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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."

Andy Murray

Murray overcame a significant injury scare to reach the French Open third round with victory over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen. Photo: Getty

He kept going. He turned it round. He ended up winning comfortably, according to the scoreboard.

Hours earlier, in an apartment just off the Champs-Elysees, Murray rose to a grey morning with a muscle in spasm in the lower left side of his back.

It wasn't too bad in the morning, practising on Court Philippe Chatrier at 9am, ("not great, but not terrible") but the real pain hit during his warm-up behind the scenes at 10.25am.

He found himself on an exercise bike saying to his team "I can't believe this is happening". He talked about quitting there and then.

Physio Andy Ireland, one of the best in the business, assured him the muscle spasm was unconnected to the back issues he's been occasionally suffering from this year, so the decision was made to play.

And as Ivan Ljubicic, the recently retired world number three, told me later in the day, chances were that it was only going to improve as the match went on. The decision to play and the decision to keep playing, Ljubicic thinks, was absolutely correct.

"Back spasm is something that hurts, something that prevents you from giving your best, but it's also the kind of injury that only gets better," he said. "I'm sure in the next round he's going to feel a lot better, so the big scare was today."

And what a scare it was.

I confess to having the same thought as virtually everyone else during that traumatic first hour and a half: what's the point in this?

With a massive summer ahead, Murray was stubbornly going through the motions and getting a thrashing because he couldn't put weight on his left leg.

Was Murray maybe, in a warped kind of way, enjoying the challenge of beating a potentially combustible Nieminen on skill alone? He was patting the serves over but was often winning the rallies, out-thinking and out-hitting the Finn.

Nieminen was suddenly looking to his box for help. At change of ends he started walking towards the net rather than to his chair. He looked like a man desperate to receive a resignation handshake to relieve the stress for everyone.

As Murray started to loosen up, the pain easing and the shots flowing, Nieminen got more and more spooked by the situation. He started double-faulting and netting smashes, and even hit thin air with a drive-volley.

Nieminen later said: "It looked like he could hardly walk. It's not often someone looks that bad and can keep going."

Murray certainly left the crowd in no doubt about how he was feeling, and his problems certainly messed with his opponent's mind. Hard to play football against 10 men? Sometimes it's hard to play tennis against an injured opponent.

"It was his fault for letting me back in," said Murray in his press conference. "I didn't do anything special."

Murray did brilliantly to turn the match around. He didn't necessarily believe he was going to win, wasn't immune to the idea of quitting in the second set and, let's be honest, he was lucky to survive.

He, like most others, couldn't believe Nieminen's inability to make him pay. Next time he sees him, he should offer that handshake and say thanks for the gift.

But most importantly he remains in the tournament and, if the back improves, can still wish for a successful run in Paris. He thrashed his next opponent, Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, when they met on the clay of Barcelona last month.

Remember he twisted an ankle 12 months ago but was let off the hook by Michael Berrer in the third round? The recovery from two sets down against Viktor Troicki in the last 16? The crutches, the broken tooth...

As drama follows Andy Murray around Roland Garros, for the second successive year, he remains in with a chance here.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Not to sure Jonathan, that Murray's victory despite the circumstances in which it was achieved deserves a rather pointless blog like this. Personally, I believe its a mere waste of time and space.

  • Comment number 2.

    Surely Murray must pull out and get his back fully sorted for Wimbledon and US Open.

    He has no chance of ever winning the French.

    With Lendl in his camp now for six months, he has the best chance he has ever had of cracking his majors duck either at Wim or US, and to jeopordise this in an event he has no chance of winning is ludicrous....

  • Comment number 3.

    "I believe its a mere waste of time and space." - Much like your comment then, Federer_legend…

    The comments from Andy and Jaarko are interesting and it will be just as interesting to see how Andy does against Giraldo.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.


    Maybe interesting to see if his injury get's worse, but pretty damn stupid with Wimbledon 4 weeks away......

  • Comment number 6.

    @ amigos
    Ivan Ljubicic doesn't appear to think it is "pretty damn stupid". He doesn't appear to even rate the back spasm as an 'injury'. and he knows a thing or two about tennis and tennis related injuries.

  • Comment number 7.

    I hope Andy does not do anything stupid, if his back is going to cause him this much pain in matches then i would rather he withdrew and recovered for a tournament that he has a decent chance of winning, Wimbledon for example.

    Nadal in this form is unbeatable.

  • Comment number 8.

    @6....Ljubicic fine player and a man who obviously knows his back injuries...

    BUT, Murray has been struggling with back problems all season and with clay been such a gruelling surface and a potential draw of Gasquet,Ferrer,Nadal and Djorkovic, i think the sensible thing to do would be to save himself for the 2 slams he has a realistic chance of winning.

  • Comment number 9.

    Andy should pull out- if his back was perfect he would struggle against ferrer and would have no chance with nadal.

