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Fitness makes the difference for Murray

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Jonathan Overend | 22:34 UK time, Monday, 24 May 2010

Isn't it amazing, the journey Andy Murray has travelled from 2005? Back then he was the stick insect of the tour, an 18-year-old who broke down at Queen's, then Wimbledon, and struggled to go the distance at the US Open a few months later.

Here we are now, five years later, and he's without question one of the fittest guys on the tour.

Monday's 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory over Richard Gasquet in the first round of the French Open was the Scot's seventh in his last eight best-of-five matches, and that's an incredible record.

It's the reason he goes in the gym, runs up and down South Beach in Miami, and it's why he got back into full training in the last month or so after giving it a little bit of a miss in February.

On Monday morning around Roland Garros the subject of discussion was how long could Gasquet last? The general consensus was he could probably offer two good sets and it would be downhill from then on - it was just going to be a question of how long those first two sets were going to be.

And as the match progressed it was a really strange feeling while we were commentating on 5 live because, even at two sets down, you still fancied Murray.

We knew that in Nice on Saturday Gasquet had played this long match with Verdasco and received treatment on his left leg, just above the knee, and that must have felt stiff when he woke up on Sunday morning. Then he comes to Paris and 48 hours later he's got to play Murray.

The British number one just had to keep believing and keep in his mind that Gasquet was going to hit the wall at some point. We knew it, Gasquet probably knew it, the fans probably knew it, and in the end that's exactly what happened.

Having said that, it certainly wasn't Murray's strategy to go two sets down, but how well was Gasquet playing? The outright winners he was hitting were ridiculous, and yet Murray wasn't far away. He wasn't playing spectacular tennis but he was sticking with his man and mentally he was very strong.

The crucial moment came in the sixth game of the third set when Gasquet led by two sets and a break. He slipped to 0-40 and the wayward forehand he then hit was the turning point - it almost hit the fence, and that summed up the destination of the match.

Gasquet's head sank immediately and I think Murray knew that would be the equivalent of the running backhand winner at Wimbledon two years ago, when he ended up in the photographer's pit.

Murray, I thought, played very sensibly after that. He got many more first serves in, kept his head and used his court sense to move Gasquet around. Even though there were one or two moments when it got a little tricky, he came through in the end.

So it's Juan Ignacio Chela in the second round, the man he beat in Madrid recently and thrashed here in Paris last year - he'll be the strong favourite for that.

And maybe for an omen you could look at Tim Henman in 2004, when the Englishman went two sets to love down before beating Cyril Saulnier in the first round and going on to reach the semi-finals.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Gasquet played far better than Murray but lost the match because he was too tired after the long final in Nice on Saturday. To put Murray's victory down to superior fitness, technique or mental strength is entirely misleading. Murray is a non-entity on clay.

  • Comment number 2.

    What a ridiculous comment, could a "non-entity on clay" make it to the quarter finals of the French? Does it not take excellent mental strength to come back from 2 sets down? Does it not require immense fitness to still be playing quality tennis in the final set? And as for superior technique, we all know who the better play all year round is...

  • Comment number 3.

    Tornandfrayed: you are a broken record and a Murray hater.

    Murray did enough to take the tie and that's all that can be said. Gasquet is ridiculously talented and clay is one of his strong surfaces, Gasquet with greater fitness (and better clutch play) would be going deep into slams on a regular basis. However he didn't win and Murray did. Unfortunate for Gasquet and fortunate for Murray but that is the nature of tennis matches.

    Good blog.

  • Comment number 4.

    Non-entity on clay eh? Wonder what you would call the other 120 who failed to make it to the QFs last year?

  • Comment number 5.

    What a ridiculous comment, could a "non-entity on clay" make it to the quarter finals of the French? Does it not take excellent mental strength to come back from 2 sets down? Does it not require immense fitness to still be playing quality tennis in the final set? And as for superior technique, we all know who the better play all year round is...

    -------------------------------------------------------

    To be fair, he is pretty poor on clay and overrated on hard courts. He is getting better though, his stroke making is very good; nice use of the drop shot on occasions.
    However, I really don't think he stands a chance against the big boys, (but does anyone. :P). Mainly cause his forehand is not that big and like Henman... doesn't have that many weapons- as I remember McEnroe once described.

