth and you need to come back.

"And the most pleasing thing for me was each time I got broken in the fourth set was that I came back straight away.

"I thought that the whole match was tough mentally, and I dealt with it well." Murray also recognised he did not let his frustration with the line judges spill over into a self-defeating tantrum, restricting his protests to restrained discussions with the chair umpire even when there was a perceived injustice.

"I didn't let any of it linger on too long," he said. "I said what had to be said. I felt if there are calls like that and it's one of the biggest tournaments in the world, it's not nice to have that sort of lack of confidence in a line judge or an umpire.

"You want to just be able to go and play, and I think for a little bit of the match neither of us felt that comfortable with the calling. So that's what makes it difficult.

"But I was happy with the way I came back from all of the different situations that he put me in, and I managed to come out on top."

Murray and Ross Hutchins came unstuck in the second round of the men's doubles last night when they were knocked out by top seeds Daniel Nestor of Canada and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia.

The unseeded British pair had come back from a set down to level the match but with neither side able to break the deadlock it took a tiebreak to settle the match – Nestor and Zimonjic pulling through 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) on court six.

Murray and Hutchins had defeated Thai twin brothers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 on Tuesday in their first match together since April.

They looked poised to take control at 3-3 in the final set when they earned a triple break point, but the Nestor serve produced five straight winning points to keep the top seeds in the hunt.

At 5-6 and 15-40 down, Hutchins produced a rescue act of his own as he served to save the match, forcing his way back into contention and winning the game to force a tiebreak.

That, however, proved to be a one-sided affair, Nestor and Zimonjic racing to victory and into the third round.

08-31-2008, 10:48 AM
Murray - I'm here to win

Scot flexes his muscles and vows to go all the way in New York

Andy Murray paid tribute to his fitness level and believes he has what it takes to win the US Open after he clawed his way back from two sets down to beat Jurgen Melzer in the third round.

The Scottish sixth seed celebrated his pulsating 6-7 4-6 7-6 6-1 6-3 victory by pumping his muscles in a gesture that suggested he was answering critics who doubted his stamina.

After being plagued with injuries and fitness worries as a teenager, Murray revealed how hard work in the gym has given him the belief that he is now in the required physical to go all the way at Flushing Meadows.

"When I played Wimbledon the first time, I had never played four sets in my life, never mind five," Murray said.

"I did start to work hard after that. But you have to respect your body as well. And I was still doing a lot of growing.

"You can't push yourself too hard. It's not good for your body. Now I've finished growing and I can do more weights and train harder.

"In the end I think the fitter player won."

Best shot

By reaching the fourth round at Flushing Meadows, Murray equalled his previous best finish at the US Open from 2006.

The Scot faces Swiss 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the next round on Monday, and Murray admits he now has one eye on claiming his first ever grand slam title.

"Well, I think when you're at a tournament like this, for me, there is a chance that I could win the tournament," Murray said.

"So I say to myself, you know, I'm going to give it my best shot to try and win.

"That's my goal for the tournament, to try to win it. I don't think that if you set yourself a target of the third round and you reach it you can kind of feel like you've achieved what you came here to do.

"I think it's better to set the bar high and maybe you don't reach it. I might not necessarily win this tournament, but if I go with the intention of doing it, it might not come as such a surprise if I do go deep."

08-31-2008, 10:50 AM
Murray in thriller as he muscles past Melzer

WHEN Andy Murray was growing up, it was his dearest wish to play a big match on one of the show courts at the US Open but after two consecutive, nail-biting matches on the Grandstand Court in Flushing Meadows, he will not care if he never sees the place again.
Murray reached the fourth round of the US Open by beating Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-7, 4-6, 7-6, 6-1, 6-3 but it was close, far too close for comfort. He will meet the Swiss 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka next but it was some rollercoaster ride against Melzer.

The luxury of Hawk-Eye is only bestowed on the top two arenas in New York and those who are pushed out on to Grandstand have to make do with old fashioned technology and human error. And with the standard of line calling available on the court, this tournament ought to be sponsored by Specsavers.

In the previous round, Murray had complained bitterly about the officials on the far lines to the left of the umpire's chair. Yesterday he was complaining about the far lines to the right of the umpire's chair. Melzer, not to be left out, was just complaining. When Murray felt he had been robbed of a break point in the middle of the second set by yet another bad call, he stomped up to the umpire's chair and gave Emmanuel Joseph a piece of his mind. It was the opening salvo in a discussion that lasted for most of the rest of the match.

But the real cause for frustration in the Murray camp was the Scot himself. There were times when he showed flashes of brilliance, there were moments when he nailed a return – but there were not nearly enough of them. Usually the better shots came when Murray's frustration got the better of him, he stopped fretting about everything around him and simply belted the ball. More often than not, it was a winner.

Melzer, though, can infuriate anyone. A left hander with a big serve, a lot of muscle and a willingness to come to the net, he can mix it with the best on his day. And yesterday was one of his days. For much of the first three sets, he served better than Murray, he was more consistent than Murray with fewer unforced errors and had a better grasp of his game plan than Murray. He even swore better than Murray when it was his turn to have a rant to Joseph.

"He was playing really, really well," acknowledged the Scot. "He was serving close to the lines and hitting the ball so hard and flat and very deep. He was taking a lot of risks and was going in for the most part. I just had to try and hang on.

"The guy played great but it happens sometimes. I'm not that good a player that I can just blitz guys. I said it was going to be a difficult match, and he's very talented. It's tough to get in a rhythm when a guy is taking every ball on the rise, and coming to the net and mixing his serve around. He was playing well.

"When you're training and wondering why you do all the work and feeling sorry for yourself, and you kind of push through and keep working, then when you have moments like that on the court, you feel like it's all worth it."

From a reasonably positive start with the odd sniff of a chance here and there Murray slowly tied himself up in knots. It was as if he was trying too hard, often trying the most outrageous shot in his repertoire when the more straightforward option would have won the point. When he lost the second set, he attempted a volley that was doomed to failure from the moment it left his racket strings and yet he could have put the ball almost anywhere else on the court. It was that sort of day for the Scot.

Yet Murray is nothing if not a cussed soul and a born fighter. Launching a bid for a place in the second week of a grand slam from two sets down is not a play for those of a nervous disposition but Murray has made it his trademark this summer, roaring his way to victory against Richard Gasquet from just such a deficit at Wimbledon.

Trying the tactic again, he finally got the breakthrough he craved after more than two hours by breaking the Melzer serve to take a 3-2 lead in the third set. Punching the air and dancing back to his chair, he had given himself a glimmer of hope by converting a break point chance. Nine had gone begging but at last one of them had gone his way.

Even so, the crisis was not over and three games later Murray was back in trouble, facing three break points of his own. For once, Melzer let him off the hook with a couple of backhand errors but two games later, as Murray was serving for the set and holding a set point, he caught the Scot with the old drop-shot-and-lob combo and Murray's lead was wiped out.

Forced into the tiebreak, he scrapped to give himself a chance of another set. Earning a set point with a 138mph ace, he moved into the fourth set with the clock ticking towards three hours. After all that effort and all that tension, it was – at last – game on for the Scot. As he raised his levels, so Melzer dipped slightly and suddenly the balance of power was shifted.

Melzer threw the fourth set away and by the fifth he was all but exhausted and took a medical time out to have his legs massaged back into life. Meanwhile Murray, after all his hard work in the gym and on the practice court, was still very much ready for the fight and was still on his toes to make the most of Melzer's mistakes. As the Austrian fired a tired forehand over the baseline, he was broken and went 4-3 down. There was no way back from there and after 3hrs 52mins Murray had wrapped it up.

Flexing his biceps, just as he had after beating Gasquet in five sets at Wimbledon, he was into the fourth round and an appointment with Wawrinka tomorrow. Whether his followers' nerves can stand another Murray spectacular is another matter.

09-02-2008, 12:54 PM
"I loved every minute"

Q. You must be very pleased with that?

Yeah, it was great. You know, the first match I've played on that court. I've been looking forward to it for a long, long time. To play like that made it pretty special.

Q. In terms of Grand Slam matches, where would you rate that one?

Yeah, I think in terms of the way that I played throughout the whole match, I didn't lose my concentration at all, which is tough in five‑set matches.

Obviously I've beaten better players than Stan, but that level of performance throughout the whole match was probably my best one of all the Slams I played.

Q. You've watched Justine Henin play matches on this court before. What was it actually like to be down there playing? How did you feel? Was it everything you thought it would be?

I've watched so many matches on the TV that I kind of knew what to expect. I watched a few matches from the stands. It's such a huge stadium that the noise is ‑‑ there's always a buzz during the points, and it's a little bit different to anywhere I've played before.

Yeah, I loved every minute of it.

Q. Given such a magnificent stage, do you feel you had to fight the urge to entertain the crowd rather than just win functionally?

I'm obviously still young, but I think when you're sort of 18 and 19 years old and you play on a court like that, it's, yeah, you feel like you want to do something extra special.

Now you just got to get the job done and try and win three sets as quickly as possible. You don't want those matches going on any longer than they need to.

Q. You're now playing a guy that's won 23 successive matches. Could you have given yourself more or better momentum going into this?

Well, I mean, if I'd won in five sets I would have been happy with that as well. I think in Slams the only important thing is to win the matches. But to play like that was obviously great; gives me a bit extra confidence.

Wasn't such a long match, so I'm not going to be tired tomorrow. Got a rest day then, yeah, going to be a tough match against Del Potro.

But I think I'm playing well enough to win.

Q. What lies behind this incredible run that he's suddenly got himself on from what you've seen?

He doesn't miss a whole a lot. He moves pretty well for a big guy. You know, he does everything good. He's got a good crosscourt backhand and, you know, he just hits the ball hard and solid and doesn't make a whole a lot of mistakes.

When you watch him, I don't think that you see anything that's unbelievably special. When you're playing as solid as he does and you don't miss that many balls and you've got confidence and you don't lose for a while, you come through matches. He's done that the last few months.

Q. Is there any feeling of unfinished business with him after Rome? He finished as though it was the end of his career. He was in tears and he was helped off.

Not for me there wasn't any unfinished business. I don't know how he feels about it. Guys get hurt all the time in tennis. You know, you hope it doesn't happen. You obviously want to win the long way. Happens sometimes.

Q. I meant unfinished business with what happened before that with the mouthing and the...

I haven't spoken to him since, so whether there is or not, for me it's another tennis match. Stan is one of my closest friends today, but when you get on the court you've got to put your emotions aside and get the job done.

Whether I like Del Potro or not really doesn't make any difference. When you get on the tennis court it's another match, and you've got to win.

Q. Did you get the sense from the word go you were in the mood and going to be in the groove? Your shot making was as crisp and as sharp as I can recall.

I felt like I was hitting the ball well. Again, when you play against someone as good as Stan, top 10 player, they're always going to raise their level a bit. There's going to be situations where you have to sort of fight your way through.

I think when I was a couple breakpoints down in the second set, those sort of moments you have to try and come through. I did that really well.

But, yeah, I mean, in those types of situation, on courts as big as that, the start of the match is so important, and I knew that. I warmed up really well beforehand and wanted to try to get ahead early on early and set the tone for the match.

I did that really well by breaking in the first game.

Q. Would you say that you went into the match with a more aggressive frame of mind than you did against Melzer?

Just a different match. Melzer and Llodra both serve volleying, coming in on second serves, going for broke, you know, have very different game styles to Stan. I have a game plan for every single match. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer for it to work out in the end.

Tonight I hit the ball really well at the start and got ahead early. I think both of us have probably played long matches in the last round. Really important to start well, and I think his head went down a little bit when I broke him in the second.

Q. Are you a bit surprised after what happened between you and Del Potro in Rome that he hasn't tried to clear the air at all?

Not really. I've known him since we were really young. Doesn't really bother me. I wasn't great friends with him before. I don't need to be friends with him now.

So, no, I'm not surprised.

Q. Is there any time to enjoy being world No. 5 in the middle of a Grand Slam when you're giving yourself a great shot?

Well, I think a good chance that I'll go up to 4. Depending on I think ‑‑ I think Davydenko needs to make at least a semis, you know, for me to stay at No. 5.

But, yes, it's great. I've really had a good year. I think I pretty much qualify for the Master's Cup now, which was my goal for the start of the year. Last few months have been great, so hopefully I can keep the run going in the next round and try and go as far as possible here.

Q. Having made a quarterfinal before at a Grand Slam, what can you take from that? What do you learn that you'll use this time, if anything?

I don't think there's a huge difference between playing a fourth round match in a Slam, quarterfinal. I think once you start to get to the final, that's when it changes a little bit. You've got potential to sort of make history and go down as a great tennis player.

The last Slam quarter I played I got killed and Nadal played way too good for me, but I feel like I'm playing better now. I'm definitely going to be more rested this time round and hopefully play a better match.

Q. It's a long time back, but do you have that feeling when you won the juniors here?

Yeah. Well, I mean, for me those courts, regardless of how I was playing before I came to the States or whatever, I feel good every time I come on those courts.

I played great when I was a junior here and had some good results here in the past. I just really enjoy playing here.

So whether it's just something that I haven't sort of brought into the tournament before, feeling great beforehand, but just as soon as the tournament starts I've always felt comfortable playing here.

Q. Were there any kind of sights and sounds from being on court that you hadn't expected?

Well, the guys from Entourage, the show, came to watch. That's my favorite show. Watch it all the time. So that was a little bit strange. That was the only thing that was surprising to me.

Q. Did you know they were going to be there, or did you find out when they announced it in the middle of the match?

I knew Ari Gold, Jeremy Pivens is his name, I knew he was here beforehand, but I didn't know all the other guys were coming. I was watching Regis and Kelly this morning and I saw Jeremy Pivens was in New York, so I was guessing. I think he's on Regis and Kelly tomorrow morning. I guessed he might be here promoting the new show. I think starts in a week or so.

Q. Jamie had a good result tonight as well. What would it mean to both still be here in the final weekend?

Yeah, it would be great. His record in mixed has been unbelievable. I think the last three, maybe four Slams, he's lost to the winners. Could be wrong, but definitely the last three, I think.

He's in the semis again, and the team that he beat tonight are very, very good. He's doing really well. Hopefully, yeah, we can both keep winning.

Q. For those of us who lead sad lives, what's so good about Entourage?

Just got to watch it. It's a great show.

Q. Is it a comedy?

Yeah, it's comedy. Yeah. It's very, very good show, yeah.

Q. Did you get the impression that playing the Macarena during breaks of play at Wimbledon might help the atmosphere?

The most important thing is that the fans get entertained. Whether that be from the tennis or everything else that's going on around, that doesn't really matter.

But Wimbledon get huge crowds every single year, so they're doing fine. I enjoy playing in this atmosphere.

Q. Do you know if your mum is coming out?

No, not that I know of.

Q. Are you tempted to watch replays of yourself when you're sitting there and they show back the better volleys?

Yeah, I always watch. I think most people watch the replays when they're on the court. They normally only show good points, so that's why you watch it.

09-02-2008, 01:03 PM
Brilliant Murray into last eight

By Piers Newbery

Andy Murray produced one of the best performances of his career to sweep aside Stanislas Wawrinka and reach the quarter-finals of the US Open.

The British number one, 21, dominated from the outset and wrapped up a 6-1 6-3 6-3 victory in one hour 49 minutes.

And the quality of Murray's play will have boosted his credentials as a real title contender at Flushing Meadows.

The Scot will next meet 19-year-old Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, who is on a 23-match winning streak.

It will be the second consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final for Murray, who lost heavily to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon and could face a rematch with the Spaniard in the last four in New York.

Murray must first beat the form man on tour in 6ft 6in Del Potro, who has won his last four tournaments and saw off Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3 6-4 6-3 on Monday.

But if he can repeat the form of Monday night there is no reason Murray should fear anyone in the draw.

He had struggled at times in the early rounds, needing four sets to beat Michael Llodra before coming back from two sets down to beat Jurgen Melzer.

And with a 3-3 record against Switzerland's Wawrinka - the world number 10 - tournament officials clearly expected a titanic struggle when they gave the clash top billing as the night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

It may have been the first time in the 20,000-seater arena for both men but Murray looked much the more comfortable from the start.

He broke Wawrinka three times in a flawless first set that saw him equally strong off both forehand and backhand from the baseline, and occasionally darting to the net to shorten the points.

Wawrinka managed to save a break point early in the second set and looked briefly threatening at 3-3, but Murray took the initiative again in game eight, stepping inside the baseline to force the errors and grab a vital break.

When under pressure at 0-30 while serving for the set, Murray again found inspiration with a blistering backhand winner and a deft drop volley.

And he wasted no time in moving clear in the third set, getting to 0-40 in game three and stepping inside the baseline to thump away another backhand return.

Murray broke again to seal the win and, from a player who sometimes struggles to maintain his form throughout a match, it was his most clinical display to date.

"It was the first match I've played on that court," he said afterwards. "I've been looking forward to it for a long, long time, and to play like that made it pretty special.

"To play like that was obviously great, it gives me a bit of extra confidence.

"The last (Grand) Slam quarter I played (at Wimbledon), I got killed and (Rafael) Nadal played way too good for me, but I feel like I'm playing better now.

"I'm definitely going to be more rested this time round and hopefully play a better match. I think I'm playing well enough to win."

Murray's win over Wawrinka assures him of a place in the world's top five when the ATP rankings are updated after the US Open.

Jamie Murray made it through to the semi-finals of the mixed doubles as he and American partner Liezel Huber won a dramatic match against second seeds Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic.

The pair won the last five points in the decisive tie-break for a (7-5) 6-7 (9-11) 11-9 victory.

09-02-2008, 04:08 PM
Thank you Oksan4ik :D That interview was great to read.

09-04-2008, 12:58 PM
Courageous Andy Murray battles way through to US Open semi-finals

Neil Harman

There was a rosy red tint to the Manhattan skyline last night and a rosy hue in the cheeks of Andy Murray as he celebrated a place in the semi-finals of a grand-slam tournament for the first time.

As ever with Murray it was a performance that teased, tricked and tormented not only his opponent, Juan Martín Del Potro, who has been in the form of his life, but everyone else at Flushing Meadows, Murray included. The Scot, 21, who will join Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski as British players who have reached No 4 in the world, emulated Henman’s performance in the US Open in 2004, when he reached the last four and had the misfortune to come up against Roger Federer in his pomp.

Murray will now have two days to reflect on his 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 victory last night before he meets Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, on “Super Saturday”. The British No 1 has been involved in many titanic struggles of this kind, but not with this much resting on the outcome.

"There were some intense moments but I was just glad to come through," Murray said. "He was on an unbelievable winning streak. He had confidence. I knew I was going to have to fight a lot."

There were passages of play of sublime tennis, glorious symphonies played from his strings, and times too when his attempts to reel in Del Potro were resisted with all the muscle and confidence that 23 matches without defeat had hardened in the Argentinian. In the end, it came down to sheer character.

The opening game was symptomatic of the way the match would unfold. Murray managed to succeed with only one of his five first serves and then held serve without much fuss and bother. Del Potro did not miss with a first serve in the next game and was broken to 30, thanks finally to the first of many backhands he would net because of the zones of discomfort into which he was being guided.

Perhaps there was a bit too much of a Scottish cruise control in the opening exchanges because Del Potro, when he did come alive, broke Murray twice in a row, thanks largely to a handful of double faults. From appearing to have the set under control, Murray was suddenly serving to stay in it.

These are the trials that so often bring out his best. A backhand error and a double fault winded Del Potro and then Murray brought up a couple of break points with a wonderful lob that his opponent pursued vigorously, but Murray cut off his response with a delicate forehand volley. Having saved two break points, Del Potro succumbed on the third, a backhand that landed wide — a call confirmed by the Hawk-Eye challenge system.

The moment that swung the tie-break was a forehand drop shot — such a difficult trick to pull off, though something of a Murray forte. When Del Potro’s ensuing forehand was mis-hit over the baseline, Murray had control; another wild forehand by Del Potro and the set had been nailed.

One hoped that Murray, relaxed now, might decide to start playing as he had against Stanislas Wawrinka in the previous round: take the game to his opponent, strike with a touch more abandon, impose himself on proceedings. Instead, he remained content to trade up the middle of the court, seeking, it seemed, to want to wear Del Potro down as much as beat him.

It was an intriguing tactic that seem dangerous when Murray had to survive break points in his second and third service games of the set, though his response was characteristically dependable. There is nothing like the scent of a crisis to stir Murray’s competitive juices and it was not a surprise when he broke Del Potro in the eleventh game to serve for the set.

What was a shock was Murray’s next game, four successive unforced errors, including a woeful backhand drop shot, and he was forced into a second tie-break. Murray played a second tremendous series of sudden-death points and had surely grabbed the match by the scruff of its neck. He surrendered the third set but won a pulsating fourth to go through.

"I'm very relieved. I had my chances to put it away earlier and let it slip away," Murray said. "It feels great to be in the semi-finals. After a match like that it makes it feel even better."

His big brother, Jamie, has his moment in the sun today when he teams up with Liezel Huber, born in South Africa but now a naturalised American citizen, in the mixed doubles final. Beaten in the semi- finals last year, their opponents are Leander Paes and Cara Black, of Zimbabwe.

09-04-2008, 01:01 PM
Magic Murray in dreamland as he breaks new ground

By Alix Ramsay

JUST ten days in New York and four hours on the Arthur Ashe Stadium have changed Andy Murray's world forever.
The Scot beat Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 7-5 last night to reach the first grand slam semi-final of his career. And by winning the match, he ensured that his ranking will be up to No4 when the new world order is published on Monday. Murray is now living with the big boys, the very best of the best.

There is every possibility that he will face Rafael Nadal on Saturday, one of only three men in the world who are better at playing tennis than Murray. Those are the sort of matches Murray has dreamed of playing since he was a boy.

Playing Del Potro, a teenager from Argentina, may not have been the highest-profile match of the whole tournament, but it was a massive moment for Murray. This match was his ticket to the top.

It was not a match that he will remember with affection and the third set is one which he would rather forget, but the very fact came through it will fill him with enormous pride.

For the first few games, Murray seemed not to have broken step from Monday night when he pummelled Stanislas Wawrinka in the previous round. Back on his favourite court, still wearing his favourite grey shirt, he had taken the first set by the scruff of the neck within a matter of minutes.

Del Potro had warned before the match that their match in Rome, the bad-tempered affair that almost had the two men exchanging insults, meant nothing. Playing down the bad blood between him and the Scot, he wanted a quiet day at the office and pointed out that this was a different day, a different surface and a different situation.

What Del Potro omitted to mention was this was a different Murray, too.

He came with a simple yet effective gameplan – starve the big man of pace and wait for the mistakes to rack up. It worked like a dream as Murray sprinted to a 3-0 lead, slicing his backhand, looping his forehand and leaving the Argentine to try and whip up some fizz and bite on his shots. More often than not they ended up in the net.

Murray was also dragging Del Potro into the net with drop shots and then lobbing him to send him racing back again. At 6ft 6in tall, movement is not the strongest suit in the Argentine's game but, even so, lobbing anyone of that height takes some doing yet Murray did it to perfection.

But then Murray changed tack. Instead of infuriating Del Potro with guile and nous, he started playing the Argentine at his own game. Putting more muscle behind his shots, he gave his opponent the pace he craved and was gradually pushed further and further back as Del Porto started slapping his forehand and knocking the cover off the ball.

Only when Del Potro came to serve for the set did the nerves kick in and as the big man became more tentative, so Murray dragged him into a long and patient rally on break point and forced him into the error. Once into the tie-break, the Scot was soon in charge and with a drop shot that dropped over the net and landed gently beyond the Argentine's flapping racket, he took the lead and never let it go.

Del Potro came to the quarter-final on a 23-match winning run that stretched back to just after Wimbledon. The 19-year-old has played a lot of tennis this summer and by the end of the first set, the effort had taken his toll and he needed treatment for a knee problem. But still he would not slow down or give up.

By the second set, the Scot had taken his courage and his chances in both hands. Playing from the first row of the stands was not going to get him into the semi finals and even if in pushing forward he ran the risk of getting overwhelmed by the occasional flashing winner from Del Potro, he was in a position to bully his man and control the point if his chance came.

He may have made a hash of serving for the set – offering up his service game with four unforced errors – but he went for the jugular in the tie-break, conceding just one point as he took a two-set lead.

But that was when Murray's nerves got the better of him. The nearer he got to the finish line, the tighter he got and from being 3-1 up in the third set, he dropped serve twice to lose the third set and was quickly a break down in the fourth.

There was no let-up from Del Potro and when he achieved three more break points at 3-3, the Scot could not hold out.

But at just the wrong moment for the teenager, a few errors crept back into his game and – coupled with one brilliant retrieval from Murray – the sixth seed broke straight back.

In a turnaround as dramatic as the one Del Potro had mustered in the third set, Murray was now back on top and won his service game to love to move to the brink of victory.

But if he had hoped his opponent would crumble he was to be disappointed, the Argentine seemingly nerveless as he levelled easily. Serving to stay in the match a second time proved a different story, however, as errors from Del Potro gave Murray two match points – and when the Argentine put a backhand wide three hours and 58 minutes of great drama was over, and the Scot screamed his delight into the New York sky.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer scraped into the quarter-finals late on Tuesday, yet his fist-pumping celebration of a five-set win over a relatively modest opponent did as much to demonstrate the Swiss' perceived vulnerability as his title threat. The former world No1 beat Russia's Igor Andreev 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and the normally even-tempered Federer celebrated with an enthusiasm that he rarely exhibited even in his 12 grand-slam title wins.

Federer's opponent in the quarters will be Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who pulled off a big upset by ousting Russian No5 seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (12-10).

Novak Djokovic, the third-seeded Serb, struggled to a five-set win over Tommy Robredo, beating the Spaniard 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash with American Andy Roddick. The eighth seed routed Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 6-2, 6-4, 6-1.

09-08-2008, 01:34 PM
"Awesome to beat him"

Q. What was your attitude going into today?

It was tough. There was a lot of things I had to deal with. Change of court was just tough, you know, a very different atmosphere today.

It was quite windy out there as well. Obviously yesterday the conditions were pretty heavy, very humid.

Today it was very windy on the court. The ball was flying through the air a bit more. I just had to try and stay calm.

I thought I was playing well enough to win the match, but I knew Nadal was going to come at me. There was a few sort of ups and downs even though it was a very short time we were out on the court, but I managed to come through in the end.

Q. Was there a certain frame of mind you had knowing that you already had a break that you were facing that third set?

Well, I mean, I think once he ‑‑ the momentum, even though I had two sets, I would have much preferred to be in my position than his.

The momentum was kind of with him a little bit in the third set. He held serve easy the first couple of games, and I don't think either of us dropped a point maybe the first couple of service games.

So,I just had to try and stay aggressive, stay focused. I knew, because of the wind from the far side of the court from where we came out, it's much easier to return from that end, and I knew I was going to have some chances, so I had to just try and stay focused on that.

Q. Could you talk a bit about the swings of emotion and I guess your thought process after that second game of the fourth set?

Yeah. Obviously I had a lot of chances to break. There was only ‑‑ I think there was only one point where I really had, you know ‑‑ it was maybe a couple. I don't know how many breakpoints I had, six or seven.

He only missed one first serve in those points, so even though I had break chances, he played well on them and I missed a couple of shots that I maybe shouldn't have.

I thought that even though I got broken the following game, I still kept my emotions in check. I knew I was going to have chances to get back in the match and I obviously did.

Q. Did it make you more nervous or much more at ease having to sleep on the match last night being up 2‑Love?

I slept absolutely fine yesterday. I didn't feel nervous. Going out into the match, I was in a good position.

It was just like I said earlier, it was very different to yesterday with the completely different court, different conditions. That's I think the first time, maybe second time on ‑‑ since I been on the tour when I've actually had to come back the following day, so that was tough for me.