    Pull out, cancel Queens and take a nice few weeks rest and put your all into wimbledon.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's always good to see Andy go through to the next round and hopefully he will reach the final in this tournament.
    I do feel for him with regards to his back problem and now on top of that he is suffering with spasms in his back.
    If anybody here can contact him, please ask him and his team to research the use of "Quinine" for his back spasms and any nerve pain. Yes Quinine is used to treat Malaria.
    I lived in Africa for 37 years and had chronic back problems I had suffered for 10 years and 8 back operations. Eventually with no success with surgery for pain relief my orthopedic surgeon did his research and gave me a course of Quanine. Needless to say I don't suffer anymore. I get the odd set of spasms and twitching in both my lower back and legs, as the UK doctors won't give me Quanine I drink a bottle of tonic water and this seems to help out.
    Sorry if this has gone off subject about tennis and turned into a medical advise issue, but I do need someone to suggest this to Andy's team before he ends up giving up playing altogether

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, if you had the foresight and/or the balls, you could have got 4.4 on Betfair for Murray to beat Nieminen.

    At the start he was 1.06.

    Who says you can't get good odds on Top 4 players in the first three rounds of a slam, eh?!

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm no expert. but maybe UK doctors are right in not giving you Quinine. Wikipedia says

    Quinine can, in therapeutic doses, cause cinchonism; in rare cases, it may even cause death (usually by pulmonary edema). The development of mild cinchonism is not a reason for stopping or interrupting quinine therapy and the patient should be reassured. Blood glucose levels and electrolyte concentrations must be monitored when quinine is given by injection. The patient should ideally be in cardiac monitoring when the first quinine injection is given (these precautions are often unavailable in developing countries where malaria is endemic).
    Cinchonism is much less common when quinine is given by mouth, but oral quinine is not well tolerated (quinine is exceedingly bitter and many patients will vomit after ingesting quinine tablets): Other drugs such as Fansidar (sulfadoxine (sulfonamide antibiotic) with pyrimethamine) or Malarone (proguanil with atovaquone) are often used when oral therapy is required. Quinine ethyl carbonate is tasteless and odourless,[20] but is available commercially only in Japan. Blood glucose, electrolyte and cardiac monitoring are not necessary when quinine is given by mouth.
    Quinine can cause paralysis if accidentally injected into a nerve. It is extremely toxic in overdose, and the advice of a poisons specialist should be sought immediately.
    Quinine in some cases can lead to constipation, erectile dysfunction or diarrhea.

  • Comment number 13.

    His back, his career, his decision. Get off his case, please!

  • Comment number 14.

    Once you get over the fact that he'll never win a slam, watching Murray can be quite enjoyable.

  • Comment number 15.

    It makes good drama. What with the Williams match and that French girl trying to win with cramp and this ,it all makes for good television.
    Murray has more medical advice and help than most of us,so I expect he'll be OK.
    Interesting about Quinine. I must go easy on the gin and tonic.

  • Comment number 16.

    Murray will win a Grand Slam but it will not be the French. I think that his bravery was admirable . Not many players would have kept going. He is far from favourite now though and should not continue on.

  • Comment number 17.

    Name on the trophy.

  • Comment number 18.

    V.Wade, Annabel Croft and G.Rusedski all called Murray for his "antics". I suggest they know what he was up to. "Drama queen" is spot on. As for why he would be play acting ? Who knows but it certainly caught the attention of the media and the BBC in particular have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. His miraculous 20 minute recovery from what appeared to be a career threatening injury was just astounding ;) Some call me cynical. I call them naive.

  • Comment number 19.

    Lets get real here people, have you ever seen such a comeback in such circumstances in a tennis match. Pure talent and belief got Murray through. Murray knows his own body and when to stop, he is no mug. He is surrounded by the best medical experts money can buy and he will take their advice! Im not worried about future grand slams for Murray at this time. If he plays tomorrow the injury is not as bad as were being led to believe. No doubt we will find out today the real truth today.

  • Comment number 20.

    Murray has proved he is not a quitter - hopefully he will think long and hard about what is best for him before the next round.

    No point aggravating an injury at this point of the season.

  • Comment number 21.

    anyone watching the french coverage with itv.i personally think they are doing a great job.the ads are annoying but you get use to them.jim courier is amazing,so insightful,tells it as it is and funny please bbc get rid of biased fed lover henman and get him fabrice santoro and amelie mauresmo are great aswell.john inverdale is professional as always .i was gutted the bbc gave up on the rights but the itv are doing a million times better job than the bbc ever did.

    murray oh murray why do you do this to your loyal fans,jim courier was saying during the match if it was him he wouldnt of even showed up and focused on wimbledon/olympics/us open.maybe murray is arrogant or just confident but he knows deep down he isnt going to win this slam,too many big hitters who wont miss when murray wants and needs them too and of course the big 3 or the big 1 as nadal isnt going to be beaten if yesterdays match was anything to go by

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    I thoroughly pee'd-off by the 'Andy will never win a slam' and 'what's the point in continuing, when Nadal is unstoppable' comments.
    What stupid stupid individuals you are!!!!
    If we were to avoid taking part in tournaments that on paper were a foregone conclusion, then all participants bar Nadal wouldn't bother competing, and we'd not be watching many matches take place..........
    Should we then be saying that Engurland should stay at home in the coming Euros, cos on paper they have no chance????
    If AM feels he can play, albeit on one leg, then I'll support him to the end....... Cos he's UKs only realistic hope for a slam this lifetime.......
    GO ANDY!!!

    ps. I also love the way these same posters dismiss the majority of Professional tennis players whom we see regularly in the ATP tour, and label them as 'poor' or 'no-hopers'.......... these players would beat you or me standing on one leg (and blind folded).