  • Comment number 6.

    Big Murray fan, but can't see where he's going with this one. Poor form all season is apparently not being helped by a recurring injury. Clay is clearly Murray's weakest surface, and although the court time may do him some good, he's not going to be going deep in the tournament, unless he changes a lot of things. I don't know, but since he lost that final set tie break in the Aussie Final, he just hasn't played much good tennis. You could always rely on some brilliant shots, like he was playing at parts in 2009 and at the Aussie Open, but for months now he's been going backwards, and soon his ranking is going to reflect that. The French and Wimbledon will be sewn up this year by you know who - Roger and Rafa, in both finals. Murray's best opportunity would be to take a break, get back into shape during North America, and looking to peak at the US in late August, where he can get back to his best form.

    At the moment however watching him is mighty depressing. From the highs of grand slam finals, number 2 in the world and even greater expectation, to really struggling to put away players that he, at the top of his game, would put away easily on a hard surface. The clay isn't good for his game or his confidence. I can see a 4th round exit, or if not that an easy QF defeat if he's lucky.

    It's times like these where he really needs to be mentally strong and not let these past 4 months bring him down, becasue we know what one day he could be capable of. At the moment however, he's in a big rot while others are getting back on the button, namely Rafa. Roger is going to be doing the business for a considerable while yet, so it must be hard to take being where he is at the moment. Clearly so talented, so good on his day, but so far from being what he wants to be.

  • Comment number 7.

    first things first, we do need to remember that Gasquet had he not had the ban is a top 20/30 player, so this was a first round match with a higher calibre of player than would normally be expected. but it didn't disappoint.

    Murray will have to play a heck of alot better if hes to go into the 2nd week but yesterday was about fitness in the conditions as much as anything and Murray did outlast Gasquet and deserved the win.

  • Comment number 8.

    Gasquet played superbly in the first two sets but let's not forget that Murray was closely behind throughout. Tenacity and courage drove the momentum in Murray’s favour but he also has incredible skill. I felt sorry for Gasquet but the best man won today. I can’t wait for Murray’s next match.

  • Comment number 9.

    Overend: "without question one of the fittest guys on the tour."

    Well, now, he outlasted one of the least fit and most mentally brittle players on the tour in a five setter... even as Gasquet won the second he was running on empty (He looked like he needed to kiss a woman named Pamela).

    Overend: "He wasn't playing spectacular tennis but he was sticking with his man and mentally he was very strong..."

    If by mentally very strong you mean berating himself and cursing, rolling his eyes at the Parisian audiences sneers and jeers, ranting at an umpire, smacking himself in the head and laughing like he lost the plot every time Gasquet ripped a winner, or served an ace, then, um , yes...

    Hate to say it on a Murray-cheer leading blog, but your man just outlasted a superior talent (on the day). That was like watching Cliff Thorburn beat Jimmy White in snooker. He ground him down. He's lucky Gasquet is such a flake, fatigued and generally out of shape. His overly defensive strategy actually paid off I suppose in the long run but when he comes up against a fitter player on clay he'll be in big trouble.

    Don't get me wrong, I admire Murray's ability and outstanding talents, but Federer was right all those years (two?) ago when he opined in a post-match press conference that Murray would have to grind pretty hard with his style. Doesn't matter how fit he is, he's not fit enough to play this way, and win a tournament like Roland Garros.

    If he was watching yesterday, Chela will be chomping at the bit -- if Murray comes through, fair play, but its already probably feeling like a long tournament for the Scot.

  • Comment number 10.

    Andy Murray is an "entity" on clay because he reached the QF of the French Open? Absolutely hilarious. To win the French Open has nothing to do with technique or power or maybe even talent. It requires "heart". Smapras was supremely talented but even he and his ego could not win 7 five set matches in a row at Roland Garros. Murray most definitely has some heart to reach a QF with a hard court game, but stop talking like he has any chance of ever winning a French Open when if he sneaks one of the hard court slams we'll thank god for it. Kuerton, Brugera, Nadal and even Federer have heart in abundance. Sampras in his day could beat anyone on any surface...yet his heart, (even in a puking fit at a home venue) would never see him through in France.

