2014/08/21

Djokovic Upset by Robredo, Murray Survives Isner in Cincinnati

 

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

By Dave Gertler

(August 14, 2014) MASON, OHIO – Two of the three Big Four players competing at this year’s Cincinnati Masters played their third-round matches during Thursday’s day sessions. One survived, one didn’t.

 

“The focus is winning right now,” said a composed Andy Murray after his 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(2) win over John Isner, “Not so much how I’m hitting the ball or moving or anything like that. Just trying to win. That’s all that’s important just now.”

 

Since winning Wimbledon last year, Murray has seen his rank plunge from No. 2 to No. 9. First struggling with back surgery rehab, and then adjusting to a new coaching situation. He has regained peak physical condition, but collated a mixture of results that has not seen him advance past the semi-finals of any tournament in the last 14 months.

 

“I want to get back to winning events and being in the finals of the big tournaments,” said Murray, “And winning matches like today is a big step for me.” He and his opponent John Isner, last year’s Western & Southern Open runner-up, played for 2 hours and 23 minutes in front of a Grandstand Court that was packed to the rafters.

 

“Sort of like standing room only,” said Isner, who served 21 aces to Murray’s 14, “You could see people on Center Court at the top looking over and watching. It was great. The fans were unbelievable. I thought they were on my side the whole way, and they were.”

 

After losing the first set tiebreak, Murray then broke Isner for the only break of the match, holding on to win the second set. Then, with the sun in his eyes, serving to stay in the match, Murray served two double faults, allowing Isner his first of two match points. “When it’s 6‑5 in the third set,” said Murray, “Ideally you want to try and get some free points when you can. Maybe made a slight mistake trying to do that. Yeah, but I just managed to find a way to get through that game.”

 

While Murray cited “instinct” as what guided him to a third-set tiebreak, which he would ultimately win to advance to the quarterfinals, fellow Big Four member Novak Djokovic has faltered at the round-of-16 stage of his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 event. The world No.1, who last bowed out in the third round in Toronto, today lost in straight sets to 16th seed Tommy Robredo.

 

“Just many, many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts,” said Djokovic, who fought back from being a break down to Robredo in the first set, before losing it in a tiebreak. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s more than obvious I’m not playing even close to what I’m supposed to play.”

 

In the second set, Djokovic was unable to make a dent on Robredo’s serve, winning only four points while receiving. While Djokovic was able to save two match points, serving at 4-5, Robredo would convert at his next opportunity, taking the second set 7-5.

 

“Well, maybe he didn’t play very good the last two matches that he played,” said Robredo after his second career win over a world No.1 – the first was against Lleyton Hewitt in 2003, “But anyway, he’s the world No. 1. He won in Wimbledon. He’s a great player. If you don’t play your best you’re gonna lose for sure. Even if you play your best, sometimes if he’s playing great, you’re gonna lose also.”

 

While Djokovic will head straight to New York to prepare for the US Open, where he is defending finalist, Murray will face either Gael Monfils or Roger Federer, who play their third-round match on Center Court this evening.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Western & Southern Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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After Win Over Djokovic, Tsonga Continues Form with Upset of Murray to Reach Toronto Semis

Tsonga Murray 8814

By Dave Gertler

 

(August 8, 2014) TORONTO – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is returning to the form that has previously delivered him to two semifinals at the Rogers Cup, and on Friday, he exacted revenge on the man who stopped him in his path when he first got there in 2009. After a surprising 6-2, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic yesterday in Toronto, Tsonga has followed it up with his first win over Andy Murray since the Frenchman’s famous run to the final of the Australian Open in 2008.

 

Firing 17 aces at Murray throughout the match, including three in the first game, Tsonga let his serve do the talking from the outset. “I’m just stronger,” said the world No.15 after his victory, “During practice I worked a lot on my legs, and for sure I’m stronger on my legs. I think it helped me a lot for my serve because I can push a little bit more, so it give me more angle.” His increased leg-strength allowed Tsonga to maintain a first-service speed well above 200km/h throughout the two-hour, 18-minute match on Stadium Court.