  • Comment number 24.

    At 22:44 31st May 2012, Federer_legend wrote:

    Not to sure Jonathan, that Murray's victory despite the circumstances in which it was achieved deserves a rather pointless blog like this. Personally, I believe its a mere waste of time and space.
    Why bother with that comment, if it doesn't interest you, don't read it. Your comment was only interesting for your "unusual" punctuation.

  • Comment number 25.

    At 09:31 1st Jun 2012, Kristofferson wrote:

    ps. I also love the way these same posters dismiss the majority of Professional tennis players whom we see regularly in the ATP tour, and label them as 'poor' or 'no-hopers'.......... these players would beat you or me standing on one leg (and blind folded).


    Completely agree with what you say, one of the most sensible comments I've seen posted on here. why is it when A British sporsman plays we get people putting them down. What is it with this 'British' mentality of accepting second best?! Murray is top 4 in the world only behind probably the best 3 tennis players of all time. If he doesn't win a slam, so what? He's working damn hard for it and he should be lauded for his skills not derided!!

  • Comment number 26.

    So irritated by assertions Murray will "never will a Slam". Utter rubbish. He's shown he has the beating of any of the top 3; as long as he remains #4 or better, will never play all three of them in one tournament; and has in fact beaten two of the top 3 en route to one of his Masters wins in the US. Adding Lendl to his team could well be the tipping-point. His time will most certainly come. (And my money would be on the Australian or the US).

  • Comment number 27.

    Ever since we first saw him at Queens doing that weird thing children do when they're losing or finding it tough of pretending your injured or exhausted this shouldnt be a surprise.

    He's always been a drama queen and always will be. Whenever he's losing he looks injured. The only bit of respect i have for him is (unlike Djokovic) he does carry on btu it's the pretence everytime he's losing that he's somehow exhausted or injured that's really annoying too watch.

    He's just incredibly unlikeable. Saying that i do think he has the capabilites to win a slam as he is a very good tennis player. There is certainly a sizeable gap between him and the top 3 and him and number 5 but Fed will diminsh soon and then he may only have to beat one of Djokovic or Nadal to win a slam.

  • Comment number 28.

    Roger Federer: 16 time Grand Slam Champion, held the record for most weeks as World Number 1, completed the Grand Slam, probably the best tennis player ever.

    Rafa Nadal: 10 time Grand Slam champion, Former world No.1, completed the Grand Slam, probably the best clay court player ever.

    Novak Djokovic: 5 time Grand Slam winner, World Number 1, 40+ match undefeated streak in 2011, holds 3/4 Grand slam titles.

    Andy Murray: Has a mound named after him at Wimbledon. Mum gets more camera time at Wimby than most tennis players

  • Comment number 29.

    "He's just incredibly unlikeable."

    Get a grip...... you may not like his body language, but he does you no harm.
    Check out the antics of J Terry or J Barton and then you'll see sportsmen who are "incredibly unlikeable".........
    AM not even close, or in the same league as these thugs.

  • Comment number 30.

    "Novak Djokovic: 5 time Grand Slam winner, World Number 1, 40+ match undefeated streak in 2011, holds 3/4 Grand slam titles."

    Yes.... and Andy Murray was one of only a couple of players who brought his winning streak to an abrupt end.........

  • Comment number 31.


    Who said i thought JT was a likeable character?

    Murray's dour attitude during interviews, his appalling body language on the court and his constant moaning mean, me personally, (no idea bout anyone else) find him incredibly hard to like.

  • Comment number 32.

    I reckon he's just getting his excuses out of the way early for when Nadal crushes him in straight sets in the semis.

    But I really don't see the point in this blog, are we going to get a full detailed report of Federer overcoming the age barrier to haul himself into contention? Nadal's injuries and how he never uses them as an excuse for losing? I highly doubt it, because they arn't an overrated Brit.

    Maybe if Murray quit his whinging, just got on with it and accepted losses as just being beaten by a better tennis player I would respect him like Federer and Nadal. I fear that day will never come.

  • Comment number 33.


    Yes.... and Andy Murray was one of only a couple of players who brought his winning streak to an abrupt end.........


    Only one player can bring a winning streak to an end and that was Federer in the Semi Final of last years French Open.

  • Comment number 34.

    Incredibly brave or incredibly stupid? Probably both but this match will benefit Murray greatly in the future. When the going gets tough and everything (everybody?) is against him he can look back on this match and know that he can win despite the odds. Sensible people would have pulled out but since when are winners sensible....

  • Comment number 35.

    Federer_legend. do Brits we have this unashamedly biased approach to some of our sports writing here and backing of so called "greats" from these shores when they are from the word "great". Wade vs Murray will have legs. People seem to forget that when Novak had this spell of complaining on court but getting through or not, people jumped on him as a whinger and all sorts. Murray is the exact same of the not worse. Drama queen.....maybe he should have a jubilee celebration of his own this weekend. The diva probably feels he deserves one. Lying flat on his back then scrunching his face every 5 seconds when he has run around winning a point, is detreimental to his image. after the dire 1st set he played, he still managed to make sure everybody knew he was in agony but easily defeated his opponent. is he looking for sympathy? if he is, its pathetic. its mroe like a fail safe ploy so he can say, WHEN he gets knocked out of the tournament, that my back really hurts. well boo hoo murray. grit your teeth and get on with it. Take your inspiration from boxers who are true warriors who sometimes fight with broken hands to get through their endurance battle. British sporting rpess tend to protect all their own, yet when Drogba rolls around 5 times per minute (as per the first leg against Barca in this seasons champions league) he was berated by everyone. yet when Murray does it and wins, he is a Warrior.....what utter rubbish. he will remain in teh midst of mediocrity till he wins a grand slam and even then i only see it happeneningwhen the other big 3 are knocked out prior to a final i.e default.

