ANDY Murray is confident that advice given him by Sir Alex Ferguson could be invaluable if he is under pressure in today’s Wimbledon semi-final against Jerzy Janowicz.
ANDY MURRAY IN WIMBLEDON SEMIS:
The former Manchester United manager, who saw Murray win the US Open last year, was in the Royal Box on Wednesday for the No 2 seed’s five-set quarter-final victory over Fernando Verdasco. The two Scots met up after the win over the Spanish player, and yesterday Murray described some of Ferguson’s advice as “gold dust”.
“I spoke to him for 15 or 20 minutes after the match,” Murray said. “We spoke about a lot of things – about his retirement, we spoke a lot about football, and then at the end I spoke to him, not so much about the match, but about everything that goes with it.”
Asked if Ferguson had chosen any particular aspect of the Verdasco match to comment on, Murray continued: “He was more just giving me some advice on how to handle certain pressures and expectations, those sort of things. Getting that sort of advice from someone like him is gold dust, so I’m not going to be sharing too much of it.”
Murray said after the Verdasco match that when he was younger he would probably have been unable to recover from two sets down to win, implying his greater experience was what saw him through to a fifth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final. In all, this will be his 13th Grand Slam semi-final. But he explained that, while preparing for big matches has become more straightforward, the actual confrontations remain as demanding as ever.
“I think getting ready for them is easier than it would have been, but it doesn’t mean the matches get any easier. You never know. Sometimes I’ve played the semis of slams and won comfortably, sometimes I’ve lost comfortably, sometimes it’s been five-set tough matches like at the Australian Open this year or even the year before with Djokovic. You never know how the match is going to go, but in terms of preparing for them, having the experience of being there a lot of times will help.”
The second seed was out on the All England Club’s Aorangi Park practice courts at midday yesterday for an hour-long session with hitting partner Dani Vallverdu, who served at Murray from well inside the baseline to try to mimic the delivery of 6ft 8in Janowicz, who has served 31 aces more than anyone else in the tournament.
Janowicz is a surprise semi-finalist in some ways, being only the 24th seed and a relative newcomer to the ATP Tour. Last year the Pole had to qualify for Wimbledon, going on to reach the third round, and he has enjoyed a rapid rise since then. The biggest breakthrough for the 22-year-old was his run to the final of the Paris Masters last November, which included a third-round victory over Murray. That lifted Janowicz into the top 30 and he has not looked back since.
He has benefited from the fall of seeds around him, but was very impressive in beating compatriot Lukasz Kubot yesterday, firing down 30 aces in three sets. Murray said: “It will be a very tough match. He has a big serve. He’s a big guy with a lot of power. He also has pretty good touch. He likes to hit drop shots. He doesn’t just whack every single shot as hard as he can. He’s played extremely well here, I think. He had a tough match in the (fourth) round against (Jurgen) Melzer, but apart from that he’s been pretty convincing.”
The winner of the Murray-Janowicz match will play either top seed Novak Djokovic or Juan Martin del Potro.
At Wimbledon yesterday, German Sabine Lisicki held her nerve to beat Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 9-7 in a gripping semi-final and will now meet Marion Bartoli in the final after the Frenchwoman beat Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-2.