Q. The crowd was a little bit more Nadal in the beginning. I guess they didn't want to see a 15‑minute match coming out here. Did that do anything for you? Did that fire you up at least, the crowd being against you and then for you in the fourth set?

No. If I was a spectator today, I would have rather watched more tennis as well. You kind of understand why they do it, but the atmosphere was still awesome.

They know tennis here. When there was good points, they applauded for both. Obviously they wanted to see more tennis, which was fine by me. By the end of the match, I thought it was pretty even, you know, and obviously finished off well.

Q. How would you describe how the pressures and the attention in Britain have prepared you for the toughest of situations playing the likes of Nadal and Federer and being in your first Slam final?

For me, that didn't really have much to do with it. The things that prepared me for these situations was when I went over to train in Spain when I was 15 and sort of, for me, it was much tougher being away from my family for a long time rather than whether people expect me to win Slams or winning Wimbledon.

That was much tougher for me, and I did that from a young age. When you put in the work off the court, and, I have said this many times in press conferences, when you go into matches and physically you put the work in and you've worked really hard, you don't have any excuses when you get on the court. You just think about tennis.

In the past I maybe did think about pressure because I hadn't worked maybe as hard as I should have, but now that's not the case.

Q. With that in mind, with all the work that you put in, you were just cracking balls left and right today. Talk about match point and what your mindset was going up to that dropshot.

Well, I mean, it was probably maybe only the second dropshot he'd hit in the match. I was quite a long way behind the baseline.

On these courts, you're going to get a chance to get to the ball unless you hit a great dropshot, because obviously the bounce is really high. I just had to keep my head down and watch the ball, and that was that.

Yeah, I didn't feel particularly nervous. I just felt like I was hitting the ball well. I was in a great position.

Q. Just talk about playing Roger, because you've got a winning record against him. Does that give you a bit more confidence going into tomorrow?

I've played well against him in the past. I think a Slam final is different to the match that I played against him before.

He's obviously won over 30 matches in a row here, so he's obviously going to be feeling confident going in.

He's got loads of experience in these situations and it's something new for me. I know I'm going to have to play great to have a chance of winning, but I've played well the last couple of weeks.

Q. Do you have another level to rise to as well as you've played lately? And secondly, have you ever heard of Brigadoon?

No to the second one, and I don't know. I mean, I played well enough to beat the No. 1 player in the world over two days, and I've beaten Roger in the past.

I think it's more I have the tennis to compete with those guys. I just have to make sure I do it for three out of five sets rather than for a set and a half, two sets.

Q. We all now how proud you are of your biceps now. Can you talk about mental muscle and whether your stronger mentality is just a result of on‑court results or whether there's something else you've been doing off the court?

Like I said, I started working with a new team at the end of last ‑‑ the end of last year. I started to train physically way harder. The pain that you feel off the court is ‑‑ when you're running around the track is much worse than anything you feel on the tennis court.

I go on the court now without feeling like I have anything to worry about, because I've worked hard and practiced hard and given myself the best opportunity to play well. All I've got to do is play tennis, which is one of the few things that I'm good at.

Q. So the mentality follows physical strength; is that what you're saying?

Yeah. I think when you go on the court and you haven't put in the work off it and you haven't practiced as hard as you should have done, there's a lot of things ‑‑ you can find excuses for why you're not playing well or why you're getting tired and stuff.

I think that maybe in the past that was the case, but now I've been traveling with a fitness trainer every week this year and working physically hard off the court. It's taken seven or eight months, but it's paying off.

Q. I heard you on court saying that this was your favorite tournament.


Q. I'd like to know why is it more favorite than Wimbledon, or you did it because you wanted to please the crowd or because you were so happy of probably having the best match of your life in terms of importance today?

I've always loved playing at Wimbledon; no question about that. But since I came here as a junior, it was the first time I ever stayed in a 5‑star hotel. You know, New York is one of my favourite cities. I love it.

I came when I was a junior to watch the final of the women's singles. I watched Clijsters against Henin, a night match, on Arthur Ashe.

For me, the atmosphere and everything that goes with the center court here kind of suits my personality a bit more than Wimbledon.

Since I came here the first time as a junior, I've loved every minute of it. We got to eat in the same restaurant as the pro players here. I got to meet Coria, who was my favourite player at the time. Every since I was 15, 16 years old, I've loved playing here.

Q. Obviously you play the sport of tennis for yourself. It's been so long, decades, since a Brit has won here. Two things: What do you think winning here would mean for British sport? And secondly, what do you find so appealing, so funny about Will Ferrell?

Well, to the first one, I think, yeah, tennis in the UK. has had ‑‑ obviously Tim was incredibly consistent and one of the best players for a long time. He never won a Slam.

I think that sometimes in sport it takes, you know, like with rugby back home when England won the World Cup and rugby, it became a huge sport pretty much overnight.

Cricket, when England won against Australia and the Ashes, that went from being a smaller sport to having a lot of cricketers became celebrities after that. It was a much sort of cooler sport.

I just think when you have a team or someone who wins the big events, it makes a big difference to the popularity of a sport in your country.

Then with Will Ferrell, I don't know why. He's a funny guy. His face ‑‑ I don't know. It's not ‑‑ like his eyes, I don't know. He always makes me laugh, since I saw him for the first time.

Q. Did you see him on the JumboTron today?


Q. Did you see what he did?

Yeah, I saw him. He made me laugh.

Q. Do you think he was imitating you?

Yeah. And then I met him after the match, so that was nice.

Q. Are you hoping that this will take tennis in Britain to a different level? You're making a big impact in that way?

Firstly, I obviously want to win for myself, for my family and my friends and everyone that's been part of what I've done so far. That's the most important thing for me.

Then if the popularity of tennis grows because of me doing well, then that's great. I've always tried to do bits and pieces for British tennis when I'm back home and have the time. This is ‑‑ I think no matter what you do, how many little things you do, when you do something big like this I think that's when the big difference happens.

Q. You've always said that two or three years away will be your peak. The work you did in Florida, has that fast‑tracked you to get here quicker than you thought?

No, I think I'll still play better in a couple years. I think there are many things that I can improve on. One of the key things this year has been mentally I've gotten much, much better, and that has made a big difference. Then physically, I can still get stronger.

I think when you play more matches and get more experience in the big situations you understand what things you can improve and what things maybe break down a little bit and that you're going need to work on. I'm only starting to get the sort of big match experience this year.

Q. He specializes in running guys ragged. You seemed to be, in all the rallies, seemed very comfortable and not really pushed out of your comfort zone. Is that anticipation, or do you feel like you're reading his game very well?

Every time I played him on hard courts, I've always felt like I wasn't getting pushed around the court. I always felt like I was dictating a lot of the points.

His strokes, although they have a lot of topspin, if you play close up to the baseline, they come to you at quite a nice height. He doesn't normally hit the ball very close to the baseline. He hits it obviously high with a lot of topspin, but it can come short.

If you can take your opportunities early in the rally to get a good strike in, you can dictate a lot of the points.

That's what I tried to do in the past against him and had chances in each match that I played against him but just never won the big points and never returned well.

I said before the match I was going to have to return better to have a chance to win, and that's what I did.

Q. You said on court you were relieved to win. Was that your overriding emotion or your pride and satisfaction coming in?

I'm obviously delighted to be in my first Slam final. But, you know, like I said at the start of the tournament, I want to try and win it. After playing so well yesterday and everything that went on with the rain and the court changes and stuff, you know, obviously going a break behind in the fourth, it was, you know, almost slipping away slightly.

Then to come back in the end, you're relieved that you managed to come through. No, I'm obviously delighted that I won the match, I mean, against a guy who's played as well as him. He's the best player in the world this year because he's played great tennis.

Q. If you could describe the biggest similarities and differences between you and Roger Federer when you're out on the court, what would those be?

I think we're quite natural tennis players. I think with our hands we're pretty gifted.

And then things that are different? I think he plays a more aggressive style right now than me. He'll look to come forward a bit more.

I think when we're returning, I play a bit more defensive on the return games. I try to put a lot of returns back, whereas he maybe tries to go for a bit more on his returns. Those are the main differences.

Q. Have you ever seen playing Miloslav Mecir who is playing a little bit like you? Do you know anything about him?

I met him the first time at the Olympics. He was there with Slovakian team with Hrbaty. I had never seen him play, but I don't know if you saw a lot of the ‑‑ you get given pins from your country which you exchange with the other athletes. He was trying to switch pins with me because I had a couple that he ‑‑ he's been ‑‑ I think that was like his fifth Olympics that he had been to maybe.

He had a pin which wasn't very common, so I got their pins in exchange for that one. I've not seen him play.

Q. About two years ago I was asked by some British colleagues to attend a press conference of yours because sometimes there were some problems between you and the media. Do you think these problems are overcome because you're winning more, because you're talking less about the fact that you're Scottish and not English and things like that, or do you think this will improve?

ANDY MURRAY: I think once you get older, you start to understand how the press works a bit better. When I first came on the scene at Wimbledon in 2005, I had done very few press conferences.

I had never played in front of a lot of people before. I was used to playing in futures events and stuff.

All of a sudden I was the center of attention at the biggest tennis tournament in the world. It's very different to what I was used to, so it took me some time to ‑‑ I'm not someone who liked sort of celebrity life. I like to just relax with my friends and family.

I don't go out my way to do a lot of press stuff. I found it tough at the start because there was a lot of press requests and what have you. So I had a few problems early on in my career, but I think I'm dealing with it much better now. I think you get used to it.

Q. Given all the work that you have put in on your physical conditioning, do you have any concern at all about the difference in turnaround time that you've got to play this final in less than 24 hours and Roger having had two days?

Ideally, I think you'd want to be in his position I think it's slightly better, but it's a Grand Slam final and I'm not going to let 24 hours of rest or, you know, having to play today or whatever get in the way of giving 110%.

I'll try my best to win the match. That's not going to be the difference tomorrow.

Q. You mentioned the importance of returns today. Nadal is not necessarily known for having a huge serve, but you stayed back. Could you describe your thinking on the return and game plan?

Well, with his serve, he doesn't have a big serve, but he puts so much spin on the serve that if you stand close up to the baseline, for me, you know, he can get it into your body.

It's quite tough to read because he moves the racquet very fast, you know, just as he's about to make contact.

It's a tough serve to read, even though it's not particularly big. I gave myself a lot of time and didn't get aced ‑‑ I probably got aced once, twice today. But I was getting myself into a lot of the points, and that's what you need to do against someone like that, you know, who normally has to work pretty hard for his points.

If you're giving a lot of cheap ones from his serve, he's going dominate you.

Q. Do you feel that Roger has raised the level of his play in this tournament, especially in the match against Djokovic, relative to how he's played the rest of the year?

I didn't see him play against Djokovic that much. I saw a little bit before I went out, and it looked like they were playing pretty well.

But I think he played well at the start and then had obviously a tough match with Andreev. I mean, he made the final at Wimbledon, the final of the French Open, the semis of Australian Open, and he's in the final here.

It's like an unbelievable run, and I don't understand why everyone thinks he's not playing well. He's played unbelievable in the best tournaments and he's in the final for the fifth straight year here. It's a ridiculous run. I think he's playing great. I just think the level of tennis has got better.

09-08-2008, 01:40 PM
Andy Murray claims best is yet to come ahead of US Open final with Roger Federer

By Clive White

Andy Murray reckons that reaching the US Open final is only the beginning and that the best of him is yet to come.

The British No1 is also hoping that if he can pull off a victory in today’s final against Roger Federer here it will revitalise the sport in the same way that England’s victories in the 2003 World Cup and the 2005 Ashes revitalised rugby and cricket, respectively. “It made them more cool,” he said.

Win or lose today Murray believes British fans won’t see the best of him for a couple of years yet. Reaching his first grand slam a little earlier than some had forecast didn’t mean he had reached potential earlier than expected. “I think I’ll still play better in a couple of years,” he said after beating the world No1 Rafael Nadal when their semi-final match resumed yesterday following Saturday’s storms.

“There are many things that I can improve on. One of the key things this year has been mentally I’ve gotten much, much better, and that has made a big difference. Then physically, I can still get stronger.”

The off-season training he did in Florida had obviously helped. From being a player with numerous physical issues, it seemed, he has become one of the fittest on the Tour. A lot of it had to do with waiting until his young body was strong enough to take on the extra training.

“I started working with a new team at the end of last year,” he said. “I started to train physically way harder. When you’re running around the track it is much worse than anything you feel on the tennis court. I go on the court now without feeling like I have anything to worry about because I’ve worked hard and practised hard and given myself the best opportunity to play well. All I’ve got to do is play tennis, which is one of the things that I’m good at.”

Reaching his first grand slam quarter-final this summer, at Wimbledon, and then winning his first Masters Series final in Cincinnati were key to his progress. “When you get more experience in the big situations you understand what things you can improve and what things maybe break down a little bit and that you’re going to need to work on. I’m only starting to get the sort of big match experience this year.”

But it’s major victories that will help grow the sport, he feels. “Tim [Henman] was incredibly consistent and one of the best players for a long time. He never won a slam. Sometimes in sport it takes, like with rugby back home when England won the World Cup and rugby became a huge sport, pretty much overnight. Cricket, when England won against Australia in the Ashes, that went from being a smaller sport to having a lot of cricketers, they became celebrities after that. It was a much sort of cooler sport.”

Murray is confident ahead of his match against Federer, whom he leads 2-1 in head-to-heads. “I played well enough to beat the No1 player in the world over two days, and I’ve beaten Roger in the past. I have the tennis to compete with those guys. I just have to make sure I do it for three out of five sets rather than for a set and a half or two sets.”

He poured scorn on the idea that the 12-time grand slam champion was not the player he used to be. The reason why he didn’t dominate as much as before was because other players had got better. “He made the final at Wimbledon, the final of the French Open, the semis of Australian Open, and he's in the final here,” said Murray.

“It's like an unbelievable run, and I don't understand why everyone thinks he's not playing well. He's played unbelievable in the best tournaments and he's in the final for the fifth straight year here. It's a ridiculous run. I think he's playing great. I just think the level of tennis has got better.”

09-15-2008, 10:55 AM
Union hits out at Andy Murray's swearing

Stuart MacDonald

The head of School Leaders Scotland attacks tennis star over outbursts on court

Andy Murray has been accused by the leader of Scotland’s main head teachers’ union of setting a bad example to children by swearing and losing his temper on court.

Ken Cunningham, general secretary of School Leaders Scotland, said the Dunblane-born tennis star should show more respect for officials and curb his volatile behaviour.

Murray, whose appearance in the US Open final in New York last week propelled him to No 4 in the world, was seen by millions of tennis fans mouthing expletives as he was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer.

In May this year he was heard swearing during a match with Juan Martin del Potro, after the Argentinian insulted his mother, and the following month was reprimanded for his language during a last-16 tie at Wimbledon.

In 2006, the British Davis Cup team was fined £1,434 after Murray swore at an umpire during a doubles match and he let rip with another outburst at Wimbledon later that year.

“If he continues like that, somebody needs to have a word with him,” said Cunningham. “All that goes into making him great goes alongside the other bits and pieces, and there’s another bit of his life that he needs to sort out.

“He is a very successful role model in terms of success, but you have to put it in context. It’s not just about being successful, it’s about being successful and positive in terms of your contribution to society.”

Last week The Sunday Times revealed that Sir Bill Gammell, the former Scotland rugby international and one of the country’s richest entrepreneurs, hopes to use sports stars such as Murray and Chris Hoy, the triple gold-medal-winning cyclist, in teaching programmes designed to promote a winning mentality at school.

Cunningham, the former head teacher at Hillhead High in Glasgow, said he hoped pupils would challenge Murray about his behaviour and ask him to explain himself.

“I think the answer to it is getting youngsters to question him and challenge him face to face,” he said. “If you get a kid turning round to Andy and saying, ‘See the way you behaved in that final, do you think that was appropriate?’ then Andy would have to answer to the next generation.

“It would be wonderful for him because he would get a real sense of what people think about that behaviour and would see that what he does is going to be reflected in young people’s behaviour. It would help him understand that he is a role model.”

In his autobiography, Hitting Back, Murray said swearing is a way for him to let off steam, but admitted he was trying to control his outbursts.

“I do swear sometimes towards my box,” he said. “If you’re getting mad, you’re getting pretty uncomfortable and all I’m basically doing is looking for a bit of comfort from them. I know swearing isn’t the right thing to do and I have tried to stop it, but I’m never going to be on court not saying a word. Sometimes you need to let off steam.”

Tom Lucas, a leading sports psychologist, defended Murray’s behaviour.

“He’s not perfect, but most of his outbursts are directed against himself for missing a shot or getting his tactics wrong,” he said. “He rarely has a go at the opposing player or the umpire.”

Murray’s spokesman refused to comment.


10-15-2008, 02:46 PM
Andy Murray blasts through crock Simone Bolelli to reach Madrid Masters third round

Oct 15 2008 By Alix Ramsay

ANDY MURRAY was in stunning form yesterday at the Madrid Masters - but needed just 10 games to see off Simone Bolelli.

The world No.4 booked his place in the third round when his Italian opponent withdrew with a shoulder injury. In the 47 minutes the Scot was on court his play was as good as it has been all season.

With the exception of the Beijing Olympics, the 21-year-old's results have been consistently impressive: quarter finals at Wimbledon, semi-finals at the Toronto Masters, a win at the Cincinnati Masters, the final at the US Open and two Davis Cup victories.

Despite taking a three-week training break after the Davis Cup Murray does not appear to have missed a beat since his last competitive outing.

Yesterday he was straight back into the winning groove that has taken him soaring up the world rankings.

Murray said: "I've been playing really, really well in practice over the last few weeks, better than I was playing throughout the summer. I was hitting the ball much better."

Bolelli had come through the qualifying competition and so had already acclimatised to the speed of the courts and the flight of the ball.

For a couple of games he looked as if he could give Murray a run for his money but then the Scot pulled rank, broke serve and crushed his opponent.

Chasing down two smashes and turning defence into attack Murray took the lead in the second game of the match and never looked back. From that point on, Bolelli had the look of a beaten man.

It took the Italian 40 minutes to notch up a game but once he had got his name on the scoreboard, he called for the trainer and had treatment to his right shoulder. Three points later, he gave up the struggle and trudged off court trailing 0-6, 1-2.

Murray said: "I think it was a shoulder problem he stopped for but he was hitting serves over 200km all the time.

"He seemed to be hitting his serve fine. I don't know if he did it on one point in particular or not, but I don't think he had come to the court with a problem.

"I think a good start makes a big difference in matches like that where you're not really 100 per cent confident about how you're going to hit the ball and how you're going to play because you haven't played for a while. He had obviously played three matches here and was a bit more used to the courts.

"You're still expected to win but when you get off to that good start you can kind of relax and go for your shots a bit more."

At this time of year most players are struggling with niggling aches and pains and everyone is tired.

Murray, though, is relaxed and fresh after his time at home and is feeling fitter than ever.

He said: "I'm probably a little bit mentally fresher now than around the US Open time. It was a long summer although physically I felt okay.

"It's just shot selection and focus on every point can be better when you're fresh and I've been working harder on doing a lot of fitness."

Murray will face Croatian Marin Cilic next for a place in the quarter-finals.

The world No.24 also appears to be in cracking form following an impressive 6-2 6-3 win over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco yesterday.

Murray said: "Marin has played well in big matches this year. He's beaten some really good players over the past few months so it's going to be a very tough match.

"He hits the ball big and if he's playing well he's going to be a tough guy to beat."

Top seed Rafael Nadal dropped a set but reached round three with a 7-5 3-6 6-3 win over Latvian Ernest Gulbis.

10-16-2008, 02:16 PM
Murray toughs it out against Cilic

Andy Murray has progressed through to the Quarter Finals of the Madrid Masters with a 7-5, 7-6 win over Croatia's Marin Cillic, where he will meet either Andy Roddick or his junior rival Gael Monfils.

The Scot made a poor start to today's third round encounter, dropping his serve early in the first set and consistently struggling with his returns, as well as his troublesome right knee. It wasn't until 5-4, with the Croat serving for the opener, that Murray truly came to life. Having built up a 40-0 lead, Cillic looked certain to close out the set. However, Murray conjured up something special to break back, hitting one running forehand pass to save set point and a trademark backhand pass to break back at the most crucial of stages. Now with the momentum, the Scot held serve and immediately broke for a second time to take the first set and add to the Croatian's woes.

With a set advantage, Murray could afford to relax and play with a little more freedom. As he later admitted to Sky Sports, he relaxed a little too much. The second set was, like the first, closely contested as the pair traded service holds. Again demonstrating the winning mentality he has so often boasted this past summer, the Scot broke serve late in the second set to open up a 5-3 advantage. Although everyone else knew that Murray had the match on his racquet, the youngster from Dunblane was inexplicably under the impression that the score was 4-2. That admission may go some way to explaining the loose game he subsequently threw in to immediately get broken back. From that point on, the set seemed destined for a tiebreak. And so it proved to be the case, as both players made no mistakes on serve thereafter. Given their respective tiebreak records, the smart money was on the Scot. He quickly raced to a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, the Croat tossing in a multitude of errors, while Murray was content to keep good length and force his less experienced opponent to hit through him. The Scot went on to prevail 7-2 in the tiebreak and will now go on to face either Andy Roddick or Gael Monfils in the Quarter Finals.

10-17-2008, 03:52 PM

Murray into semi-finals in Madrid

From Mike Perez, PA
Friday, 17 October 2008

Andy Murray overcame a slow start to clinch a hugely-impressive victory over Gael Monfils today to progress through to the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters.

Murray needed just over an hour to beat the outclassed Frenchman 6-2 6-2 in a match that started off as an evenly-fought contest but ended up being almost completely one-sided.

The world number four will next meet either Roger Federer or Juan Martin Del Potro in the last four as he seeks his fourth title of the season.

As against third-round opponent Marin Cilic yesterday, Murray needed to do it the hard way to win the first set against the 22-year-old Monfils after being broken in the opening game of the match.

However, the fourth seed hit back immediately to level the scores up at 1-1 and then broke Monfils again in the sixth and eighth games en route to taking the first set 6-2.

It was not as easy as the scoreline suggested though, at least not early on as Monfils matched his seeded opponent blow for blow in what looked set to be a testing match for Murray.

The Frenchman broke straight away when Murray's attempted drop-shot failed to clear the net and then took his opponent to deuce in each of the Scot's next two service games.

Monfils could not take advantage of that though and as the unforced errors and frustrations started to creep into the Parisian's game with increasing regularity, Murray went from strength to strength before sealing the set in double-quick time.

The first three games of the second set comfortably went with serve but Murray again had Monfils in trouble in the fourth, and he further tightened his grip on the match by breaking his opponent following a lengthy battle.

Murray then won the next two games to take a 5-1 lead and although Monfils broke back in the seventh match, the Scot secured a comprehensive victory in the following game on Monfils' serve.

Murray is now on course for a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer.

"I am hitting the ball well this week. I like this court - and it will be a great match," he told Sky Sports Xtra.

"At the US Open, I wished I could have played better - but he was great and deserved to win."

There was never any doubt Murray was in control against Monfils, and his only qualm was over some slipshod serving early in the match.

"When you play against someone like Gael, you know you'll have some fun," said the British number one.

"We've known each other since the juniors, and I know his game pretty well.

"I served very badly at the start. But once I got a few more serves in, I only lost one more game until I lost my focus right at the end

"I started to relax and hit the ball pretty well. It was a really satisfying performance."

10-18-2008, 02:00 PM

Murray gains revenge over Federer

Andy Murray avenged his US Open final defeat by Roger Federer with a superb 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory over the Swiss in the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters.

Federer broke the British number one in the fourth game on his way to winning the opening set but the 21-year-old Scot responded well to level the match.

A tense final set went with serve until the 11th game when Murray broke Federer before completing a fantastic victory.

World number one Rafael Nadal will face Gilles Simon in the second semi-final.

Murray, who lost in straight sets to Federer at Flushing Meadows in September, had not dropped a set in his march to the last four.

Serve dominated the opening five games before the former world number one broke Murray when the Scot overhit a forehand to take a 4-2 lead.

Murray had a chance to hit back immediately when a mis-hit Federer forehand gave him a break point, but his opponent saved that before holding to establish a 5-2 advantage.

The Swiss soon wrapped up the set but Murray, chasing his fourth ATP title this year, served well to help him put Federer under pressure in the second.

The world number four broke serve in the fourth game, taking advantage of a rare Federer mistake on break point.

Murray drove home his advantage by comfortably holding serve to move 4-1 ahead.

The next three games went with serve, leaving Murray with the chance to serve for the set, which he duly did by winning three quick points before levelling the match with an unstoppable forehand.

Murray survived a scare on his serve in the eighth game of the final set and held his nerve again when 5-4 down.

Federer then found his serve under pressure and saved one break point before Murray swooped to take his chance second time around.

Murray then held his serve impressively to clinch his third win in five over Federer.

10-18-2008, 02:41 PM

Win over Federer puts Murray in the final

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Andy Murray fought back from a set down to defeat world number two Roger Federer and progress through to the final of the Madrid Masters.

Murray also gained revenge for his defeat to Federer in last month's US Open final with today's 3-6 6-3 7-5 victory in the Spanish capital, and he will next face either world number one Rafael Nadal and or Gilles Simon in tomorrow's final.

World number four Murray lost 6-2 7-5 6-2 to Federer at Flushing Meadows in what was the Scot's first-ever Grand Slam final, and he had to do it the hard way today to avoid another defeat to the 27-year-old after losing the first set.

The first breakthrough of the match came in the sixth game when Murray, having already saved one break point at 30-40, overhit a forehand to leave Federer holding a 4-2 advantage.

Federer, who this week overtook Pete Sampras as the record prize winner in men's tennis history, did not let that advantage slip as Murray dropped his first set this week.

Having won two of his four career meetings with Federer previously though, the 21-year-old Murray knew that the situation was salvageable.

And so it proved as the fourth seed broke Federer in the fourth game of the second set to level the match up and keep alive his hopes of winning a fourth ATP title of the year.

In the final set the impressive Murray looked to hold the upper hand throughout and had Federer regularly in all sorts of trouble on his own serve.

However, the world number four had to wait until the 11th game of the set to finally make it count as, after failing to make the most of six break points previously in the set, it was lucky number seven to take a 5-4 lead.

Murray then held his serve to take the victory following an enthralling match of just under two hours. Murray was delighted with the way he managed to turn the match around.

He told Sky Sports: "When Roger gets ahead he plays really aggressive, he plays with a lot of confidence and he really races through his service games.

"I was lucky in the second set, I managed to go ahead early and relax a bit from there. I had to try and take my chances, which is tough against him because he plays so well on the big points.

"I served great, and that was the key. I didn't give him too many chances and that was the reason I won."

Murray is looking for his second successive Masters Series title after victory in Cincinnati in August.

He would relish another meeting with Nadal, who he lost to at the same event last season but beat for the first time in the US Open semi-finals.

"It would be great," Murray added. "I played him last year here and we had a really good match, great atmosphere again.

"He's number one player in the world, he's had a great year and I look forward to playing either of them.

"It's a Masters Series final; this is all kind of new to me, I've only been in one final before so I'll just try and enjoy it."

10-19-2008, 05:54 PM

Masterful Murray sweeps to Madrid title

• British No1 claims second successive Masters Series crown
• Second-set fightback amounts to nothing for resilient Simon, Sunday October 19 2008 16.51 BST

Having announced his arrival at the game's top table by reaching last month's US Open final, Andy Murray looks intent on becoming tennis's toastmaster-in-chief. Recent weeks have yielded a first grand slam final appearance, wins over the world's three best players in Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and, with today's 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) Madrid Masters victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon, a second successive Masters Series title following his victory in Cincinnati last month.

If the precedent set by Nadal is anything to go by, the last of those achievements may yet prove the most significant. In 2005, the Spaniard announced his arrival at the highest level with successive Masters Series wins in Monte Carlo and Rome. His subsequent achievements – four consecutive French Open titles, victory over Federer in one of the most memorable Wimbledon finals in history, and the No1 ranking - speak for themselves.