  • Comment number 36.

    Andy can't win. If he wins a match in 3 sets, people complain that he didn't win 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 and if shows a never die attitude when injured, people say he should of quit, yet these are the same people who would be calling him a quitter if he had.

    At 31. I guess you find Tsonga exciting? but his achievements are nothing compared to AM

    Titles JWT - 8 AM - 22

    Aus JWT - Final Once AM - Final Twice

    French JWT - 4R twice AM - SF Once

    Wim JWT - QF once AM - SF three times

    US JWT - Final once AM - Final Once

    It just shows that you don't have to be interesting in your interviews or exciting to be good.

  • Comment number 37.

    #32. spot on. my point exactly.

  • Comment number 38.

    Have seen Murray grimacing a lot before (more so than other players) and thought, "what's up with him now!?", but sorry no how or no way can I see yesterday as him being a 'drama queen' or 'acting'.

  • Comment number 39.

    V Wade's drama queen comment was about how the other guy must see it, and she is clearly right, it is very offputting. Murray's tennis is ugly to watch and that is partly due to his ungainly posture. I remember years ago Sunderland footballers being trained in posture by ballet dance coaches - he could do a lot worse.

  • Comment number 40.

    I suffer from back spasms and when one hits I cant even move. I stand there stock still waiting for it to pass, and once its passed I am often in pain for hours afterwards. If you call someone a drama queen for looking in pain in the middle of a back spasm then you have no idea. Think about the worst cramp you've ever had, multply it by 10 and stick it on the part of your body that supports everything else.

  • Comment number 41.

    Off topic but wanted to comment on the excellent coverage on ITV4. They're giving it the sort of coverage the BBC give Wimbledon - in that they have all day coverage, an onsite 'studio', have interviews, experts etc. It's added a whole new dimension for me to see another slam covered in this manner, am really enjoying it!

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    Murray does his back in - and carries on and wins.

    Well done?

    No - he should've quit because he has no chance of winning the title!

    (So everyone else might as well quit - as Nadal is a certainty - like Barca were).

    Maybe it's because he isn't like that, that he's number 4 in the world? (behind 3 of the best there's ever been).

    Oh and we don't like him because he sounds miserable - well I probably would be if I was asked the same boring questions over and over again. Maybe he should start giving Cantona answers and wear a false nose? Would that make him interesting?

  • Comment number 44.

    #42 - so the only way anyone can convince you that they are genuinely injured is to quit? By that reasoning nobody could ever be classed as a fighter. I remember Baghdatis playing through cramps. He couldnt even serve he just underarmed the ball on his serve waiting for it to pass and then tried to finish the match. Sometimes these guys just won't quit. Someone above said that a true warrior is someone that can box with a broken hand. I reckon playing tennis after a back spasm is just as bad.

  • Comment number 45.

    #44 i am not sayign he should have quit. he obviously wasnt in that much of pain if he jumped back up and won 3 sets in a row. maybe his drama teacher should have told him "look Andy, you have bee on your backside a lot in the first set, dont win all the next 3 with ease as it looks dodgy, win the next, and drop the next after that so it looks like you are truly a plucky Brit". but by winning 3sets on the trot for me it stinks of gamesmanship. Wade was right to criticise him.

  • Comment number 46.

    It seems like murray is playing on just to save a few ranking points, can't see any logic other than that.

    Giraldo is a pretty solid clay-courter but Im sure murray believes that he could probably beat him with his left hand and sore back

    obviously he doesn't want to drop too many of the points he got by reaching the semi's last year so he may just be figuring that playing through the next match at 50-60 % is a worthwhile risk to protect a few points.

    wouldn't be surprised to see him beat giraldo then pull out ahead of a potential 4th round with Gasquet, who would cause an injured murray far more problems.

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 - ok my last comment on this then back to work. Back spasms are similar to cramp. A few minutes of excruciating sharp pain followed by hours of a more throbbing pain. Once its passed it still hurts like heck but you're not crippled the way you were whilst it was happening.

  • Comment number 48.

    Neither Federer or Nadal have completed the Grand Slam, according to Wikipedia -
    I think you mean 'Career Grand Slam', which isn't quite the same...

  • Comment number 49.

    I cannot believe the lack of respect for Andy Murray and for tennis players generally shown by many people on this blog. Clearly many of you have no idea what it takes to become a professional tennis player. As a professional in an individual sport you are totally exposed. You have no team mates to help you out, no half-time team talk, no options to get substituted if you get a knock and no place to hide from the cameras. It is brutal.

    In a few years time when Murray is past his best, when Federer and Nadal have gone, we will come to realize that we are now living through the greatest ever era in men's tennis. In the case of Federer and Nadal we have two of the finest sporting ambassadors that you could possibly witness. It is Andy Murray's misfortune (or fortune) to be playing in this era. Just because he doesn't show the grace, the magnanimity, the humility of Nadal does not mean that we have any right at all to criticise his public persona.

