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Old 05-29-2010, 10:47 AM   #331
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010...is-french-open

Quote:
Andy Murray braves brief lapse to beat Marcos Baghdatis in French Open

• Andy Murray beats Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2
• World No4 will play Tomas Berdych in last 16


Kevin Mitchell at Roland Garros
Friday 28 May 2010 19.28 BST


Andy Murray rumbled on into the final 16 of this French Open, where he meets the Czech Tomas Berdych on Sunday, and dismissed the loss of a set to love on the way to an otherwise impressive win over Marcos Baghdatis as an aberration.

He won only 10 points in the 23 minutes the third set lasted in searing heat, a whitewash that has not happened to him since Fernando González bundled him out of this tournament a year ago. But the fourth seed was unfazed after regaining his composure to beat Baghdatis 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 in two hours 23 minutes, overall by some way the easiest of his matches in a grinding week.

"I didn't play a very good set – that's it," Murray said. "I made mistakes. He hit the ball well. I am trying to focus on the rest of the match, which was very good. Once I got the break in the first set I started playing some really good tennis and finished really well."

All of which is true. But, to those watching, his brief blowout looked like the sort of collapse that leads to disintegration – especially as he has already survived a tough five-setter against Richard Gasquet, followed by another searching examination of his nerve over two rain-marred days against Juan Ignacio Chela.

What he proved was that there can be no doubting his resolve, whatever the reservations about his levels of concentration or a chronically weak right knee that has troubled him intermittently.

"My legs felt fine," he insisted. "I just got off to a bad start in the third, got broken a couple of times. It's not like you're not trying. You want to make sure you're fresh right to the end of the match. I made a few more mistakes than normal at the end of the set."

Murray (and Berdych, as it happens), dismissed the notion that he does not like to play on clay. "No, I enjoy this tournament. Many times it's my favourite surface. I can play very well on clay, it just takes me more time to get used to it and it's the hardest physically to win, long rallies, long matches. It's very different to the other slams, where I am a lot more sure of myself."

So Murray, against the odds perhaps, goes into the next round against Berdych in good heart. They have a win apiece against each other, the last of them four years ago, a form line that means little, as they both agreed. "It was a long time ago," Berdych said. "We have moved to completely different levels."

He declared himself "very pleased" with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win in 93 minutes over the big-serving American John Isner. "Everything worked almost 100%. There was not even one thing that I maybe did wrong."

Murray said of Berdych: "He's had some good results this year, in Miami and Monte Carlo. He obviously beat Isner pretty easily so it's going to be pretty tough. He's a big guy, big serve, hits the ball hard and flat, low percentage tennis. He doesn't feel uncomfortable going for his shots."

Murray went for plenty of his against Baghdatis, whose poor serving in the first two sets allowed the Scot to move in more often than he has done for quite a while. When he did stay back, his defensive game was so solid the Cypriot struggled to find an opening to counter, the ball threading deep and wide on both wings.

Baghdatis had a break point as early as the second game. His side-spun chip for deuce showed Murray was up for it. He even smiled when he double-faulted, and breathed more easily when he held under pressure.

Symmetrically dressed – Murray white top, blue shorts, Baghdatis the other way round – they traded muscular ground strokes, the Cypriot all wide-eyed passion, the Scot cooler than jazz. Court Suzanne Lenglen was packed on a bright day, entranced as the fourth seed had to work harder to hold serve than the world No30.

The lingering question, one that grew louder by the day, was: how many tough matches could Murray stand? The player himself had no doubts his relentless gym work had put enough gas in the tank to get him through the longest examination.

He answered all the questions perfectly in the first two sets, slumped into a weird despond in the third and came out roaring in the fourth again. By that time, Baghdatis was confused and spent. He imagined he had done enough to fight his way back into the match but, like Gasquet and Chela before him, discovered there is a cold determination lurking in Murray's psyche that sets him apart from most players.

It is why he could walk away from Roland Garros last night perfectly content, while his fans were left chewing their programmes.

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Old 05-29-2010, 08:40 PM   #332
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Default Re: Andy, Articles and news

Has this been posted?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...cle7135136.ece

I thought it's a nice article, the pictures are funny though .
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:23 AM   #333
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle7140725.ece

Quote:
From Times Online
May 31, 2010

Andy Murray crashes out of French Open to Tomas Berdych

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent, Paris

In a crusty mood, with the crust giving way beneath his feet, Andy Murray departed the French Open yesterday in the manner of someone who wouldn’t mind if they relocated this championship to the dark side of the moon. Murray was beaten 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 by Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic — an utterly convincing performance from someone who ought to have won a grand-slam tournament by now.