    The people you call Murray haters are actually very smart. Stop thinking that Fred Perry is reborn and realize that while Murray is better than Henman, he still has absolutely no chance ever of winning a French Open, or for that matter a clay court event. Which in other words makes him a non entity on clay. Good post tornandfrayed.

    And to anyone who tries to argue with me...."tutututututut".

  • Comment number 11.

    Murray plays a lot of defensive tennis, so dont really like him. But he won in the end, so fair play to him.
    Can only wonder what would have happened, had Gasquet been fit. He has a magnificient backhand, better than Federer's, even better than Henin's for that matter.

  • Comment number 12.

    I feel sorry for Gasquet. The lad's got a magnificent backhand and is immensely talented. I am sure he'll break into the top 10 once again very soon. It was unfortunate that fatigue got to him. The intensity of the match went down drastically after the 3rd set, that sort of took some sheen off the victory for Murray. Wish the organisers had postponed this match to Tuesday or Wednesday. We'd have had an even better match. Credit to Murray though, for hanging in there and believing in himself. He needs to up his first serve percentage and finish off points when he's got better court position during rallies.

  • Comment number 13.

    Can't believe this article! Did we actually see the same game? Never saw Murray playing so badly and if this is number 4, pretty poor is the ATP!

    Yes, Murray is extremelly fit but on the first game, amazing how he was out of breath after a slightly longer rally... You don't see that in the likes of Nadal!

    Gasquet just came from a win against Verdasco in Nice - not an excuse, but a fact - if Murray encounters half the quality of Gasquet in the next round, he is a gonner...

  • Comment number 14.

    There are so many clueless people.

    Teddy: why are you trying to dispute that Murray is one of the fittest guys on tour and mentally tough? If you were to ever listen to other players interviews they always pay tribute to Andy's fitness and mental toughness. I think I'm going to take the tour's lockerroom over your drivel and 'expertise'.

    You do realise Federer actually made that comment after JUST LOSING to Murray? Federer didn't like playing Murray and Murray got under his skin which was perfectly clear. He's got some measure of retribution now but he still doesn't like playing Murray (or Del Potro). They cause him too many problems at their best.

    People do realise Murray hit 64 winners in the match? 64 winners in a four hour match is quite high considering Gasquet folded in the last two sets. 64 winners to 41 unforced errors is a good return. Murray dominated Gasquet in every single stat yesterday, look on the Roland Garros website.

    I see so many comments that are just complete fabrication. McEnroe is one of Murray's biggest supporters, has often backed him in slams and has repetitively stated Murray can play every shot in the book. As for overrated on hardcourts (James_Band) he was the tour leader for winning proportion last year and won 4 masters series on hardcourt in around a year - which is incredible. Plus he's made two hardcourt slam finals. Murray has been going through a poor patch of form but to say he is 'overrated' is ridiculous. Clueless. sambloke, the less said about you the better.

  • Comment number 15.

    Non-entities on clay can go far at Roland Garros, Sampras got to the semi finals one year as did Tim Henman. Murray' game does not suit clay so lets not be too harsh on him by saying that if this the ATP's number 4 then shame on them. Muster was always in the top 3 going into Wimbledon but no one salted him for bombing out early.

    Murray is a good hard court player & a decent grass court player. Had the courts not slowed so much around the world we wouldnt see so many all court players these days. Nadal wouldnt win a Wimbledon on the older courts.

    Murray wont win here & we all expect a Nadal-Federer final with Rafa's (knees holding up) should triumph again. Murray would not have turned up here expecting much anyway, if he gets to the QF then that will be a bonus for his game at present. Novak isnt expecting much either, the gulf between the top 2 is mammoth at the slams these days so why not get behind Andy istead of slating him for not being as good as Roger or Rafa, yes his game is struggling but he has beaten all the top players in the slams with the exception of Federer, that means he has to have some talent.

  • Comment number 16.

    Well said, sirHellsBells. Murray had a great chance in the Australian open this year, but Federer is in a different class when it comes to Grand Slams. Looking forward to a Federer - Nadal final and for Federer to give more of a fight this time.

  • Comment number 17.

    The "non-entity" comments are pretty amusing. The reality is there is a group of about half a dozen players who are a cut above everyone else on clay. Murray isn't in this group, but he's not all that far behind; and with the second quarter drawn the way it is, he's a very decent bet for the semi-finals. And I would venture further, if most likely Federer comes through the first quarter, he would be quite pleased not to be facing Murray.