 

Tsonga would only lose ten points in total behind his first serve the whole match, Murray realizing early that he would need to return at a high level, saying, “The beginning of the match he served extremely well. He served a lot of aces. You know, I had to play around my return position quite a lot, and I started to get into more service games the second and third set.”

 

After Tsonga sealed the first-set tie-break 7-5 with a booming ace, Murray found himself with the advantage in the second set, holding twice before breaking for 3-2. Although he was immediately broken back to love, the world No.9 would regain his edge, breaking Tsonga to love for a 6-4 margin in the second set.

 

“Tennis and sport really can change a lot from one day to the next,” said Murray, who had enjoyed an eight-match winning streak against Tsonga until today, “You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, which maybe he did in Miami and I played a good match, that can happen. He’s a fantastic athlete,” Murray added, “When his game is on, he’s very tough to beat.”

 

Tsonga would prevail in a 45-minute deciding set of high-quality tennis mixed in with some frustrating errors from both players. Ultimately, he would serve out the final set 6-4, serving three aces and a double fault. “I just stayed focused,” said the 29-year-old Frenchman, who has made the interesting fashion choice this week of tucking in his shirt, “Tried to be a little bit more aggressive because I was a little bit flat after losing the second set. He gave me one or two points he didn’t give me since the start of the second set, and, you know, then I went back and I won it.”

 

Tsonga will play Grigor Dimitrov next his third career Rogers Cup semifinal. Other winning quarterfinals included Roger Federer and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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A Consistent Murray Moves Past Teen Kyrgios in Toronto

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

 

By Dave Gertler

(August 6, 2014) TORONTO – Andy Murray has averted the potential threat coming from Nick Kyrgios at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Wednesday. Back from his hiatus that commenced after he was ousted from the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, the world No. 9 appeared fresh and in rhythm, employing a mixture of rock-solid consistency and relentless pressure to weather the initial onslaught from the explosive Australian teenager, and ultimately move through to the round of 16.

 

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After both players exchanged holds of serve on Stadium Court, cracks began to appear in Kyrgios’ game. An unforced error-laden game saw him get broken for 1-2. “It was a solid match for a first match back after sort of four-and-a-half, five weeks. I was happy,” said Murray after the match, “I  thought I did most things pretty solid. I didn’t make too many errors. I moved well. High first-serve percentage.”

 

After a series of love-holds from both players, Murray struck again with a second break for 5-2, consolidating for the first set. After compound-fracturing his racquet at the tail-end of the first set, Kyrgios set about gaining a foothold in the second set, new racquet in hand.

 

But after both players held twice early in the second set, the 27-year-old wielded his experience over the 19-year-old, breaking him twice, sealing the next four games. The final scoreline of 6-2, 6-2 was achieved in 54 minutes. “He played way too good for me today,” said Kyrgios, who leaves tomorrow morning for Cincinnati to prepare to qualify for the Western & Southern Open, his last stop before the US Open later in August.  “I never felt comfortable out there. I felt awkward and wasn’t serving great, and he made me pay the price, so there’s a lot of things I can take away from that match today.”

 

To reach the second round, Kyrgios had to spring back from a set behind in the first-round against Colombian Santiago Giraldo yesterday, but Kyrgios said about today’s match. “I don’t think I can beat myself up too much,” said Kyrgios,”I haven’t played that much tennis at this sort of level yet. I’ve played a couple of grand slams, and this is only my third tour event, so it’s all new to me still, I’m getting used to it though.”