Larry Stefanki, Andy Roddick’s coach, has famously described Court Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros as a sandpit, and beaches can be treacherous places on which to play, especially with darkness closing in.

You never know what kind of dangerous creature may lurk in wait. In Murray’s case, it was Berdych, teeth bared, and all smooth hitting and no-nonsense. The British No 1, on the other hand, was in one of those periods of introspection it is impossible to fathom, even for those closest to him.

Seated across the way from Alex Corretja, twice a finalist here and who has tried to instil a few clay-court concepts into his pupil, it was eye-opening to see the agonies he was going through. A head shake, an anxious shifting in his seat, he cried “Vamos” a couple of times to try to get Murray going, to little avail. One wonders if their partnership is good for his health.

It was only just before a stoppage for rain in the second set that Murray started to strike the ball with the same degree of intent and placement that Berdych, who has not dropped a set in reaching his first quarter-final here, had shown. A few minutes after the resumption came the crux, when Murray lost his serve in the eleventh game, muttering, “How am I meant to play when I can’t stand up on this court?” Funny that Berdych didn’t have the same problem.

This was a Murray performance strangely lacking animation. In his first three matches, whatever the situation, he had let his feelings out. This time, he preferred containment and it robbed him of any on-court expression. Berdych simply seized on all the balls Murray left short, took controlled, certain swings and planted home a series of compulsive ground-stroke winners.

Such was Berdych’s control that Murray was forced into some extreme measures to try to keep the rallies going, once attempting exactly the undercut forehand nudge that was the final stroke of the 1977 Wimbledon ladies final. Betty Stove, the Dutch stooge who lost to Virginia Wade that day, was at Roland Garros yesterday. One hoped she saw her contribution to British tennis history revisited.

Murray heads to the grass now with four matches of varying quality beneath his belt. He was utterly courageous in the first, had to overcome stops and starts to win the second, fell asleep for a set of the third and was never anything other than terribly subdued in the fourth.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:36 AM   #334
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...ardy-Fish.html

Quote:
Andy Murray relinquishes Queen's crown with defeat to Mardy Fish

Andy Murray might choose to support anyone but England in the World Cup and yet the Scot, famously strident about his national allegiance, betrayed a familiar English incompetence in his own equivalent of a penalty shoot-out on Friday.

==============================================

By Oliver Brown
Published: 6:24PM BST 11 Jun 2010



Down and out: Andy Murray has been knocked out of the AEGON championships Photo: EPA

It took barely half an hour for Murray to win three games and lose three, only to be swatted out of the Aegon Championships by Mardy Fish after he failed to claim a single point on serve in the crucial tie-break. His rage of the previous evening, when he berated umpire Cedric Mourier for suspending the match on Fish’s complaint of bad light, had softened into a sullen resignation at his indifferent play.

“Come on, Andy,” mother Judy cried on the Queen’s Club centre court, more in exasperation than hope. But Murray, the tournament’s defending champion, was far from the only high-profile name humbled here, following Rafael Nadal out of the door on a day when a chill wind caused a scattering of the seeds.

So roll up, roll up for a potential all-American final on Sunday, between Fish and 'Uncle’ Sam Querrey. Excited? No, Nadal wasn’t either, heading straight for a flight home to Majorca and the chance to watch Spain begin their World Cup title quest. “Football’s my favourite sport,” he said, with his bashful grin.

Murray is partial to some action with the larger ball, too, if his endless 'kick tennis’ sessions with coaches Miles Maclagan and Jez Green are any gauge. But his critics’ worries yesterday had less to do with his fleetness of foot than his feebleness of forehand, as the 23 year-old ended his tilt at a second Queen’s title with a tepid display.

His mobilisation for Wimbledon has been limited to just two matches at Queen’s, and already Murray is considering playing an exhibition match next week for practice, most likely in the Boodles Challenge at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire. On his flaky form he was defensive, arguing: “I’d have liked to have had a couple more matches, but I’ve gone into Wimbledon in previous years and played well despite not having played many games.

“My tennis is there. I just need to find it in time for Wimbledon, as that’s where it’s most important for me to play well. My expectations are high of myself and whether everybody thinks I’m going to win or thinks I’m going to lose, I’m going to try my best to win the tournament.”

Murray looked distracted, mumbling in even more of a weary monotone than usual. His row with the officials about the Stygian gloom on Thursday night — when he had asked to play on to maintain his momentum — had clearly coloured his mood for the game’s conclusion. Having been compelled to conduct his French Open fourth-round match against Tomas Berdych, which he also lost, in even more dismal conditions, he has formed strong views about light and dark.