    As for the match yesterday, can't fault Murray's strategy to hang in there and outlast Gasquet. He played some decent tennis at times too, and whilst I was not quite as confident early in the third set that he would win, certainly once he'd won the third set, he was on his way.

    Stats-wise, the thing that stood out from the first two sets was how poorly Murray did on return - he was winning only around 25%, which is poor by his standards on any surface, let alone clay. But that also speaks to Gasquet's abilities, I'd be shocked if Chela isn't put under a whole lot more pressure on serve.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is a remarkably upbeat article considering how dire Andy Murray played. Yes he was fit enough to win over 5 sets but it didn't hurt that Gasquet had his last match only 2 days before. If you're the world number 4, you shouldn't be having epic matches in the first round of a grand slam.

    As for Murray being fancied at two sets down, I really think that's just our biased commentry. Fact is, at two sets and break up, Gasquet lost the match in the third set, Murray didn't win it. Are players ranked higher than in the 40s going to be so forgiving? I wouldn't bet on it.

  • Comment number 19.

    @CultofHandsome -- keep your hair on now.

    When you stop frothing at the mouth, re-read my post and you will notice I'm not denying Murray is fit (or one of the fittest) -- my initial gripe is with Overend, the Beeb Blogger, who makes a big deal out of Murray's fitness when the story of the game was how Gasquet is a serial five set loser, who always wilts, was injured, and fatigued (from winning in Nice) and always freezes when the going gets tough (he's lost 8 or 9 out of 9 or 10 five set matches I think).

    Secondly, even if Federer was being a poor loser, whenever he made that comment, the evidence is so far backing up his claims -- Murray hasn't won a grand slam because OF HIS STYLE -- not his fitness. He also hasn't been consistent. Incredible for a few months of last year now he's in the midst of a prolonged slump.

    Which brings me back to my final point in my initial post -- it's not that Murray isn't fit, he's not fit enough to play the way he does and win a Grand Slam at Roland Garros. It's too grueling. He's a great player and he needs to change his style if he wants to be as successful as Federer/ Nadal/ Other Grand Slam winners.

    Try and read people's posts before erupting so defensively on your champion's behalf.



  • Comment number 20.

    Can only wonder what would have happened, had Gasquet been fit.
    ---------------------------------------
    Gasquet is rarely fit so it's a mute point! There are plenty of attributes that go together to make a great tennis player. Fitness and mental strength are two of them. Gasquet has never had either. A shame because his shot-making ability is top 2-3 in the world.

  • Comment number 21.

    Some people are bonkers on here, 2 and a half sets of lights out tennis from both. Yet you still say Murray's rubbish. Not mentally strong, come off it. Who said berating the umpire, that was a causual convo about who was calling lets, cricky get real. Murray is one of the fittest, but there are better clay courters on tour than him teddy. And as he has said he may go and pratice more on clay. Which means at your a muppet as you most certainly did not say that in your opening post.

  • Comment number 22.

    @knowledge is good

    That's a pretty incomprehensible post -- not sure what you're on about or who you're talking to but my name is mentioned.

    "Murray is one of the fittest, but there are better clay courters on tour than him teddy. And as he has said he may go and pratice more on clay. Which means at your a muppet as you most certainly did not say that in your opening post."

    What didn't I say in my original post?

    Btw apart from the but where you call me a muppet, I agree with everything you just wrote.

    But worth bearing in mind -- if you could not only read but understand my post -- Murray doesn't need to just practice on clay (as you say he intends too), he needs to alter his style of play to go the distance at Roland Garros.

    Sod this, I'm off to watch tennis...

  • Comment number 23.

    Very sensible and playing it safe blog! A lot of strong and a bit too exaggerated opinions on here afterwards though.. Murray's fitness has improved a lot - agreed. He finds mental toughness from the fact that he hates losing.. it works for him.. if whinging, talking to himself and complaining fires him up then fair play, it gets the job done.

    What I can see is this.. Murray is one of the fittest but NOT as fit as Fed or Nadal.. Is this because Nadal and Fed work harder or are naturally 'put together better'?

    Murray never seems to want to change his game by much.. even Fed had to learn how to play the drop shot to succeed at the French (and what a drop shot it is now, a lot better than Murray's!).