 

Having won the Rogers Cup twice before, Murray has not made it past the quarterfinals since 2010, and will now play Richard Gasquet in the round of 16, while Novak Djokovic will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his third-round match. While Tsonga made it through his opponent, compatriot Jeremy Chardy, in straight sets on Grandstand Court, Djokovic found himself in a dire situation against another Frenchman, Gael Monfils. While it was the Serb world No.1 who made it through in the end, it was not without dropping a set to Monfils, both players electrifying the crowd with highlight-reel tennis over a devastating two hours and 40 minutes on Stadium Court, the final score going Djokovic’s way, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6(2).

 

Other winners to advance to the third round included Ivan Dodig, Marin Cilic, Julien Benneteau, Tommy Robredo and Kevin Anderson.

 

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament on @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

 

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Around the Grounds at the Rogers Cup Toronto

 

(August 3, 2014) TORONTO, CANADA – Photographer Nida Alibhai snapped photos all around the grounds of the Rogers Cup on Sunday, August 3, 2014.

Photos include: Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Bernard Tomic,Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez and others.

Follow Nida Alibhai’s photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Semifinals Set for Both Men and Women at Wimbledon

 

 

(July 2, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Grigor Dimitrov ended the run of defending champion Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon, becoming the first Bulgarian man to do so. Dimitrov joins No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and another newcomer Milos Raonic in the semifinals.

The No. 11 seed ended Murray’s 16-match winning streak at the All England club which went all the way back to the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I have very good memories from that court out there,” Murray said.  It’s a special court for me.

“Yeah, I mean, you can have bad days as an athlete.  You don’t win all of the time.  Sometimes you just have to take it on the chin and move on.

“But, yeah, when you don’t feel like you played as well as you can, that’s disappointing and frustrating.  Yeah, that’s happened a few times in the slams over the last year, so I’m disappointed about that.”

“I think I got early on in the match on top of him, and I think that really helped me, you know, progress in that way.” Dimitrov said.  “I think second and third set was just a little different.

“But, I mean, I can’t say much about the match because I came out to win the match.  I was really positive.  I was ready.  I had a lot of patience no matter how many sets I was supposed to play.

“But I was just composed and I was looking for every point that I had to play.”

On Friday, Dimitrov face 2011 Wimbledon champion in Novak Djokovic who reached the semifinals for a fifth straight year. Top seed Djokovic had to rally to top No. 26 Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2.

On the lower half of the draw, Federer will play No. 8 Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man in a Grand Slam semifinal since the early 1920s.

Federer dropped his first set of the fortnight to Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka en route to a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 win over his Swiss countryman.

“There was a lot on the line today playing against Stan,” Federer said.  “Quarters sort of shows the direction on how you’re playing and all these things.

“I’m really pleased to have come through.  Like you said, last year was a major disappointment for me because I always see Wimbledon as one of my main goals of the season, side-by-side with rankings and some other highlights that I choose that there are for me.

“I try to be in the best possible shape, so last year was rough.  I was very disappointed.  Went back to the practice courts.  Didn’t have any options left at that point.

“So I’m happy that one year later I’m back in the semis and with a chance to go further.”

In the battle between big servers, Raonic defeated teenager Nick Kyrgios, who beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Raonic hit 39 aces.

In the women’s quarterfinals, No. 3 Simona Halep beat 2013 Wimbledo runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0, and will take on No. 13 Eugenie Bouchard, who beat No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4.

“It was a great match for me today,” said Halep.  “I played really well and I’m really excited that I can play semifinals tomorrow.

“I like this tournament and I feel really well here.  I’m looking forward for the next round just to play good tennis and to try my best on court.”

Bouchard has reached her third straight major semifinal.

“I’m excited to be in the semis,” said the 20-year-old.  “But, of course, you know, never satisfied, so definitely want to go a step further, or as far as I can.

“I think, you know, I played some great players when I lost in the semis.  You know, you don’t win every single time.  But, you know, I’m going to look forward to try to play a little bit like I played today.  I thought I was pretty solid out there and playing the right way on the grass.

“So that’s going to be a key.”

Thursday’s other Ladies’ semifinal will be a battle between two left-handed Czech women -2011 champion Petra Kvitova versus No. 23 Lucie Safarova.

