London 2012 Olympics: Fired-up Andy Murray makes short work of Wawrinka
IT WAS certainly an impressive start from Murray, whose last shock defeat on the biggest stage came against Wawrinka in the third round of the US Open in 2010.
The roof is leaking, the scoreboard is on the fritz – this is not Wimbledon as we know it. Fortunately, though, Andy Murray is just the same as ever and as he strode purposefully into the second round, at least he looked settled, confident and relaxed.
The memories of his Wimbledon final just three weeks ago have left no lasting damage and, instead, he is desperate to get on with his Olympic campaign. Indeed, losing to Roger Federer in SW19 has merely spurred him on to work harder, practise longer and train smarter.
The early result of that was yesterday’s solid and determined 6-3, 6-3 win over Stanislas Wawrinka. What looked to be a potential first round banana skin turned out to be an 89-minute display of controlled aggression.
Murray wants to do well this week and he has been waiting for his chance to prove himself for months. “I was saying on Tuesday, when it was getting closer, I was saying to the guys, I was so pumped to play, I want the tournament to start tomorrow,” Murray said. “There was a bit of me that was a little bit
anxious, that maybe I had possibly peaked a bit too soon because I played really well in practice.
“I practised with Stan a few times last week and played really well against him. That gave me a bit of extra confidence going into the match today. But I’m
really up for the tournament. I wanted to play well. I want to be involved in this event for as long as possible. I’m going to give it my best shot.”
His best shot yesterday was more than enough for Wawrinka. Murray may not have landed as many first serves as he would have liked – he could only manage 57 per cent accuracy – but, when he did get that first serve in play, he won all but four of the points. Racking up 20 winners to just 12 errors (Wawrinka fluffed his lines on 32 occasions), Murray was in complete control of his own game and then, after seven games, he set to work on Wawrinka’s to break for a 5-3 lead. That brought a massive cheer from the crowd who, for all that they are not tennis or Wimbledon regulars, are all 100 per cent behind their man.
Ever since his tearful speech on Centre Court following the Wimbledon final, Murray has been amazed by the support he has received from all quarters. In reaching the final, sports fans up and down the country suddenly believed that Murray was a grand slam champion in waiting, while by
accepting the loss with dignity, humour and those tears, everyone realised that he was just a decent bloke who cared
passionately about his sport.
Now, in the midst of the patriotic fervour of a home Olympics, it seems that Murray can do no wrong. “After the final, it was different to what I’d experienced before. The support from friends, family, just people I bump into in the street, from politicians, celebrities. It was overwhelming. I’m not used to that,” he said.
“I understand that sometimes in the past, it wasn’t always that easy to get behind me because on the court I didn’t look particularly happy. But I think during Wimbledon, I think the build-up to the tournament, I just felt different on the court. I felt like I’d grown up a bit. I felt more mature. I felt like my demeanour was better.
“The support I got after the final made a huge difference to me, to my confidence, and to my practice after that loss, because I wanted to get back on the practice court straightaway, back in the gym, get myself ready for this tournament because I want to do my best. I want to achieve everything that I can. The only way of doing that is by giving a hundred per cent. The support I got after the final has made a big difference to that.”
That support will only grow as Murray moves through the draw, and the next obstacle in his path is either Jarkko Nieminen, the Finn he has beaten on four previous occasions, or Somdev Devvarman whom he has beaten in their only previous meeting. The two were just a set into their match when the rain set in but, as they fretted and waited for the chance to get back on court, Murray was heading back to the peace and quiet of his Surrey home just a few miles up the road.
So successful was his start to his
Olympic campaign that Murray could only find fault with two aspects of his day, the scoreboard and the roof. The new, Olympic-branded scoreboard on Centre Court began to flash as Murray went to serve in the opening game. Asking the umpire, Lars Graff, to sort out the problem, the Scot and Wawrinka had to wait as the IT gurus turned the board off and then on again (a standard IT ploy) and then ran through various programmes to display the London 2012 logo and the TV pictures before, finally, someone fixed the problem.
As for the roof, it remained shut all day as the rain hosed down over SW19. But, while most of the court remained dry, Murray’s Olympic racket bag was getting wet. “There were actually a few drips coming in,” Murray said. “I think there’s a bit of a leak in the roof. There were a few drips coming next to my bag for pretty much the whole match. Might need to try to sort that out.”
No doubt the All England Club will be sending the repair bill to the IOC.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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