    I think it is important for Murray to do OK in the tournament and take some momentum into the summer. If he stops at the same level he's going to win the US a couple times just by Fed slowing down and nadal's thighs finally imploding. I just hope he doesn't do a Roddick, obsess about beating Fed and slowly get worse. It's easy to dislike Murray and pick at his game more because he is very unlike-able!

  • Comment number 24.

    Dear lord there's some absolute toss written on these walls. Winning at Roland Garros has nothng to do with power, skill, talent but only heart? What a massive loads of utter balls. Sampras didn't win in Paris because his game was based on power, and power doesn't matter so much on clay. It was nothing to do with his heart, he didn't win it because his game wasn't as well suited to the surface.
    I happen to think that Murray does have the game to do well in Paris, I don't think he'll iwn it this year but his game is based on movement and skill not power. Traditionally thats what you need on clay, however others are more comfortable on the surface. He's not expected to win though, which means less pressure and I think that might benefit him.

    Gasquet has immense talent, but he has immense talent for the short and spectacular, his game is unsustainable. No one, not even Federer can play to that level for five sets, the difference being that Federer wouldn't need to, because he'd see it out in three. Murray beat a talented player because its a best of five sets not best of three. Saying that Gasquet was better for two sets and if he'd kept it up he'd have won means nothing. He didn't keep it up and he lost because he was beaten by a better player over the course of the match. Being great for two sets in a best of five is no good. Gasquet's standard slipped, Murrays did not. Gasquet tired, Murray did not. Its that simple. IF Gasquet had played the best tennis ever seen for three sets then he'd have beaten Murray 6-0 6-0 6-0, but he didn't did he. So the better player won.

    I really don't see why that is so difficult for some people to comprehend

  • Comment number 25.

    Gasquet is rarely fit so it's a mute point!

    Its moot point, not mute

  • Comment number 26.

    Andy Murray is a more uncouth version of Tim Henman. He can compete with the best in the World, but will never win a Major.

  • Comment number 27.

    If you know anything about tennis you will know that tight matches are more often won/lost in the head. When there is very little to separate the two in terms of ability it comes down to mental strength and fitness. Murray had both last night. The non entity chat is frankly rubbish. There is no reason Murray can't adapt his game to be a very good clay court player. His defensive game is brilliant - just what you need on a clay court. And to say Murray is 'overated' on a hard court is more nonsense. He's been to the final of the aussie and the US and has only been stopped by arguably the best player ever to play the game. Murray has the ability to be like Agassi - i.e. win on every surface. You only have to listen to the top players/coaches to realise how highly rated he is.

  • Comment number 28.

    Murray was knocked out by Gonzalez last year. A player with one big shot (forehand to Gasquet's backhand). However Gonzalez has the 'heart' and 'fitness' that people are talking about.
    I don't think Murray can progress past the qtr finals this year unless the draw is highly favourable. He will come unstuck against the more natural clay courters.
    I also don't think that Murray is mentally strong. It is a great achievement to reach two slam finals however you are going to have to beat Rog or Raf to win a grandslam.

  • Comment number 29.

    Wow - some really negative comments about Murray's performance yesterday (most of which you can disregard immediately). Unlike most of the people on here, I actually watched the game yesterday.

    The first two sets of tennis were played at an exceptionally high standard and Gasquet came out on top. Murray played some great tennis in patches and, as he's a better all-round tennis player, he came out on top.

    I think people need to remember this was Murray's first match and look at the level of opponent he was playing. It's not very often you'll see a game of this quality at such an early stage of any major competition. How many times do you hear players saying they need to 'do enough' to win the early games and then play their best tennis as the competition progresses. Murray wasn't afforded that luxury yesterday.

    Chela won't be anywhere nearly as tough a test and I'd expect Murray to come through in three. I can't see Murray winning RG (the semis is probably the best he can possibly hope for) - but to say things like he's a 'non-entity on clay' or 'overrated' is frankly ridiculous.

  • Comment number 30.

    #10 And to anyone who tries to argue with me...."tutututututut".

    Sambloke noone is going to argue with you will only bring us down to your level and beat us with experience.

  • Comment number 31.