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic Move into Wimbledon Quarterfinals

 

 

(June 30, 2014) WIMBLEDON -Top seed Novak Djokovic and third seed Andy Murray are getting closer to a semifinal clash as both men reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals on Monday at the All England Club.

Defending champion Murray reached his seventh straight Wimbledon quarterfinal after beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) under a closed roof on Centre Court, after a rain delay in the second set forced the roof to be shut.

For the Scot Murray it’s his 17 straight match win at the All England club dating back to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The Serb Djokovic beat France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 11th consecutive time with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) win.

“I was just happy that I won the match,” Murray said.  “I was a bit disappointed with how I started under the roof.  The beginning, like I said, I was a little bit tentative.  Apart from that, that sort of three or four games when we came back out, I played well.

“I created many chances, gave him a few opportunities.  That’s what you need to do on grass court tennis.  You don’t always break.  But if you keep putting them under enough pressure, you’re going to get through in the end.”

“I knew I was going to get tested, you know, at some stage,” the Scot added.  “And, yeah, today I was pushed, especially in the middle part of that second set, then obviously later on in the third there were some tight moments.

“But I handled them fairly well.  It was a good match.”

“I think he was moving great,” Anderson said of Murray’s play.  “That’s a big part of his game.  I think especially on the grass I think that’s a big contributor to why he’s had so much success on this surface.”

Murray will face No. 11. Grigor Dimitrov in his quarterfinal. Dimitrov defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

“It’s a step up because it’s one round further, and the guys that are in the quarterfinals are going to be playing top tennis,” Murray said about his encounter with the Bulgarian.  “He obviously won Queen’s a couple weeks ago.  He likes the grass courts.

“Yeah, it’s a big opportunity for him, as well, playing on the Centre Court, the courts at Wimbledon for the first time.

“Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for him.  Hopefully we can play a good match.”

 

“I’m happy that I’m in the quarterfinal match,” Dimitrov said.  “Just going to give credit to myself for that.  But my job isn’t over yet.

“So I’m excited to get on the court tomorrow.  Just go through my regular routines, through all the gears, you know, come on Wednesday.”

 

“I’m just going to play my game,” Dimitrov added.  “I’m not going to step back.  I just want to come out with my big game and play my aggressive tennis.”

 

“I was aware of his qualities, especially on this surface,” Djokvic said of his match with Tsonga.  “He looked, before the match, very determined to play his best and very focused.

“I think I did really well from the start to the end, especially in the third set where I thought he elevated his level of game and he started serving very high percentage first serve, very strong, all angles.

“It was difficult to get the return back in play, but managed to save a couple break points, crucial ones, get myself in the tiebreak and wait for the opportunity to be presented.

“We both served very well in the tiebreak, and the only opportunity I had was on second serve on 6-5, and I used it.  I went for the shot.

“Yeah, I’m just glad that I didn’t allow him to go into the fourth set, because he started to use obviously the crowd support.  And, you know, I knew that he’s going to do that because he’s the kind of player that feeds off the energy, so it was very important for me to get this done in straight sets.”

Djokovic will play Marin Cilic for a place in the semifinals.

“I will try to stick to the kind of a game plan that I had against Marin in the previous occasions,” Djokovic said.

“I am aware of the fact, as well, that since he started working with Goran Ivanesevic that he has improved, especially in his service department, where for his height I thought that he didn’t use his full potential up to now work with Goran, where it’s evident that it works well for him.

“Especially on the grass it serves as a great weapon.  He won here in straight sets against Chardy and Berdych and some very good players.

“So it says enough about his quality play in this tournament.”

Stan Wawrinka was finally able to complete his third round match on Monday. Rain on Saturday delayed his chance to play.

The No. 1 Swiss will face 19th seed Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. Lopez dismissed the last American man in the singles draw, Ninth seed John Isner, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), 7-5, despite the American hitting 52 aces.

