Wimbledon: Only Roger Federer deserves Centre Court priority – Andy Murray
ANDY Murray resisted any temptation yesterday to complain about the scheduling of his matches here, and suggested that perhaps only six-time champion Roger Federer deserves to play on Centre Court all the time.
Murray will be back on the main arena today to play his quarter-final against David Ferrer, having completed a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 rain-interrupted victory over Marin Cilic yesterday. It was a straightforward win over the Croatian 16th seed, but would have been more straightforward still had the match not been put on No 1 Court.
After an overnight suspension in the fifth game of the second set, the two had played just one more full game before the rain returned and play was halted again. With bad weather continuing throughout the afternoon, there was a risk that the match would carry over into a third day, which would have left Murray two days behind main rivals Federer and Novak Djokovic – their matches having been concluded under the Centre Court roof on Monday.
The scheduling by the Referees’ Office has appeared to favour top-seeded Djokovic in particular, but after seeing off Cilic, the Scot explained that he was not the only one affected by the weather. “It’s not just me,” Murray said. “There’s lots of guys in exactly the same position. Anyone will tell you if you play four matches in eight days, it’s better than playing four matches in five or six days. The more rest you can get the better, but it’s part of playing grand slam tennis.”
There were two main arguments in favour of playing the Murray-Cilic match on Centre: first, it looked a more attractive match-up than the tie between Djokovic and his fellow-Serb Victor Troicki; and second, at the other three majors, if there is ever any doubt about how to allocate the matches, organisers invariably decide in favour of the home hopes. But Murray defended the All England Club and its apparent efforts to bend over backwards to be fair.
“I don’t think you should get preferential treatment,” he said. “You know, obviously, all of the players would say they would rather play on Centre, because they know they’re going to finish their match.
“I don’t deserve to play all my matches on Centre Court. Someone like Roger does. It’s not a bad thing playing on the outside court. It’s just when the conditions are bad it’s not ideal to be out there, because matches can last for two, three days, and then you get a backlog. I don’t think just because you’re from that country you should necessarily get preferential treatment. But I hope I play my next few matches on Centre.”
Murray has been almost statesmanlike this Wimbledon in his measured responses to the various controversies which he has been asked to comment on. He was the soul of diplomacy, for instance, when invited to respond to Ivo Karlovic’s claim that the tournament was biased in favour of the British player, and he offered an equally thoughtful answer after he was asked what he thought of Gilles Simon’s statement that male players should be paid more than women.
His analysis of the scheduling was another example of that calm, mature approach, and the closest he came to suggesting one player had been given an advantage was when asked if Djokovic had an advantage as he had played every match on Centre. “Well, we’ll see whether or not it’s an advantage,” Murray stated. “But the more rest you can get, the better.”
Since the second-round elimination of Rafael Nadal, there has been talk of Murray’s path to a first Wimbledon final having opened up. But he has consistently refused to get too far ahead of himself, and was loath to talk too much about the possibility of winning that elusive first major of his career.
“I’m sure it would mean a lot,” he said when asked what it would mean to lift the trophy on Sunday. “I can’t put into words or describe how it would feel because I haven’t felt it before. But it’s so far away. I’m sure you get that feeling when it’s close to winning a major. But I’m not feeling that right now, because I’m playing against the No 5 player in the world in my next match, and I lost to him a few weeks ago at the French Open.
“It’s so far to think about it just now. I’ve thought about it in the past, but during this tournament it’s not something I’ve been thinking about.”
Ferrer beat Murray in the quarter-final at Roland Garros, but after his straight-sets win over Juan Martin del Potro yesterday, the Spaniard said that the win in Paris on clay would have little bearing on today’s meeting on grass. “He’s the favourite because he’s better than me,” Fererr claimed. “I will have to play my best tennis to beat him.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 10 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east