Can Murray scale similar heights? Before his run to last month's US Open final, the very question might have been deemed spurious. Victory over Simon, an opponent ranked 16 in the world and making his first appearance in a Masters Series final, hardly provides the firmest ground on which to base any wider conclusions, but there can be no doubt the 21-year-old Scot is beginning to look the real deal.

Murray's win, his eighteenth in 20 matches, was achieved with minimal fuss. He broke in the fifth game, forcing a groundstroke error after pulling Simon out of position with a finely-judged lob, and remained untroubled on serve for the remainder of the set, which he sealed with the fourth of 11 aces. Simon's best hope at that stage seemed to lie in Murray suffering a calamitous letdown after yesterday's impressive three-set felling of Federer. No chance. Despite improving markedly in the second set, Simon was unable to fashion a single break point opportunity on the Scot's serve. He somehow conjured two set points in the inevitable tiebreak that followed, but Murray hung on tenaciously, clawing back the deficit before firing an unstoppable backhand winner to bring up a match point that was converted at the first attempt.

In the end it was one match too many for Simon, who, having come through four final-set tiebreaks and saved six match points en route to the final, may be safely said to have earned every cent of his 189,000 euro runner's-up cheque. The suspicion that yesterday's three hour, 22 minute epic against Nadal had drained the Frenchman's formidable reserves was apparently confirmed by some over-zealous opening of the shoulders midway through the first set, a strategy that brought a couple of spectacular winners but also earned Murray several cheap points. Yet the second set, in which Simon remained competitive until the final point, provided further testament to his astounding resilience.

His hopes of claiming a fourth title of the year were dashed, but Simon can look back with satisfaction on a week that brought not only a win over Nadal in his own backyard but also the French No1 ranking. Should he replicate that form in the coming weeks, he may yet gatecrash the Masters Cup. For Murray, there are no such worries. He has already booked his place at the eight man end-of-season finale – and will feel thoroughly, and justifiably, at home among the elite.

10-19-2008, 06:16 PM

Murray masters Federer to join elite

Ferocious serving helps Scot reach Madrid final and gain some revenge for US Open defeat by Swiss

By Paul Newman in Madrid
Sunday, 19 October 2008

Perhaps Andy Murray should try taking a break more often. The 21-year-old Scot had played only two matches in the previous five weeks when he arrived here at the Madrid Masters, but yesterday his burgeoning form of the last few days lifted him to a splendid 3-6 6-3 7-5 semi-final victory over Roger Federer. In the second Masters Series final of his career, Murray today faces France's Gilles Simon, who will be playing in his first after shocking the local favourite and world No 1, Rafael Nadal, in a marathon that lasted almost three and a half hours.

Murray's year just gets better and better. In August he won his first Masters Series title, beating Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati, and last month he reached his first Grand Slam final, losing to Federer in straight sets at the US Open after grossly unfair scheduling left the world No 4 with comparatively little time to prepare for the match. Over the last week, feeling refreshed after his mid-season break either side of Britain's Davis Cup tie against Austria, Murray has confirmed his arrival among an elite group of four who are pulling away from the rest. At this rate Djokovic, the world No 3, will soon feel Murray breathing down his neck.

Federer may have slipped from his previous heights, having lost his Wimbledon title and world No 1 ranking to Nadal this summer, but he remains the most prized of scalps. Murray, who has now beaten the Swiss in three of their five meetings, and Nadal are the most notable of a select group of men who have won more matches against him than they have lost.

A full house in the 9,300-capacity Madrid Arena, perhaps hoping for another instalment in the Federer-Nadal saga in today's final, were clearly on the former world No 1's side, though they were always ready to acknowledge Murray's excellence in a high-quality encounter. A seven-piece brass band played at every changeover, adding to the sense of occasion.

The thinner air of the Spanish capital – Madrid is 2,100 feet above sea level – and the lightning-fast courts put a premium on serving. Federer had the better first-serve percentage but hit only half as many aces as Murray, whose total of 14 included a 141mph thunderbolt that was the fastest he has ever struck in competition.

Federer broke serve in the sixth game to take the first set. Murray forced only one break point as the Swiss, who attacks at every opportunity, regularly punished the shorter and softer shots that usually flummox the Scot's opponents. In the second set, however, Murray played with more aggression, breaking serve in the fourth game with a series of fine returns. As Murray upped the pace, hitting some cracking winners, errors increasingly crept into Federer's game.

Federer had only three break points all match (Murray had nine). After the US Open champion had failed to take the last of them in the second game of the deciding set, Murray served out of his skin, winning 11 points in a row on serve. Federer, showing great resilience, saved three break points from 0-40 down at 1-1. When the Swiss took a 4-3 lead, the band broke into "Star Wars", but by the end of the 11th game of the set Federer was probably pondering on the appropriateness of their rendition of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", Murray having converted his ninth break point thanks to a pummelled backhand down the line.

In the following game Murray's superb inside-out forehand cross-court winner created match point, which was converted when Federer put a backhand in the net. "I served huge," Murray said afterwards. "The second serve was also very good. In comparison to the chances I had on his serve, he had very few chances on mine."

Federer said he could see similarities with his own career in the way that the Scot has matured as a player this year. "I always knew from the first moment I saw him play in Bangkok [three years ago] that he'd be in the top 10 pretty soon, provided he didn't screw things up," Federer said. "I think first he had to grow up a little bit, become a man. He's taken that step well."

Simon continued his remarkable week with a 3-6 7-5 7-6 victory over Nadal, who has been troubled this week by a sore shoulder. The world No 16 had to save four match points against Igor Andreev in the first round and two against Robby Ginepri in the third. All five of his matches here have gone to three sets and four have been decided by tie-breaks. Murray, who is attempting to become the first Briton ever to win four ATP titles in a season, lost to Simon in Rome last year but beat him in Hamburg five months ago.

10-25-2008, 07:18 PM

Andy Murray sweeps Fernando Verdasco aside to reach final of St Petersburg Open

Defending champion Andy Murray breezed into the final of the St Petersburg Open with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

By Clive White
Last Updated: 6:30PM BST 25 Oct 2008

On a roll: Fernando Verdasco is no match for Andy Murray in the St Petersburg Open semi-final Photo: EPA

No one need to tell Fernando Verdasco how far Andy Murray has come in the game in a relatively short space of time. Five years ago the Madrileño beat the Scot fairly conclusively in a small event in Segovia, Spain - but then Murray was barely 16 years of age at the time.

Since then, as Roger Federer put it last week, the boy has become a man, maturing into one of the most formidable players in the world today.

In the semi-finals of the St Petersburg Open he avenged that defeat to the Spaniard for a fourth time to give himself a great chance of winning his fifth title of the year.

The ridiculous ease of the defending champion's win over the world No16 - by 6-0, 6-3 - was further indication of how rapidly his game is progressing.

Although he beat Verdasco in last year's final here comfortably enough their subsequent meeting in Dubai was close; this wasn't even a contest for the most part. And, of course, last week at the Madrid Masters, he avenged his defeat to Federer in the US Open final in September.

Many expected him to take his foot off the throttle in Russia, what with the Paris Masters and, more importantly, the Masters Cup in Shanghai coming up in the next three weeks. But clearly the young Scot is of the opinion that success breeds success and there has been no let-up in his performance this week and he goes into today's final not having dropped a set here and unbeaten in 11 matches.

The world No 4 is a keen student of the game who usually knows all there is to know about the opposition. But even his knowledge will be tested today by Andrey Golubev. Ranked 150 in the world, Golubev must be as much of a mystery to his fellow Kazakhstanis as Borat is.

He had only played two matches at ATP level before arriving in St Petersburg, but he was an emphatic winner of the other semi-final, beating the recently revitalized Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-0 in 54 minutes, which was even 20 minutes quicker than Murray could manage.

Verdasco felt confidence would be the key to a better performance this time, but that was soon shattered with a pair of double faults in each of his opening two service games, the second of which he was broken to love. A third consecutive break sealed the set in just 26 minutes.

When Verdasco was broken for a fourth consecutive time in the second set a double bagel loomed ominously. But he spiritedly broke straight back.

Six months ago that could have triggered a sudden collapse by the Dunblane boy or at least an unsettling moment or two of rage. Now there is a calmness about him, which is probably not unrelated to his improved physical condition, and he patiently waited for another opportunity to present itself, which it duly did in the eighth game with a decisive break this time.

Before last week no British player since Mark Cox in 1975 had won more than three titles in a year. All of sudden Murray is poised to win a fifth and the way he is playing it may not end there.

He has a tough draw in Paris this week, however, where after a first-round bye he faces either Marcos Baghdatis or Sam Querrey in the second round. The Argentines, David Nalbandian or Juan-Martin Del Potro - the elder saw off the young buck's challenge 6-4, 6-4 in Basel - lie in wait as does his old rival Nadal in the last four - encouragement enough for Murray to keep that run going.

10-28-2008, 09:44 AM

Hamburgers and slam dreams all round as hot Murray cruises to a cool million

British No1 claims second ATP title in eight days

Steve Bierley The Guardian, Monday October 27 2008

Andy Murray poses with the trophy after winning the St Petersburg Open. Photograph: Anatoly Maltsen/EPA

It was as easy as walking in the Russian forests and picking mushrooms. Andy Murray claimed his second ATP title within eight days by defeating Andrey Golubev, a Kazakhstani qualifier, 6-1, 6-1 inside an hour in the St Petersburg Open final yesterday for his fifth tournament win of the year and eighth in total. The last British player to win back-to-back titles at tour level was Mark Cox in 1975 and at this rate Murray will quickly overhaul Tim Henman's 11 career titles and Greg Rusedski's 15.

He marked the occasion by taking Team Murray out for hamburgers. "I've had the best year of my life - I don't feel unbeatable but I do feel very motivated and confident," he said. "My preparations have been right, I've got the right people around me and I can relax off the court and focus when I am on it."

Having just collected slightly over $1m for a week's work, Murray revealed he has splashed out on a new Range Rover Sport - though his long-standing girlfriend Kim Sears is in the driving seat, as he has yet to pass his driving test.

The 21-year-old Scot is finishing the year with a quite extraordinary flourish, winning the Masters Series events in Cincinnati and Madrid, and finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in the US Open. He is due to play in the Paris Indoor Masters this week and will then fly to Shanghai for the lucrative end-of-season Tennis Masters Cup, a tournament restricted to the world's top eight players which will shift its roots to London next year. Henman and Rusedski both played in the TMC, Henman reaching the semi-finals a decade ago in Hannover. If his current form holds up it is entirely possible Murray might win it.

He now has a career-best 53-14 win-loss match record this year (15-1 indoors), and excluding his early defeat in the Olympic Games has won 26 of his last 28 matches, including two in the Davis Cup, since he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

This is the same Murray whose stamina was regularly called into question as recently as early this year. He has answered his critics in the best way, achieving recent victories over the three players currently ahead of him in the rankings - Nadal, Federer and Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

Murray won the St Petersburg title last year but this time, coming on the back of his Madrid Masters victory the Sunday before, there seemed a real danger that the British world No4 might come up short because of tiredness. This was to underestimate the mental fortitude of the Scot, as well as the punishing, muscle-burning training he has incorporated into his regime this year, always pushing himself that extra yard. His one tough match here in Russia came in Friday's quarter-final against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic which Murray, the top seed, won 7-6, 7-5 in two hours.

In Saturday's semi-final he defeated Spain's Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-3, and yesterday Golubev was similarly brushed aside, only managing to hold his serve twice as Murray claimed the first prize, a somewhat more lucrative amount than last year given the recent dive of the pound against the dollar. Golubev, the same age as Murray but ranked No150, had reached his first ATP final with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over the Romanian Victor Hanescu. The 21-year-old Golubev, who is based in Italy, changed his nationality in June from Russian to Kazakhstani so that he could compete in the Davis Cup for his new country. This was his sixth career ATP tournament and he has had to qualify each time.

Murray hardly needs to be reminded that the last Briton to win a grand slam title was Fred Perry in 1936, but he has his plans. "The whole reason I took five weeks off after the US Open was so that I could rest and recover and get myself in shape for these tournaments at the end of the year," he explained yesterday. "I don't take anything for granted and although I hope I am getting closer to a grand slam win it does take a bit of luck. It's the hardest thing in the world to do in tennis. Better players than me have gone through their whole careers without ever winning one."

These remain early days for Murray, though. In Basel yesterday Federer defeated Argentina's David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-4 for his 57th career title, including 13 slams.

10-28-2008, 09:53 AM

Murray ready for long haul to close gap on top three

By Steve Douglas in Paris
Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Andy Murray may be in the form of his life but he knows he has plenty of work to do to close the gap on the three players ahead of him in the world rankings.

The Scot claimed his fifth title of 2008 on Sunday by dismissing Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev in straight sets to retain his St Petersburg Open crown with some ease.

Prior to the event in Russia, Murray won back-to-back Masters Series titles – in Cincinnati and Madrid – and reached the US Open final in between.

The 21-year-old has consolidated his fourth place in the ATP rankings but he is some distance away from usurping Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the world's top three. And despite his stunning run of recent results, Murray insists he is far from the finished article.

"Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have all had great years," he said. "Federer could end up as the greatest player ever and Nadal may follow in his footsteps. If I play well I will move up the rankings, but these guys are still a long way ahead of me."

Murray is arguably the man to beat heading into this week's Paris Masters and received a bye into the second round, in which he will play the American Sam Querrey. Unlike a number of other players arriving here, the pressure is off Murray in terms of gaining the necessary points to finish in the top eight in the ATP race to qualify for next month's Masters Cup.

Murray has his sights set on ending 2008 on a successful note in China. "I can win it, but I am not the favourite by any means," he said. "Winning it would be a great Christmas present and a fantastic way to end the year."

11-01-2008, 12:40 PM

Murray's winning streak is halted by superb Nalbandian

By Paul Newman in Paris
Saturday, 1 November 2008

All winning sequences have to finish somewhere and the consolation for Andy Murray was that his 14-match run of victories was ended here yesterday by an opponent at the very top of his game. David Nalbandian, who remains the only current top 10 player the 21-year-old Scot has never beaten, played superbly to win their Paris Masters quarter-final 7-6, 6-3, ending Murray's hopes of winning his third tournament in succession and becoming the first man to take three successive Masters titles.

The world No 4 was in good company in making an early exit from the French capital. Roger Federer, who has a back injury, pulled out before his quarter-final against James Blake, while Rafael Nadal retired with a knee problem after losing the first set to Nikolay Davydenko.

Of the two, Nadal sounded the more pessimistic about his chances of recovering before the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, which will also be Murray's final port of call. Given his recent demanding schedule, the British No 1 should benefit from an extra two days' rest and preparation before the start of the tournament next Sunday.

Since the end of May, Murray has made the quarter-finals and final of two Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the US Open), won two Masters crowns (Cincinnati and Madrid), reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals of two more Masters events (Paris and Toronto) and won the title in St Petersburg.

Murray had dropped only one set in his previous 13 matches (against Federer in the Madrid semi-finals), but in Nalbandian he met a player who is one of the modern game's great enigmas. Supremely talented, the 26-year-old Argentinian can be a match for anybody – he has beaten Federer eight times and is undefeated against Nadal – but there are regularly question marks over his fitness and commitment. The world No 8, who will have to retain his title here in order to make the plane to Shanghai, had had an indifferent year until he embarked earlier this month on what has become a traditional autumn surge by winning in Stockholm and reaching the final in Basel.

His game is not dissimilar to Murray's. Nalbandian can crack the ball with great power on both flanks and is smart tactically, surprising his opponents with cleverly disguised drop shots and changes of direction. His anticipation is excellent and he is a deceptively fast mover.

Early breaks were exchanged in the first set, but Murray did not serve quite as well as he has recently and Nalbandian's returns frequently had him in trouble. The Argentinian never trailed in the tie-break, which he won 7-3, and broke Murray four times in the second set.

"I'm obviously disappointed to lose, but I'm glad that I played against a guy as good as him and that he had to play a great match to beat me," Murray said afterwards. "I thought both of us hit the ball well. He probably returned better than me and created a few more chances."

He added: "I don't think there are many guys that would have won three weeks in a row. To have done that would have been an unbelievable achievement. Since Wimbledon I've played the best tennis of my life and hopefully I can keep it going."

11-01-2008, 05:27 PM
thanks for the articles Getta:hug:

11-05-2008, 07:13 PM
Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Murray reflects on a great 2008

Andy Murray looks back on 2008, and is delighted with his successes, but insists he must continue to improve on his performance on grass and clay courts.

11-08-2008, 03:31 AM

Ambitious Andy Murray uses Masters Cup to launch his grand slam plan

In reaching the Masters Cup in Shanghai Andy Murray is able to tick another achievement off his tennis to-do list.

By Mark Hodgkinson in Shanghai
Last Updated: 8:14PM GMT 07 Nov 2008

But his main ambition has always been to win a grand slam, something that no British male has managed since Fred Perry was the 1936 US Open champion. And if he does that, he said he would then try to become Britain's first ever world No 1.

The Masters Cup at Shanghai's Qi Zhong Stadium must be the only international sporting event where the organisers are eager to let you know about the competitors' horoscopes, and so Andy Murray, as he was born in the Chinese year of the rabbit, is introduced as being tactful, sensitive, well-mannered, modest and hospitable. Here's hoping that, when the Masters comes to London next year, play won't start until Britain's astrologers have had their say on Murray and the rest.

Murray would take most of those 'rabbit' characteristics. But one obvious omission from that list of adjectives for Murray is 'ambitious'. Murray without his ambition would be like modern Shanghai without the traffic and the skyscrapers that look as though the local architects have a Blade Runner obsession. When the year began, Murray was determined that he would qualify for Shanghai, for a tournament reserved for the best eight players in the world and considered to be the most prestigious event after the four grand slams. And Murray has done just that, earning his first invite to the Masters, and if he needed any further confirmation that he has arrived in the true elite of men's tennis then it came in his hotel room when he noticed that his name was on his pillowcase.

But discovering that he is a rabbit', and that he has personalised bed-linen, are nothing next to the thrill of his involvement at the magnolia flower-shaped stadium, where the round-robin matches start tomorrow, with Murray to play his opening contest in the Red Group against American Andy Roddick on Monday.

This has been the year when Murray finished as the runner-up at the US Open to Roger Federer, and won five titles, which is a record for a Briton in the professional era. This has also been the season when Murray has turned into a man, according to Federer, the defending champion and the wise old beard of the locker-room, who has spent some of his time here this week taking a razor to his face on stage as he "encouraged 1,000 students to shave their beards at a ceremony to mark their adulthood". The clean-shaven Swiss is also in the Red Group, along with France's Gilles Simon.

Some casual sports fans in Britain, those who would not know a Henin from a Henman, don't quite understand the true significance of the lucrative Masters Cup. But Murray is hoping that greater numbers will get the event next year. "For the players, the Masters Cup is huge, but some of those outside tennis don't know too much about it, which is a shame, but I can understand as it's a long season and there's a lot to follow. Next year, it should be easier to follow, as it will be in London," Murray said.

"It's a huge achievement to qualify. The competition itself isn't as big as a grand slam, that's for sure, but getting there is a recognition that you've had a great year and not just a great couple of months.

"It shows that you have been consistent over the year," said Murray, who wants to take on the best in Shanghai, and that was why he wasn't pleased when Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, pulled out because of fatigue and a knee injury.

Murray has had a fabulous autumn, as he was on a 14-match unbeaten streak before losing to David Nalbandian at last week's tournament in Paris. No wonder his sponsors, such as Highland Spring, have been delighted by his progress.

"I've only lost a handful of matches since Wimbledon. I've played at a level that has meant that I've picked up more ranking points than anyone else on the tour since Wimbledon. So it hasn't been a one-off tournament – I've been very consistent," said Murray. "I'm just able to focus, and play hard for the whole match. I'm maybe a more aggressive player than I was at the start of the year."

So now Murray can tick the Masters Cup off his tennis to-do list. But his main ambition has always been to win a grand slam, something that no British male has managed since Fred Perry was the 1936 US Open champion. And if he does that, he said he would then try to become Britain's first ever world No 1.

"I don't think it's possible right now for me to become world No 1, as Nadal and Federer are much better across the surfaces than I am. I need to improve my clay-court game and my grass-court game. I think on hard courts, I'm not that far behind, but I think, on the other surfaces, I've got a lot of work to do. It's not my ambition right now to be the world No 1. I want to try to win a grand slam, and if I can do that then I'll go after the No 1 ranking," said Murray, the ambitious 'rabbit' of men's tennis.

11-08-2008, 07:56 AM
There is an article about him in the new Deuce too:

11-08-2008, 08:52 AM
There is an article about him in the new Deuce too:
Thanks, this is a good article.

11-10-2008, 09:18 PM

Andy Murray defeats Roddick in Masters Cup

Published Date: 10 November 2008

BRITISH number one Andy Murray made a stunning start to his maiden Masters Cup appearance in Shanghai today beating American opponent Andy Roddick 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.

World number four Murray earned his trip to the season-ending showpiece following his best year on the ATP Tour which saw the Scot claim four titles, including back-to-back Masters Series titles in Cincinnati and Madrid.

The 21-year-old headed into the red group meeting with a 4-2 record against the world number six, although Roddick was forced to retire during last year's meeting at the Miami Masters.

Murray and Roddick traded service games at the start of the opening set, with the Scot taking the fourth with back-to-back aces before the British number one converted his first break-point opportunity on Roddick's serve to take a 3-2 lead.

He made the breakthrough count in the next game as Murray recovered from falling behind to double his lead, which he capped off with his sixth ace in three service games while big-hitting Roddick had claimed just one.

The American sits second behind Croatia's Ivo Karlovic this year in terms of aces after averaging over 14 per match in 61 outings this year.

Murray moved 15-30 ahead in the ninth game but, after he sent a return long, Roddick fired in his second ace before holding out.

But Murray wrapped up the first set in 41 minutes as Roddick sent a return long.

Murray survived two break points at 0-1 at the start of the second set the second saved courtesy of an expert passing shot with Roddick in at the net.

But Roddick persisted and took a 2-0 lead at his next opportunity as Murray sent an attempted lob sailing over the American's head.

He lost his first challenge during the third game as Roddick opened up a 3-0 lead before an increasingly frustrated Murray shipped a second consecutive break of serve as a string of errors culminated in him firing the first break point of the game into the net.

Roddick eased through the fifth game to love before the Scot finally got on the board at 1-5.

But that only delayed the inevitable as, after just 29 minutes, Murray sent a forehand return long to send the contest to a decider.

While Murray looked bemused and frustrated at times, Roddick significantly raised his game in the second set and dropped just two points on his first serve.

Murray's first ace since the opening set, which was successfully challenged by the Scot, handed him a 1-0 lead to start to the third set.

Roddick survived two break points at the start of the second game through his third ace and a serve and volley but he was unable to stop Murray converting a third to take a 2-0 lead following a fierce return.

Murray had clearly put the second set collapse behind him as he raced into a 3-0 lead of his own by wrapping up the third game and made it 4-0 inside 17 minutes of the set starting.

Murray was beginning to enjoy himself as the odd fist pump started to appear as he sent the crowd streaming to the exit's after holding serve to open up a 5-0 lead.

Like Murray in the previous set, Roddick got on the board in the sixth game, but Murray served out the set to seal the win.

Murray was satisfied with his performance, particularly because he is suffering from jet-lag – but warns he does not see himself as the new favourite to win the event, even if some observers do.

"Everybody is playing very well, and I'll have to play my best in every match if I want to win," he told Sky Sports 1.

"I don't view myself as being favourite.

"I have struggled a little bit. It is tough to get over the jet-lag, and I hope I feel a bit better for the next match."

In those circumstances, his comfortable victory was encouraging.

"He made it tough for me and made me do a lot of running," Murray added.

"In the first set I thought I played pretty well.

"In the second, I had a chance in the first game to break him. But then he started to play more aggressively; in the third, I felt I was playing better – but it was tough on a very slow court."

11-13-2008, 03:08 PM

Murray seals Masters semi-final spot

From Andrew Mullen, PA, Shanghai
Wednesday, 12 November 2008

British number one Andy Murray secured a maiden Masters Cup semi-final berth after breezing to a 6-4 6-2 win over world number nine Gilles Simon in Shanghai today.

Making his first appearance at the season-ending eight-man tournament, world number four Murray followed up his opening win over American Andy Roddick to advance to the last four with a match to spare after producing an impressive display at Qi Zhong Tennis Stadium.

After shocking two-time defending champion Roger Federer on his Masters Cup debut on Monday, Simon still has a chance to advance from the red group, which now also contains world number 27 Radek Stepanek after Roddick was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Murray raced out of the blocks and broke Simon twice at the start of the match and, after surviving a resurgence from the Frenchman, who he beat to win the Madrid Masters, battled to win the first set.

But unlike the second-set collapse witnessed against Roddick, Murray completely dominated against Simon and raced to the finish line.

Murray made a great start, breaking Simon in the first game as the Frenchman dumped a backhand into the net and, after double-faulting on game point and surviving two break points, the Scot eventually opened up a 2-0 lead, with the first two games lasting 15 minutes.

A quick break of the Simon serve in the next game handed Murray a 3-0 lead after the Frenchman sent a seemingly-regulation volley into the net.

Murray continued to dominate and easily claimed the fourth game following a string of errors from Simon before the Frenchman finally got on the board as Murray wasted two break points after sending a volley just long and Simon pulled out a crucial big serve.

Simon grabbed a break back as Murray smashed an overhead into the net at game point - which brought cheers from the crowd, who were fearing a rout - before holding to briefly pull within a game.

Murray's mid-set wobble and Simon's resurgence continued as the Scot battled to stave off two break points, the second saved following his first ace of the match, before finally taking a thrilling eighth game.

And at his first opportunity, Murray claimed the first set as Simon dumped a forehand into the net.

Murray imploded in the second set of his opening-round win over Roddick, and was forced to battle through his first service game of the second set as Simon threatened with three break points.

But each time he came undone at the crucial moment with several rash errors, which had seen him convert only one break point out of eight.

Murray's third break of the match followed as Simon sent three wayward forehands wide before a straightforward service game handed Murray a 3-1 lead.

Simon continued to ship errors as Murray again broke the Frenchman's serve at the third time of asking.

With the match on the line at 5-1, Simon held, but it only delayed the inevitable as Murray sealed victory in one hour and 33 minutes.

Murray was confident in his game plan despite Simon's impressive comeback in the middle of the opening set.

"He's tough," the British number one told Sky Sports. "I just had to try and stay focused at the end of the first set.

"I had a chance to go 5-0 up and I didn't take it, and he got some confidence after that. But I knew I had to keep making him move, and eventually he started to break down.

"He made some mistakes in the second set and I capitalised."

Murray revealed he felt added pressure today following the withdrawal of Roddick and Stepanek's elevation into the group.

"Stepanek's turned up without his own racquets, he borrowed some socks off me earlier and he hasn't got his contact lenses either," said Murray.

"So I knew I had to win the match because I can't see him winning too many games. I was a bit nervous because I knew I had to come through."

The Scot knows he will be in the semi-finals irrespective of his result against Federer on Friday, but another win against the 13-time grand slam champion is not to be sniffed at.

"Obviously, I want to try to win the match," added Murray. "To beat Federer is always a great achievement."

11-15-2008, 01:55 AM
I wrote the following article about Murray's match against Federer yesterday.

Murray sends Federer packing before the semi-finals in Shanghai

Yesterday, Roger Federer and Andy Murray clashed in the final match in the round robin stages of the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Leading into the match, Murray had already secured his spot into the semi-finals, while Federer needed to defeat Murray in order to advance further. Federer had never failed to make it into the semi-finals stage on five previous occasions at the Masters Cup, but that record was in threat against Murray, who has been the most in-form player of the last three months. In the end, Federer came up short, but his performance was more worthy of praise than criticism, in a high quality match where he displayed superb determination and fighting spirit.