“Tough match to play,” Lopez said.

“As I said before, I knew it’s going to be like this.  I knew we going to play a lot of tiebreaks, so this is the match I was excepting to play.

“Luckily I made it.  I’m very happy to went through.  It was a very difficult one for me today.”

With Isner beaten and Madison Keys withdrawing from the tournament with an injury, it’s the first time since 1911 that no Americans have reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

Asked about this fact, Isner said, “Didn’t know that. Don’t really care either.”

Keys was forced to pull out of the tournament with a left adductor injury.

On the women’s side of the draw, the conqueror of Serena Williams has been knocked out of Wimbledon.

Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, the 13th seed defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (5), 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

“I think we played some good tennis today, “Bouchard said.  “You know, we had some tough points.  She has good wheels.  So I had to really try and finish off the point.

“You know, I think it made for some really tough, physical points.  So that’s definitely the most physical match I’ve played I think this tournament.

“But I’m proud that I really, really fought till the end.  She’s a good fighter, too.  We were really just battling.”

“This is what I’ve worked so hard for, to be in the quarters at Wimbledon,” Bouchard said. “But I want to go another step. I want to keep going.”

Bouchard will play the winner of the fourth round match between Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber.

Bouchard spoke briefly about playing both of these women:

“I think she’s a great player,” Bouchard said of Sharapova.  “She, you know, tries to be aggressive like I try to be aggressive as well.  So I think, you know, I’m going to go in and try to battle and go for my shots.  We had a tough match recently at the French Open.  But that’s the past.  So it’s a new match.  If I were to play her, I would just be very excited and really try to go for it.”

“Kerber I played at the French as well.  I played both opponents recently.  Of course with her she’s a lefty so you keep that in mind with tactics.  I played well last time against her because I was really trying to go for it.  Whenever I had an opening, I would really go for it.  I would keep my basic game against both players.”

Three players from the Cazech Republic are among the women’s quarterfinalists – 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Lucie Safarova and unseeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

Zahlavova Strycova, who beat No. 2 Li Na, defeated No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Back in April 2013, she completed serving a a six-month doping ban after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine.

“I can’t believe it for right now,” Zahlavova Strycova sid about the win and reaching the quarterfinals.  “It’s great.  I mean, it was a tough match obviously, and I had to make a fifth match point.

“I’m really, really happy that I could win today.”

She spoke about the six month ban to press: “First of all, I didn’t wanted to play again because I felt like it’s a little bit unfair.  Everything was kind of against.

“So first two months I didn’t want to come back.  Then I missed it.  I missed the feeling of working out, the feeling of winning matches, and being on tour.

“It was tough, but on the other hand, it also brings me some positive things.  Like I say, I am seeing the sport a little bit different now.

“And here I am.”

Last year’s finalist Sabine Lisicki ousted 11th seed Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the fourth round in a match carried over from Saturday.

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Andy Murray Rolls Past Roberto Bautista Agut to Reach Fourth Round

 

(June 27, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray continued his streak on not losing a set this fortnight at Wimbledon. He has now won 16 straight matches at the All England Club by beating Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. The streak includes his road to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, which was held Wimbledon.

Murray dominated the match with 44 winners.

Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936.

Murray assessed his first week of the fortnight:

“I played well in all the matches.  I mean, I was very happy with the way I played today.  More in the third set, I played a bad game on my serve at 4-Love.  I could have done a little bit better there.

“But apart from that, it’s been good.  I served well, moved well.  It’s been solid so far.”

Murray will face Marin Cilic next.

“It will be a tough match,” said the Scot.  “He’s a big guy with a big game.  He’s played some very good tennis this year.  Probably been his best year on the tour so far in terms of consistency.  It will be tough.

“He serves well, so I’ll need to have my return game on.  Play a tough match to beat him.  But he’s playing very well this year.”

