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Old 12-02-2008, 06:06 PM   #181
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An article that tries to touch the sensitive chords of young Scots.

http://www.inthewinningzone.com/wz/M...ing-Scots/381/

Inspiring Scots
What can the successes of Chris Hoy and Andy Murray do for Scotland?
EDITION 24 - DECEMBER 2008

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."
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Old 12-21-2008, 04:13 AM   #182
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http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis/And...-to.4812165.jp

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.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:52 AM   #183
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thanks for all the articles, Getta
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:19 AM   #184
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http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/spor...08-.4823866.jp

Sports Review of 2008 - Murray comes of age to join elite

Published Date: 26 December 2008

By STUART BATHGATE

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.
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Old 12-29-2008, 03:40 PM   #185
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle5409872.ece

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.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:00 AM   #186
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Thanks for the articles.
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:47 AM   #187
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle5420724.ece

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 . . .
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:48 PM   #188
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...r-Federer.html

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
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:16 AM   #189
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...l-1224354.html

Murray makes perfect start to year with win over Nadal

By Paul Newman, Tennis Correspondent
Sunday, 4 January 2009



REUTERS
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.
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Old 01-06-2009, 03:03 PM   #190
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009...nes-qatar-open

Murray comfortably beats Montanes in Qatar

• Scot wins in lower gear as Montanes fails to challenge
• Germany's Phillip Petzschner waits in round two


guardian.co.uk, 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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:40 PM   #191
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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."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/7812679.stm
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:17 PM   #192
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thanks a lot
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:25 PM   #193
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...s-1242409.html

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.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:11 PM   #194
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...-in-Qatar.html

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
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:17 PM   #195
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/7821191.stm

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."
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