When told that the idea of a light meter had been rejected at Roland Garros, on the grounds that umpires were experienced enough to tell when a yellow ball became invisible, Murray responded witheringly: “The decision that it’s not light enough should not be made by one person. Most of the time common sense prevails, but sometimes it would be good to have a light reading.

“In the past I’ve said to the supervisor that it’s too dark to play and he’s replied that it seems fine. It’s a lot easier when you’re watching. When someone’s serving at 140mph, it’s very difficult.” As if Queen’s organisers were not dejected enough by Murray’s departure, they were about ready to howl at the moon as Nadal went the same way. In defence of the Spaniard, he was carrying a slight hamstring strain that forced him to pull out of a doubles match yesterday, but the suddenness with which his 24-match winning streak was derailed still surprised.

Nadal has made no secret of his desire for a longer lag between the French Open and Wimbledon, so that he can impose the dominance on his beloved clay more swiftly on grass. The vagaries of the green stuff were too much for him this time, as he found himself repeatedly outsmarted by the cute drop shots of his friend and countryman, Feliciano Lopez, succumbing 7-6, 6-4.

“I’m ready to go home and spend some time with my family,” he said. “I won’t practice — maybe I’ll just play some golf and watch the World Cup.” Perhaps he should pass the advice on to Murray. There is another man who could use a little light relief.
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:37 AM   #335
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http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis/Que...ver.6357833.jp

Quote:
Queen's exit heightens doubts over Andy Murray's prospects for Wimbledon

Published Date: 12 June 2010
By STUART BATHGATE


ON Thursday night, Andy Murray left Centre Court in a rage after his match with Mardy Fish was suspended because of poor light.


• Andy Murray lost 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 after his match with Mardy Fish resumed, and the Scot admitted: "I'd like to feel better"
Picture: Getty


Yesterday lunchtime he with barely a whimper, beaten in a third-set tiebreak in which he failed to hold a point on his own serve.

The 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 defeat by the American not only ended the Scot's defence of the Aegon Championships in the third round, it further underlined doubts about his form going into Wimbledon. Murray has yet to win a title this year, and since reaching the final of the Australian Open in January his best form has eluded him.

But, while agreeing he would have liked more match practice, he insisted that his preparations for Wimbledon, which begins a week on Monday, had not been significantly disrupted by his early exit from this event.

"I would have liked to have played a couple more matches, but I've gone into Wimbledon in previous years and played well having not played that many matches going in," he said.

"So I'm sure come Wimbledon I'll be playing a lot better than I was here with ten more days playing on the surface.

"I haven't been playing my best lately, but the game is there. My tennis is there. I just need to make sure I find it in time for Wimbledon, and that's where it's most important for me to play well, to play my best tennis, and hopefully I'll do that."

One consolation for Murray is that he is far from being the only leading player to have struggled to find form here. Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic were knocked out on Thursday, and top seed and World No1 Rafael Nadal lost in the quarter-finals yesterday to his fellow-Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. That meant that by teatime yesterday No7 seed Sam Querrey was the most highly ranked player left in the competition – and he was facing a tricky last-eight tie with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse. The conditions here have disrupted the tournament schedule, and, it seems, the concentration of those top players as well. But while French Open champion Nadal can look on his defeat here as a blip, for Murray losing to Fish is a continuation of a mediocre stretch of form.

He was also unconvincing in the only match he won, in the second round against Ivan Navarro, and goes into the third Grand Slam of the year against a background of decreasing expectations.

For the 23-year-old himself, however, little has changed.

He insisted he will demand as much from himself as he always does, and thinks the position in that regard has not changed: as ever, he will need to be at his best if he is going to win that elusive first major.

"My expectations are high on myself, and every year I said the same thing. Whether everybody thinks I'm going to win or going to lose, I'm going to try my best to win the tournament.

"I have a chance of doing it if I play very well.

"It's going to be difficult, so I'll put pressure on myself to perform. Normally when I put pressure on myself to do well, I play my best tennis."
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:38 AM   #336
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the pressure gets too much.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:10 PM   #337
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Default Re: Andy, Articles and news

Maybe if England does well at the World Cup then that could give Andy a bit of a break. He's already back to being a Scot again, perhaps with World Cup fever he can slip under the radar a bit?

Seeing how I don't think Andy would ever actively cheer on England, maybe I should betray my country and cheer for the redcoats just this once. You know, for Andy's sake.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:41 AM   #338
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Default Re: Andy, Articles and news

http://www.heraldscotland.com/life-s...nald-1.1034704


Quote:
An exclusive audience with tennis ace Andy Murray, by Hugh MacDonald

Hugh MacDonald
heraldscotland
14 Jun 2010

His public and private faces are worlds apart, yet one thing binds the two together: the will to win.


