The first medical drama of the tournament has been dealt with, the first set of the campaign has been dropped but Andy Murray is still in business at the All England Club.
The world No.3 overcame Andreas Seppi, a slightly stiff shoulder and two visits from the trainer, Clay Sniteman, to reach the fourth round 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. Sniteman’s first trip to the Centre Court was almost Murray’s undoing – he came on to treat Seppi’s sore left shin – as after the Italian’s medical time out, Murray lost the next five games on the bounce and was a break down in the fourth set.
The way I finished is how I hope to play the rest of the tournament
That is when Murray called Sniteman back to the court to treat his shoulder. After three minutes of serious manipulation, Murray was a new man: pumped up, aggressive and far too strong for the world No.27 as he ran away with the next six games. If the crowd was worried about Murray’s injury, the man himself was delighted with his efforts at the end.
“I thought I played very well,” he said. “There was that part of the second set where I struggled a little bit but the way I finished the match is how I hope I can play the rest of the tournament.
“I’m going try and use that energy, positive energy. I was playing very aggressive tennis at the end – going for my serve, more aggressive from the back of the court so I finished the match hopefully how I can go on.”
As for the shoulder problems, after Sniteman’s attention, he thinks it will be fine – even if the cure was more painful than the injury itself. “He’s like a 90-kilo guy kind of lying right on top of you – it’s not that pleasant but it helps,” Murray said. “The shoulder is fine. You could see a little bit towards the end of the second set, it was beginning to tighten up just next to my shoulder blade. And then when he [Seppi] took the injury time out, I cooled down a little bit and I threw in a couple of double faults in that game and slowed down my serve a bit. So the trainer came out and manipulated my back. Gave it few good cracks.”
On Monday, Murray will face a completely different type of test in the 6ft 10in shape of Ivo Karlovic. The huge Croat has been acing his way through the draw and yesterday beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, serving 41 thunderbolts to bring his tally of aces to 136 for the week.
“It will be a very different match to today,” Murray said.
“Obviously today, most of the points were played from the back of the court; against Ivo, Ivo will be coming to net a lot. He served very well this tournament – I think he served, in two of his matches, he served over 40 aces so my returns are going to have to be on if I want to get through that one.”