    And just one more thing. Fourth in the world makes him about twenty places higher than Britain's best footballer. He is a massive talent.

    Come on Andy!

  • Comment number 50.

    God there's some blinkered idiots on here, don't judge Murray by what are apparently your own poor values, there is no way Murray would feign an injury to get some sympathy from the watching public. Not sure if he is correct to carry on in the tournament though I guess he knows his own body. I think one day he will get a grand slam (US probably) but it might well have to involve a bit luck with one of the big 3 being injured. He's certainly the best British player in many years and much better then Henman.

  • Comment number 51.

    A muscle spasm is not only very painful, but debilitating as well - but it can end suddenly with no lasting damage. It takes real courage to play through it. How many of Murray's detractors here have ever suffered one, let alone forced themselves to keep going until it wore off?

  • Comment number 52.

    @ 30 - Yes lucky, Djoko was playing with a back injury at the time and at 50%

  • Comment number 53.

    @ Sports_Guru

    People calling Murray a 'mediocre' player either know nothing about the sport or just hate him. It can't just be me who thinks calling someone ranked #4 in the world 'mediocre' or 'average' ridiculous?

  • Comment number 54.

    @53maybe its just due to the fact that the top3 in the world are so far ahead of anyone else thath potentially has ever been, espcially the case with Fed, that anyone beneath them does look mediocre. ifeel Andy plays to get opints for rankings hence is up there at number 4.

    to say that you he is the best british tennis player there has ever been is like saying that you are the best player in Barnet FC(no offence Barnet fans). the best of a rubbish bunch basically.

    i dont hate Murray dont get me wrong. yes i dislike his general personna and attitude of "i hate life and everyone s goign to die so whats the point in smiling" kind of thing he has got going on. its not winning him fans thats for sure but i am sure that is not why he picked up a tennis racket in teh first place. i am simply saying he is nto good enough and to me it seems like he does these face cringes so he can use it as an excuse when he eventually gets knocked out of the Slams.

    i think Murray tries to come off as an angry young man, with so much doom and gloom, especially in press calls and interviews, but without him realising its the way he plays at times. not much flare, he kicks himself a bit too much when the going is tough. he has this self destruct button constantly pressed down.

  • Comment number 55.

    18.At 08:46 1st Jun 2012, fatClyde wrote:
    V.Wade, Annabel Croft and G.Rusedski all called Murray for his "antics". I suggest they know what he was up to. "Drama queen" is spot on. As for why he would be play acting ? Who knows but it certainly caught the attention of the media and the BBC in particular have fallen for it hook, line and sinker. His miraculous 20 minute recovery from what appeared to be a career threatening injury was just astounding ;) Some call me cynical. I call them naive.

    Anyone who has suffered from cramp and muscle spasms will know that they can be very painful - and also temporary.

    I am certain that Murray was in agony from them and it was no 'tactic' to unsettle his opponent. The idea is ludicrous because why put yourself 1-6 2-4 down?

    I'm sorry but the comments from the likes of Wade, Croft etc are basically 'British stiff upper lip' nonsense.

    I don't really like Murray but to find criticism of him because of his reaction to a muscle spasm is ridiculously unfair.

  • Comment number 56.

    At 46

    "It seems like murray is playing on just to save a few ranking points, can't see any logic other than that. "

    Before Doj became the world class player he is now, he use to enter every tournament under the sun just to collect ranking points to say a number 3.

  • Comment number 57.

    Andy Murray is No.4 in the world, a position he has held consistently. These players don't ham it up for the cameras - this isn't Premiership football. He struggled big time yesterday and is to be commended for winning a tough game. I hope he is ok for tomorrow and the rest of the GS that are coming his way. GOOD LUCK Andy.

  • Comment number 58.

    I played park football with a guy who went down with muscle spasms in his lower back and leg during a game- he was a strapping six foot tall muscular fellow, our tough centre forward- and when the spasms came on the pain was so bad that he was screaming. He was carried off the pitch and half an hour later after massage and rub down it had gone.

  • Comment number 59.

    Vox Populi wrote: " when the spasms came on the pain was so bad that he was screaming"

    Yes, that's what it does to you. A little later it has gone, bar a residual ache, which is mild in comparison.

  • Comment number 60.

    I cannot believe what I'm reading on this forum........
    There are so many bitter non achievers making judgements about how bad AM is as a player and as a person.
    I think your comments have more to do with AM's birthplace than anything else....... non?..... ;-)
    Number 4 in the world......... are you number 4 in the world at anything? (other than making fools of yourselves?)

    Get a life jellyspoons.

  • Comment number 61.

    I find it stunning when people question Murray's abilities and the fact that he has never won a "slam". Well, history shows that only 5 people have EVER won three consecutive Grand Slams, those being Laver, Sampras and, wait for it, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. To be fourth in an era when, patently, three of the best and most consistent tennis players to have ever graced a court is just unfortunate.

  • Comment number 62.

    comment 1 spot on. besides how was Murray brilliant? how has he a chance for the championship?
    Mr Overend, your Murray tennis blogs do not belong on the BBC.

  • Comment number 63.

    and yes Murray is a drama queen, of course he is. but you would be if you knew you were never going to win a slam...