Here Andy Murray grants a rare private audience to Hugh MacDonald as the world No 4 prepares for his greatest challenge yet: winning Wimbledon.

He walks with the gait of someone who has just realised he left his winning lottery ticket in the trousers he donated to the charity shop. But Andy Murray is happy. He’s near a tennis court, after all.

His shambling progress around Roland Garros, the home of the French Open, is greeted with cries of “Ongdee, Ongdee”, as youngsters recognise one of the best tennis players in the world. The open, one of the four major world titles, is at its height and Murray is one of the chief attractions. At 6ft 3in and more than 13 stones, Murray is big in stature, substantial in world fame. He cracks an oddly gentle, shy smile at the children and signs autographs.

He makes his way to the media centre where the world’s press ask the questions that are always asked. How is he? Can he win? Will he win? And what about the World Cup? Murray dodges the last with a nimble step. His “anyone but England” gag of four years ago produced an extraordinary backlash against the young Scot. Murray, at 23, is older and quieter.

“When I first came on the tour at Wimbledon, it was new to me,” he tells me after the press conference. “I was innocent and naive and I got away with it then because people liked it. I was young and they gave me some room. They found stuff funny. But that disappears when you become more famous. Now you cannot make a joke about stuff. At least, I tend now not to make jokes about stuff.”

He is alert and adept at press conferences, but he offers little. “You have to be a bit stand-offish. If not, there can be hassle,” he says in a small room in the bowels of Roland Garros.

Murray is playing the fame game. It is one where he incurs a substantial loss. He does not, cannot, reveal himself fully to the public through the press. The result is that there is a skewed perception of him in Britain. At Roland Garros, the youngsters clamour around him and shout loudly when he is on court. And he was made for Flushing Meadows, New York – the raucous crowd there takes him as one of its own. Murray likes the noise and mayhem that leaks from the stands in the cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium. The New Yorkers like his attitude. He plays to win and does not apologise for that.

But it is different on home shores. There is the constant complaint that Murray is dour, even sour, a gripe that emanates almost exclusively from Middle England and its chroniclers. Yet in private he is dryly humorous, unfailingly polite and generous. To describe Murray thus invites charges of a grovelling obsequiousness, but it is the product of personal experience.

The mixture of deep emotion and sardonic wit is rarely witnessed by the public. Murray is famed for his fist-pumping gestures, his fanatical roars and his battering of the racket in frustration. All this occurs on court. His belligerence evaporates in contact with the real world.

Does Murray regret that people do not know him? He shrugs. It is not a gesture of rudeness, merely acceptance. That is the way it is. However, Murray revealed a little of himself after his defeat in the final of the Australian Open this year in Melbourne. Thrashed in three sets by Roger Federer, Murray was disconsolate. The year before, Federer had cried when beaten by Rafael Nadal. Murray wept when receiving the runner-up prize. He turned to Federer and said: “I can cry like you, Roger. It’s a pity I can’t play tennis like you.”

It was a moment of genuine humility and quiet dignity in defeat. Murray had approached the ceremony with some trepidation. “I knew as I was going up there that it was going to be difficult,” he recalls. “I said to Roger, ‘I’m feeling pretty emotional – I might cry.’ When I started crying, I knew I wasn’t going to hold it together. It happens to everybody.” It does not, of course. Few people endure a professional setback in front of millions. Not many can crack a joke when months, perhaps years of hard work fail to gain the prize. Defeat for the sportsman involves public humiliation. It is part of the fame game.

‘I haven’t really thought about what I have learned about myself,” he says quickly. The room seems to close in as he stretches his frame. He has just dismissed questions about a difficult year with a casual but final stroke. In the course of 12 months, he has lost a Wimbledon semi-final, exited meekly from the US Open and lost the final of the Australian Open. He suffered a bad injury to his wrists and his knee, where he suffers from a bipartite patella (a split kneecap), hurts constantly. His first serious relationship, with student Kim Sears, ended, though there remains speculation that it has been rekindled. The private pain remains unspoken. Murray alludes obliquely to the sporting anguish. Most professional observers believe he was devastated by the Australian Open. His return to the circuit after Melbourne found him vulnerable, beatable. The player who had at one time reached the position of world No 2, behind the greatest player ever to have wielded a racket, Federer, was being trounced by journeymen.

