Murray enjoying home advantage


Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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Andy Murray believes the roaring home crowd at Wimbledon can make all the difference as he bids to clinch a second men’s singles title at the All England Club.

Murray booked his place in the fourth round on Saturday with a 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1 win over Andreas Seppi but the 28-year-old had to overcome a third-set blip, which saw the Italian win six games in a row.

Britain’s number one, however, came roaring back, fist-pumping and firing up the Centre Court support, to overturn a break in the fourth and clinch a convincing victory.

The comeback came just a day after Murray’s compatriot Heather Watson had also ridden the wave of British fervour, pushing world number one Serena Williams to the brink of defeat, before the American edged through in three sets.

Murray’s use of the crowd to boost his performance has become an emerging feature of his game in recent months – he roused French support to great effect against Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros – and the Scot believes it can give him the edge in the second week at SW19.

“When you can get the crowd involved in the match, it makes a huge difference to your performance – you saw that with Heather,” said Murray, who now faces Ivo Karlovic in the last 16.

“It goes to show that when everyone goes on about the pressures of playing at Wimbledon, how difficult it is – yes, the pressures are hard, but Heather arguably played the best match of her career yesterday. She played unbelievable.

“It shows that the crowd, they really do make a big difference. They help a lot once you get out there.”

Seppi is the only player to have taken a set off Murray in his three opening matches but while the Briton has shown glimpses of his best form, there have also been lapses in concentration that better opponents would punish.

“I feel like I’m playing very well,” Murray said.

“There’s obviously that period in the third set (against Seppi) that wasn’t great, then also against (Mikhail) Kukushkin, when I was up 5-3, then there was like a 15-minute period there where my level dropped. But the rest of the time it’s been very good.

“I just need to try to cut out those periods in the matches. Rather than have a 15 or 20-minute lull, make it a five or six-minute lull.

“You can’t play at the highest level for three or four hours, you’re always going to have little dips, but maybe they’ve been a bit too long this week.”

Murray has never lost to Karlovic in five previous meetings but the big-serving Croatian, who knocked out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday, is a formidable prospect on grass.

Karlovic tops the tournament leaderboard with 136 aces so far and he has also won more points on his first serve than any other player in the opening three rounds.

“Obviously he’s served extremely well this tournament,” Murray said.

“The grass helps in some ways because it’s not bouncing as high as it might on a hard court or a clay court.

“But it’s mainly just the fact that he can hit so many of the angles on the court.

“He serve and volleys too. He’s a very solid volleyer.

“You can’t just pat the return back into play, you need to try to do something with it, so it’s tough.”

Murray said the shoulder problem that prompted him to call for the trainer against Seppi had been troubling him for a few days but insists it just “stiffens up” and is “not a major concern”.

He may be glad of the mid-Sunday break, however, at Wimbledon, admitting he tried to switch off from tennis the night before his third-round victory.

“I watched Toy Story 2 and I watched the first 45 minutes of Borat the movie as well before bed,” Murray told BBC Radio 5 Live Sportsweek.

“Before I used to watch ‘Today at Wimbledon’ or those shows and watch a lot of the tennis, whereas after Heather’s match yesterday (Friday) I thought ‘right no more tennis tonight’ so watched a couple of movies.”

Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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