  • Comment number 64.

    "but you would be if you knew you were never going to win a slam..."

    While you are at it, can you give me tomrrow's lottery numbers?

    Like many on here I can't believe the number of bitter and ill-informed comments - people really ought to think before speaking. Do a little bit of research, and you will find there are reasons for Murray behaving with the press the way he does.

  • Comment number 65.

    ..... and reasons why he's 4th best in the world.

    Get over it.

  • Comment number 66.

    Yes, Murray was lucky ... lucky that he was playing an opponent who completely lost his concentration and focus after watching the histrionics at the other end of the court in the 1st set and then started to run around like a rabbit in the 2nd. I don't think Murray was brilliant at all ... his opponent was just plain awful - couldn't hit a ball in court hardly after mentally collapsing. Murray would certainly not have been given a "free pass" against the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, or Federer - or many other players. Virginia Wade said nothing that a lot of people already think. Those who think Murray is such a hero should have taken a look at Gasquet vomiting on court after a 36 stroke rally and his opponent who had such bad leg cramps he literally had to crawl across the court to get to his chair. No histrionics from either of them. Dimitrov was clearly suffering from cramps for the remainder of the match but didn't dwell on it - just got on and played ... and all credit to him - which is more than I can give to Andy Murray.

  • Comment number 67.

    Total joke! All those people who have been conned into thinking Murray is a hero. I don't doubt he was in pain, but if it wasn't bad enough for him to reitre (he's pretty god at that btw) then it's not that bad - deal with it, get on with it.
    The fact that Murray didn't retire proves he knew he could play fine. It's just such a shame he has do to his usual self-pitying routine. When was the last time you saw Federer or Nadal behave like that when they were injured? Never - they're class acts. Niemenen has every right to be annoyed, I assure you Murray just lost himself a load more friends on tour.

  • Comment number 68.

    Am I missing something here? Murray had a muscle spasm, he was in pain, flailing at the ball and barely able to serve. He calls the trainer for attention, which he is entitled to do (and, incidentally, rarely does). He gets some treatment, the pain eases, he plays better, and wins. The fact that his opponent let him off the hook is hardly his fault - and Murray himself has alluded to this. There seems to be suggestions that all of this was a put-up job, with some sort of ridiculous hidden agenda. Get real!

  • Comment number 69.

    "Physio Andy Ireland, one of the best in the business, assured him the muscle spasm was unconnected to the back issues he's been occasionally suffering from this year, so the decision was made to play."

    Do none of you actually read the blog you're commenting on?

    Of course he's going to try to play if the spasms are unrelated to his back problems, and his physio is "one of the best in the business". It's hardly being a drama queen to show the pain you're feeling!

  • Comment number 70.

    @23....He is injured.

    In normal circumstances he would compete like in previous years, get to quarters/semi's, I doubt he will get past Ferrer this year. But, the effort he will need to compete is only going to make the injury worse and seriously jeopordise his chances at Wimbledon, an event he has a realistic chance of winning...

  • Comment number 71.

    67: "I assure you Murray just lost himself a load more friends on tour"

    I'm sure you'll understand my reluctance to accept your assurance on this, or anything.

  • Comment number 72.

    Once again an interesting read with the usual anti Murray brigade enjoying the opportunity to have a moan/he will never win etc.
    A few of points:
    - save yourself for Wimbledon as you cannot win the French. All eggs in the one basket?
    - whether Andy can win a major or not is not important - just enjoy the sport and his achievement of being the best British player for years
    - I was at Rolland Garros on Monday and Tuesday and watched several games. I would say at least 50% of the players look like they were carrying some sort of injury. Should they all withdraw?
    - some of the people posting on here should volunteer their services when the doctors go on strike as they seem to have remarkable medical knowledge compared to Murray's team and the ATP specialsists

    Allez Andy!

  • Comment number 73.

    Couldn't help but notice Croft and Overends were in overdrive with the anti-Andy Murray jibes. The official BBC Murrayhating handbook was in full use. However, once again, Scotland's No1 made them choke on their crumpets and jam!

  • Comment number 74.

    @71 Ha - fair enough. But the pros I do know really dislike the man and it's because he has always behaved like a kid in the U15s. Whether it's swearing, shouting at his coach, or being a "drama queen".
    Ever since I watched him lose to Nalbandian in his first Wimbledon, I've been a huge fan and I will always support him. But he doesn't help himself. Unfortunately he's in an era where he's getting completely outclassed by 3 other guys, as players, as sportsmen and in terms of guts.

  • Comment number 75.

    Murray is the ultimate drama queen, we've seen this time and time again! He always has an injury when the likes of nadal, djokovic and federer are in the mix because he knows he cant win the tournament anyway. I think he just needs to forget about a grand slam and focus on the baftas.

  • Comment number 76.

    67. wrote:
    "...but if it wasn't bad enough for him to reitre (he's pretty good at that btw)"

    Heard somewhere he's only retired once - maybe that's wrong?

    Reading the comments in general - the old saying about not being able to please everyone all of the time comes to mind.

    For example if Murray was more like Tsonga and "smiled more", there would be people moaning that maybe if he stopped grinning like an idiot and dancing around after winning match like he'd just won the tournament, then maybe he might win something...

    Nature of the beast I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 77.