“He needed time to heal,” someone very close to Murray told me. The Scot is routinely more circumspect. “I have worked so hard for the last three years to get into the best shape possible,” he says. “After the Australian Open I felt not quite burnt out, but my body was aching.” Murray had spent most of December in Miami. His Christmas holiday away from the tennis circuit was spent doing interval sprints, weightlifting and endless endurance work. “I put a lot of effort in,” he says of his festive exertions. He paid the price after the 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 defeat by Federer. “It wasn’t like I didn’t want to practise or go to the gym. I just felt tired a lot of the time. My results reflected the fact I hadn’t been putting in as much work as normal,” he says. “But then I started getting back to the gym, getting on the court more, hitting the balls. It’s as simple as that. Nowadays you need to take a break and relax.”

The idea of a workaholic such as Murray relaxing is mildly shocking. He enjoys fantasy football, watching the sport – he’s a Hibernian fan – dabbles in property and contests basketball dream team competitions with rivals John Isner and Andy Roddick of the US. But tennis has taken up his life from such an early age.

There is a history of Murray that runs seamlessly from the toddler playing swingball, through the child winning tournaments and the teenager winning the US Open junior title, to the man sitting in front of me as one of the greatest players in the world. But there is a life lived, too. It has had its awful drama and its more mundane trials. Murray was in Dunblane Primary School when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and a teacher in March 1996. He referred to the incident obliquely in his autobiography. He does not speak of it today. Besides, what would one ask?

The young man is also different from all his friends, having left home aged 15 to train at a tennis academy in Barcelona. His outstanding talent provided him with a ticket to professional tennis, but it also involved a journey away from family and friends.

Is Murray aware of just how unusual his life is? “Yeah,” he says. “A lot of the guys from the academy are now coaching and my friends in Dunblane are just finishing university. I feel like in some ways I may be immature but in other ways you have to grow up really, really quickly.”

Murray has had to make tough decisions for a man of his age, dismissing two coaches and one agent, but he is brightly philosophical about his life. “You do a lot of things that people don’t have the chance to do,” he says. “By the time I was 17 I had been to pretty much every country and I had lived in a foreign country for two years without my family. These are things that are completely different from what other people do. Most if it you love, but there are other parts that are very, very difficult.”

Like fame?

“For me, it has always been about tennis. It’s not about the other stuff, like going to a movie premiere,” he says. “I would way rather be at home. Going to the cinema for me is a private thing. I try to live normally. Fame is not something I would wish upon anyone, because I don’t enjoy it.” His mission is to keep himself far from the front pages of newspapers.

Does he care what the press says about him? Does he bridle when they call him Grumpy Andy or speculate on his private life? “If there is a paper there and I have nothing to do, I will read it,” he says. “I don’t try to avoid them. I don’t read a lot anyway. It can be easy to take things to heart when you read things about yourself in the papers, and sometimes when you’re reading something that isn’t true it can be frustrating. It’s better to spend time with the people around you who know who you are, what you are up to, the real truth …”

He then smiles, immediately aware that he could be accused of having a moan when he has earned more than $10m in prize money and has just signed a contract with Adidas that will keep the wolf not only from the door but from his postcode for the rest of his life.

“There are definitely perks,” he concedes. Murray is mostly relaxed about the public acclaim. “I always try to be very polite and sign as many autographs as possible, pose for pictures with people. It’s quite nice when you go to the shops and people ask to have a photograph taken with you. I like it when people come up and talk, but I get uptight and nervous when I turn around and there is a camera phone in my face. You never know when people are taking pictures.”

Andre Agassi gave Murray a copy of his autobiography, Open. In it, the American multiple grand slam winner admitted he hated tennis, but Murray is a tennis fanatic. Surely he doesn’t hate the sport? “Yeah, I can,” he says. “But it’s not like a huge hate. It’s more the waking up in the morning. You’re young, playing hard, away from home, friends and family. I know I live this incredibly privileged life but it can sometimes be very difficult because it does become your job. It’s tiring. Your body aches and you wake up knowing you have to train for four and five hours. I understand what Agassi was saying, particularly if he was being forced to do something he didn’t want to do.”

It is, however, something Murray wants to do. He is fanatical about sport. “When I stop playing, I would be very interested in working with children in sport, perhaps an academy or something like that,” he says. Murray is passionate about the benefits of sport and keen to promote it back in his homeland.

“One of the reasons I feel there should be more sport available to kids is that when I was at school it was very difficult to exercise,” he says. “We didn’t have the same programmes as there are in other parts of the world. I had to miss the odd lesson to go to practise tennis.”