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Andy Murray Routs Blaz Rola to Earn Berth in Third Round

(June 25, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Third seed and defending champion Andy Murray completely demolished Blaz Rola of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0 in 84 minutes to move into the round of 32 on Wednesday on Court No. 1.

“Finish matches as quickly as you can,” the Scot said.  “If you have the momentum with you and you’re playing well, that’s what you need to try to do.

“I spoke a little bit about the French Open a few weeks ago, some of the matches where I was ahead, you know, I didn’t finish the sets and stuff off as best as I would have liked.  So I wanted to make sure here that when I had the momentum, when I was on top, that I finished the sets off.  I did that well today.”

 

Murray hit 27 winners during the match and won double the total number of points won by his opponent 84-42.

Murray spoke about working with his new coach Amelie Mauresmo.

“It’s been good.  I enjoy spending time with her on the court.  I enjoy spending time with her off it.  We chatted well about the matches.  You know, we obviously discussed the things, you know, I felt like I needed to improve or add things to my game.  We’ve chatted about that.  We agreed on most things, so that’s good.

“But, yeah, I think it’s been working well so far.  But, again, like I said at the beginning of the tournament, it’s very difficult to make a change in the space of a week.  It takes time in all sports.

“You know, if things go well, if we agree to keep working together, then I’ll have some time after the tournament.”

Murray will face  No. 23 Roberto Agut of Spain in the third round.

“I practiced in Valencia before the tournament in Madrid,” Murray said. “ I practiced with him.  I practiced with him quite a lot.

“He’s a very good player.  He won the tournament last week on the grass in Holland.  He doesn’t play like a lot of the Spanish guys.  He plays very flat.  Not much topspin.  The grass courts suit his game pretty well.  He’s obviously started well here.

“It will be a step up for sure.  I think he’s probably in the top 20 in the world now.  He’s improving all the time.”

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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Andy Murray Opens Wimbledon Title Defense with a Victory over David Goffin

 

(June 23, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Defending champion Andy Murray was welcomed with a standing ovation as he entered Wimbledon Centre Court on Monday. The Scot made the audience happy with a straight set win over Belgium’s David Goffin 6-1, 6-4, 7-5.

“Obviously, like I said the other day, I was pretty nervous and stuff before the match,” Murray said.  “Then when you’re walking to the court, you know, I have a lot of memories obviously from last year.

“Yeah, to come to the court and get that reception, yeah, it was very nice to come out.  I think the crowd was pretty much full from the start.  It was great.

“Yeah, enjoyed it for the walk to the chair.  Then when I sat down, it was time to get on with business”.

“I played very well.” said the world No. 5. “I hit the ball very well.  I hit the ball clean from the beginning of the match.  There wasn’t any moments where I felt like I was mistiming balls.  I hit the ball clean.

“I thought the second and third sets were very high level.  I thought he played very well.  He was aggressive.  He goes for his shots.  He moves extremely well.  He’s very quick around the court.  He has great hands up at the net, as well.

“I thought he played some really good tennis.  He played a bad game from 40-Love up at 5-All in the third set.  But it was very good.”

Among those in the Royal Box watching the Scot, were special guests Murray’s father and grandparents and retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, along with his girlfriend.

Murray was asked about “the big Aristotle in press.

“I saw him after the match,” Murray said, “just when I came off.  I never met him before.

“But, yeah, he’s a big boy, that’s for sure.  He was huge,” Murray said with a big grin.

“Yeah, he’s very entertaining.  I watch him on the TV a lot when I’m over in the States.  Yeah, he said that was the first time he’d been to the tennis before.  He enjoyed it.  It was nice. “

Murray will play Blaz Rola of Slovenia in the second round, who moved on a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory against Pablo Andujar of Spain. Rola said about playing Murray on Centre Court next, “Hopefully, I don’t poop my pants and don’t play well.”