    Solid, 2 things, Gonzo played brilliantly which is what happens everytime Murray gets Ko'd from a slam plus as he admits he played too short against him. Secondly semi final is a go, because A) Berdych is not comjfortable on clay apparently and hasn't looked the same since MC. B) Tsonga well his not on form and doesn't do well at RG hence he went to 5 sets and the most natural clay courter left in his bit before the semis is Chela who Murray has his number.Fergie well said, but lets extend it to 2 and a half sets of lights out tennis.

  • Comment number 32.

    "He's lucky Gasquet is such a flake, fatigued and generally out of shape"

    I would've thought that Murray knew before the match exactly how Gasquet was likely to play, and that he was pretty certain to staert brilliantly and then run out of (mental and physical) steam as the match wore on...

    To me it is good match play tactics to exploit your opponent's weaknesses- against this opponent a tactic of hanging on in the early stages and then using superior fitness to grind him down once the early storm has blown out seems perfect.

  • Comment number 33.

    Watched the match yesterday, both players played very well for the first two and a half sets. If Gasquet could of maintained that form for 10-15 more minutes the match would of been his. Saying that Murray did outlast him and took the game away in the forth and fifth sets.

    personally I can't see anything thing but a Federer/Nadal final. Hoping Fed to win again.

  • Comment number 34.

    Murray absolutely can win on clay. Agassi surprised himself when he won the French Open and Murray is more than capable of doing the same. I truly don't understand the few churlish comments about Murray as he is a magnificent player. The mentality of some armchair critics dismays me. I have only the greatest respect for the top players in the world. They all rate Murray highly and their opinion is based on knowledge and the actual experience of playing against Andy. Good luck to Murray from an admiring, appreciative fellow Brit.

  • Comment number 35.

    Andy Murray may be very fit physically but mentally he's as weak as ever. If he doesn't change his attitude and get a grip of his emotions and self belief he may as well retire now and save us the pain of watching another also ran from Britian. Also I'm sure lip readers are very impressed with is colourful language which I like many others don't need to see or hear from a professional sportsman.

    I have watched tennis for over forty years I have seen the Brits come and go and he is no different from all the others in recent history. I firmly beleive he will never win a slam but if he ever does I will do cartwheels naked through my home town.

    I watched the match yesterday and was and still am flabergasted at his performance and poor doesn't even describe it. Gasquet was tired and Murray couldn't take advantage - he should have sewn the match up in three sets. Opening in a five set match is nor very promising to say the least. What will happen in the next round is anybody's guess. Mine however, is pack your bags Andy to be ready for the next plane out of Paris.

    I'm Scottish and should I think be singing his praises but................

  • Comment number 36.

    To say that Nadal has never been "out of breath" is a joke! Did you not see him play Murray a couple of years ago? Nadal was about to throw up! All we hear are you lot constantly putting the guy down. Isn't this the same Brit who's reached 2 grand slam finals only to lose to the greatest player that's ever lived? I just wish you would give the guy a break. If Gasquet isn't fit enough, then that's his problem. I say, "good tactics!!". And to all you Nadal lovers out there, he only has one game and that's brute force and picking his backside! No-one can handle Murray on his day. He's proved this in the past. So give the guy a break and get behind him. Anyone would think none of us are British. You'll be saying that Wayne Rooney isn't that good soon! You're all born in a world of negativity. It's time to start getting passionate about being British and it's time to start getting behind our ONLY tennis superstar.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ #18, "If you're the world number 4, you shouldn't be having epic matches in the first round of a grand slam."

    Really? When it's not your best surface, and you're playing against a top-10 player with an artificially-low world ranking who's just won 2 tourneys on the bounce on clay? Did Gasquet play worse out of deference to the ranking system?

    I'd go so far as to say that Gasquet was favourite for this match. Any kind of victory is a bonus in my mind, even if the knockers did already have the fatigue excuse lined up.

  • Comment number 38.

    Oh, and Ziggyboy, I heard a rumour that tennis is occasionally played at venues other than SW19. Your "mentally weak" boy (as others have pointed out, his competitors take the opposite view) has won 4 Masters' Series tournaments, just one step down from your precious Slams, and lost 2 Slam finals to the greatest player who ever lived, which is nothing to be ashamed of, in my view.

    I do wonder what you lot will do with yourselves when he finally wins one...