He believes sport can be the basis of a good life. “There are a lot of jobs in sport, so people can make a career out of it,” he says. “If there were more sports in school, it would definitely help. Not everyone is that good academically.”

Murray is aware that his comments could be seen as an attempt to seek publicity. “It isn’t,” he says. “I don’t want it to be a political thing because I don’t know quite what the government is doing, but I think it all starts in the home with the foods you are eating. The schools could do a good job of making kids exercise. These are the two easiest ways of confronting it. It is a straightforward solution: eating healthily and exercising.”

The world No 4 has a personal reason for promoting exercise. “I don’t feel good if I spend four or five days away from it,” he says. “When I’m not playing tennis, I still like to exercise. When I was younger, I used to play golf, tennis, table tennis, football …”

The conversation in France is almost over. His presence in the tournament will last just a few days more before he is disappointingly defeated by the world No 15, Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, in the fourth round. The trials of Wimbledon now await him.

Murray is relaxed about what he might face. “In many ways it’s easier than the other slams,” he says. He will stay in his Sussex mansion and travel every day to practise or play. “I get into a routine. I’m at home, with my friends and family around me, which is relaxing. You’re watching the same TV you’re always watching. You’re making your own food. In a lot of ways, once the tournament starts, it can be quite relaxing. When I’m in Paris, the only TV I watch is when the tennis is on, but at home I can spend a lot of time chilling.”

Murray is hopeful about Wimbledon, calm about the maelstrom ahead. He rises, shakes my hand and heads to the practice grounds. Later I watch him kick and head a tennis ball across a net with his coaches and fitness trainer. Murray is relaxed. The four friends compete furiously but break down in laughter at a point won or a slagging that hits it mark.

More than 300 people watch. A Murray match of head tennis is, after all, part of the fame game.
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:27 PM   #339
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Vogue.com

http://www.vogue.com/voguedaily/2010...-murray-mania/



From the Magazine: Murray Mania

The shoot is almost wrapped; Vogue’s people are whizzing around, folding clothes and packing props. But the energy and heat that always build in a room during a photo shoot are still buzzing as Mario Testino clicks through thumbnail pictures on his laptop. He croons, “Beautiful! Beautiful! Andy, come and see how beautiful,” so the lanky guy in Adidas track pants lopes across to look at himself. His expression is unreadable. Andy Murray, Britain’s number-one tennis player and perpetual Wimbledon hope, is routinely labeled by the English press as dour, grouchy, grumpy, humorless, miserable, standoffish, prickly, cold. Note: the English press. Murray is British, of course, but he is not English: He’s a Scot, born north of the border, in Caledonia stern and wild. He was a mere gangling eighteen-year-old in 2006, when he deposed Tim Henman as British number one and Roger Federer said, “Watch out for this boy—he’s going to be good.” Murray ended the year as number seventeen in the world rankings, and from that moment on, newspapers ran the same shot of him, over and over: fists clenched, head wrenched back, eyes screwed, mouth open, roaring, like a rutting stag. It is a powerful image—though, on Wimbledon’s green lawns, not exactly strawberries-and-creamy.

On Testino’s laptop, he’s in a knife-sharp tuxedo that lies very lightly on his body, with the shirt collar yanked open, black tie hanging untied, green eyes hot and fierce. There is a sense of . . . um, dampness about his person, partly because he’s been sprayed down, partly because the word raw is next to the picture. The next picture clicks up, also raw, and the next and the next. Goodness, Mario, he does look amazingly raw, I say, and everyone laughs mockingly: “Raw” just means unretouched, Testino says, adding, with grace, “But he is raw. You are right.” He is also, we agree, shy.

We are in Andy Murray’s garage (concrete floor, bare cinder-block walls) because it doubles as his weight room, with barbells and racks of free weights: Testino was so struck by the daily/hourly grind of relentless practice that is all-consuming for top athletes that he shot him “in here. Where he works.” Murray lives in the county of Surrey, southeast of London, in the kind of sleek, manicured suburb that used to be known as “the stockbroker belt” (now “footballer belt,” meaning housing for multimillionaire English soccer players). The road is discreetly private: He has security gates to his house, but this is not a gated community, nor is it hung with the kind of signs one might see in Malibu advising armed response, because obviously armed response would be frowned upon in England, seeing as it’s illegal. He bought this house—modern, three-story, high-spec—at the end of last year, and he loves, loves, loves it. His girlfriend, Kim Sears, lives here with him. “Born the same year as me [1987],” he says. They’ve been going out “for the best part of five years now. We met in New York, actually. Her dad’s a tennis coach. And her family was over there for three days when I was playing the U.S. Open for the first time.” The house is so new that the yard in back still looks like corporate planting, with a tidy lawn and non-littering evergreen shrubs. There is no tennis court; no need, because almost what he loves best about his house is that it is 20 minutes from Wimbledon’s practice courts.

