BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend

Archives for May 2012

Murray brilliant, lucky and still in with a chance

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Jonathan Overend | 20:04 UK time, Thursday, 31 May 2012

At Roland Garros

Andy Murray loves his boxing and will have seen many a bout end with the corner man throwing in the towel, for the protection of his fighter.

If that option existed in tennis then perhaps Murray wouldn't still be in the French Open.
Dani Vallverdu, the world number four's travelling coach, hitting partner and confidant, was on his feet at the end of an agonising first set. Murray could hardly move, grimacing after virtually every point, and was patting serves over the net like an amateur.

I don't know who it was - Vallverdu or perhaps one of his physical team - but at least one person wanted him to stop. Murray was unable to compete, slapping the ball like a beaten man, and it seemed pointless being out there. Ivan Lendl was saying nothing, but "save yourself Andy" appeared to be the message from at least one of the others.

"I kind of heard them saying stuff," Murray told BBC Sport, "but I was zoned out, I was gone mentally.

"I was just looking at the ground, just didn't know what to think, so I wasn't really hearing. I think they were telling me to stop. I looked up at them after the first set and they didn't really want me to keep going."

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Let's be optimistic yet realistic

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Jonathan Overend | 18:27 UK time, Friday, 25 May 2012

At Roland Garros

A photographer in the media conference room, disregarding common courtesy and unwritten media protocol, stops Andy Murray on his way out.

"Picture, Andy?" he grunts, attractively.

Clearly insufficient to this sweaty irritant are the millions of available photos of the world number four. Murray must feel like kicking him in the tripod. Instead he pauses and poses.

Sometimes silly things like this help assess Murray's mood and state of mind ahead of big tournaments. He was in a grump in Rome, by all accounts, but here he is chatty, obliging and as upbeat as we can ever expect.

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Nadal & Djokovic give Santana the blues

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Jonathan Overend | 10:40 UK time, Friday, 11 May 2012

What on earth was Manolo Santana thinking?

Here was the Madrid Open tournament director sitting in the front row of the press conference room, stony faced and unnmoved, listening to his number one seed launch into a measured, yet scathing attack on the controversial new blue clay courts.

The process involved in turning the clay blue from its traditional red has made the court feel much slicker.

Novak Djokovic, fresh from a close win over Stanislas Wawrinka and warming to his theme of the week, claimed the winner of the tournament is likely to be the player who doesn't get hurt. He then confirmed that he wouldn't return next year unless the surface reverted to traditional clay.

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