  • Comment number 39.

    Also I'm sure lip readers are very impressed with is colourful language which I like many others don't need to see or hear from a professional sportsman.

    I have watched tennis for over forty years I have seen the Brits come and go and he is no different from all the others in recent history. I firmly beleive he will never win a slam but if he ever does I will do cartwheels naked through my home town.

    I watched the match yesterday and was and still am flabergasted at his performance and poor doesn't even describe it. Gasquet was tired and Murray couldn't take advantage - he should have sewn the match up in three sets. Opening in a five set match is nor very promising to say the least. What will happen in the next round is anybody's guess. Mine however, is pack your bags Andy to be ready for the next plane out of Paris.
    ______________________

    Don't know what your problem is. I lip read, and I don't mind the naughties it enhances the experience for me as I can gain more about someones frame of mind by reading what they are saying. Really poor match Ziggy. What were you watching for the first 2 and a half sets. I was watching lights out tennis from both, apparently your still watching Evo's last rubber decider from a few months ago. But hay what do I expect from a Murray hater, wanna moan at Tsonga who had a low ranker and went to 5. BTW he will win in 3 tomorrow.

  • Comment number 40.

    #18 ericstevens..... "Are players ranked higher than in the 40s going to be so forgiving? I wouldn't bet on it"
    The only reason why Gasquet is not a top 40 player right now is that he was banned for using drugs, had the verdict overturned, and dropped down the rankings. He was No. 1 junior and World Junior Champion in 2002, winning Roland Garros (d. Recouderc) and US Open (d. Baghdatis). A far better pedigree than AM.
    What people like "ericstevens" obvioulsy don't know, or remember, or just want to forget, is that Gasquet, who I like as a player, was ranked in the TOP 20 for 3 years and has a highest ranking of #8 in the world.
    So, my advice to you is..... don't blog until you know what you are writing about.

  • Comment number 41.

    #35 ziggyboy. Since 2006 : Won-234 Lost-83. Won 14 titles including 4 Masters (2009). Prize Money : $11,145,942.
    The rest of the players on the ATP Tour must be real crap.

    "I'm Scottish and should I think be singing his praises but................"
    What harm did Andy Murry ever do to you? Are you just one of those sour misrable Scots that just has to put a fellow Scot down or hate to see anyone doing better than you?
    I bet you would really hate to be in Andy's position!!!!
    And if you know your geography you'll know where I come from.

  • Comment number 42.

    Murray will win many Grand Slams. That is a fact. To many people on this site want to slag the poor lad. He is only 21 or 22 & has at least 5 years to prove you Murray doubters wrong. I hope you all come back on the site and appoligise or congratulate the lad. He is trying his best.

  • Comment number 43.

    Whatever anyone else says about Murray, I am impressed by his performance today. He was firing at maybe 70% for the first 2 sets against an inspired Gasquet at 147%, yet he never felt far behind. You felt he could stick on Gasquet's coat tails for as long as needed and eventually pull it back. Without his magnificent effort in the first 2 sets Gasquet may well have closed out the third set and never hit that "Wall". Murray did pull it back, and in fine style, keeping his concentration right until the end, I say Bravo.

    Whats impressive, is not the quality of his tennis (Good, not great, can get better and will naturally during the course of the tournament; Its the first round.. geez) it was the display of his concentration and will that shows he is putting everything into this tournament, despite it not being his favourite surface. Murray is my pick for the Semi-Final, and I will be surprised if he doesn't put up one hell of a fight if he gets there.

  • Comment number 44.

    re No.38, Tim...

    Well said as usual. When Murray does win a Slam, my guess is these characters will berate the guy for only doing it once...twice, three times...etc etc ad nauseum. Remember kids, as our PM once said, too many tweets (sic) make a tw*t!

    Most observers seem to agree the quality of tennis was pretty high for much of the Gasquet game. Agreed Andy needs to sharpen his serve - but he'll get there.

    Now for Chela.

  • Comment number 45.

    39. At 6:26pm on 25 May 2010, knowledge is good wrote:

    knowledge is good - Who is this guy? Been watching tennis for forty years and hasn't learnt a thing, what a waste of good blog space and reader's time !!

  • Comment number 46.

    Er I didn't write that apologise and try again

 

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