The ground floor is a lavish acre of white marble flooring; the rear wall is mostly glass; huge plasma-screen TVs hang in the living room, the den, and the vast, modern eat-in kitchen—which is stuffed with the sort of machines (ice deliverer, espresso machine) that would seem exotic to most British 23-year-olds. Especially since there’s a pool room attached with a running machine and those giant balls you lie across. Or your trainer stretches you across. Or one of your trainers. Team Murray consists of tennis coach Miles Maclagan, a physical therapist, two strength-and-conditioning coaches, plus a coaching consultant. How many people does he employ? “Maybe six? Or seven?” Hmm. He is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, by Adidas, and by Highland Spring, whose patriotic mineral water is “drawn from organic land in the Ochil Hills of Perthshire.”

I prod him to talk about clothes because I guess he maybe doesn’t think about new trends in menswear all that much. In a voice like Atlantic breakers dragging on gravel, with the Scottish accent giving him American-style clarity around the R area, he says no. “I don’t, actually. At all.” He is more of a “shorts-and-T-shirts guy—I spend all my life in them because of playing.” But he liked getting dressed up. Mario had to tie his tie for him: “I had no idea how.” He must have black-tie gear in his wardrobe, though? “I don’t, no.” But doesn’t he go to black-tie dinners and stuff after the Wimbledon tournament finishes? He says, “You do if you win.” Right. “The stuff was really nice. Really, really nice.” I urge him to expand on “nice”—like, what was nice about the tux he’d had on? He says it had a darker stripe down the side of the leg.

OK. This young man is not prickly, grouchy, grumpy, humorless, or miserable: He is deadpan funny.

Christopher Bailey, designer of Burberry (whose tuxedo it was in which Murray was looking so . . . “raw”), thinks he is going to be an iconic British tennis player. “He’s so focused and so driven in his craft,” says Bailey. “He’s laser sharp: a wonderful person for the nation to celebrate.” Bailey thinks he will be a global brand as a sports star, which is an amazing thought because we have remarkably few iconic sports stars here in the UK, even in the iconic sports we actually invented, like soccer and cricket. Try as we might, we can think of only one other British sporting iconic global brand, and that would be David Beckham (who is, funnily enough, a very good friend of Andy’s and is also looked after by the same management agency, 19, founded by Simon Fuller).

Everyone in Britain who can read knows Andy Murray’s backstory because he and his elder brother, Jamie, were raised in the little Scottish cathedral town of Dunblane. Judy Murray, his mother, coached both her sons at tennis—Andy from the age of two. “She was a national tennis coach of Scotland, so she coached all the best juniors,” her son says. “She’d have me and my brother and three or four others that did well.” Both boys went to the local elementary school, which was the scene, in 1996, of the hideous massacre by a lone gunman who entered the school’s gym and killed sixteen of the littlest kids and their teacher. Andy was eight. It’s tough to wear the lifelong resonance of a freak day of infamy in which your presence was random, accidental. He can’t remember how he felt at that age and would never be questioned on it—and still won’t—just saying he was “too young” to remember. Interestingly, he put something on the record in his (ghostwritten) 2008 autobiography, Hitting Back, where he says he was almost relieved, when thinking back, that he was so young. “If I had been fourteen or fifteen, it would have shocked me far more deeply.”

It’s such a strange life he leads. He travels the world ceaselessly to seek his fortune: The U.S. Open is this month; the Australian Open is in January; the French in May; Wimbledon in June. In between are lesser tournaments: at London’s O2 arena, in Dubai, Qatar, Bangkok, Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai. It is the kind of restless existence led by medieval crusaders, sixteenth-century merchants in sailing ships, Yukon gold rushers, bands of brigands, tight-knit units of special forces.

If Murray’s life improved enormously when he moved into his well-appointed house last year, one thing that has disimproved it is the new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruling on drug testing for elite competition sports: the WADA Whereabouts Program, which means athletes must inform the doping authorities of their movements for one hour of every single day. So Andy Murray has to pick one hour out of the 24 and tell WADA his precise location during that time. Every day of the year? “Yes, every single day. So they can come and randomly test you if they want to.” But what if you’re going to Australia? “I have to update where I’ll be, and give them an hour, even if it’s in the BA lounge at Heathrow. All the countries have their own testers, but I get tested a lot because I live close to London and I have an apartment in Miami, and those places have lots of testers.” He usually picks 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (“because I am normally asleep then, and they can wake me”). But if he wakes early for once, and goes for a walk with his girlfriend’s dog, and misses Mr. 7:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Tester by five minutes—one strike. “Three strikes and you’re out.” Banned? “Oh, yes.”