    Murray is a drama queen says Ms Wade. Too right. He has no chance of winning this tournament and was drawing attention to himself (yet again). Other attempts have been tantrums, etc., as he has no chance of winning anything with the 3 greats around. He is a bad tempered anti English spoilt kid. And what has his Mum done?
    Get us beaten by Sweden. Great side. The Murrays need to get out of British tennis and Andy Murray should not be let anywhere near the Olympics as he hates England and doesn't play Davis half the time. Go, and good riddance.

  • Comment number 78.

    What has Judy Murray done? Given birth to two British tennis players , one who holds the title of No.4 in the world, and she did this in Scotland and yet they play as Brits. If the Murrays get out of British tennis , will Timmy make a come back? Oh let's break out the champers. Andy Murray does not hate England but many on this blog have given him reason to do so

  • Comment number 79.

    "Amelia-jane # 78 Andy Murray does not hate England but many on this blog have given him reason to do so"

    Absolutely right. I can never understand this rabid hatred of Andy Murray. The fact is he is one of the outstanding British athletes of his era. He has enlivened British interest in tennis by consistently reaching the latter stages - and often winning - ATP tournaments. He has kept a ranking of at least #4 or higher for a several years and is unfailingly courteous in his comments about his opponents (win or lose). He has a nice dry Scottish sense of humour. I like him, and as a tennis fan, feel privileged to be able to watch one of ours who can compete with and on occasion beat some of the greatest ever players.

    What do these English whingers want? And why on Earth should Andy have anything but contempt for the bitter minority who want to see him lose?

    The sheer ignorance like statements like #77 "he has no chance of winning anything" !!! suggest that the Murray haters have no actual interest or knowledge of the sport

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh do come off it, Amelia-jane, you have a cheek with a name like that! AND YET they play as Brits? They are Brits, for goodness sake! Just not English. And he does hate the English (anyone but England) as many Nationalists do. Judy Murray is a condescending and rather incompetent (judging on recent displays) lady who is a bit above her station. It sounds like it was an ordeal to give birth in Scotland. Maybe the stigma...

  • Comment number 81.

    I see my old countrymen are still obssessed with punishing their own while making any excuse for others.
    Wade ought to have known better and got her brain in gear before her mouth. I guess she never saw the match where, when Andy was less experienced, Wawrinka used every bit of gamesmanship in the book to throw Murray off and sneak a win, with nary a peep of protest from the British 'faithful'.
    As for the spasm thing, obviously Ljubjic was absolutely correct (back spasm's do work that way), as Murray did get better and is now fine.
    We've seen many top players over the years who have had problems on court (remember Sampras throwing up all over the court in the U.S. open without his supporters accusing him of being a drama Queen), even though he used it to his advantage.
    Way past time for the Brits to give their best some support and remember where they'd be in the tennis world today without Andy Murray.
    On the silly Amelia Jane post, I would just remind her/him, that Murray is British.

  • Comment number 82.

    FarBeItFromMe at 80 displays great ignorance only matched by an obvious hatred of Andy Murray. It really is quite pathetic reading the anti Murray posts on here, caused by the "anyone but England" comment picked up a few years ago by a journalist when Andy was having a joke (yes it was a joke) with Tim Henman.
    As for Andy's behaviour; well we are all perfect of course, brilliant with the media, smiling at our work etc etc.
    To be 4th best in the world at anything is some achievement - 8? masters 1000 titles. Let him be himself and he will win a grand slam. Of course when he does all the moaners will complain that he has only won one.
    Also, when has he complained about losing? I have found him very generous to his opponents - remember when Roger smashed his racket to smithereens in the US a couple of years ago? There is no such thing as perfection so just accept Andy the way he is, a brilliant tennis player, just maybe not the very best - is that such a bad thing?

  • Comment number 83.

    Let him be himself. That's the problem. Good player? Yes. Top 5? Yes. Moaner, whinger, bad sport, Scot, anti-English? Yes. Why deny it? It's true and we all know it. Don't start the PC stuff. It is true, evident and undeniable.

  • Comment number 84.


    Most definitely Virginia got it spot on. I don't care what you say that weren't no comeback, that was pure gamesmanship. Murray led everyone up the garden path with his deceit not just Jarkko. If his back was THAT painful, TRULY agonising, he would have quit the game. So it is blatantly obvious that he wasn't really in THAT much pain - he was probably embarrassed about getting off to a slow start that he had to come up with some pathetic excuse. He's like that other "drama queen" - "the queen of all drama queens" - Rafael Nadal. Complains about his knee, has countless timewasting medical timeouts then runs around like a headless chicken and then wins the match like it was some remarkable comeback. Nope it wasn't remarkable because again if his knee was SO bad then he would not be able to run around like a headless chicken for hours on end! I'm afraid it's all a tactical and psychological ploy to be deceitful - it's called gamesmanship and Rafa is the master!

  • Comment number 85.

    Rafa is a legend. Murray is not. I respect the point you are making, as I respect (nearly all) the points, but likening Murray to Rafa? Come on! One has 15 billion titles. the other, none. And they are the same age, more or less

  • Comment number 86.

    #84 Hotspur.

    Gamesmanship! That makes no sense at all! Murray was playing someone he normally beats easily. Why on earth would he decide to serve at half speed and let himself get 6-1 and 4-2 behind before playing? Did you actually see the match? Do you know anything about tennis?