Federer, in his previous two matches in Shanghai against Gilles Simon and Radek Stepanek, had struggled to find his form. He had been misfiring on the forehand side, showing a lack of patience, where he would often snatch on the shot, as if he was trying to force too much on that side, instead of swinging freely. On too many occasions, he opted for the flat point-ending forehand instead of the medium-risk loopier shot that he can also hit. It's not that Federer can't hit these shots, but he needs to be extremely relaxed to get the timing right.

Given his previous performances, it was to my surprise that Federer came out determined and confident of his own all-court, aggressive game as if he fully trusted in his abilities. From the outset, it was obvious that Federer has a lot of respect for Murray, and he came out with a specific gameplan in mind. Federer was stepping up the court and trying to rush Murray as much as possible, reminiscent of how he played the US Open final. The points were kept short, not letting Murray use his athletic abilities, variety and point construction.

It was a fascinating encounter as a matchup, because both players have the attributes needed to deal with each other's best shots. If anyone has the ability to take time away from their opponents, it's Federer, who can be ruthless and can steamroll right through his opponents. If there's anyone that can withstand the barrage of weaponry coming from Federer's racquet, it's Murray who has the ability to neutralise almost any shot that comes his way. He does this by forcing his opponents to hit higher risk shots as well as counter-attacking himself, especially when on the run or when forced to hit passing shots.

This, as well as the exceptional athletic ability of both players, allowed the two to exchange fast-paced rallies of the highest quality, which were characterized by both players having to hit the equivalent of several winners to be able to win points, and both players turning defense to offense with relative ease. Federer tried to find his way to Murray's forehand more often than not, while Murray tried to pick on Federer's backhand.

Murray is so dangerous that whenever he gets his racquet on the ball, you get the sense that he can turn around almost any point in his favour, and the longer the rally goes on, the bigger advantage he has because he is a steadier player than Federer is. What I have noticed about Murray recently is that there seems to be no particular manner in which players can rely on to consistently win points against him, and that makes it exceptionally hard for his opponents. He handles aggressive players extremely well because he has excellent passing shots and he can throw them off their rhythm, but he also has the advantage when engaging in long rallies against the more consistent players, due to his greater variety from the back of the court.

Federer needed to be selective when picking his opportunities to come in. The best bet for Federer was to try and take control of the rally early on if he can, but to respect the quality of shot if it is too high risk to attack. He implemented this balance successfully in the first set, waiting until he could move Murray out of position enough to do sufficient damage before unloading on his signature forehand. Federer can sometimes get into the habit of blocking back serves, usually being confident that he can win the point more often than not if they get into an extended rally, but against Murray, he attacked Murray's serve relentlessly, especially on second serves.

In the first set, Federer looked to be in control for most of the set, but Murray continued to probe and test Federer, keeping the match close before Federer crucially broke serve late in the first set. In the second set, Federer stepped his foot off the accelerator by a small amount, no longer imposing himself on the match as much and that was enough to make a big difference. This allowed Murray to start getting more into the rallies he likes, prolonging the rallies, placing shots into tricky positions and employing changes of spins and pace to hurt his opponent. Murray, importantly started serving better, not giving Federer as many opportunities to attack on his weaker second serve, getting 75% of his first serves to cruise to a 5-2 double break lead.

That was when the match turned to become a dramatic contest that was filled with momentum swings for both players. Where Murray seemed to have control, he somehow let it slip away from 5-2 in the second set squandering two set points. Murray missed a few too many second serves and Federer took his chances wrestling control of the point right from the return of serve and finishing it off at net. Federer went on a tear winning something like 7 of the next 8 points, then Murray recovered to take it to a tie-break, and took it up another level to win the second set in a tie-break, which featured the best tennis of the match.

At the start of the third set, Federer took an injury time-out for the back injury that he had first suffered from in Paris, and it started to hamper his movement especially in the first half of the third set. Once Murray had Federer stretching out wide, Federer had little chances of getting back into the point and whenever he came into the net, he moved gingerly whenever he had to lunge to hit a volley.

But this is where Federer began to show his fighting qualities, and started to put the injury out of his mind. He started swinging freely, making sure that if he was going to lose, that he was going to leave everything out on the court. The manner in which Federer fought back time and time again from a losing position was reminiscent of the effort that he put in the classic Wimbledon final this year, where he also seemed down and out on several occasions but pulled out winning shots under extreme pressure. Federer saved seven match points at 5-4 in the third set, but in the end, it wasn't enough for him to win the match as Murray pulled it out 7-5 in the third set.


11-15-2008, 02:55 AM
Thank you for writing this and posting it here, Krystle. :hatoff:

Excellent descriptive piece of work for a tennis match that often left the viewers holding their breath.

11-15-2008, 03:17 PM

Tired Murray goes down in straight sets to Davydenko

• Russian wins 7-5, 6-2 as British No1 runs out of gas
• Will now face Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Shanghai final

Steve Bierley in Shanghai, Saturday November 15 2008 14.16 GMT

A dejected Murray during his semi-final. Photograph: Nir Elias/Reuters

The Andy Murray who beat Roger Federer, the 13-times grand slam champion, late on Friday night was not the Andy Murray who lost 7-5,6-2 against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals of the Tennis Masters Cup. From the minute he walked on court it was painfully obvious that he was going to struggle, the body language saying it all, while the Murray entourage, including his coach Miles Maclagan and his mother, Judy, sat quietly with their hands crossed on their laps as if they were in church attending a funeral.

Federer had predicted it would not be a whole lot of fun playing the Russian world No5, who manipulates the ball around the court in the fashion of a chess master. Murray was neither in a position to move nor think his way out of this problem, and as early as the third game he was signalling to Team Murray that he could not run with anything approaching the alacrity he had displayed in the three-hour round-robin match against Federer.

"The first three games were a bit of a killer. There were six or seven really long rallies, and he was moving me right and left. My legs just were not like they had been in the other matches. That's maybe why I made the signal. But it wasn't like I was saying I was giving up." Murray is too much of a fighter and competitor to ever do that, though he managed only seven winners to Davydenko's 33 which, and given Murray's obviously greater ability and talent, this was a crystal clear message concerning his physical condition.

All of the eight players in this season-ending tournament were suffering from various aches and pains, although the three-set formula, this year extended to the final that will see Davydenko play Serbia's Novak Djokovic (who beat Gilles Simon of France 4-6,6-3,7-5 in the first semi-final) is hardly exacting. However Murray had put heart and soul into beating Federer and paid the price. Davydenko was able to sit with his feet up on Friday, while Murray did not get to bed until the small hours of Saturday morning, and was also feeling a little sick.

Given that he had already qualified for the semis by Friday, it might have been prudent for Murray to try and conserve some energy, but he was more interested in defeating Federer for a fourth time in six meetings than winning the title, or collecting the winning prize money of just under £1m - the exchange rate ailing almost on a par with Murray's limbs. As it was he pocketed around £438,000, taking his total year earnings to around £2.5m.

There will be those who may again want to call into question Murray's fitness, though that would be completely unfair. He worked immensely hard last winter and has played more than 70 matches this year, the most ever since he turned professional, and at a higher level than ever before This was only his fifth defeat in 36 since Wimbledon, during which he has won the titles in Cincinnati, Madrid, and St Petersburg, while also reaching his first slam final in New York. He was obviously immensely frustrated not to be able to give his best against Davydenko, and will be determined to work even harder prior to the start of next season. That is a given.

He had already made this clear prior to this week. Murray's goal is to win a slam, and he will push his body in the gym and on the track to the limits to achieve this aim. Few doubt he has the ability, and he has already shown this year that he is capable of beating the world's top players in major competitions, either in the slams or the Masters series. He has also displayed an ability to beat lesser players easily, a facility that is vital in the first four rounds of a major when conserving energy is of the essence. ;)

"Andy clearly wanted to show everyone here that he was the best player by beating Federer," said Davydenko. "But after a three-hour match like that it is very difficult to recover." Murray made no excuses, and believes Davydenko will win the final. "He doesn't miss a whole lot and he takes the ball early. Djokovic had a long match so Davydenko is probably going to be a lot fresher and that should make a big difference." To be sure, it was the big difference in this match.

11-15-2008, 09:58 PM

Murray given runaround by Davydenko

By Paul Newman in Shanghai
Saturday, 15 November 2008

Roger Federer had it right. After losing a draining three-hour thriller to Andy Murray in the Tennis Masters Cup here on Friday night, the former world No 1 was asked whether he would have had enough energy to play Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals the following day. “To be honest I’m pretty happy I don’t have a match tomorrow,” Federer said. “Playing Davydenko wouldn’t have been a whole lot of fun. Against him, you have to defend and run and stuff.”

Instead it was Murray who defended and ran, only to be stuffed as Davydenko won 7-5 6-2 to earn a place in today’s final against Novak Djokovic, a 4-6 6-3 7-5 winner over Gilles Simon.

Murray looked exhausted from the moment he entered the Qi Zhong Stadium less than 21 hours after leaving it, the physical, emotional and mental energy expended in beating Federer for the third time this year having clearly taken its toll.

As early as the third game Murray was bent double with fatigue after a particularly lengthy rally. The 21-year-old Scot turned to his entourage and crossed his hands in a gesture indicating that he had nothing more to give. At changeovers he sank into his chair with the relief of a boxer who had been on the end of a pummelling.

For the past four months it has usually been Murray battering opponents into submission, and any disappointment he will feel at not making further progress here will be far outweighed by the reflection that this has been the best year of his career. Since Wimbledon he has lost just five matches.

Murray’s bank manager will also have a smile on his face, his client’s prize money for this season having totalled $3.7million (nearly £2.5m). Although he would have won an additional $940,000 (£633,000) if he had beaten Davydenko and Djokovic here, Murray leaves China richer by $625,000 (£421,000), having banked $300,000 in prize money, a $100,000 participation fee and a $250,000 bonus for having taken part as the year-|ending world No 4.

Having already qualified for the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament, Murray did not need to |extend himself against Federer. If he had lost he would have faced Djokovic in the last four, though he said that he had no preference for his next opponent. Murray, who did not get to bed until 2.30 in the morning after beating Federer, insisted that he had no regrets about having given his all in his final round-robin match.

“I beat probably the best player of all time,” Murray said. “To beat him means a similar amount to winning a tournament like this. Ideally I would have liked to have beaten him more easily and given myself a slightly better chance to prepare for this match, but as you know I don’t like losing. I’m proud that I gave 110 per cent in the match. I think other players might not have taken that option, but I’m happy that I did.”

He added: “Maybe if I’d had that match [against Federer] early in the day it might have been a bit easier for me to recover properly, because there are a lot of things you have to try to fit in after a match of that length. It’s tough when you finish a match at 11:30 at night.”

Davydenko, the world No 5, has never reached a Grand Slam final but is one of the game’s most underrated players. A superb athlete with an aggressive baseline game and a fine return of serve, the 27-year-old Russian is a relentless retriever and a master at manoeuvring his opponents around the court.

He also had the advantage of having rested the previous day, and from the start it was clear that he would have too much in the tank for Murray. Although the Scot broke back immediately after dropping his serve in the opening game, Davydenko broke again at 5-5 and served out for the set.

In the second set Murray held on until 2-2, from which point Davydenko won the last four games to win in an hour and 39 minutes.

Davydenko said: “Murray wanted to show everyone here he is the best player by beating Federer. Maybe he was really tired for today. Recovering to play 24 hours after a three-hour match is very difficult. If he had lost the tie-break in the second set [against Federer] he would have had more of a chance to recover today – and maybe to have played much better against Djokovic.”

Murray, who thinks Davydenko will beat Djokovic in today’s final, added: “He’s a tough guy to play against when you’re not feeling like you can chase every ball down. He doesn’t miss a whole lot. He takes the ball so early. I thought he played really, really well.

“I couldn’t get much going because he was making me do a lot of running. I don’t want to try to make excuses. He played much better than me.”


Andy Murray :worship: :worship: :worship:

11-16-2008, 10:27 PM
No regrets for Andy Murray but much pride

Neil Harman, Tennis correspondent

Andy Murray is already primed to become the face of London 2009. When the Barclays World Tour Finals - as the Masters Cup is to be renamed - are held at the 02 Arena next November, it is widely expected that the British No1 will have hardened his standing in the game and that he may have a grand-slam title to his name. Murray will be 22, perhaps still a year or so from his best, but his make-up will not have altered. The rest of the sport will be fearful of him.

A year or so ago, one recalls writing that Roger Federer was more apprehensive about playing Murray than any other player and the rebukes arrived by the text-load. Not any more, they would not.

“I have no regrets about playing him [Federer],” Murray said when it was suggested again that straining every fibre in his final group match at the Masters Cup on one evening drained his body of the resources necessary the next, when Nikolay Davydenko, of Russia, devoured him on Saturday in two semi-final sets. Murray had already qualified for the last four before facing Federer. “I'm proud that I gave 110 per cent when other players might not have taken that option,” he said.

Murray finishes the year at No4 in the world, a position upon which he will probably not improve in statistical terms until March at the earliest. But statistics are only half the story, if that. What matters is that he has the attitude, the physical presence and, most important of all, the game to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world's finest. When he says “other players might not have taken that option”, it resonates because he knows it to be true.

Murray has spent the past 12 months laying markers - a first grand-slam final, the first of two Masters Series titles and three other tournament triumphs, the most impressive of which came in St Petersburg. Among those to have been deeply impressed by Murray's progress has been Miles Maclagan, who has been coaching the Scot for 11 months.

Maclagan had been working with Kevin Ullyett, but his fellow Zimbabwean felt that their partnership had run its course and Maclagan rang Patricio Apey, Murray's manager, asking if he knew of anyone who might need a coach. As Murray had just dismissed Brad Gilbert, an opportunity presented itself that Maclagan had not contemplated. They have forged an excellent partnership, more older and younger brother than coach and protégé.

“I thought a lot of Andy when we started and my respect for him has grown over the year, especially in the last few months,” Maclagan said. “To see it from the inside has been incredible. It's not just on the tennis court that he's competitive, it's in everything. After Madrid he was tired, but he showed it in a different way in St Petersburg. It wasn't the biggest of tournaments, but he just couldn't stop himself from fighting and winning.

“I've been fortunate working with Andy to see more of Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] and they have an unconditional competitive streak. Even Roger, who is very gracious and beautiful to watch, has so much steel. To witness that close up is when you realise that unyielding competitiveness is the overriding characteristic of these top guys.

“From some of the tennis I had seen Andy play before, I thought he was possibly one of the five best, but if you had said he was going to win two Masters and reach the final of a slam, I'd have bitten your hand off.”

Maclagan is neither a chest thumper nor a seeker of the limelight. When Murray turns to his box, if he sees Maclagan applauding, it is about as demonstrative as the coach becomes. But he works tremendously hard and expects that of anyone who wants him in their corner.

When Team Murray return to the Florida training camp where their camaraderie was in its infancy a year ago, it will be, in Maclagan's word, “torture.” He said: “The big focus is going to be physical, because this is the guy's chance to fill up the tanks in terms of strength and endurance. Game-wise, I look on it a bit differently. You are working on stuff throughout the year.

“I don't think there are any problem areas. Obviously every good player would like to make more first serves and do a bit more on the return, but I don't see any problem areas in his game. It's just a question of taking everything to maybe half a level or a level better.

“He's found his game style. I think he's pretty clear on that. It was partly me learning how he should play - and him. There were a few matches early on when he didn't come off feeling that great, but ever since Hamburg he's really built a lot of momentum. After every single match, whether he's won or lost, he's come off the court and we've said: 'We're going forward.'”

And so they are, onwards and upwards. Where it all ends, who can tell, except that the ride is going to be great fun.


11-16-2008, 10:30 PM
Andy Murray's coach Miles Maclagan reflects on a marvellous year for his charge

By Mark Hodgkinson in Shanghai
16 Nov 2008
Watching brief: Miles Maclagan puts Andy Murray through his paces

Call him Mr Mellow. No, not Andy Murray, but his coach, Miles Maclagan. Murray once observed that almost the only time that Maclagan is not "pretty mellow" is when he is losing at the tennis football warm-up game that they like to play on the practice court. Maclagan's calm, modest nature has meant that he has not had the credit he has deserved for helping Murray to put together what has arguably been the most successful season by a British male tennis player since the inter-war Fred Perry.

Not that Maclagan will have minded flying under the tennis radar, of course. "I'm pretty low-key in style," said the Zambian-born Scot, who held match points against Boris Becker in the first round at Wimbledon in 1999, but whose greatest achievement in tennis has come this year in coaching Murray to a grand slam final, finishing as the runner-up to Roger Federer, and taking five titles.

"At times, for example at the US Open, Andy had suddenly got to the final and I thought: 'Holy smoke, as far as coaching is concerned this is the sort of thing you dream about'. I hadn't realised it. We do talk among the team and when Andy's playing Federer in the final of a grand slam or in the semi-finals of a Masters Series, we sometimes have to pinch ourselves a little bit. It does hit you every now and then. But at other times, when you're practising and competing and having fun, it's just like we're a group of guys travelling around the world with a few tennis games interspersed."

At the end of last season, Murray sacked Brad Gilbert, an American coach who could never be described as mellow or modest – and also a man who would never stop talking, who would not use one or two words when he could get away with a thousand. Soon afterwards, as Murray started to assemble a squad of advisers and consultants, he asked Maclagan whether he would like to work with him. And so Maclagan became an important figure in the making of Murray the grand slam contender.

The most important event after the slams – and one which is switching to London next season – is the Masters Cup. Murray's run in Shanghai ended in the semi-finals when he was beaten in straight sets by Nikolay Davydenko. Murray was understandably tired after Friday evening's three-hour group win over Roger Federer, and playing against the Russian can be like hitting forehands against the Great Wall of China – the ball just keeps on coming back.

More than anything, what appears to have struck Maclagan after the year they have had together on the tour is Murray's lust for competition. No one is ever going to accuse Murray of being mellow.

"I thought a lot of him when we started and my respect for him has grown over the year, especially in the last few months. To have seen it from the inside has been incredible. It's not just on the tennis court that he's competitive, it's all-round. He finds a way to get into it and charges himself up," said Maclagan, 34,.

"I've been fortunate in working with Andy to see a little bit more of Roger and Rafa as well, and they have an unconditional competitive streak inside them. Roger is very gracious and beautiful to watch, but there is a steel streak of competitiveness in there. To witness that close up – and I've seen it to a degree with some of the other players as well – is when you realise that the unyielding competitiveness is the overriding characteristic of these top guys."

Maclagan has delighted in Murray's achievements, which brought the world No 4 around £2.5 million in prize money over the season. Before Wimbledon, things did not come so easily to Murray. But, post-Wimbledon, he played some terrific tennis, with wins over Rafael Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic. This year, Murray turned the big three into the big four.

"If you had told me at the beginning of the year that he was going to win two Masters Series and get to the final of a slam, I would have bitten your hand off," said Maclagan. "I think Andy has found his game style."

But already thoughts have turned to next season, the year that could see a British male win a grand slam for the first time since Perry in 1936. After a short break, Murray will soon be training in Miami, in an effort to become even more of a physical force on the tennis court. Murray wants to have three more pounds of muscle on him before he appears at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi in the New Year, to be followed by attempting to retain his title at the ATP event in Doha, and then competing at the first slam of the year, the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. At Murray's side will be tennis's Mr Mellow.

Murray versus Top three in 2008

Murray 1-3 Nadal

Masters Series (Hamburg, clay) Nadal won 6-3, 6-2 R16.
Wimbledon (grass) Nadal won 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 Qtr-final.
Masters Series (Canada, hard) Nadal won 7-6, 6-3 Semi-final.
US Open (hard) Murray won 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

Murray 3-1 Federer

Dubai (hard) Murray won 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 R32.
US Open (hard) Federer won 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 final.
Masters Series (Madrid, hard) Murray 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 semi-final.
Masters Cup (Shanghai, hard) Murray won 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 RR.

Murray 2-1 Djokovic

Masters Series (M. Carlo, clay) Djokovic won 6-0, 6-4 R16.
Masters Series (Canada, hard) Murray won 6-3, 7-6 Qtr-final.
Masters Series (Cincinnati, hard) Murray won 7-6, 7-6 final.

Season’s tally

Five titles: Doha, Marseille, Cincinnati Masters, Madrid Masters, St Petersburg.
Year-end ranking: 4.

Prize money: £2.5m.


11-16-2008, 10:47 PM
Oh, that was a nice article. Great to see things from Miles' side of the story.

I was one of the relatively few who thought he was right to break with Gilbert (who I cannot stand!), but I remember saying that although I was not too sure of the "Team Murray" idea, I thought Andy was an intelligent young man who probably knew what would suit him best.

How right he was.

11-17-2008, 10:04 AM

No rest for perfectionist Murray as he prepares to fine tune his skills

Published Date: 17 November 2008
By Alix Ramsay

ANDY Murray's dash to the airport to catch the first flight home was probably the fastest the Scot had moved all weekend. Beaten 7-5, 6-2 in the semi-final of the Masters Cup by Nikolay Davydenko on Saturday, he was utterly exhausted at the end of his most successful season – but there was work still to be done.

The three hours he had taken to defeat Roger Federer on Friday night had left him drained and aching. When he came to face Davydenko, he could barely move in the opening games. But no matter how tired he felt, Murray was not to be beaten easily and it took the Russian nearly an hour and three-quarters to get the better of him. Such is Murray's fighting spirit.

Now, rather than sit back and enjoy a well-earned rest – and take the opportunity to spend some of the £2.5million he has earned this year – Murray will be back at work again next week. His rush to get home was to give himself a few days of breathing space before he starts his warm-weather training in Miami and the build up to his first tournament of the New Year in Doha. His schedule is relentless, but he would not have it any other way.

Miles Maclagan, his coach, will monitor the training regime but he knows that he does not have to behave like a sergeant major – Murray's appetite for success is the only spur the Scot needs to put in the long hours and the hard graft. And as Maclagan has toured the circuit this year, he has only seen that hunger and that competitive fire in the very best.

"I think he has found his game style," Maclagan said. "I just think that now he's comfortable in how he wants to play. It was partly me learning how he should play – and him. But I would probably also say it was that he has become competitive in every single match.

"I've been fortunate in working with Andy to see a little bit more of Roger (Federer] and Rafa (Nadal] as well and they have an unconditional competitive streak inside them. Even with Roger, who is very gracious and beautiful to watch, there is a steel streak of competitiveness in there. To witness that close up is when you realise that the unyielding competitiveness is the overriding characteristic of these top guys."

From leaving Wimbledon after the quarter-final stage, Murray's game has matured and his approach has changed. The more he won, the more he settled into his role as one of the world's top players. These days he can beat anybody when he is playing well, but knows how to win when he is not at his best. The result has been five titles, a place in the US Open final and three victories over Federer. Maclagan is not surprised by the success, but he is a little taken aback that it has all happened so quickly.

"We sometimes have to pinch ourselves a little bit," Maclagan said. "It does hit you every now and then. I thought a lot of Andy when we started and my respect for him has grown over the year, especially in the last few months. To see it from the inside has been incredible. It is not just on the tennis court that he's competitive, it's all-round.

"From some of the tennis I had seen him play before we started working together, I thought he was possibly one of the five best players. But I suppose if you'd said he was going to win two Masters Series and get to the final of a Slam I would have bitten your hand off."

The work in Florida will mainly be on Murray's fitness, strength and stamina. Maclagan does not feel the need to tinker unduly with his charge's game – it is just a matter of improving what is already there. And luckily for Maclagan, Murray is a perfectionist.

"I think the big focus is going to be physical again," Maclagan said, "because this is the guy's chance to really physically fill up the tanks in terms of strength and endurance. Game-wise, I look on it a bit differently. You're working on stuff throughout the year. I don't think there are any problem areas. Obviously every good player would like to make more first serves and do a bit more on the return. But I don't see any problem areas in his game. It is just a question of taking everything to maybe half a level or a level better."

By the time the Masters Cup comes to London next November, Murray and Maclagan will have done everything in their power to ensure that there will be no desperate dash to get away and that the Scot can stroll out of the O2 Arena with the trophy tucked under his arm.

11-18-2008, 09:40 PM
Another nice article - but I must say I don't quite agree that there are no problem areas in his game. The words "second serve" spring to mind - I hope he is going to work on improving that.

11-19-2008, 06:13 PM
Not big news or anything but Richard Kraijcek has announced that Andy Murray has agreed to play at the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam next year.
Quick translation: Tennis player Andy Murray will be competing at the annual ABN AMRO tournament in Ahoy in februari, the organisation has announced this on monday. The 21 year old Scot currently #4 on the rankings is the second top player to agree to participate at the tournament joining Spaniard Rafeal Nadal.

11-21-2008, 04:15 PM
Let's hope he does better than first round next year then!

11-26-2008, 10:16 PM

The press were presented with a batch of mince pies with “AM” initialled in red icing and jolly splendid they were, too. A couple of years ago, a few of our number might have first checked to make sure nothing bitter had been slipped into the ingredients, but all is sweetness and light these days, especially the pastry. Andy Murray was at Wimbledon to say his farewells before slipping off to Florida for three weeks of intensive preparation for 2009 - the year in which wonderful things are possible.

For two hours he kept company with those licking at their pen nibs in expectation of writing something as juicy as the fare on the table in front of us, taking each inquiry in his stride with the self-assured purpose that decorated all he did on court and off from May onwards.

The British No1 has completed a period of his career when those who had demanded forbearance in his teenage angst years could look at his progress with enormous satisfaction. Never has one wanted the tennis limbo period to end so quickly, never has the anticipation to board the flight to Australia, before the jet lag from Shanghai has worn off, been so intense and never have the prospects for a British player at the herald of a new year appeared so bright.

It probably goes for Murray, too; although when he steps out in the intense heat of the Australian summer - there is an exclusive exhibition in Abu Dhabi and a tournament in Doha to complete en route - he hopes to be 5lb heavier, with an even greater reserve of physical strength so that he can push himself to levels that almost satisfied him at the tail end of 2008 but will not suffice, he knows, if he wants to expand his boundaries from the start of 2009.

The 21-year-old says that he does not eat badly - with the exception of the odd Big Mac when he hopes no one is looking - but that he has not taken nutrition as seriously as he should. Jez Green, who sets his conditioning programme at the start of the year, will be on Murray's case to behave ever more responsibly where diet and fluid intake is concerned. The world No4 is famously banana-unfriendly and recalls during Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Austria at Wimbledon two months ago being fed a “really strong” juice concoction that he was assured would do him good. It is all about doing that one small thing, be it in his fitness regime or eating habits, that will give him a significant edge.

“I'm not a fitness trainer, so when I had been on my own at tournaments I didn't know what I should do and when I should be doing it,” he said. “At the start of the year, I hadn't been used to training in the middle of tournaments. I hadn't done it before, doing core stuff in the morning, and it takes time to get used to all of that.

“I needed, also, to feel I was going into tournaments feeling comfortable from the first match and there were times, most notably in Indian Wells and Miami in March, when I struggled with that. I needed to be able to take control early in matches and that is getting much better.”

What he wishes he could also control is the progress of the teenage Britons seeking to join him in the highest echelons. “Guys like Dan Evans, who is 18 and the third or fourth-highest of his age on the tour, which is a good sign, and I've practised with Marcus Willis, who I get on well with,” Murray said. “He's a little bit nuts, but I like that.

“In the men's game it is better than it was in terms of depth than when I was 18, but it doesn't matter how good they were as juniors, it's that next step, next year and the year after.

“I have watched some of their fitness programmes, I've had a word with Marcus about his weight - he is a little bit heavy for his age and he needed to sort that out - but all are very competitive, hard-working guys, which is a change from what it was.”

That judgment should satisfy the LTA councillors who congregate at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton today for a monthly meeting. What concerns them more are tales of extravagant bonuses paid to LTA employees and whether the senior officials should be called to account. Murray's views on that were not sought, but they might have been as tasty as the mince pies.