 

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Shaquille O’Neal is a Special Guest in the Royal Box for Andy Murray’s Opening Wimbledom Match

 

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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All Will Hail the Conquering Hero as Andy Murray Opens Wimbledon on Monday

 

(June 22, 2014) WIMBLEDON – Andy Murray will receive a conquering hero’s welcome when takes Wimbledon Centre Court on Monday at one o’clock as he opens to defend his 2013 title. Murray broke the 77-year-old curse, as no man from Great Britain laid claim to Wimbledon since Fred Perry won the title back in 1936.

The 2012 year was a special year for the Scotsman Murray, as he won his first major title at the U.S. Open, just after winning the gold medal at the London Olympics. Opening the Wimbledon fortnight Wimbledon will be a memorable day for the world No. 5 and third seed.

“Tomorrow when I sort of go out on the court, I need to enjoy that moment when I walk back on the court,” Murray said.

“But as soon as I start playing the match, yeah, it’s about trying to win.  And, yeah, I enjoy winning.  That’s it.  I mean, you know, I don’t really want to go out on the court tomorrow and enjoy playing and then lose.

“I would rather, you know, enjoy a win, and that’s what I’ll try to do.  But it’s time when I get on the court to start concentrating.  Not think about last year, concentrate on this year’s tournament, and that’s it.”

Murray was asked about the extreme pressure he had to deal with on account of the British male Grand Slam futility. “I think I handled them fairly well,” Murray said.  “This has been my most consistent tournament throughout my career.  I haven’t lost before the semis for the first few years.  I’d always played pretty good tennis here.

“I maybe could have played a bit better in the latter stages of the event in some of the years.  But I feel in terms of handling the pressure, you know, there was a lot of it, and I think I did okay.

“Last year the final was definitely the most pressure I’d felt in all the years I’d played here.  So, yeah, I managed to come through it.  I think that comes with age and experience.

Questions were posed to Murray about his unique selection for his new coach, Amelie Mauresmo former No. 1 player on the WTA tour. Very few women coach male pros.

“I think, first of all, you can talk about her accomplishments on the tennis court,” Murray said of his new coach.  “She won a lot.  She was No. 1 in the world.  She won multiple Grand Slams.  She got to latter stages of slams very often.

“I think she was someone who struggled with nerves and conquered them later in her career, which I think when you start to coach someone, I think you can help more than someone that hasn’t had those issues before.

“She understands the psychological part of the game maybe more than some because of that.

“And in terms of what she’s like, her game style, she had quite a creative game style.  She used a lot of spins, slices, she came to the net, good variety in her game.  That’s something that I’ve always tried to use during my career.  So I think she can help with that.

“And then in terms of what she’s like as a person, she’s a very, very nice person.  She’s very easy to speak to.  She’s very easy to communicate with.  She listens well.  She’s firm, as well.

“So there are the reasons why I wanted to give it a shot, and hopefully it will work out well.”

“It was about finding the right personality with the right experience to help me,” Murray stated about choosing Mauresmo.

“I think she will help me.  I’ve really enjoyed the last ten days I spent on the court with her.  It’s been great.

“And, yeah, if it helps sort of bring more female coaches into men’s sport and women’s sport there’s not that many female coaches on the women’s side either that’s a good thing.

“Because there’s absolutely no reason why someone like Amélie can’t help me.

“It’s possible it doesn’t work.  It has nothing to do with whether she’s a woman or not.  That’s not why it will work or not work.  That’s how I feel about it.”

“But my mom will tell you this is history,” Murray added.  “One of the coaches that I also loved when I was growing up that I traveled with was Olga Morazova.  I actually saw her in the car park here the other day.  I always found her great fun to be around.  I learned a lot from her when I was a kid, too.

“A lot of the female coaches that I have been around.  Although there’s not been many of them, I’ve always enjoyed working with them.”

Murray will face 104th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium on Monday. Murray spoke about his opponent’s good tennis in the past at big events.

“He doesn’t mind the big stage,” he said.  “And, yeah, he’s solid.  He’s a solid player in all parts of the court.  It will be a tricky match.”

 

Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

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