    But I'm amazed at how thin skinned some of the English are ... a bit of football banter between two young men, when Henman was winding Murray up about Scotland not being in the World Cup, is taken as a mortal offence and evidence of hatred of the English to justify them holding a permanent grudge. That kind of pettiness is sad really.

  • Comment number 87.

    Watch Murray at EVERY match and youll see he thinks everyone is watching and he plays to the camera - its all histrionics - grimaces, slumping shoulders, lopping around the back of the court, dismissive wave of the hand, talking to himself while pretending not to look at the camera which he know is pannng him - it never stops.
    His recent outfits make him look like a waif - just see how the other top players dress !

    Viriginia's colourful figure of speech is spot on. I also feel for Niemenen.

  • Comment number 88.

    There must be a good chance this is a compensating effect from the underlying back injury and if so that is a warning from his body. My own theory is that in an era of power tennis Murray is not such a natural athlete as some others and when the body strength is then built in the gym it is not as robust and there can be consequences. (I've noticed something similar in rugby union). Hopefully it is a temporary problem, but back injuries can quickly become long term problems.
    As to the comments by Virginia Wade, she was never any good as a commentator and is probably hindered by coming from an era where tennis resembled pat-ball in comparison to today's game, of which she probably has very little understanding - and it shows.

  • Comment number 89.

    Murray beat an absolute nobody and looks as unlikely as ever to win his first GS tournament. It is astounding how every blog from Mr. Overend is either an elaborate excuse for British players' early exits or unrealistic appraisals of the exploits of Andy Murray. The man is seriously talented and deservedly dubbed an underachiever. He has beaten all the top guys but never had the nerve to do it in a final (not even winning a set, not something his mentor could say he failed to do on his quest for his own maiden GS tournament victory back in the day).

    This whole back injury story is blown out of proportion. He did his best to stay in the match having already had medical advice BEFORE the match that it would be temporary. So all the suggestions about his box wanting him to retire and Murray thinking some of them were willing him to retire is 100% fiction. At least now he has a good excuse for getting trounced when he meets someone useful.

  • Comment number 90.

    @84 playing in a tournament he knows he has no chance of winning, so close to Wimbledon and the Olympics, you can bet if he was really in agonizing pain he would have stopped.

  • Comment number 91.

    Can't wait for the Overends' Murrayhating commentary today. Will he consult the EBC anti-Murray manual or will he be a bit more spontaneous?

  • Comment number 92.

    coats @ 20

    Yes, don't think Andy deserved flak for this. Sure he wasn't faking it.

    Re the tournament: it's only going one way and that's a Nadal Djokovic marathon final.

    With both peaking, and it being clay, I can see a 9 hour affair or something close.

  • Comment number 93.

    I think there is a degree of truth in what Virginia Wade said. Murray always has a pre tournament excuse especialy when it comes to the Slam events. I have said many times and truly believe he will never win a Slam because of his mental attitude. I am Scottish and have been behind Murray 100% however, there are better players out there who deserve support and he will always be the nearly man.

  • Comment number 94.

    89: Muscle spasms are immensely painful, but they pass. It isn't possible to predict whether they'll pass in 5 minutes or an hour - so Andy might have been beaten in 3 sets, and left the court still in spasm. He took the chance that it would pass in time for him to resurrect the match, and it did. That took real guts - to play on with no sure hope that it would pass.

  • Comment number 95.

    "and he will always be the nearly man."
    Don't talk such tosh.
    How do you know?.......... he's beaten every top player more than once, and he's capable of winning any slam. Has he not been in a few finals...?... that's only one match away from winning the title.
    What are the lotto numbers for tonight please?

  • Comment number 96.

    If Murray ever wins a Slam I'll eat my hat and everone else's. He just doesn't have what it takes and I agree with the many comments here about his attitude and playing to the gallery. It's a pity he can't get over himself and be a great player not an also ran.

  • Comment number 97.

    Drama Queen?
    AM doesn't have perfect fitness, and has issues with his back, ankles and knee....... FACT
    If he plays an average slam tourney, he will play around 7 matches in 14 days........ for him to go all the way without any fitness issues would be almost impossible.
    That's just the way it is.
    He'll be around for the next 5 or 6 years, competing for everything and will be in your face, whilst winding you all up.......... GREAT!!!!
    Get over it AM haters......... suck it up :-)

  • Comment number 98.

    95. Kristofferson.

    You obviously have inside knowledge so just when can we expect Murray to win a Slam? Yes he's been to a few finals and made a mess of them - I rest my case!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Farbeitforme at 80.
    The name is a joke, much like the comments you post. Andy Murray is Scottish and for that very reason comes in for much criticism from the English media. Ginny, has really used her position to give the press more reason to put the boot in. I don't understand it, why can't you celebrate having a decent tennis player for once. The foundation for most of the anti Andy comments are that he doesn't smile enough......I don't remember Lendl smiling that much either and he didn't get near as much rubbish written about him

  • Comment number 100.

    "You obviously have inside knowledge so just when can we expect Murray to win a Slam?"

    Well that's a really stupid question.
    What I said was that he was capable of winning a slam.
    When?........ Who knows.
    What I do know, is that I'm not a jealous Engerlish lemon faced Scots hater.
    Get over it.


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