11-28-2008, 02:42 PM
Feeling lost without news of Andy? Here's a really nice article in the Scottish Sun, with a lot of info on what he is doing for the rest of this year, and on his general attitude:

It's a bit too long to post here, plus if you click on the link you'll get to see some nice photos as well ;)

11-28-2008, 08:24 PM
thanks a lot Madeline!

11-30-2008, 07:42 PM
A gentleman and a scholar

30 November 2008
By Alix Ramsay

ANDY Murray has learned how to charm as well as how to win big over the course of a great year

CHRISTMAS IS definitely in the air and there is a spirit of goodwill towards all men (the Chancellor of the Exchequer and all bankers aside, naturally). Even in the usually cut-throat world of men's tennis, a warm, fuzzy feeling is in evidence.
Andy Murray settles into his winter training base in Miami, he is in a relaxed and convivial mood. The workload in front of him is fierce; the season ahead has the potential for a bitter battle at the top for ranking points and major prizes and yet Scotland's finest is still filled with bonhomie.

This year he has beaten Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and come, as he puts it, "effectively three sets away" from winning a grand slam title in the US Open final. Yet, as he shakes the jet lag from his legs and makes for the gym, he has no wish to shatter the reputations of the good and the great or to thrash them. These men are his peers, his workmates and his friends.

"If I'm being honest I get on really well with all of the players," he said, amiably. "Federer, when I see him, I'll have a chat to him – Nadal, Djokovic, (Andy] Roddick, all of them. Obviously when we get on court we're rivals, but I think the one thing that has been much better in tennis the last few years has been the sportsmanship. A lot of players are very complimentary about each other – the embracing at the end of matches because a lot of the tennis has been so good – I think that's something that tennis has got to be proud of over the last few years."

They are hardly the words of the battle-weary street fighters who held sway in the Seventies and Eighties and it is hard to imagine John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors exchanging pleasantries over the festive mince pies. But the sport has changed in the last five years and Federer and Nadal – two of the nicest champions you could hope to meet – are the velvet-gloved assassins: they smile, they sign autographs and then they crush all before them. And now Murray is one of their gang.

With five titles to his name in 2008, this has been Murray's most successful season to date – and probably the most successful season of any British man since Fred Perry – and he has established himself as one of the four contenders at the top of the rankings. Although he is 1,500 points behind Djokovic, the world No.3, and 3,000 points behind Nadal at No.1, there is plenty of clear blue water between Murray and the rest of the men in the top 10. He may show a great deal of respect to his betters, but Murray still knows his place in the pecking order.

"It depends how you look at it," Murray said. "Obviously in terms of ranking points I'm a long, long way behind them. But my results over those guys speak for themselves. I beat Djokovic a couple of times this year, Federer three times and also Nadal. So I can win against them, but if I'm going to be right in amongst them I need to play consistently well for the whole year rather than just right at the end."

In order to achieve that goal, Murray is putting himself through the training mill again this winter. Jez Green, one of his two fitness trainers, may be a friend but he is also a hard task-master and the weight training, 400m repetitions and 100m sprints will push Murray to his very limits. It is brutally hard work – so much so that not even the most outrageous line call can get him as worked up as the thought of another timed lap of the track or another set of sprints.

"I think the physical side of things has made such a huge difference," Murray said. "I find playing a tennis match much easier than I did before because the work off the court is much harder and the angry moments come out at the gym or on the running track rather than on the tennis court. That has made a big difference, especially in the long matches in the slams."

As he climbs the rankings and knocks on the door of the major championships, so the expectation grows. To those on the sidelines, the pressure seems unbearable but, to Murray, nothing has changed. These days, he may be older, fitter and wiser but the 21-year-old from Dunblane is the same ambitious soul he was when he first picked up a tennis racquet.

"I've always said I want to win a grand slam, so for me it's not as though there's any extra pressure, regardless of whether it was a few years ago or now," he said. "I've always wanted to try to do it. It gives me confidence that I'm closer now than I ever was. I can still improve on a lot of things and I believe that I can do it, whether it's next year or in the next two or three years."

All that does seem to have changed is the public's view of Murray. The few critical voices – usually those of the London-based media – are drowned out by the ever-growing band of supporters who follow his success around the globe. In China, he won over a raft of new fans during his week at the Masters Cup in Shanghai while at home he is the new poster boy for an unexpected group of admirers.

"I got some funny stuff in China," he said. "Some Chinese fans, they actually made a jigsaw puzzle of my face. I had to make it up and, no, thankfully, I didn't have to look at the picture on the box first.

"But I do get a lot of fan mail from older people, from 65 or 70-year-olds. It's surprising that I get so many from grannies and grandpas."

Quite what the All England Club will say about ladies of a certain age flinging their Damart double-knit thermals on to the hallowed Centre Court grass remains to be seen, but Murray's reputation as a serial winner is growing, so much so that he is one of the main attractions at the winner-takes-all $250,000 exhibition event in Abu Dhabi at the start of the New Year. From there he will head for Qatar for the defence of his Doha title before going on to Melbourne and the Australian Open.

In the Middle East he will rub shoulders again with his old pals Federer, Nadal and Roddick. But by the time the season begins in earnest on January 5, the Christmas spirit will have worn off and there will be no holds barred in 2009.


12-01-2008, 05:32 PM
thanks for the article:)

12-02-2008, 05:43 PM

Mature Murray adds a canny fame game to his impressive repertoire
After a breakthrough year, Britain's top player tells Jon Henderson about life as a celebrity - and says what he must do to catch the gang of three

Jon Henderson
The Observer, Sunday November 30 2008

If Andy Murray is not quite up there yet with Lewis Hamilton on the charm-ometer, he is pushing the needle rapidly in that direction - which, after the curled lips, sullenness and quick, furtive glances of not so long ago, is quite something.

His 2008-appointed PR guru, Stuart Higgins, can take credit, but only part of it. No one can make a rounded human being out of a tosspot and Murray's apparent transformation is simply a revelation of what lay within the Tim Henman-styled 'miserable git' in the same way that his impressive advance as a player this year has been an unveiling of his innate ability. And it is no coincidence that both have exhibited themselves at the same time. His improvement as a player has fed off his maturing as a person. Or maybe it is the other way around. Who knows?

Murray is open and interesting on a range of subjects when he comes to a bleak, autumnal Wimbledon to reflect on his year of plenty - $3.7m banked in prize money alone - that must be the envy of two fellow London-based Scots who are trying to balance the nation's books. He rose from 11 in the world to four, beat the mighty Roger Federer three times, won five titles, including two in the Masters series that is just below the grand slams, and reached the final of the US Open. He also celebrated his 21st birthday in May, on a day when even a stuffing by Nadal in a clay-court match in Hamburg did not completely spoil his celebrations. His granny provided consolation by bringing over a favourite cake from Scotland. Murray is big on family and says this is one reason he will never do a Lewis Hamilton and live abroad.

From being pretty well known, Murray can probably now be classified as famous. 'Yes, this year, especially towards the end of the year, I've been recognised a lot more,' he says. 'But I don't really go out that much. I spend a lot of time walking the dog on the common. Pretty dull, actually.' He makes no attempt to hide his identity on these outings. 'I don't really wear hats. I just wear normal clothes and try to mix in. People do stop me for photos or an autograph, and everyone's been very supportive.'

There is a lot of fan mail now, too, he says. Mostly from girls? 'Careful,' Higgins interjects, which may account for what sounds suspiciously like a canny reply. 'I do get a lot from older people - 65 to 70,' he says, giving what is surely a fact too far. 'It's a mixture, but it's surprising that I get so many from grandparents being very supportive of everything I've done over the past few years.'

The unsupportive letters, which multiplied when he made an ill-judged joke about supporting 'anyone but England' during the 2006 World Cup, have largely dried up. 'It's started to get better the last year or so. Around the time, the reaction wasn't abusive - it wasn't swearing or whatever - it just wasn't particularly nice. People don't mention it to me so much, but my fitness trainer and others around me have a lot of friends who think that I don't like English people, which is obviously not true.' Exhibit one in this respect is his English girlfriend Kim Sears, although he stops short of mentioning her by name.

Criticism of his on-court behaviour is also on the wane. He explains the process by which he has curbed his anger, while still managing to become very visibly pumped-up: 'I always said that I wanted to get better at around this time in my career and that when I did work on it, it would definitely improve. The physical side of things is what has made such a huge difference. I find playing a tennis match much easier than I did before because the work off the court is much harder. The angry moments come out in the gym and on the running track now rather than when I'm playing. It's made a big difference, especially in the long matches in the grand slams.'

More cathartic moments in the gym are in store over the next few weeks as he tries to add bulk before the 2009 season starts on 5 January. 'I'll work on my upper-body strength. I want to put on a bit more weight - three or four kilos - which means I have to eat a lot and do a lot more weights. I'll do similar things to what I did last December, but everything just a little bit faster, a little bit heavier because my base is that much better this year.' With the help of a high-protein diet - steaks, sushi, which is a Murray favourite, and plenty of eggs for breakfast - his aim is to get up to 86kg (13 and a half stone). 'It's not so hard getting there, but it's maintaining the added weight through the year that's difficult.' 'Oh, I don't know,' a voice off says and Murray cracks up with everyone else.

The most significant breakthrough Murray made in 2008 was none of those listed above but the one-on-one victories over his contemporaries Nadal and Novak Djokovic. He had already beaten Federer, who is nearly six years older than him; defeating the other two was proving beyond him, which was disturbing as his most competitive years will run alongside theirs. He ended his poor run against Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Toronto Masters in July and did him again in the final of the Cincinnati Masters nine days later. Then, in a memorable semi-final at the US Open spread over two days, he ground down and broke Nadal, a fitness fanatic who likes to parade what had been regarded as his indomitable physicality.

Djokovic's dominance had been a particular worry: four wins out of four without dropping a set, three of them on hard courts - Murray's best surface. 'It was tough. I played against him quite a bit when we were younger and I was better than him between, say, 12 and 14 - but then he got better than me and I struggled after that. I just needed to get physically stronger because that was the huge difference between us at the beginning of last year. I knew that if I did get stronger I always had stuff that caused him problems.'

Even so, despite catching up, he knows he still has not earned the right to join Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, the gang of three who monopolised the 2008 grand slams. 'Obviously, in terms of ranking points, I'm a long way behind them,' he says, 'and, although my results against those guys speak for themselves, if I'm going to get right in among them I need to play consistently well for the whole year rather than right at the end.'

He says he does not regard it as placing a burden on himself that the consistency to which he refers would have to include winning a first grand slam, something a British male has not done since Fred Perry won the 1936 US Championship. 'I've always said I want to win a grand slam, so for me it's not as though there's any extra pressure. It just gives me confidence that I'm closer now than I ever was. I can still improve on a lot of things and I believe that I can do it, whether it's next year or in the next two or three years.'

The grand slams he has the best chance of winning in 2009 are the two played on hard surfaces, the Australian and US Opens. His eight career titles have all been won either on hard courts, outdoors and inside, or on indoor synthetic courts. He may have a squeak of a chance at Wimbledon, where the Federer-Nadal Show on Grass is becoming a second-Sunday fixture, but not even a squeak on clay at the French Open. 'If I had to bet on anyone winning two grand slams next year, I'd bet on Nadal doing it again. The French Open is going to be his again, the guy's ridiculous on clay, and he's got a shot at all the others, but it's going to be tougher than it was in previous years.' He leaves hanging that his arrival at the top is why it will be tougher.

It was barely three years ago that Murray whispered in Federer's ear after a Davis Cup doubles in Geneva what a privilege it had been to play on the same court as him. How far he has travelled since then, as a player and a person. Some people don't travel as far in a lifetime. At one point during the interview, when the conversation turns to friendships on the tour, Murray sounds almost like an elder statesman. 'The one thing that has been much better in tennis in the past few years has been the sportsmanship,' he says. 'I think it has been great. A lot of the players are very complimentary about each other; they embrace at the end of matches because the level of the tennis has been so good. I think that's something that tennis has got to be proud of.'

And there were we, convinced he was going to turn into Super Brat II.

12-02-2008, 06:06 PM
An article that tries to touch the sensitive chords of young Scots. ;)

Inspiring Scots
What can the successes of Chris Hoy and Andy Murray do for Scotland?

One is a privately educated, sports science graduate whose extraordinary strength and power have earned him an MBE and a total of four Olympic gold medals. The other is a survivor of the Dunblane massacre, whose competitiveness was born out of an early desire to beat his older brother on the tennis court.

Their early lives were poles apart, but in 2008 Chris Hoy and Andy Murray have both risen to the top of their chosen sport, and triggered what could in time be seen as a resurgence of Scottish sport at a timely interval, with Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games already looming increasingly large.

The images of Murray winning through to the U.S Open final and Hoy standing on top of the Olympic podium in Beijing have held huge audiences capitivated over the last few months, but if they are to represent the start of a golden era in Scottish sport, the general concensus is that the real work begins here.

To inspire an entire generation is a feat not many sportsmen can lay claim to, but Hoy's incredible performances in China arguably helped him achieve this, and he says it's something he relishes. "I think it's one of the best spin-offs of achieving success in your sport; to be able to make a difference for future generations," he admits. "I am delighted if any young athlete can take inspiration from my actions."

Since his return from Beijing, where his three gold medal successes led to him carrying the Union Jack in the closing ceremony, Hoy has been tipped to receive a knighthood after retirement, having already been awarded an MBE in 2005.

The velodrome for the 2014 Games will be named after him and he is an ambassador for the London Olympics in 2012. However, despite these and countless other honours that continue to come his way, Hoy says the main rewards come from inspiring potential stars of the future.

"They have to know that they can access the same support system, the same facilities and the same backup as their role model," he says of young athletes. "They then know that it is up to them and a lot of hard work to achieve their dreams. It is the bottom line."

One of those athletes who is well on the way to achieving their dreams is taekwondo European Champion Dan Briggs. At 20, Briggs is a year younger than Andy Murray and has already amassed an impressive collection of titles. Originally from Dunfermline, he has been ranked as high as number two in the world, and says that watching the success stories of Hoy and Murray unfold is of huge benefit as he trains towards a place in the 2012 Olympics.

"To see your countrymen perform to such a level not only inspires, but also gives a sense of pride," says Briggs. "For them both to be top in the world is a massive boost for the country."

In an era where sports stars seem to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons all too often, Briggs says that it is their conduct away from the competitive arena which makes Murray and Hoy as such positive role models for Scottish youngsters: "Not only are they both intelligent, highly motivated and great achievers, but they do it with passion and a sense of fair play." Despite Murray's occassionally tense relationship with the media, Briggs says the Glasgow-born world number four is a figure that young players can aspire to. "His performances this year, particularly in the U.S Open, mean he is an icon," he says. "He is a true asset to our country, a true champion."

Time will tell if the effect of Hoy and Murray's success stories will lead to any other champions emerging before 2014, but the influence of Hoy and Murray's achievements stretch far wider than the international sports arena, claims a Scottish Government spokeswoman.

"We believe the dedication, drive and determination shown by athletes such as Chris Hoy and Andy Murray will not only provide encouragement to other athletes but also inspire many ordinary men, women and children to take up a sport and make healthier, positive changes to their lifestyle," she says. "These are changes the Scottish Government is keen to support, and which we have backed up with record investment in sportscotland of £134 million over the next three years."

Investment such as this will be crucial as the Scottish team try to improve on their respectable sixth place in the medal table at the last Commonwealth Games, held in Melbourne in 2006. The eleven gold medals won in Australia was the highest total achieved by a Scottish team since the Games took on their current incarnation in 1978, and the Government are keen to stress how impressive the current state of Scottish sport is. " As a small country, we already punch above our weight and produce champions in a range of sports," says the spokeswoman.

"As we prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, we have every confidence Scotland can look forward to further success inspired by the historic achievements of Andy Murray and our athletes in Beijing. Scotland will continue cheering on all our sportsmen and women with great pride and of course, very high hopes."

12-21-2008, 04:13 AM

Andy Murray: Back home to feast on bickering

Published Date: 21 December 2008

By Alix Ramsay

IN RETROSPECT, the pink shorts might not have been such a good idea but other than that, the past few weeks have been almost perfect for Andy Murray. Scotland's finest has been hard at work at the University of Miami and if he has not been lifting it, racing it or jumping it, he has been eating it as part of his winter training programme.
In the warm sunshine of south Florida, Murray has spent the past three weeks working himself into a grease spot as part of his preparations for the coming season. His aim was to gain eight or nine pounds of muscle and to push himself harder than he has ever done before. And by gulping down around 6,000 calories a day – many of them in the form of sushi – to fuel the hours of slog on the running track and in the gym, he has achieved his goal.

He has run faster than ever before, he has lifted bigger weights – and more often – and he has even raised money for charity while he has been at it.

As boys do, Murray and his team set each other challenges to counteract the tedium of training and a few months ago the world No.4 threw down the gauntlet to Matt Little, one of his fitness trainers. If Little could set a new personal best over 400m then Murray would wear a pink training kit and if Murray won a Masters Series title, then Little would do likewise. With both targets met over the course of the season, Little and Murray duly donned their pink garb and headed to the practice courts, although Murray's pink velour micro-shorts raised more than a few eyebrows around the university training grounds that day. The outfits were then signed by both men and will be auctioned to raise money for breast cancer research, a charity supported by Murray's mother, Judy.

But now Murray is coming home and he cannot wait for his Christmas break. Tomorrow he lands in London and after a day spent visiting his girlfriend's family, he will head for Dunblane to spend the festive season with his own family.

While most people who travel for a living miss sleeping in their own bed when they are away, or have secret longings for a decent cup of tea and an evening in watching Coronation Street, Murray misses the general hubbub of family life, rows and all.

"I guess I miss just being around family," Murray said. "I spend a lot of time with my brother, my mum, my dad sometimes, but I don't see my grandparents or my auntie and uncle as much as I used to. But even after a few days of being around them, we always start the bickering, the arguing and stuff, so that's probably the best bit about going back."

But if Little and fellow fitness trainer Jez Green had planned every mouthful to be consumed by Murray while he was in Miami, their diet will be forgotten in the coming days. It is tradition in the family that Murray's grandmother, Shirley Erskine, cooks the lunch – "she's the best," her grandson said with a slightly wistful look – but there is little danger of Scotland's premier sportsman piling on the pounds over Christmas.

"We always have a go at my gran for her portions," Murray said, "because she always gives like no food at all, never cooks enough. Those little chipolata things, those mini-sausages, each person gets like two of them and it's never, never enough."

As for any exotic variations on the turkey and sprouts menu, there will no chance of that. Mrs Erskine may be a marvellous, if minimalist, cook but her meal plans are steeped in tradition.

"We went on my birthday to a sushi place and Gran refused to touch it," Murray said. "Refuses to go near anything raw. And my grandpa went into an Italian restaurant with my brother a year or so ago – and he never goes out, he just has my gran's cooking or eats at the golf club next to their house. He asked my brother what spaghetti bolognese was – and he was about 70 years old. So that gives you an idea about my gran and grandpa there."

It is a year since Murray was last in Scotland, 12 months in which much has changed for the nation's best player. Last Christmas he was hoping to become one of the world's best players – this year he is established as one of the main threats to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the top of the rankings and at the major tournaments. But if Murray is living the professional high life, nothing beats coming home to where he first picked up a tennis racket. And for all his news of beating the biggest names in the sport, it pales besides the local gossip in Dunblane.

"Each time I go back there's always something that's changed," he said. "You know, the garage, the petrol station, is gone and it's like the huge, huge news. That's the stuff that my gran and grandpa talk about and they're always like: 'do you remember Mary from down here? She's moved over here...' Everyone knows everyone. It's just completely different to any of the other places I go to.

"There's not one thing in particular I miss about Scotland but the people have always been unbelievably nice to me and supportive and have always said 'we're very proud of everything you've done'. They're very, very friendly. I love Scotland; there's not a whole lot to do where I used to live but I do really like going back for a few days."

His stay will be all too short as Murray will be off to the Middle East before New Year. He will play in an exhibition event with Federer and Nadal in Abu Dhabi before moving on to Qatar to defend his Doha title. From there he will make his way down to Melbourne for the start of the Australian Open on January 19.

It leaves little time to enjoy his grandmother's cooking (note to Mrs Erskine: best buy in some extra chipolatas this year) before he will have to pack his bags again. Still, at least the pink shorts will not be going with him to Australia and, bolstered by his newly acquired muscle and his weeks of graft in Miami, he may have more than a runner-up spot in a grand slam to celebrate when he returns to Dunblane next year.

12-21-2008, 08:52 AM
thanks for all the articles, Getta :)

12-26-2008, 07:19 AM

Sports Review of 2008 - Murray comes of age to join elite

Published Date: 26 December 2008


AS we approach the end of 2008 with Andy Murray standing at No4 in the world, and look forward to a year in which many experts expect him to win his first Grand Slam, the Scot's rise over the past 12 months may look inevitable and irresistible. And that, in turn, might suggest that Murray's progress was steady and smooth right through the season, from the Australian Open to the Masters Cup.

But, while his indomitable spirit has always made him extremely hard to beat, Murray's ascent of the rankings in 2008 was by no means straightforward. Indeed, judged purely by position, the first half of the year saw him decline, and it was only after Wimbledon that he got back on the upward track.

The opening tournament of the season, the Doha Open, was very encouraging – Murray won it in style, defeating the then No 4 Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-final before overcoming Stanislas Wawrinka in the final. But then in Melbourne his hopes of getting to the later stages of the first Grand Slam of the year where dashed in the opening round, when he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

That defeat took on the mantle of respectability over the ensuing fortnight, as Tsonga made it all the way to the final of the Australian Open before losing to Novak Djokovic. But the Frenchman's progress was also an indication of how well Murray might have done had he succeeded in clearing that initial hurdle.

The British No 1 was back on form in February, when he won the Marseille Open, but a long patchy spell followed, and with the exception of a last-eight defeat by Davydenko in Dubai it would be another four months until he reached the quarter- finals of any event. That relatively unsuccessful spell took in the French Open, where he was knocked out in the third round by Nicolas Almagro, and only came to an end at Queen's, where he lost to Andy Roddick in a fight for a place in the semi-finals.

As Wimbledon loomed, then, Murray was some way out of contention, at least as far as the rankings were concerned. He had fallen out of the top 20 in April, and it would not be until after his home grand slam that he got back inside the top ten.

Still, while the rankings reflect results, Murray was convinced he was on the right track, and refused to be panicked into changing his plans. In particular, he continued the hard work in the gym which was giving him greater strength and stamina than had been the case – and Wimbledon demonstrated how successful that work had been.

After straight-sets wins over Fabrice Santoro and Xavier Malisse, Murray dropped a set in his third-round match against Tommy Haas, yet still made it through to the second week in some comfort. His fourth-round contest with Richard Gasquet, however, was very different, and he had to produce one of the best comebacks of the year to defeat the Frenchman in five sets after going two sets down.

Centre Court afforded the Scot a standing ovation at the conclusion of that match late on a Monday evening, and that was to be the high point of his Championships. Two days later he was out, having been whipped in straight sets by Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard, who had inflicted a fearful beating on Roger Federer to win the French Open, was on his way to his first Wimbledon title and to the No 1 spot. Murray might flex his biceps in celebration of his own improved physical prowess, but Nadal was still more muscular by far. His powers of endurance and recovery were also far greater, as he proved when he beat Federer in the final.

All the same, as the fortnight ended, Murray could rightly feel relatively happy. He had reached the last eight of a Slam for the first time, and was heading back up the charts.

From ninth in July he rose to sixth in August, then fourth in September. He has maintained that position ever since, thanks to an end-of-season run which saw him reach a higher level of consistency than ever before.

Granted, the Olympic Games were a serious disappointment: he lost his first singles match, and he and his older brother Jamie were hardly on speaking terms as they exited the doubles in round two. But there was an upside of that, as his early departure from Beijing meant Murray was in better shape than some of his rivals to contest the US Open.

A former winner of the junior title at Flushing Meadows, Murray has produced much of his best form on the US hardcourt circuit, and certainly looked at home when he tore through the early rounds. Then came perhaps his most significant match of the year: a semi-final against Nadal, whom he had never previously beaten.

He consigned that particular statistic to the history books, beating the world's best player in four sets. Federer, who had been ousted from the top spot after so long as the undisputed No 1, proved too strong for Murray in the final, which, like the Nadal match at Wimbledon, was something of an anticlimax for the Scot and his supporters. Nonetheless, it was another step forward – a first grand slam final, and the strongest indication yet that he can live with the best.

Murray has some way to go yet before he is able to mount a realistic and sustained challenge for the top spot, but there is no disputing the fact that he has made highly significant progress this year. He is no longer just a member of an amorphous chasing pack behind the top three, someone who can only turn it on occasionally against the leading trio: he has now turned that top three into a top four, and put some distance between him and the likes of Davydenko and Roddick.

Dkiokovic, the No 3, is now in his sights. He knows he can beat the Serbian, just as he knows he can also get the better of Federer and Nadal.

And Murray's success is more than just the story of one man doing well; it is also playing an important role in the regeneration of British tennis as a whole. There is still a long way to go, and in terms of the Davis Cup, Great Britain is not even at the level it reached when Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski played in the competition together. But lower down the age scale, thousands are now showing a real hunger for the sport thanks to the man from Dunblane.

In the women's game, Laura Robson can be expected to have a similar effect. The Wimbledon girls' champion may have been born in Melbourne to Australian parents, but she has lived in the United Kingdom since the age of six, and was hailed as a rare home success when she won an event in which, aged 14, she was the youngest entrant.

Thanks to her and Murray, Great Britain was able to boast two world-class competitors as well as the usual world-class tournament this year. That number could well increase over the next few seasons.

12-29-2008, 03:40 PM

From The Times
December 29, 2008

Advantage Andy Murray by £100m

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

Andy Murray will start the new year as the hottest property in tennis, with the promise of £100 million from the management companies that are vying for his signature.

The world No 4’s present representative, Ace Group, is in danger of losing its most prominent client as Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a subsidiary of Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment empire that is bursting with enthusiasm to sign him, IMG, the recognised No 1 management company in sport, and Lagardère Group, a French conglomerate with interests in aerospace, publishing and sport, brandish their chequebooks.

There may be all sorts of restraints on such spending in an era of downturns and depressions — it is understood that Reebok, the clothing manufacturer, may be forced to pull out of its deal with Jelena Jankovic, the world’s No 1 woman player from Serbia, because of financial cutbacks. However, where Murray, who has played in only one grand-slam final, the US Open in September, is concerned, the money can be mustered.

What a remarkable position the 21-year-old Scot is in. IMG represents a traditional lure for the top players with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the world No 1 and No 2, on its books on long-term contracts. CAA has tempted Novak Djokovic, the world No 3 from Serbia, and is the nouveau riche tempting sporting stars to rub shoulders with superstars from stage and screen. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are on the same client list as Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and Will Ferrell (Murray’s favourite comedian, which may be a tipping point in its favour). The Times has learnt that CAA has made a “very good offer” for Murray and is quietly confident that he will be persuaded to join its burgeoning sports portfolio.

Lagardère is the dark horse. It has most of the leading French players, including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon, as clients and has exceedingly deep pockets. The pressure is therefore on Patricio Apey, Murray’s manager, who has signed him up to excellent deals with Highland Spring (a patch on his arm is worth more than £1 million a year); Head rackets, for which he is the new face, replacing Andre Agassi, who retired in 2006; Royal Bank of Scotland; and Fred Perry, the clothing firm which celebrates the centenary of the birth of its founder next year.

Ace Group’s contract with Murray was due to expire, so the Scot would have to have given Apey notice of an intention not to renew in order to have set off the stampede of agencies.

What matters most is Murray’s potential on court, where he has positioned himself as the “next most likely” to win a grand-slam championship, with the goldmine of becoming the first Briton to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon since 1936 uppermost in the thoughts of the thirsting suitors eager for a percentage of the spin-offs.