Also, they can still come randomly, without any warning. He was most peeved in May because it was election night, and it was the first time he’d been able to vote. After doing so, he planned to settle down for a long night of TV when “one of the drug testers turned up to give me a random competition drug test, and this is like 9:30, and I was just like eaaarghhhh, and you spend the next 45 minutes instead of watching it having someone ask you basically to put your trousers to your knees so that they can watch you and make sure it’s you that’s doing it. One of the most uncomfortable experiences you can have. It’s horrible.”

Team Murray arranged a seat for me at the second round in the hallowed Centre Court at Wimbledon, bang opposite the Royal Box. Hallowed is not an adjective I would normally employ for tennis courts, but it is allowable today, I think. Most often, the Royal Box has no royalty in it (apart from the Hollywood kind), but today it will be graced by the world’s most major royal of all, Queen Elizabeth II. Though this is the first time she has been to Wimbledon in 33 years, no one is making a big fuss, least of all the grandees running the Lawn Tennis Association. Questioned as to the extra cost of providing security for the head of state, one unnamed source said that the only additional cost had been “500 yards or so of purple rope” in order to cordon off her route as she trotted around the venue on foot. “The club doesn’t keep it in stock as standard.” The tabloids, in contrast, have been making so much tiresome fuss about whether or not Andy Murray, a Scot, will bow to the English queen that he finally has to Tweet his followers: “Would be an honor and privilege, of course I’ll bow.”

The queen, a teensy, white-haired figure in a float of Tiffany turquoise (matchy-matchy coat, dress, hat), makes her timely entrance into the box a minute before the players. When she appears and walks slowly down to her seat, there is a strange, throaty roar from the crowd, and everyone stands up. Clapping. Because this is history! Last time she was here, in 1977, Virginia Wade (British!) won the women’s singles. And you weren’t even born then, darlings. The clapping got louder as she sat down, and Murray and his Finnish opponent came out. Boy, did those guys bow. In sync. One arm in front and one behind. Next to me, Simon, Andy’s publicist, was drinking Pimm’s and texting endlessly. “Sorry, sorry. I just—uh—it’s David Beckham, he’s in South Africa, with the World Cup team.” Me: David Beckham? Texting you from Bloemfontein? He: “Yeah, he’s—uh, just wanting to know how Andy’s doing, and I’m updating.” Three straight sets and it was done, with Andy victorious. The 2010 plan came unstuck at the semifinal (Murray versus a Nadal so possessed and focused on the day that there was no dealing with it, nor anyone stopping Rafa from taking the Gentlemen’s Singles cup two days later).

Murray’s hopes for 2010 were exactly the same as his hopes for 2009: “to win one of the four Grand Slams.” The Australian Open back in January was a close-run thing: He was in the final against Roger Federer, and Federer won in three sets. At the French Open in May, he went out in the fourth round against Tomáš Berdych. As the guys get ready for Flushing Meadows, Rafael Nadal is ranked number one, Novak Djokovic number two, and Roger Federer number three (which looks all wrong somehow). Andy is number four. Thumbs up, I say. Though I just read a prediction from John McEnroe, and he says Andy will win the U.S. Open, he is convinced.

In 2011.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #340
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I'm posting this article because of one thing and one thing only: We might see pictures of Andy in a kilt soon!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...-as-coach.html
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:41 AM   #341
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Andy is returning to the Hopman Cup in January with Laura Robson, according to the beeb.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/9082666.stm
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #342
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According to tennis.com Andy strained a tendon while playing to PS...wait and see
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:06 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by nalbyfan View Post
According to tennis.com Andy strained a tendon while playing to PS...wait and see
Judging by his twitter he has a sense of humor about it. Not to mention there have been some rather funny jokes about how he really injured that hand.

And Jaime's now a married man! There's a picture of him and Andy and their respective significant others but you can't see the kilts!
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:04 PM   #344
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Judging by his twitter he has a sense of humor about it. Not to mention there have been some rather funny jokes about how he really injured that hand.

And Jaime's now a married man! There's a picture of him and Andy and their respective significant others but you can't see the kilts!
Kilts here ....... from James LaRosa on twitter.


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Old 10-28-2010, 07:13 PM   #345
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Kilts here ....... from James LaRosa on twitter.


Much better. Work that Tartan boys!
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