Never before has a British tennis player been in such a league, but Murray is not your average British tennis player. From the moment that he first swung a racket, it was clear that he offered something different and his progress through a Spanish academy to junior grand-slam success to his remarkable breakthrough this year when he reached the US Open final, won two Masters Series events, defeated Federer, Nadal and Djokovic (the last two for the first time) and qualified for the Masters Cup in Shanghai marked him out as a special player.

Federer has won 13 grand-slam titles and recently joined the select group of the 300 wealthiest residents of Switzerland, according to an annual survey published this month. The 27-year-old has been valued at SwFr100-200 million (£64-127 million) by Bilanz, the Swiss business magazine.

It notes that since 2005, Federer has been under the wing of IMG, which has tripled his annual income from advertising alone to $35 million (about £23.8 million). At the beginning of this year, the world No 2 signed a ten-year deal with Nike worth up to $130 million.

12-30-2008, 03:00 AM
Thanks for the articles. :)

01-01-2009, 01:47 AM

From The Times
December 31, 2008

Andy Murray to net millions after signing new deal

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

Andy Murray is spending the first week of the new season surrounded by more wealth than he could dream of. It is a feeling that he is going to get used to. The decision by Murray and Jamie, his elder brother, to let the rest of their careers be masterminded by Simon Fuller, the man who helped to make David Beckham exceedingly rich, is one that will have a profound effect on both of them.

As The Times reported on Monday, Andy Murray, the British No 1, had been courted by the world’s leading management companies, eager to invest in a player who, if everything goes according to plan, will be one of the stars of the next decade, with tremendous earning potential. The £100 million estimate made in these pages — given that Murray does his stuff on the court and the marketeers do theirs off it — has been deemed “very realistic” by his new management.

The choice of Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, in partnership with CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency, “the world leader in entertainment and sports representation”, is fascinating. The Murray family have eschewed IMG, the elder statesmen of the profession, and plumped for the newer kids on the block, with 19 Entertainment to become their third management agency, after Octagon steered Andy in his younger days and Ace Group plotted his path through the complexities of turning professional and coping with fame.

Rather as he has done with his coaches, the 21-year-old Scot has shown that nothing lasts for ever; indeed, three years tends to be the limit. One can expect this partnership to last a good deal longer. The possibilities are enormous.

Murray is in Abu Dhabi for the next three days, alongside Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, for the grandiosely titled Capitala World Championship, a three-day exhibition event. From one oil-rich state he heads to another, Doha, to defend the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open that he won in the first week of this year. He could pop over to a third, Dubai, for a chat with Beckham, who landed there yesterday for a mid-season break with his latest club, AC Milan.

Officially, the relationship with 19 Entertainment and CAA does not start until March 1, when Andy and Jamie will be preparing for a Davis Cup tie against Ukraine in Glasgow. We can expect a bit more glitter on that occasion than even the LTA was prepared to shower upon it.

Fuller, who spoke to both brothers and Judy, their mother, at length, said of the collaboration: “I’m very excited to be working with Andy and Jamie, two of the brightest British talents in global sports. Their determination to succeed has become a trademark in their game and their progress as professional sportsmen has taken them to the top in world tennis.” His company’s “innovative partnership with CAA Sports will provide them with an unparalleled level of global support”.

The focus will be on Andy Murray the sportsman, releasing the world No 4 to build on his talents on the court, knowing that no stone will be left unturned to deliver the best service off it. It is understood that 19 — making its first foray into the management of a tennis player — was taken by his “character and charisma” and his appeal across the spectrum, young and old, male and female.

The likelihood is that the brothers’ PR portfolios will be handled by Simon Oliveira, who does the same job with great success for Beckham. Now for that first grand-slam singles title . . .

01-02-2009, 11:48 PM

Andy Murray displays pleasure in final-set tiebreak win over Roger Federer

Only in a pre-season exhibition match would Andy Murray completely misjudge his jump on an attempted slam-dunk smash, with the ball looping over his head, and then on landing get an attack of the giggles.

By Mark Hodgkinson
Last Updated: 6:39PM GMT 02 Jan 2009

If Murray had made that sort of fresh-air mistake in a grand slam final, his language would have made Gordon Ramsay sound like a character from 'Little House on the Prairie’.

Still, for all the fun and practice games to be had at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, there was no doubting Murray’s pleasure when he took a final-set tiebreak for victory over Roger Federer. True, Murray’s victory did not have anything like the same significance as when he beat the Swiss in Dubai, Madrid or Shanghai last year, or when he lost to him in the 2008 US Open final in New York, and this result will not count towards their career head-to-head record.

Both players were in light-hearted mood for most of the contest, hence Murray’s giggles, and why Federer wouldn’t have returned to the locker-room to mangle his rackets. Federer, a winner of 13 grand slam titles, was in exhibition-mode for most of this training match, as he often couldn’t resist the temptation to go for the crowd-pleasing shot â “ there were moments when he had the sheikhs nodding in approval from the royal box.

But, for Murray, a win over Federer is still a win over Federer, especially when there is just over a fortnight to go before the first grand slam of the season, the Australian Open, starts at Melbourne Park. If Murray and Federer meet in Australia, in the semi-finals or the final, then Murray’s 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory in Abu Dhabi will take on some greater meaning. Unofficially, Murray has now beaten Federer three times in a row, after his wins in Spain and China.

So Murray went through to today’s ’final’ of the Abu Dhabi exhibition, against Rafael Nadal, where he could take the winner’s prize of around £170,000, to add to what must be a substantial appearance fee. This will be the first time that Murray and Nadal have shared a court since the Scot defeated Spain’s world No 1 over two days in the semi-finals of the US Open.

Nadal, who has become known for his sleeveless, bicep-baring muscle-vests, was wearing a more traditional, sleeved T-shirt when he defeated Nikolay Davydenko, of Russia, in straight sets. But one aspect of Nadal’s outfit that hadn’t changed was that he was wearing strapping around his knees â “ he missed the Masters Cup and the Davis Cup final because of soreness in his knee, and so there was some interest in his movement. He looked sharp.

The most alarming part of the exhibition for Murray’s team was not when he missed the overhead, which would have given him a 5-1 lead in the final set, but when he was holding his lower back during the second set. But, it seemed that this was just a little stiffness, after all the running he did on the hard court, and his movement was fine in the closing stages.

This was only Murray’s second match since mid-November, after beating James Blake in straight sets on Thursday, so his body is still getting used to competitive play again. While remembering that this is only an exhibition, beating Federer and Nadal in successive days would do Murray no harm at all before the season proper starts next week. Murray will be attempting to defend his title at next week’s ATP ranking tournament in Qatar.

Nadal and Federer are also in the field. Federer’s health caused him some difficulties at the start of last season, as his tennis was complicated by glandular fever, and he lost in the semi-finals of the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic. This year, he is likely to be stronger physically in Melbourne, where he could draw level with Pete Sampras on a record 14 grand slam titles.

So far in 2009, the only contest that Murray has lost has been a game of tennis football on the practice court, which meant that, as a forfeit, he had to go to dinner with his clothes on inside-out.

Winning habit

One habit that Andy Murray will try not to break this year is the habit of beating Roger Federer, as, unofficially, this was the third time in three meetings that he had defeated the Swiss since the US Open final, following on from his victories at proper, official tournaments in Madrid and Shanghai.

But, as the players said after yesterday’s exhibition in the Middle East, what really matters to both of them is what happens when they compete at the grand slams.

Their only previous meeting at the majors was in New York, where, in Murray’s words, he got “killed” by the sophisticated Swiss. Murray won his last match with Rafael Nadal, in the semi-finals of last year’s US Open. But Murray had lost his previous five contests with the Majorcan, including in straight sets in the quarter-finals of last summer’s Wimbledon Championships

01-04-2009, 01:16 AM

Murray makes perfect start to year with win over Nadal

By Paul Newman, Tennis Correspondent
Sunday, 4 January 2009

Andy Murray hits the ball to the crowd after beating Rafael Nadal
at the World Tennis championship in Abu Dhabi

It may have been only an exhibition tournament, but Andy Murray could hardly have made a better start to what he hopes will be a momentous year. Having beaten Roger Federer, the world No 2, in Friday's semi-finals at the so-called "World Tennis Championship" in Abu Dhabi, Murray went on to beat the No 1, Rafael Nadal, 6-4 5-7 6-3 in yesterday's final.

The winner-takes-all first prize of $250,000 (about £172,000) – added to an appearance fee that may well have been in excess of that figure – gave the 21-year-old Scot good reason to smile after his victory, though he will take greater pleasure from the fact that he looks set to hit the ground running in 2009. He now heads along the Gulf coast to Doha for the Qatar Open, which begins tomorrow and willbe his only tournament before the Australian Open in a fortnight's time.

Following his breakthrough season last year, when he climbed to No 4 in the world rankings and reached his first Grand Slam final, Murray again spent the off-season concentrating on physical work. He was in Miami for most of December with his coaching and fitness team, spending many hours on the track and in the gym.

Just as his improved physical condition was a major factor in his results last year, so Murray's fitness was evident against Nadal, who has been making his first appearance since suffering the knee injury that kept him off court at the end of last season and forced him to miss Spain's Davis Cup final victory over Argentina.

It was Murray's first meeting with Nadal since he beat him for the first time in the semi-finals of last year's US Open. "It was a tough match," Murray said afterwards. "He made me do a lot of running, and in the first week of the year you obviously feel it in your body a bit. I worked really hard in November and December to give myself the best chance in Australia. I've never been past the fourth round before, but I'll give it my best shot."

The two men served up some thrilling tennis for the capacity crowd at Zayed Sports City, though it would be wrong to draw any major conclusions from the match. The players rarely read anything into exhibition events, which they sometimes use to try out particular shots and strategies.

While the tennis can be spectacular – as it was yesterday – this is often because the players take risks and go for shots they would not try in serious competition. The results of exhibition matches do not go into the record books and players can be happy to lose, knowing they have not shown their full hand.

Doha, which Murray sees as ideal preparation for Melbourne, will be a different matter. Playing there provides a good level of competition and leaves him a week in Australia to prepare for the year's first Grand Slam event. Murray won in Doha last year, beating Nikolay Davydenko and Stanislas Wawrinka on his way to the first of his five titles in 2008. Two years ago he reached the final, losing to Ivan Ljubicic.

This year's field is stronger than ever and includes Nadal, Federer, Andy Roddick and seven other top-50 players. Murray's first opponent will be Spain's Albert Montanes, the winner to play Philipp Petzschner or Jérémy Chardy. Murray is seeded to play Dmitry Tursunov in the quarter-finals and Federer in the semis, with Nadal heading the other half of the draw.

After Doha, Murray will fly on to Melbourne. The Australian Open is played on hard courts, his favourite surface, but has not been the most productive of tournaments for him.

On his debut three years ago, Murray lost in the first round to Juan Ignacio Chela and was unhappy about what he saw as the media's weight of expectation on his shoulders. The following year was better, a run to the fourth round ending with a five-set loss to Nadal, but there was more disappointment last year, when he again went out in the opening round, although his conqueror, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, went on to beat Nadal en route to his first Grand Slam final.

01-06-2009, 03:03 PM

Murray comfortably beats Montanes in Qatar

• Scot wins in lower gear as Montanes fails to challenge
• Germany's Phillip Petzschner waits in round two, Tuesday 6 January 2009 14.34 GMT

Andy Murray serves to Albert Montanes in Qatar. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Andy Murray's bid to retain the Qatar Open title got off to a solid start as he put in a workmanlike performance to beat Spain's Albert Montanes 6-2 6-4 in the first round of the tournament.

Murray displayed only fleeting glimpses of the form he showed to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to clinch the World Tennis Championship title in Abu Dhabi last week, but broke his opponent's serve four times in a comfortable victory.

In front of a sparse crowd, Murray wasted two chances to break Montanes' serve in the first game but the Spaniard double-faulted in the third to give the Scot his first break. The British number one's play was sluggish to start with but a combination of clever drop shots from Murray and unforced errors from his opponent allowed the US Open finalist to break Montanes again to take a 5-2 lead.

The Spaniard was then allowed a chance back into the match by Murray, whose untidy play gifted the world No43 four break points. Montanes failed to take advantage, though, and the Scot clinched the set 6-2 after his opponent sent a forehand long.

The second set began with Murray immediately breaking Montanes' serve before closing out his first service game to love with a sliced drop shot to take a 2-0 lead. Murray broke again in the third before hitting some powerful shots from the baseline to take his fifth straight game and move into a 4-0 lead.

The Scot then became frustrated, however, and started to make mistakes as he allowed his opponent to win three successive games before Murray held his serve to make it 5-3. Montanes held again, leaving Murray to serve out to love to set up a second-round tie with Germany's Philipp Petzschner.

01-07-2009, 07:40 PM
Murray excited by son's progress
Andy Murray is targeting his first Grand Slam title

Andy Murray's impressive form could see him win his first Grand Slam title this year, according to his mother Judy.

After watching him beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Abu Dhabi, Murray said her son's game had improved.

"I know that his goal for this year is to win a Slam, but he's sensible enough to know that will be really tough to do," she told BBC Sport.

She said the hard courts at the Australian and US Opens offered her son his best chance of a Grand Slam.

The British number one is now in Doha for the Qatar Open and faces Spain's Albert Montanes in the first round.

Murray said her son was excited about the upcoming Australian Open and the US Open later in the year.

"I think he feels he's most comfortable in New York," she said. "He won the junior title there four years ago and he always gets huge support from the crowds over there."

And with the Australian Open just two weeks away, Murray believes her son's game is improving all the time.

"I hope he achieves everything he wants to this year," she said.

"Last year was a cracking one for him. To finish number four in the world, secure five titles and make the final of a Grand Slam was really exceptional.

"He knows that if it doesn't happen this year, then it's not the end of the world. He'll just keep working away until he eventually gets there.

"Andy worked really hard in the off-season with physical trainers and he paid really good attention to his diet and put on about four kilos of muscle."

Murray said her son was aware his game could be improved in certain areas.

"That's what's still so exciting," she said. "He could still improve his percentage on his first serve and get more depth on his second serve.

"And I think he could also improve around the net, particularly on his backhand volley."

Murray collected US$250,000 for winning the event in Abu Dhabi, but Judy said he was more interested in beating his rivals.

"He's happy where he is at the moment," she said. "For him it's not about the money at all.

"But obviously, he's got a team to pay for and expenses to pay for. So you need to be earning money to cover what you're paying out."


01-08-2009, 02:17 PM
thanks a lot:worship:

01-08-2009, 09:25 PM

Federer awaits as Murray cruises into semis

By Eleanor Crooks, PA Sport
Thursday, 8 January 2009

Andy Murray set up another meeting with Roger Federer by beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Qatar Open in Doha this evening.

The pair have faced each other five times in the last year, with Murray winning four of those matches but losing the most high-profile one - the US Open final.

Murray, the defending champion in Doha, came out on top last week in the semi-finals of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, a contest that was the latest in a series of close matches between the duo.

The winner of tomorrow's last-four clash will be a firm favourite to claim the title on Saturday following top seed Rafael Nadal's surprise defeat by Gael Monfils earlier today.

The first set against Stakhovsky was a close affair with the Ukrainian more than matching his opponent for touch and shot-making.

But once Murray had moved ahead it was largely one-way traffic, with the 21-year-old again dropping only six games for the third consecutive match.

Both players began with comfortable holds, Stakhovsky displaying a lovely touch on his drop shots in particular.

But the Ukrainian spoiled his promising start by gifting Murray a break in only the third game, double-faulting on break point.

The match was a repeat of the meeting that first announced Murray's huge promise to the world when he beat Stakhovsky in the final of the US Open juniors.

That was in 2004 and the Scot has certainly more than justified the hype since then in his rise to number four in the world.

But if he thought Stakhovsky would roll over he was very much mistaken, and the 23-year-old displayed some terrific attacking play to break straight back.

Stakhovsky, who won his first ATP Tour title in Zagreb last March, is currently ranked 91st, just below his best of 74th achieved last November.

The pair met again in the Davis Cup in 2006, with Murray again the victor, but Stakhovsky held his own well in the early stages, coming through a tight game to lead 3-2.

At 3-4 it was Murray's turn to be tested on serve, but this time it was the British number one who employed the drop shot to good effect to level again.

Failing to capitalise after taking Murray to deuce seemed to affect Stakhovsky and the underdog played his second poor game of the set to allow the Scot a second break.

This time there was no way back for Stakhovsky, Murray coming up with four good serves to recover from 0-30 and move a set in front.

It got better for the third seed in the first game of the second set as another break cemented his advantage.

By now Stakhovsky's belief was wavering and he could not prevent Murray taking a 3-0 lead.

The Ukrainian was still hitting some stunning shots, with a backhand on the run in the fourth game leaving Murray flat-footed, but the Scot's consistency was the key difference between the pair, and he moved into a 4-0 lead with a Pete Sampras-style 'slam-dunk' smash.

Stakhovsky knew the game was up and more errors, including another double fault on break point, moved Murray to within one game of victory.

Surprisingly, he failed to wrap up a love set as Stakhovsky at least got on the board with his second break of the match, and then saved a match point to make it 2-5.

It was simply delaying the inevitable, however, and Murray made no mistake on his second match point.

01-09-2009, 07:11 PM

Andy Murray defeats Roger Federer to set up Andy Roddick final

Andy Murray maintained his hold over Roger Federer, despite the cruellest
of erroneous line calls at a crucial point in the first set.

By William Johnson in Doha
Last Updated: 7:37PM GMT 09 Jan 2009

Release of tension: Andy Murray strteched away from Roger Federer in the third set in the Qatar Open in Doha Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The British No 1 shrugged off that costly injustice to storm back and outplay the Swiss master to qualify for his third successive Qatar ExxonMobil Open final.

Murray, who won this tournament last year, now has only big-serving American Andy Roddick blocking his path to a repeat triumph and the Scot will surely fancy his chances having won five of their seven previous meetings.

The head-to-head record with Federer is also 5-2 after Murray superbly turned around this fluctuating battle which appeared to be going in favour of his opponent that key moment in the tie-break to settle the tightest of opening sets.

Murray, who had narrowly failed to take one set point, would have earned a second but for having a winning backhand called out when he knew it was in. Hawk-Eye confirmed the Scot’s eagle eye but the umpire could only call a let. Federer duly won the replayed point to lead 7-6 and took the next as well to take a fortunate lead.

Lesser players giving Federer a false start would have surely perished but Murray is becoming the real deal and, despite needing treatment on a lower back problem, finished much the stronger to the point where he had Federer rattled during the closing stages of his 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 defeat.

Federer was just as tetchy off the court as he was on it, reacting angrily to suggestions that he gave up in the closing moments of the 2hr 5min struggle and paying Murray the most backhanded of compliments in response to question’s about the Scot’s No 1 potential.

“If he carries on playing the way he is he will have his shot [at the top ranking], said Federer. “I would hope, though, that if he were to become world No 1 he would win a grand slam first, not like on the women’s side. No disrespect to Jelena Jankovic [who claimed world No 1 status without winning a single grand slam title].

“Especially after the No 1s we have had in the last few years. It took Rafa Nadal five grand slams before he became No 1. The question is whether he [Murray] is going to win a grand slam, well 'yes’.

“He has got a chance in the next few years and as the years go by I guess his chances increase because he is becoming a better player.

But there are a few other guys out there who want their first slam, not only him.”

A delighted Murray refused to be drawn on that thorny issue. “Yes and no,” he said, when asked whether he agreed with Federer. “I would like to win a slam but I think anybody who gets to world No 1 will have shown great consistency and deserves to be there. I would love to win a slam but if you can get to No 1 in the world at anything you do it is something to be proud of.”

Murray said: “To have won that many matches against somebody as good as him [Federer] is awesome. But I would still exchange all my wins against him for the one in the US Open.”

Murray’s delight was tempered by concerns about his back. “My back has been stiff since I started playing in Abu Dhabi last week. It might be something to do with the slightly different court surfaces here compared to America.

“I plan on playing tomorrow but if I wake up tomorrow and my back is in agony then I won’t play.”

Roddick also needed three sets to reach his 41st career final. He showed great tenacity to get the better of France’s Gael Monfils 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.

Murray clear favourite for Australian Open

Andy Murray is the clear 5-2 (from 11-4) favourite with Coral for the Australian Open, the first time a British player has been ante post favourite for a Grand Slam event.

"Andy Murray has started 2009 in the best possible fashion, and he also looks stronger and fitter than ever before. As a result, we now think he will be the man to beat in Melbourne, and deserves to be favourite for the season's opening major, the first time a British player has held that position," said Coral's David Stevens.

Australian Open odds: 5-2 (from 11-4) A Murray, 11-4 R Federer, 10-3 (from 3-1) R Nadal, 5-1 N Djokovic, 20-1 Bar

01-09-2009, 07:17 PM

Murray too good for Federer again

Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Defending champion Andy Murray reached the final of the Qatar Open with a 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 6-2 win over Roger Federer.

The victory was Murray's fifth against the former world number one in seven ATP meetings and followed last Friday's win at a warm-up event in Abu Dhabi.

Federer claimed a tight first set after a tense tie-break, but Murray responded to comfortably take the second.

And he clinched the match in style in the decider to set up a final against American Andy Roddick on Saturday.

"It is good to have beaten him (Federer)," said Murray. "He is an awesome player, arguably the greatest player of all time, so I'm happy about my performance today.

"The first set was very tight as the tie-break was bit of a back-and-forth thing for both of us. I lost that and all of a sudden there was a lot of pressure on me."

Roddick enjoyed an impressive 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3 win over France's Gael Monfils - conqueror of world number one Rafael Nadal - in Friday's other semi-final.

Murray has the advantage from his eight previous matches against Roddick with five wins, although the Briton is a slight doubt for Saturday's final because of a back injury.

The semi-final victory maintained Murray's unbeaten start to 2009, as well as improving his impressive head-to-head record against Federer.

The 21-year-old has now beaten Federer in his last four encounters, although his opponent won the all-important US Open final last September.

Both players began the match confidently as the first set went with serve, forcing a tie-break.

Federer got the early mini-break but relinquished it with a double fault for 4-4 and it was Murray who earned the first set point, which the Swiss saved with a brilliant volley before taking the set with some punishing groundstrokes.

The world number two then had three break points in the third game of the second set but Murray produced three magnificent first serves to recover from 0-40.

And Federer's resolve began to crack as he conceded his fourth double fault to gift Murray a break for 4-2, the Scot wrapping up the set two games later courtesy of more unforced errors on the backhand from the Swiss star.

With Murray in the ascendency, the only major worry came when he required treatment on his back early in the final set, but he came out firing to break again for 3-1

And with Federer unable to mount any sort of comeback the match ended when the Swiss hammered a smash straight into the net on match point.

"It is disappointing to lose after the first set when things were going my way," said Federer.

"I just couldn't give the knockout punch but it is not a big thing. Andy is a tough player against me. I hope when big matches come, I beat him."

01-10-2009, 05:30 PM

Andy Murray crushes Andy Roddick to defend Qatar Open title

Andy Murray underlined his Australian Open title credentials as he overcame a sore back and American rival Andy Roddick to retain the Qatar Open in style with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Doha.

By Andy Hooper and agencies
Last Updated: 6:09PM GMT 10 Jan 2009

Flying form: Andy Murray lifts the Qatar title after win over Andy Roddick Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Murray, the world number four and newly-installed Melbourne favourite, had required lengthy physiotherapists's treatment during his semi-final win over Roger Federer yesterday. And it was feared that the stiffness he was suffering in his back would prevent him defending his trophy in Doha.

However, any worries were allayed as Murray motored through the first set, conceding only five points on his service. A single break in the fifth game was all that was required as Roddick struggled to cope with the power and variety of his opponent.

After a momentary interlude for repairs to the net, Murray double-faulted in his opening service game of the second set and appeared briefly to be under threat at 0-30.

However, the 21-year-old Scot remained composed, taking the next four points to hold before moving towards victory with a second break which included an astonishing exchange at the net, won by a Murray forehand volley.

Murray's movement and shot-making continued to confound Roddick as he moved towards a sixth win over the American in their eight meetings.

With his opponent rapidly losing faith, Murray broke again to take a 4-1 lead. Roddick, on the brink of defeat, finally earned a first break point, but was helpless as Murray plundered his fifth ace down the middle.

A backhand winner confirmed Murray's victory after 70 minutes to underline his credentials for a first grand slam title at the Melbourne Park event, which begins on Jan 19.

Murray, who also beat Federer and Rafael Nadal in the 'World Championship' exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week, told a delighted crowd: "I'd like to thank my team, it was a great year last year and hopefully I will continue the same this year."

Roddick admitted he had been simply "outplayed", adding that Murray's five-strong back-up staff, among them coach Miles MacLagan, were "the hardest working team in tennis".

01-11-2009, 12:08 AM

Alix Ramsay: Ace Murray on track for slam

Published Date: 11 January 2009

IT WAS never like this with Tim. As the Australian Open comes into view, there is only one name on everyone's lips and it is Andy Murray. All interested parties, from the greats of the game to the bookies, are tipping the Scot to win his first grand slam title in Melbourne and the talk is not of "if" Murray can win, but "when".

For more than a decade, the patient British public sighed and tut-tutted as Timothy Henry Henman tried and failed to reach a major final. No matter – whenever Wimbledon came around the same old discussions would start again: could this be Henman's year. It was no more than the triumph of hope over experience as Henman was undone in four semi-finals in SW19 and one each at the US and French Opens. But when the same discussions begin about Murray, the answer is always the same: of course he can win and if not in Melbourne then at Wimbledon or in New York.

Murray reinforced the point yesterday by beating Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2 to retain his Qatar ExxonMobil Open title. It was the third time in his career that he had defended a title and it was his ninth title in all and it left the Scot unbeaten so far this year. And he made it look so easy.

Throughout his week in Qatar, Murray had been troubled by a sore back, a result, he thought, of adapting to the new court surface in the Middle East. In his semi-final, he had needed treatment from the trainer and had warned before yesterday's encounter that any hint of an injury and he would withdraw. But after waking up feeling a little battered and bruised, the Scot soon shook off any stiffness and was moving and playing without a care in the world as he thrashed the hapless Roddick.

It was not as if Roddick was playing badly, either. He has just joined forces with Larry Stefanki and the new coaching arrangement has already added more variation to his game but still it was not enough. Murray took Roddick apart with his backhand; he out-served the man with the biggest serve on the circuit and he bullied and bossed him into submission over the course of 70 minutes.

Only once did Roddick manufacture a break point but by then the match was 68 minutes old and Murray was serving for the match. As the soon-to-be champion whisked the chance away with his fifth ace, Roddick stalked to the other side of the court and gritted his teeth.

"I have to congratulate Andy," Roddick said. "He totally outplayed me tonight. I also want to congratulate his team – they are about the hardest working team out there."

That comment brought the biggest smile to Murray's face. He may win the titles but his support crew do the hard work to make it all possible and he is not only grateful but enormously proud of what he and his team have achieved together. "We had a great year last year," Murray said of his gang's efforts, "and hopefully we can continue it this year." After yesterday's performance, there seems little doubt that Murray will get his wish.

Murray's form so far this year has been remarkable. He barely seems to have broken step since the end of last season and, more importantly, he is picking off all the big names before business begins in earnest in Melbourne. His fourth consecutive victory over Roger Federer on Friday left the Swiss looking perplexed and dejected. It also forced Federer to join the ranks of tipsters backing Murray for success.

"The question is whether he is going to win a grand slam," Federer mused. "Well – yes. He's got a chance."

What Federer did not mention was that if Murray is drawn to play the Swiss in the semi-finals in Australia, he will have more than a chance of winning. Federer had gone to Doha with the intention of proving that he was back to his best. Unlike last year, when he was suffering from glandular fever, he had trained long and hard over the Christmas break and he cruised through the rounds to reach his showdown with Murray. He had a lean and hungry look. Yet after taking the first set on a tie-break, Federer was flattened by Murray and could win only four more games.

Since he beat the Scot in the US Open final, Federer has lost to him three times on the main tour and once in an exhibition match. Now when they meet, the mighty Federer is the underdog and the expectation is that Murray will win. Friday's trouncing installed Murray as the bookies' favourite for the Australian Open title, with Ladbrokes quoting him at 5/2. Even the Australian betting gurus have Murray as the second favourite behind Federer – and they are not known for backing the Poms to win anything.

John Newcombe knows a thing or two about grand slam champions, having won seven of the major titles himself and as he eyes up the talent making its way to Australia, he believes that Murray is the man to beat.

"He got to No.4 in the world, but the way he was playing at the end of the year, you think in 12 months' time he'll be close to No.1," Newcombe said. "How will Nadal's injuries go with his knees? And Djokovic, let's see how he handles the nerves when he's defending his grand slam title.

"And with Roger, I'm sure he's been doing some very serious training and realising he has to come up with something a bit extra, which sounds strange, but he needs to vary his game and come to the net a bit more.

"The way they finished last year, I wouldn't be surprised to see Andy Murray. In my mind, he could be the guy that will step up and win."

The momentum, then, is building for Murray. What truly sets the Scot apart is that with every passing week he looks more comfortable with his role as the man of the moment.

The hype does not appear to affect him at all because he, like the pundits, knows that a grand slam title is well within his capabilities. If it does not happen in Melbourne then it will happen a little further down the road – it is only a matter of time. It was certainly never like this with Tim.

Why Murray is favourite for Aussie Open

ANDY Murray is favourite to win a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career.

William Hill have the Scot at 2/1 to win the Australian Open, while Ladbrokes make him 5/2 while Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are 11/4 and 3/1 respectively with defending champion Novak Djokovic 6/1.

Here's how Murray's stock has risen so dramatically:


Last year, Murray's ground strokes rivalled Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, but his serve was inconsistent and flaky. This year, however, Murray has put more speed, depth and power on his first serve, creating more unreturnables. Murray won 86% of first serve points against Federer on Friday while in yesterday's final, Andy Roddick only got a sight of a break in the last game of the match. Murray's second serve has also improved. In last year's defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open, Murray won only 47% of second serve points. Against Roddick, he won 60%.


Murray's steeliness and will to win has always been apparent. Yet his ability to return a big serve and then sculpt a winning point was one of his failures last year. Now, he can read and break services from Roddick, one of the fastest, Federer, one of the most precise, and Nadal, whose serve contains vast amounts of spin. Roddick only mustered three aces yesterday – he almost always hits double figures.


With the help of his coaching team, the Scot has gained more upper-body strength, while also increasing the power in his legs. He now has the stamina to come back from a set down and is able to hound balls, even in a deciding set – something that will be crucial against the likes of Nadal.


Roger Federer's backhand, in particular, has broken down, while his unbeatable aura has disappeared. Nadal's game does not perform best on a hard court and there are fitness doubts, while Djokovic is short of form and confidence after his early round defeat in Brisbane. Others, such as Roddick, Gilles Simon, Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro lack the consistency, experience and mettle to win a Slam.

01-11-2009, 09:08 AM
Today's article from l'équipe.

01-20-2009, 09:33 AM

Andy Murray through to Australian Open second round after Andrei Pavel retires

By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne
Last Updated: 8:43AM GMT 20 Jan 2009

Progress: Andy Murray has reached the Australian Open second round Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Murray went through after his opponent, 34-year-old Romanian Pavel, retired in the second set when an old injury to his back flared up once more.

This was Pavel's first competitive tennis for 11 months, as he damaged his back at last February's tournament in Marseille and had not played between then and this grand slam event.

Soon after that tournament in France, a doctor told Pavel that he should retire, and it now seems as though the Eastern European, who is down at No 1140 on the computer and only made it into the draw on a protected ranking, could have swung a racket for the last time.

His planned worldwide retirement tour could have just the one stop, and just half a match.

Murray, the bookmakers' favourite for the first major of the season, took the opening set 6-2, and held a 3-1 lead in the second set when Pavel put a dismal backhand halfway up the net and told the umpire and Murray that he could not continue.

With temperatures at Melbourne Park moving past 40 degrees, the last thing that Murray would have wanted would to have been out in the heat for too long.

Even during the change of ends, when Murray was shaded under an umbrella, there was little respite. "I guess if you want to do well in the tournament, it's good to conserve some energy," said Murray.

On Thursday, Murray will play Marcel Granollers, a Spaniard who was out there for more than three hours in beating Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili in four sets, going through 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-0.

Granollers, a 22-year-old ranked 51 in the world, was in the Spanish Davis Cup team that won the salad bowl-shaped trophy, 'La Ensaladera', last season, but he never made it on court in Mar del Plata against Argentina.

Granollers would have been running across Court 10 for even longer if Gabashvili had not melted away in the fourth set, including hitting a double-fault at match point down.

Murray has played Granollers once before, beating the Spaniard at the clay-court tournament in Barcelona during the 2006 season.

On the Rod Laver Arena, Pavel's tennis in the early stages had not been too shabby, as he had showed good touch with his volleys and a couple of drop-shots.

In the first few games, the Romanian's problems seemed to be the sun in his eyes - he struggled with his ball-toss - and the fact that he stepped over the baseline on a number of occasions and was called for foot-faulting.

Murray, who lost his opening match of the 2008 tournament to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, even appeared to be a little nervous for the first match of the day.

But Pavel first gave notice that his back was causing him real discomfort when, at the conclusion of the first set, he asked for the trainer to come on court to apply some 'hot cream'.

Pavel completed just four more games before bringing his Australian Open, and most probably his career, to an unfortunate end.

01-22-2009, 08:28 AM

Murray insists becoming world No 1 can wait

Murray has been receiving a lot of media attention in Australia

By Emma Stoney, PA
Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Winning a grand slam is top of Andy Murray's priority list this year, being number one in the world can wait.

Murray has yet to win one of tennis' major championships. The closest he has come is runner-up to Roger Federer in last year's US Open.

But the 21-year-old Scot has entered the Australian Open with high hopes of breaking his duck, and giving British tennis fans something to talk about other than Fred Perry's last successes in 1936.

Murray has been in hot form in the build-up to the first grand slam of the year in Melbourne, defeating Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer (twice) and Andy Roddick as he secured wins in Abu Dhabi and Doha.

Add in the five ATP titles he won last year and there is little surprise people are starting to talk about grand slams and number one rankings.

"I'd obviously love to be number one. I'm sure all players would at some point in their career," the world number four said as he prepared for his second-round clash with Marcel Granollers tomorrow (beginning at 9:30am GMT).

"But I'd want to try and win a slam first. I think that's the next step for me."

It will take some doing to oust Nadal from the top spot. Having waited 237 weeks for Federer to falter, it is not a position the Majorcan is going to give up lightly.

But Murray acknowledges it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

"If I play well the first six months of this year, I don't have a whole lot of points to defend, so there's a chance that I'd do it.

"I'm going to have to play (the first half of the year) like I did for the second part of the year last year and try and be very consistent." Interest in the Scot has been high in Melbourne after he was handed the favourite's tag alongside Federer prior to the tournament beginning.

That came as a surprise to Federer and Australian Lleyton Hewitt, while defending champion Novak Djokovic seems also to be unimpressed.

"All the respect to Andy, I like him as a person and as a player. He's done a lot in the last couple months, and he's a very talented player and we can expect him to win some grand slams in the future.

"But you cannot put him as the favourite next to Roger and Rafa and myself here at the Australian Open."

The attention surrounding Murray is something he is used to dealing with each time Wimbledon rolls around, but it is a new experience on the other side of the world.

"Obviously the support I get at Wimbledon is awesome but this is the first time I've been to a grand slam outside of Wimbledon where I've had a lot of media attention."

It doesn't appear to have affected the 21-year-old so far either.

"I doesn't really make a huge difference once you start the tournament," he said.

"I don't think it's a terrible thing (being centre of attention). With people talking about you there comes an extra bit of pressure but sometimes it's good.

"The other players are expecting you to do well, so they maybe go on the court with a bit more respect for you.

"Maybe if they come close to winning sets or matches against you they can get a bit nervous. So I think it works in a few ways."

Murray has seen little action so far in the tournament after his opponent Andrei Pavel retired hurt in their first-round match on Tuesday.

Because he only had a 45-minute work-out on Rod Laver Arena then, Murray planned an extended practice prior to his second-round date with Spaniard Granollers.

The pair have met once before on the ATP Tour, in 2006 where Murray won 4-6 6-4 6-2 on the clay of Barcelona.

Granollers, ranked 51 in the world, comes into this match having taken over three hours in sweltering conditions to beat Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-0, which may work to Murray's advantage.

01-22-2009, 02:21 PM

Andy Murray eases into Australian Open third round

The road that runs between Melbourne Park and the Yarra River is called Batman Avenue, and, during a practice session the other day, Andy Murray amused the locals inside the tennis complex by flexing his shoulder muscles as an impression of the Incredible Hulk.

By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne
Last Updated: 2:55PM GMT 22 Jan 2009

On top down under: Andy Murray beat Marcel Granollers to reach the third round
of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Still, Murray has not exactly had to play like a superhero to make the third round of the Australian Open. Fair enough - what's the point of playing like Superman when you can go through as Clark Kent? So far, the cape has remained unused in Murray's kit-bag.

Murray has done what he has had to do, and was clearly playing within himself during a late-night match on the Rod Laver Arena as he beat Marcel Granollers, a Spaniard ranked 51 in the world. Straight sets, pretty straightforward.

While a few others have fried and frazzled on the Plexicushion hard courts on the way into the last 32, Murray has taken the deodorised route, with this 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 victory finishing just after midnight local time, so several hours after the muggy heat of the day had cleared away.

In fact, it was even a little chilly out there. And this routine win over Granollers followed his half-completed first-round match, an appearance that lasted for only 45 minutes as his opponent, Romania's Andrei Pavel, had retired with a bad back.

Murray's progress to the third round of this slam has cost him just 11 games in all. But perhaps he will have to work a little harder in his next round against Jurgen Melzer, a left-handed Austrian - maybe that will be the occasion when he will first have to reach for the cape.

The debate over whether Murray should be the bookmakers' favourite has been exercising the minds of the tennis world - such is the fervour with which this is discussed by some people around Melbourne Park, to the exclusion of almost everything else, you would think that they had never heard of Barack Obama or the world financial crisis. But it is difficult for anyone to make an accurate judgement of the world No 4's Aussie Open chances after a couple of easy wins like this.

When a match is played at night under the lights of the Rod Laver Arena, it tends to add a little something extra. A small Heineken-fuelled group took to shouting out "freedom", which was presumably a reference to the rallying cry made by Mel Gibson in 'Braveheart'.

Others called out in support for "Muzza". At times, the spectators were making their own entertainment.

Granollers showed he was capable of striking the ball with considerable power, but he did not have the consistency or the repertoire to challenge the Briton.

Murray is likely to have more to do against Melzer, who came through in four sets against Andreas Beck, a German qualifier. Melzer and Murray met in the third round of last season's US Open, with the Austrian coming within two points of victory - how different the story of the 2008 US Open would have been if the 27-year-old had managed to close out his win.

Just before last season's Davis Cup tie at Wimbledon, Melzer suggested that Murray would feel the pressure when playing in front of the British tennis public, and it was a remark that the Scot didn't take kindly to.

One of the most upsetting remarks you can make about a professional tennis player is to call them a choker, and Murray wasn't going to let Melzer's comment pass without a response.

In fact, Murray had three responses to Melzer's comment, two of them verbal and the other one a gesture - he marked one of his singles victories over that weekend by putting his hand to his throat and pretending to choke.

Murray was mocking Melzer, telling him that he was in no need of the Heimlich manoeuvre. But it sounds as though the two of them have laughed about it since then. This will not be a grudge match.

01-25-2009, 04:46 AM

Page last updated at 04:46 GMT, Sunday, 25 January 2009

Murray aims to out-think Verdasco

Murray has won all five previous meetings with Verdasco

British number one Andy Murray says he will need to keep his wits about him when he faces 14th seed Fernando Verdasco at the the Australian Open.

Murray will be last on the Hisense Arena against the Spaniard on Monday with a quarter-final place at stake.

"It's very important to use my head," said the Scot, seeded fourth.

"I need to make him do a lot of thinking and moving. If I play like I did against Jurgen Melzer, I can definitely win that one."

The tie will take place in the early hours of Monday morning UK time, once three women's singles matches have taken place.

Murray, 21, defeated Austrian 31st seed Melzer in straight sets to book the fourth-round tie with 25-year-old left-hander Verdasco.

The Spaniard has been defeated in all five top-level meetings between the two, including three hard-court victories for Murray in 2008.

"I have a very good record against left-handers," said Murray. "The only one I've lost to on the tour has been Rafael Nadal."

Murray cautioned that while his form leading up to this point suggests he can challenge for a first Grand Slam title, he was expecting to be tested by Verdasco.

"The matches are obviously going to get tougher. Verdasco has been playing well so far in the tournament," he said.

"You know, I'm sure one match in a Slam, if you want to go deep, maybe you're not playing your best tennis, you have to try and find a way through to win.

"I hope it doesn't happen, but if it does, I need to be prepared to try and win a match when I'm not playing my best tennis."

01-25-2009, 04:54 AM

Murray finds his New York state of mind

Published Date: 25 January 2009

That winning feeling: Andy Murray celebrates victory

THERE is something eerily familiar about Andy Murray's first week at the Australian Open. For the second consecutive Grand Slam, he has had a quiet opening few rounds; for the second consecutive Grand Slam, he has beaten Jürgen Melzer in the third round and on the middle Saturday; for the second consecutive Grand Slam he could meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-final and Roger Federer in the final.
The only slight concern for Scotland's finest is the slight cold he picked up a couple of days ago. It is not full-blown flu, in fact it is not even man-flu, but Murray felt decidedly rough after his second-round match against Marcel Granollers and spent most of Friday in bed popping paracetamol tablets and taking it easy. Nothing was going to stop him from playing and never did he think that a bug was going to stop him from winning but he still sought advice from the tournament doctor just to be on the safe side.

"I didn't feel terrible," he said, "but I knew that I was going to have to make sure that I didn't do a whole lot yesterday and take all the medication I can. With sort of flu and sort of sickness and stuff, it does comes down a lot, mentally, that if you think you're going to get better then you will.

"On Friday, I was meant to practise at 12pm and ended up going at 5.30pm to just hit for 45 minutes or so. But I felt much better today. I've got a bit of a cough but I'll take some more medication tonight."

Melzer certainly did not notice that Murray was suffering in any way at all. The Austrian came within two points of beating Murray at the US Open but yesterday he was thrashed fair and square 7-5, 6-0, 6-3. So heavy was the beating that he admitted to the Scot later that he had no idea how to win a point in the second set.

As he had in his previous two matches here, Murray looked a little edgy in the fist set but as soon as he had won that by breaking the Austrian in the final game, he took off.

Cold or no cold, Murray looked again like the man who had beaten Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal earlier in the month and like the man who had picked up the title in Doha on his way to Melbourne. Murray was aggressive, he was in complete control and he won 14 of the last 17 games including a sequence of 11 consecutive games to close out the first set, hoover up the second and take a 3-0 lead in the third. He made just 10 unforced errors in the whole match.

"Tonight was the best match of the tournament," he said, "and I played some of my best tennis. With each match I'm feeling more comfortable."

The only difference between this event and last year's US Open is that this time Murray has only dropped 19 games on his way to the fourth round – last time he had shed three sets to get this far – and with each round he is looking more relaxed, more assured and more settled in his role as a title contender.

In New York, the whole experience of getting to a major final was new but now Murray knows what to expect if he goes deep into the tournament. The thought of the workload ahead of him may have been a little daunting as he first unpacked his bags here, but the knowledge he gained on his run in New York – the main nugget of information being that he knows how to do this now – has given him a new confidence. And he was hardly lacking in self belief in the first place.

"The one thing I've got better at over the last few years is just treating each match as another tennis match," he said. "If you put so much emphasis on it being a grand slam, what round it is, whether it's first or second week then you sort of lose focus of what you're trying to do.

"I just think that because in the past I've lost a few first rounds in slams and stuff, you have to go in and give a lot of respect to your opponents and so from the start I was very switched on even for my first match.

"A grand slam is much longer than a regular tournament but I think because of the experience I had at the US Open, I'm better equipped to deal with that now and I hope that I keep the sort of form that I had tonight going into next week because I'm going to need it."

Tomorrow Murray will play Fernando Verdasco in the battle of the biceps. Just as the Scot has proudly shown off the results of his gruelling training regime, so Verdasco is the reaping the rewards of two weeks spent training with Gil Reyes over Christmas. Reyes worked with Andre Agassi through most of the American's career, helping to bring him back from a world ranking of 141 to the No1 position and turning him into a serial Grand Slam title winner.

"Right now I think I'm feeling physically and mentally stronger than last year in Wimbledon," Verdasco said. "This pre-season for me, it was a really, really big change. I think I was improving a lot in these two weeks I was with Gil Reyes in Las Vegas. I think I realise much more how I can play and how I can be harder player for the other players."

Verdasco is, like Melzer, another left-hander, but that holds no fear for Murray. He grew up playing against his brother, Jamie, who plays left handed, so the lefty serve poses no problems for him. He has won 21 of 26 matches against such players, and the only left-hander ever to beat Murray is Nadal. History, too, does not favour Verdasco as in five previous meetings he has taken only one set from Murray.

As the second week dawns, Melbourne is suddenly beginning to look very much like New York.

01-26-2009, 10:50 AM

Verdasco eliminates Murray in Australia

By Paul Newman in Melbourne
Monday, 26 January 2009
REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
Andy Murray reacts as he heads for defeat against Spain's Fernando Verdasco
at the Australian Open tennis tournament

A Spanish left-hander was always likely to offer one of the biggest threats to Andy Murray's chances of winning the Australian Open but the Scot is unlikely to have imagined his name would be Fernando Verdasaco.

Murray had beaten Rafael Nadal's fellow countryman in all five of their previous meetings, but the 25-year-old from Madrid finally got the better of him in the fourth round here today. In the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, Verdasco won 2-6, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 after a match of rapidly changing fortunes that lasted three hours and 12 minutes.

Verdasco played one of the best matches of his life and served with remarkable power and consistency, while Murray's performance was a curious mixture. There were times when the world No 4 justified his status as the pre-tournament favourite, but at others he looked sluggish and out of sorts. After the match Murray refused to blame the sore throat he had been suffering since his second-round win over Marcel Granollers, but he never looked at the height of his physical powers. "He served huge," Murray said. "Sometimes you've just got to say: 'Too good.' He played better than me."

If Murray had gained confidence through his physical work in Florida over the winter, Verdasco has also benefited from his off-season training in Las Vegas with Gil Reyes, who used to work with Andre Agassi. In particular the Spaniard looked the stronger of the two players in a hard-fought final set. Murray has an excellent record in five-set matches, having won five in a row since his last defeat when going the distance, to Nadal in the fourth round here two years.

In his five previous meetings with Verdasco Murray had dropped only one set, but the hard-hitting Spaniard has been in a fine run of form recently. In particular he appears to have gained in confidence since helping his country to their historic Davis Cup victory in Argentina last month, when he clinched the trophy by beating Jose Acasuso in the fourth rubber from two sets to one down.

Verdasco reached the final in Brisbane in his only competition in the build-up to Melbourne. Here he had dropped just 12 games in his first three matches, the fewest by any player in the first three rounds of the tournament in the professional era.

Murray said afterwards: "I'm disappointed that I lost, but I'll try and learn from it. There are more important things than a tennis match. I want to win every one that I play, but I'm not going to get down about it. I worked very hard in the off-season. It's been a good start to the year. I'll try and learn from it and hopefully come back a better player."

In the first set everything seemed to be straightforward for Murray. The Scot won it with two breaks of serve, converting his first two break points by punishing a poor Verdasco volley in the third game and hitting a big forehand winner down the line in the seventh. If the 21-year-old Scot was showing little of the attacking panache with which he had destroyed Jurgen Melzer in the previous round, his play was steady enough to draw a sufficient number of mistakes from Verdasco's racket.

The Spaniard, nevertheless, had break points in Murray's last three service games in the first set and the tide quickly turned in the second. Verdasco raced into a 3-0 lead and then won a marathon fourth game, breaking Murray for the second time in a row after eight deuces. Even after he had played a sloppy game at 4-0, handing Murray a break with four unforced errors, the world No 15 quickly regained the initiative with his third break in succession to lead 5-1. Verdasco served out to love to level the match after an hour and 18 minutes.

Murray had been looking increasingly lethargic and unhappy, but, without warning, the momentum shifted again at the start of the third set. Having held his serve comfortably for the first time since the second game of the match, the Scot broke serve to lead 2-0 and celebrated with a huge cry of "Come on!" Another break in the sixth game helped Murray to take the set 6-1.

Once again, however, everything changed in the following set. Verdasco went into a 3-0 lead, dropping only three points along the way, and although the rest of the set was tight he served out to take the match into a decider.

The final set, at last, saw both players hit form at the same time. The crowd, sensing Murray's problems, got behind the Scot and in the first five games he looked the more comfortable on his own serve. In a tense sixth game he had two break points, but Verdasco held his nerve and served his way out of trouble.

The effort seemed to take its toll on Murray, who played some tired-looking shots as Verdasco broke in the following game to take a 4-3 lead. When the Spaniard served for the set he went 40-0 up. Murray saved two match points, but on the third his return of serve went into the net.

"I don't know if I'll be the favorite for a Slam in the next year or so after today, but it doesn't really bother me," Murray said as he reflected on his defeat. "I play the match. If I'm the favourite to win, whatever, I play the same as I am when I'm the underdog. I try my best to win. I think I give 100 per cent in all my matches. If I lose, I lose. If I win, I win."

01-28-2009, 08:35 PM

Murray justifies Federer doubts

Published Date: 27 January 2009

THE notion that Roger Federer is somehow running scared of Andy Murray was left exposed to ridicule in the heat of a Melbourne evening yesterday.
The Swiss champion's surprised reaction to the news that Murray had been installed as a favourite was regarded as churlish in some quarters. In others, though, it was interpreted as clear evidence of the mind games that many like to imagine sports stars obsess over, anxious to obtain whatever advantage they can. Federer, they claimed, was an insecure mess, raging against the dying of a light, and fretting at the fact someone who had beaten him on four previous occasions had also asserted his authority in the betting market.

While Federer probably knew exactly what he was saying, it was not a last act of a desperate man. He had every right to question the sanity of those placing bets on Murray to win – and if it helped his own circumstances, then so much the better.

In fact Federer's response was exactly that expected of a champion, and contained something of Sir Alex Ferguson's faux bemusement when having drawn Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez into his web recently. "He's disturbed," was Ferguson's withering comment, after Benitez had rattled on about the Manchester United manager's methods during a press conference. A haughty, almost dismissive tone, was apparent in Federer's own response when asked about Murray's status as bookies' favourite on the eve of the Australian Open. 'They're disturbed' was the gist of his retort, with reference to those lured into thinking they might cash in on the Scot's recent run of good form.

The Swiss player's startled reaction perhaps helped set the doubts racing in Murray's mind, and he came to an undistinguished end against the hardly stellar Fernando Verdasco. Murray is the only top eight seed to fail to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne this year.

"He's the favourite?" asked Federer. It is nice to think an eyebrow had also arched quizzically, as he stroked the US Open trophy on his lap. He is, after all, the most recent Grand Slam winner, having rather easily dispatched Murray in the final at Flushing Meadow in September. That was all he needed to bear in mind, although he could also have asked for a further 12 titles to be taken into consideration. Federer is a serial Grand Slam victor and at 27 years old is wise enough to know how to increase the pressure on his rivals.

He went on to point out that being the bookies' favourite won't help the Scot, and so it proved. No amount of wagers can help when Murray, as he pointed out yesterday, is simply outplayed by the better player on the day. Further explaining Federer's puzzlement, even irritation, at Murray's strength of backing – he wasn't, after all, No 1 seed, which is still what matters – is a fragility which the Scot can't quite shake off, no matter how many photographs of his muscle-bound upper torso are flashed around the world.

Murray should have won yesterday's fourth-round meeting with his Spanish opponent at a canter if we are to believe those who make such premature claims of greatness on his behalf. But the Scot was out-thought and out-fought, and waned at the end of a five-set encounter. Federer, meanwhile, roared back from two sets down to beat Tomas Berdych at the weekend.

Those who placed wagers on Murray might wish to employ a little more circumspection before the next Grand Slam, at Roland Garros in May. Murray has only reached the quarter-final stage twice in 13 grand slams, a statistic which suggest Federer was within his rights to be taken aback by the news of Murray's popularity in the streets. He wasn't alone. Another with reason to feel slightly put out was defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. Even his apparent friendship with Murray could not prevent him sounding aghast at news of the growing belief that Murray was set to win his first Grand Slam title at the expense of those who had earned the right to be ranked ahead of him. "I like him as a person and as a player," said the Serb. "He's done a lot in the last couple of months, and he's a very talented player who we can expect to win some Grand Slams in the future. But you cannot put him as one of the favourites next to Roger and Rafa and myself here at the Australian Open."

It wasn't so much a mind game as a simple statement of fact, but it might have planted more seeds of uncertainty in Murray's head. Here were two of his most obvious challengers scoffing at the notion he was about to tame them. Rafa Nadal was conspicuous by his silence on the subject, but his opinion is unlikely to have differed much from that of Federer and Djokovic. He might also have fought to conceal a smirk yesterday when Murray's claim to be a great pretender wilted in the heat. The Scot's day in the sun will come – just not yet. And not while Federer et al prove themselves to be such wily customers.



One of the major improvements in Murray's game in the past year, but against Verdasco he was fractious and distracted. Obsessed by the number of challenges being made by his opponent, he appeared to be using his own challenges out of pique rather than perspicacity.


Murray's recent success has been built on aggression and imposing himself on his opponents. Against Verdasco, he was like the Murray of old – too defensive and too willing to absorb pace and power. When he did attack, he lacked accuracy and patience.


Murray's first serve is a much-improved weapon but his second serve can still be vulnerable.

He could not always rely on the first serve thunderbolt to dig him out of trouble and the second delivery let him down in key moments.

Scot has history of wilting under burden of expectation

ANDY Murray's unexpected defeat to Fernando Verdasco at the Australian Open is not the first time he has failed as an odds-on favourite. While the Scot has become a far more consistent player in the past year, and has worked hard on improving his physical power, his career record nevertheless contains a string of disappointing reverses. Here is a sample of his previous high-profile losses . . .

• Australian Open 2006

Juan-Ignacio Chela

A catalogue of unforced errors cost Murray dear against the Argentine as he went out in the first round 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in under two hours.

• Wimbledon 2006

Marcos Baghdatis

"I didn't feel good the whole match," said the then 19-year-old Murray after failing to build on his impressive win over Andy Roddick two days earlier. He was 4-1 up in the second set, but lost five games on the spin. A tiebreak in the third set sealed his fate on Centre Court.

• US Open 2007

Lee Hyung-Taik

After a five-set first-round win over Jonas Bjorkman, Murray ran out of puff against the South Korean, 11 years his senior. "Normally I would be the one making the big shots, but he was the one coming up with them. I just have to deal with it, you have to sometimes," said Murray afterwards.

• Kremlin Cup 2007

Janko Tipsarevic

The Scot failed to muster a single break point in an abject performance against the world No 68 in the last 16 in Moscow.

• Australian Open 2008

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The unheralded Frenchman, then ranked 38th, shocked Murray in the first round, but the result was put in context when Tsonga went all the way to the final in Melbourne. "You can come away from matches feeling less disappointed if you've given it everything you've got," said the Scot philosophically.

• French Open 2008

Nicolas Almagro

The Spanish claycourt specialist fired 21 aces and 64 winners as he outplayed the Scot in the third round. "I knew he had a big serve, but he served very, very well today," admitted a magnanimous Murray.

• Olympics 2008

Lu Yen-Hsun

The world No 74 from Chinese Taipei caused a major upset by dumping Murray out in the first round, days after he had beaten Novak Djokovic to win the Cincinnati Masters. Murray did quickly bounce back from his setback in Beijing, however, with a memorable run all the way to the final of the US Open, where he lost to Roger Federer.

02-05-2009, 09:13 PM

Andy Murray still lags behind 'Big Two'

By Kevin Garside
Last Updated: 8:42AM GMT 03 Feb 2009

Federer had the Harmison radar on his rackethead for much of the Australian Open final.

Had that been the case at the US Open last September, Murray might have been a grand slam champion by now.

At least that is the view through the British looking glass. The counter argument put by the rest of the world points out that Federer's serving accuracy in Melbourne was to a significant degree conditioned by the player opposing him. Rafael Nadal fills far more space in Federer's head than Murray, they say.

Murray was the betting favourite for the Australian Open. Victories over Federer in the weeks leading up to Melbourne were persuasive. He started the tournament well enough, ripping through sundry bystanders before meeting with a random variable from Madrid.

Murray can draw some comfort from the hoops through which Fernando Verdasco had Nadal jumping in the event's outstanding match. Murray had never lost to Verdasco and managed to push him around the court in a way Nadal never quite managed in that razor-edged semi-final, yet Nadal prevailed. Murray did not.

With defending Australian champion Novak Djokovic laying down his racket mid-match for the fourth time in his career, this time because of the heat, the big four ultimately reduced to the bigger two.

The Nadal-Federer rivalry accurately reflects the distribution of power in the men's game. It is two plus two rather than the front four the tournament marketing men would have us believe. Djokovic is able, like Murray, to penetrate the power bubble when circumstances permit. The problem for both is that Nadal and Federer are the principal determinants that influence events. They do not require a break to let them in. They make their own luck.

The tour moves on to the European indoor season this month before re-emerging into the sun for the hard-court thrash around the United States in the spring. Murray might well bash out a Masters Series victory or two in this period yet when the names go into the hat for the French Open draw in the latter part of May, the seeding committee at Roland Garros will be joined by the majority in looking no further than Nadal and Federer to fill slots one and two.

Murray had made measurable steps since his return from injury last year, not least his four-set victory over Nadal in New York. The US Open was a grand slam too far for Nadal, after his double in Paris and London, demonstrating just how romantic talk of a calendar Grand Slam is in this age of power tennis.

Nevertheless, Murray crossed a mental threshold that day. It was his misfortune to meet Federer on the rebound and following the demise of his relationship with the prettiest pot in tennis. The Wimbledon trophy and Federer had been inseperable for five years until Nadal smacked his lips on it.

Federer was almost disappointed when Murray did the job in New York that he had set for himself and how he made him pay.

In the second week at Melbourne, Federer reproduced his US Open form before falling into Nadal's psychological vice. The opening service game that Federer divvied up to Nadal in Melbourne would not have been out of place in the women's final. Compare that to the turbulence he unleashed at Murray in New York. The argument comes full circle.

Until we can remove the lids of elite athletes to determine the workings of the sporting mind, we are left at best guesses to explain the power dynamic at the top of the game.

For now all Murray can do is keep winning while accepting that the players who matter most care least about victories posted outside the grand slam combat zone. Federer won't blink until Murray has done to him at a major championship what Nadal effected again in Melbourne.

Djokovic laughed when asked to comment on the pre-match betting in Australia; Federer, too. In the sporting jungle, the joke is still on Murray until he is smiling for the photographers on the second Sunday of a grand slam. At this point in the Scot's career, nothing else matters.


There's something that bothers me in this article. Dunno, maybe it's the feeling of the pressure put on Andy... a kind of scorning attitude toward Andy's achievements of the past...

Eimear O'Mahony
02-06-2009, 01:37 PM
Yeah it kind of seems like Andy will have done nothing in tennis unless he wins a Grand Slam which is a bit unfair. He's only been a pro a couple of years and he's already won just as many titles as Tim Henman so has to be the most successful British tennis player of all time. The media should concentrate on that and stop putting so much pressure on him to win a Slam and they might find when the pressure's off he'll win a slam

02-17-2009, 10:43 AM
Hey :wavey:,

Andy posted a new message on Twitter "whats happening? back on twitter. rested up today, after a massage from AI. played some PS golf, and just back from walking the dog. decent."

Eimear O'Mahony
02-17-2009, 12:43 PM
Sounds like he's taking it easy, which is good

02-18-2009, 12:20 PM
another new Twitter Note
back down at ntc. alex corretja just stepped off the plane at heathrow and on his way in. he might miss tennis-football though..

02-27-2009, 01:31 PM

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.

02-27-2009, 01:36 PM

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.

03-14-2009, 03:00 AM

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.

03-20-2009, 07:09 PM
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.”


03-20-2009, 10:55 PM
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.

03-23-2009, 12:55 PM

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.”

03-23-2009, 01:00 PM

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."

04-14-2009, 09:25 AM
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.”


04-20-2009, 12:31 AM

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.

04-22-2009, 08:27 PM

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”.

04-28-2009, 09:51 PM

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.

04-29-2009, 11:08 PM

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.

05-17-2009, 10:44 AM

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.

05-23-2009, 01:47 PM

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.

Eimear O'Mahony
05-23-2009, 01:51 PM
Thanks for that Getta :) Good luck to Andy tomorrow :D

05-23-2009, 01:52 PM

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.

Eimear O'Mahony
05-23-2009, 01:58 PM
Thanks again Getta. Always nice to have news on Andy :)

05-27-2009, 04:08 PM
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.


05-30-2009, 05:13 PM

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.

05-30-2009, 11:15 PM
:yeah: Cheers Getta

06-01-2009, 09:13 AM

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."

06-03-2009, 11:44 PM

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.

06-03-2009, 11:47 PM

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."

06-14-2009, 09:06 PM

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.

06-14-2009, 09:09 PM
Now the hype goes mad... :o

06-14-2009, 09:10 PM

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.

06-25-2009, 11:30 AM

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.

06-26-2009, 01:10 PM

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."

06-26-2009, 03:55 PM
:haha: funny stuff there...
someone on the facebook's wimby page said Mardy Fish :haha: it's kinda lame but it made me laugh :lol:

06-28-2009, 01:02 PM

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.

07-05-2009, 12:55 PM

Andy Murray: American dream on agenda

Published Date: 05 July 2009
By Moira Gordon

BY TOMORROW morning British sports fans will have moved on from Wimbledon, The Ashes and pre-season football occupying the minds and the media but they won't be the only ones. A certain Andy Murray is already packaging away memories from this year's Championships and looking forward.

Speaking after he had lost Friday's match, making it nine successive semi-final defeats for British men, he reminded those present why he is different from others who have gone before him. His loss did not signify the end, merely the beginning. This grand slam may have come and gone but to dwell on it would be lamentable. Especially when the future still promises so much.

"I'll move on very, very quickly," he said. "I'll go and work on my game and improve and come back stronger. It's a pathetic attitude to have, if you lose one match and you go away and let it ruin your year. I have had a good year so far and I'm very close to the top of the game and the US Open, I have always said it is my best surface, my best chance to win an slam and I will give it my best shot there."

Those comments came minutes, not hours, after the completion of his Wimbledon run, the sight and sound of the standing ovation he was granted as he exited Centre Court still vivid in his mind. But the measured response to questions about this tournament and the future were in keeping with a lad who knows where he wants to get to and has proved himself pretty astute in pinpointing the best way of venturing there thus far.

Still only 22, he has bided his time. In the past others compared him unfavourably to Rafa Nadal, who is only a year older, outlining a disparity in fitness and bulk. But that was back in 2005 and 2006 as he made his fledgling outings on the senior men's tour. It was also a result of smart thinking. Murray had his eye on the long-game.

Still growing, he knew his limitations. Overdoing it at that stage could have led to a flurry of joint problems in the future. So he waited until the time was right before putting himself through the kind of punishing training regimes which now allow him to see out gruelling five-setters and wake up the next day ready to do it all again. He showed patience and awareness then and he will do so again now.

"That's the one thing I have always been quite good at... being patient. Hopefully I am going to play seven or eight more Wimbledons and I had a good chance of making the final here and I didn't do it. But I have a lot more Slams and Wimbledons to play and hopefully I will have a better chance next year."

While winning Wimbledon would have been welcome, he was happy with steady improvement. Every year he has played at SW19 he has bettered his previous best, and in the grand scheme of thing he is delighted with his consistency in the major events.

"The way I played this year I was very, very close to getting to the final and if I keep giving myself these sort of opportunities and keep playing well," he said, assessing his Wimbledon run. "My consistency in the grand slams in the last year or so has been much, much better, a final, a semi, a quarter. I believe I can win a grand slam, whether it's Wimbledon or US Open or Australia or whatever, I'm going to give myself chances."

He now has five weeks before his next tournament, the Montreal Masters. Just as he did after last September's Davis Cup, when he returned from four weeks of solid training and dominated the indoor season. Some of the next few weeks will be spent as down time but then the work will begin again in earnest. The closer he gets to the top, to winning one of the four major tournaments, or moving up the world rankings (had Wimbledon results panned out differently he had the opportunity to leapfrog Roger Federer and move to No.2 ) the more it focuses his mind.

He has always been a man in control of his own destiny and has shown a ruthlessness when necessary. He was the one who opted to move to Spain as a teenager to further his talent, he was the person who signed up coaches he felt could take him that next step and then dispensed with them when he felt they had taken them as far as they could. So far all those decisions have proved correct and indicate he is as smart a tactician off the court as he is on it.

"When I win a grand slam it will be a huge weight off my shoulders and if it was here that would be great but I go into each grand slam regardless of whether it is here or the US Open I put the same pressure on myself to play well. If I win one it would probably make a difference how I perform in the next one. Wimbledon isn't the only tournament in the world, there are a lot of big ones and I will try to perform as well as I can in those."

When he talks about winning slams in the future, there is no reason to doubt him. And so far the evidence does add up to suggest Flushing Meadows could be the venue for the first of those successes. That was where he won the Junior title and also provided the backdrop for his first senior grand slam final appearance last year. Having succumbed to Nadal fairly meekly at Wimbledon a few months earlier, he got the better of him in New York before coming up against a Roger Federer who was just too good on the day in the final.

But the thing about Murray is that he does not scurry into shadows to lick his wounds, he uses those kind of defeats as incentive. He channels his emotions, trains harder, strengthens his weaknesses and he becomes even more determined.

"This year for me has been a very good one but I have probably had some of my toughest losses. I haven't felt I have played poorly in any of the slams and played well actually but just came up against guys who played great, great tennis.

"You have to learn to lose sometimes in sport and I have had to do that the hard way this year because a lot of my losses have come in the big tournaments against guys who have played great."

He recognises that is one of the downsides to being among the top three in the world. His scalping holds great kudos these days. "Regardless of what sport you are in the guys that aren't ranked as high will come for you whether that's in football or whatever. Rafa and Roger have been able to stay at the top for so long and perform so well in the grand slams and that's very special because guys do come out with less pressure and try and play great but the consistency they have shown has been incredible.

"So that is something I need to make sure of going into the slams; I need to bring my A-game."

Since that US Open defeat he has defeated Federer in every one of their subsequent meetings. Three semi-finals and their head-to-head in round robin format at the Masters Cup, and they were all on hard courts. So the Scot's optimism and self-belief can not only be excused but thoroughly explained.

Already this year he has reached the final in four of the six hard-court tournaments he has entered, winning three of them and beating every one of the players ranked in the top seven along the way. But there is no resting on laurels. With Team Murray's help he will build up to his next stint in Miami, working on every facet of his game, while also training in the heat, honing his strength, conditioning and durability.

Stickability is one thing Murray already has in abundance, in points and in matches. He takes things step by step and refuses to give up. On certain occasions he comes up against someone better on the day and mentally he has become much better at dealing with that, he says. But experience has already taught him that the longer he can hang in there, steadily going about his own business, the higher the likelihood that someone else will produce the errors he can capitalise on. It's his thinking in rallies and now his mantra in Grand Slams. Ally that to a brilliant tennis brain, great speed around the court, the best returning in the game, a varied arsenal of ground strokes and an increasingly reliable and dangerous serve and little wonder everyone is talking about his Wimbledon semi-final exit as nothing more than a postponement of the inevitable.

"He's going to break through and win one of these titles and probably numerous ones. He's too good not to," said Roddick, who knows just how much he has had to recommit and improve his game to produce the victory. "It's a matter of time. It's not if but when."

07-05-2009, 12:59 PM

From The Sunday Times
July 5, 2009

Andy Murray takes bank’s pay cut

WITH a new £5.6m Surrey mansion to pay for, Andy Murray may have budgeted to take away more than the £212,500 he won for reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals. But the British No 1 will not be taking any bonuses for his best performance to date in the Championships from his sponsorship deal with the beleaguered Royal Bank of Scotland.

True to his word, Murray and his financial advisers renegotiated his agreement with RBS several weeks before the tournament began. Just before the economic downturn forced the RBS into announcing 9,000 job cuts, the 22-year-old, who has now grossed more than £1.5m in prize money alone this year, revealed he would happily accept a pay cut to help the bank that has sponsored him since his junior days.

In 2008 RBS declared a loss of £24.1 billion, the largest ever in British corporate history, and MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, maintained the likes of Murray, Sir Jackie Stewart and Jack Nicklaus, who are all termed ‘Sporting Ambassadors’, had a moral obligation to review their agreements.

“Andy said he was prepared to help out and that has been the case,” said Simon Oliviera of 19 Entertainment, who have handled Murray’s business affairs since the beginning of the year. “We renegotiated a month or so ago and although we will not be announcing any figures, the difference was quite substantial. In addition there are no bonuses for doing well at Wimbledon, or any of the Grand Slams, written into the contract.”

Murray need not have too many financial concerns however. His clothing contract with Fred Perry expires at the end of the year and outfitting giants Nike, adidas and Reebok are all said to be interested with a potential £5.5m a year bidding war about to begin.

07-05-2009, 01:05 PM

From The Sunday Times
July 5, 2009

Barry Flatman

‘Andy Murray knows there are more important things than tennis’

WILL MURRAY is a tennis parent who does not crave public attention. While his ex-wife Judy is a frontline player in the phenomenon that is Murraymania, Will prefers to play a far more low-key role. Yet his philosophical nature helped his sons, Andy and Jamie, to come to terms with the let-down of losing Wimbledon semi-finals, one after the other, on Centre Court.

The words of Boris Becker, uttered in the year Andy was born, have always struck a chord with Will. They were paramount in his thinking as he proudly applauded both his offspring in defeat on Friday — Jamie after losing in the mixed doubles alongside Liezel Huber, and younger brother Andy, whose campaign to become the first British men’s singles champion since 1936 was ended by Andy Roddick.

Becker’s words? “I lost a tennis match, that was all,” he said after his attempt to win three successive Wimbledon titles was surprisingly ended by world No 70 Peter Doohan in 1987’s second round. “It was not a war; nobody died.”

Will is not a man who adopts such quotes as a mantra; he is far too down-to-earth. Yet, like any parent whose child was inside Dunblane primary school on that horrific March morning 13 years ago, he realises the importance of triumph or disaster on a tennis court is minuscule by comparison. Like everyone else in his family and so many from his home town, Will finds it difficult to speak of that dreadful day, but is prepared to elucidate on how he has brought up his sons.

“It just bothers me sometimes, especially with Andy and all the attention that is put on him,” he reflects. “All he is doing is playing a tennis match. There are more important things in his life and he knows that. It’s something I have always told both of them; that’s the way they have been brought up.”

The break-up of the Murray marriage was traumatic for the two boys. The common perception is that Judy has remained the driving force behind their development into Britain’s most high-profile sporting siblings. Their father now feels it is time to reveal his side of the story.

Will acknowledges that the tennis genes come from their mother’s side, but he was a committed amateur footballer who still feels the need to give vent to his competitive instincts on the golf course or squash court. He works as a regional manager for a chain of newsagents and convenience stores in eastern Scotland. He still lives in Dunblane with his new partner, Sam, who is mother to three daughters.

“Most people would get the impression that maybe I was an absent father, but that certainly was not, or is not, the case,” he says firmly. “I’m happy to stand back in the shadows so long as the facts are right. Hopefully people will come to realise that.

“The worst thing I have ever had to do to my sons was when I let them know their mum was leaving home. When you get married and you have a family, you want it to be a unit forever. Unfortunately it did not work out that way for us. It was terrible because I knew how upset they got. They were aged 11 and 10 and they were both distraught. Jamie and Andy are very different personalities but they took it much the same way: very, very upset.

“I can’t say any more than it really was the worst day of my life and it ripped me apart to have to hurt them by telling them what I did.”

Throughout all the accounts of Andy’s childhood, it has appeared that Judy was the dominant parent after the break-up but Will insists that was not the case. “I kept the family home and looked after them for the next four or five years,” he says. “A lot of people don’t realise that, because the story does not go out and it isn’t portrayed that way. That’s fine by me because the boys are the important ones and they know exactly what happened.

“Judy was still around. She stayed in Dunblane. She wasn’t drifting in and out of their lives. But I cooked the boys’ meals when they came home from school. I did the washing and ironing. When they came back from a clay-court tournament, that was the worst, because of all the muck you used to have to wash out of their clothes. Now, that was awful. I wouldn’t say I was a single parent but I was in the family home with the two boys.

“Since they have been in the public eye for the past couple of years, Judy has always been there with them. That’s just the way it has worked out but I am not the kind who runs in and demands publicity. To me, it’s just about Jamie and Andy. They are the people that count, and as long as they are happy, then that’s all that matters.”

Will remembers one story that epitomises the determination Andy has always possessed and why he will surely become the champion a nation craves. At 13 or 14, already a clear tennis talent, he was travelling to junior tournaments most weekends but yearned to keep contact with his school friends.

“Most Friday nights after school, if he was at home and didn’t have a tournament, he’d be getting telephone calls from his friends asking whether he was coming out. After one call I found him crying. He told me his friends wanted him to go out. I asked, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ because I saw it as a good thing. Then he said, ‘But dad, I know what they are doing’.

“To say no to your peer group is a big thing. He realised what they were up to: drinking and smoking. It was so strong of him to take that attitude at such an early age. He was upset because he wanted to be with his mates but he knew they were doing things he didn’t want to get involved in because it would affect what he wanted to achieve.”

07-21-2009, 07:55 PM
Some great articles--Thanks :D I just hope Andy makes good use of those 5 weeks off. I miss him being in Tournaments already :sad:

07-22-2009, 09:32 PM
i came across this article on the atp website and thought you sad case murray fans might find it interesting:

07-27-2009, 09:31 PM

From Times Online
July 26, 2009

The Net Post: life will never be the same again for Roger Federer and Andy Murray

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

For the No.1 and No.3 players in the world, it has been a life-changing week as Roger Federer became the father of twin girls and Andy Murray ripped up his L-plates. The last time the Net Post counted them, there were more than 4,000 congratulatory messages on Federer's website immersing he and his wife Mirka in support; while the Scottish Sun reported that Murray had 'vowed to pass his driving test after "crashing out" of Wimbledon'. Couldn't they have come up with a less contrived (and more relevant) description?

While the six-time Wimbledon champion was out and about in Basle purchasing an additional booster seat so he could drive his girls Charlene and Myla home, Murray probably spent much of his flight to Miami on Friday flicking through the pages of What Car? magazine, deciding on which model to plump first. It was a moment to ponder which would have been the more fascinating to witness, Federer's attempt at changing two nappies at once or Murray's emergency stop?

As the Net Post offers its sincere felicitations to them both, the mind wandered back to tennis, that which makes them both rather special. Federer had spent the ten days before Mirka gave birth, practising vigorously for the American hard court season, though no definitive decision has yet been made as to when or where he will return to the courts. One presumes that he will want to bond for as long as he can with his children, the prospect of five weeks away at a stretch with two tots to care for is hardly an edifying one.

Federer could enter the US Open without any competitive tennis beforehand and still give an excellent account of himself. Last year, remember, he was beaten in the second round of the Canadian Open and the third round of Cincinnati - the sum total of one win from three matches - and went on to lift the Open for the fifth year in succession. Though he would surely prefer a bit of match-play, it is by no means essential.

Murray, meanwhile, is now esconsed in Florida, basing himself at the University of Miami, a place that has become to him what Dubai is to Federer, where he can work assiduously on that both the physical and technical elements of his game without the world peering over the fence. The Net Post understands that Alex Corretja, the Spanish former world No.3 who worked with Murray during the clay court season - where the British No.1 achieved his best result by reaching the quarter finals of the French Open - is travelling to America to assist Miles Maclagan, his coach through the hard court campaign.

Murray could not have left these shores in a better mood. Not only had he burned Royal Wimbledon apart earlier this week showing a worryingly telling prowess for golf but, the day before his road test, he had disembarked at Eastbourne for an afternoon of tennis with his North of Scotland colleagues as Group One of the AEGON Summer County Cup was suddenly blessed with the level of player it had not witnessed for many years.

On Tuesday night, at the Grand Hotel, where the participating teams stay, there had been a couple of whispers that the North might have a Murray in their ranks the next day but most thought it was Jamie, who had lost in the doubles in an ATP Challenger event the previous day and was hot-footing it back from Poznan in Poland. No-one really thought it probable that Andy would turn up but, on the dot of 11, both he and Jamie clambered from the rear of a rather small vehicle, threw racket bags across their shoulders and threaded their way between courts as the hubbub intensified.

The Net Post, as is its wont, was on the spot, indulging in a day at Devonshire Park for what has long been one of the high points of its year. We thought we had a bit of a scoop but the A22 was soon nose-to-tail with photographers, tipped off that Murray had arrived and tumbling over each other for the best vantage point by the side of the courts. The player did not want to make a fuss though the importance of his presence to those who annually engage in a debate about the championships' worth, could not be understated.

This was the 115th running of the County Cup and though it costs an awful lot to stage at seven centres across the country, its value is incalculable. Most importantly, it keeps a spark alive in the counties - the lifeblood of the sport - because so many players and coaches stay in the game for the opportunity to compete in it. The more players stay in the game, the more they will encourage younger players to sustain their development; the more younger players believe in tennis, the better the chance the nation has of producing players like Murray. Ian Conway, the North of Scotland president, made a point of saying how discouraged he had been by the number of younger players in Scotland who turned their noses up at county tennis and how their attitudes would be re-shaped by the Murray's appearance.

Remarkably, having lost their first three rounds of matches - even with Andy in the ranks on Wednesday, the North succumbed to Hertfordshire 5-4 - the swelling of pride in Scottish ranks helped them bounce back and defeat Dorset on Thursday and Yorkshire on Friday, to secure their Group One status, at the same as helping relegate the two beaten counties.

Hertfordshire, who defeated defending champions Lancashire 7-2 on the final day, regained the title they last won in 2005 (which only just made up for the fact that their ladies side was relegated). One of the Herts mens' number, Nick Lester who often joins the Net Post in the commentary boxes of the world, was playing in his 11th edition of the event, and summed up the effect that Murray's appearance had on the championship. “I don’t think it will get much better than that," he said. "We were chatting at dinner that night and a lot of the guys said how respectful he was of the Cup, he didn’t look down on it at all and he came to compete hard. It was a pleasure sharing the court with him."

And it may not be the last we see of Andy or Jamie in their North of Scotland gear. The Net Post hears that they enjoyed the experience so much - Andy was texting Conway for the next two days to keep up to date with the team's progress - they may well return in 2010 when, if they could be persuaded to stay for more than the occasional day, the Net Post might be inclined to stake a few humble pence on a Scottish victory.

07-27-2009, 11:35 PM
Cheers for Andy articles. Missing him!!

07-28-2009, 08:20 AM
Montreal is his return tournament yes? Looking forward to it!

07-29-2009, 08:27 AM
Yep - his training block in Miami is well underway, sounds hideously exhausting to a couch potato like me.

Fingers crossed for an excellent hardcourt summer - he has quite a lot to defend!

08-09-2009, 05:13 PM

Murray primed to turn up heat on Nadal and Federer

Published Date: 09 August 2009
By Alix Ramsay

WHILE THE rest of the country has been waiting for the arrival of the long-promised "barbecue summer", Andy Murray has been broiling gently in the heat and humidity of Miami.

The British weathermen may have got their predictions wrong, but Murray knew exactly what he was letting himself in for and exactly what is to come as the next couple of months unfold.

Scotland's finest allowed himself a few days off after his Wimbledon exertions and then headed straight back to work on the practice courts and training track to get ready for his favourite part of the year – the US hard-court season. The last two weeks of his preparations have been spent at the University of Miami, where he has been straining in temperatures in the mid-30s and in the sort of steamy environment that makes merely blinking an exhausting exercise.

Still, these are the conditions Murray will face this week in Montreal – where he will play either Yen-hsun Lu or Jeremy Chardy in the second round – and next week in Cincinnati. The two Masters events lead into the US Open, the final grand slam tournament of the season, and the site of the highlight of his career to date: reaching the final in Flushing Meadows last summer.

Last summer, Murray was still on his way up through the ranks. Reaching the final of one of the big four tournaments was a new experience, while winning a Masters title was a novelty. Since then Murray has cemented himself into the world No3 spot, won three Masters series trophies and has announced himself ready to win a grand slam. And Murray is now one of the scalps that everyone wants to claim as the weeks tick by before the US Open.

By the time he reaches New York at the end of the month, Murray could find himself as the No2 seed and the second best player on the planet. As they settled into their hotel in Montreal, Murray was sitting just 1,025 ranking points behind Rafael Nadal, the next man above him in the pecking order. He has 2,860 points to defend between now and the end of the US Open, while Nadal has 3,150 to replace. To make Nadal's life even harder, 800 of those points cannot be defended as he won them at the Beijing Olympics; when they come off his overall points tally on 17 August, they will disappear.

This week in Canada will be the first real test for the US Open contenders. As a Masters event, all the top players are required to turn up for duty but quite what state they will be in remains to be seen.

Roger Federer, newly restored to his position as the world No1, has had little time to concentrate on his tennis of late. Not only has he rewritten history by winning his 15th grand slam title at Wimbledon – he is now so good that he is beating his own records whenever he wins – but he became a father for the first time just under three weeks ago. Leaving his wife, Mirka, and twin daughters, Myla and Charlene, behind in Switzerland while he traipses across the hard courts of North America may not be easy. Then again, he may just be desperate for a decent night's sleep.

Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, has been champing at the bit to get back to work after he finally gave in to chronic tendonitis in both his knees more than two months ago. Forced to take doctors' advice and rest during Wimbledon, he has been pushing himself as hard as his injuries will let him and has been training for up to five hours a day at home in Majorca. But while he arrived in Canada in good time to settle in and adapt to the conditions, his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, warned he is not yet at his best.

Nadal won the Canadian title last year and so has 1,000 points to defend in the coming week, but the hard courts present the biggest obstacle to the Spaniard as the unforgiving cement surface jolts and jars his ailing knees. The sound of Murray breathing down his neck will do little to help his recovery, either.

Murray, though, is primed and ready for the fray. He has been wolfing down 5,500 calories a day – most of it coming from giant helpings of sushi – to fuel him on his eye-watering training schedule. Only the daily thunderstorms drove him off court but even then there was no rest for the ambitious Scot and when he was not flexing his muscles in the gym, he was forcing himself through ten laps on the 400m running track. His practice sessions have been supervised by both Miles Maclagan and Alex Corretja. For a little light relief he has been playing practice sets with Nicolas Lapentti and Jesse Levine.

The barbecue summer may have failed to materialise but, even so, Federer and Nadal are looking a little fried. Murray, by contrast, is fresh and fit just in time to turn up the heat.