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Murray battles Tsonga - and weight of history

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Tom Fordyce | 19:15 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2012

It was strangely quiet at Wimbledon on Thursday: in the normally garrulous queue, around the carefully shaved and plucked outside courts, among the gimlet-eyed touts hanging around Southfields tube station and on Centre Court itself.

Women's semi-finals day is often a little low-key, but this was something else - a calm before the storm, a collective deep breath, a final mercifully stress-free few hours before Andy Murray's latest and surely most inviting opportunity to reach the promised land of a Wimbledon singles final.

A pearl of sporting trivia popular on Twitter rather summed it all up: the last man to be beaten by a Briton in a Wimbledon semi-final died at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942.

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Murray comes through to win against David Ferrer in four sets

Murray will be battling that history and attendant sense of national pessimism as well as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when he strides onto Centre on Friday afternoon.

No matter that he has beaten Tsonga in five of their six meetings, or that some bookmakers have him as short as 2-1 on to defeat the Frenchman once again. A nation simultaneously expects and fears the worst.

Murray Mania is usually taken to mean the hype that grips the media around this point in the championships. It could equally be used to describe the feverish experience of watching the man himself on court.

Tim Henman's Wimbledon campaigns used to leave partisan observers emotionally exhausted, fed through the mangler as he found a way to teeter on the brink of victory or duel with defeat at short quarter. You strapped yourself into the rollercoaster and hoped to enjoy the swoops and twists ahead.

There's something of the same with Murray, but with fewer giggles.

When Henman reached his four semi-finals here you had the sense of a player at the outer reaches of his optimum, maximising his talent and familiar conditions to get far closer to the old pot than we had a right to expect.

We demand more from Murray, a player blessed with a giddy array of shots, a track athlete's physique and a brain hard-wired for tactical supremacy.

When his game goes wrong it carries with it a sense of waste as well as regret. His backhand slice, simultaneously a wonderful weapon and blind indulgence, sums it up in a single shot. Every time one goes up a little piece of you dies: will this one land safe, or toss away a vital point?

Murray's relationship with the British sporting public, never straightforward, remains a puzzling one.

For every supporter who loves his flowing forehand and appreciates the bounty he is producing for British tennis in a time of otherwise near total famine, there is another who laments, however unjustly, his perceived inconsistencies on court and his taciturn persona off it.

No-one at Wimbledon on Thursday was going as far as saying they hoped he would lose. But there were plenty - from the Armed Forces servicemen on duty as stewards, to those revellers drinking by the giant screen, to the students working the food and merchandise concessions - happy to admit that they were yet to fall for Murray as they once did Tiger Tim.

It was a tale repeated among the touts. A straw poll of those loitering on Wimbledon Park Road, almost all of whom seemed to be wearing knock-off Lacoste polo shirts, answer to the name of Stan and hate eBay with a limitless passion, confirmed that business was not yet as lucrative as back in the day.

While black market tickets are in stiff demand, they are not hen's teeth. A monkey (£500 in non-tout terms) was securing a seat by the Centre Court rafters, with posh debentures coming in at four times that; those who were making deals were shelling out as much to witness Federer-Djokovic as Murray's fourth consecutive tilt in the last four.

For those who expect their sporting heroes to display the charisma of leading men as well as dazzle with their physical gifts, Murray's predisposition to monotone mutterings and a furrowed brow seem to make him harder to take to heart.

It's almost entirely unfair. In getting past an inspired David Ferrer in the quarter-finals Murray once again demonstrated enormous resolve and great skill under pressure. He has already achieved enough in his career so far to deserve a nation's grateful appreciation.

But this is British tennis, the most deluded of national sports, and this is Wimbledon, the least forgiving of sporting stages.

Lose to Nadal in consecutive Wimbledon semi-finals and no-one has much right to think any less of you. Lose to a man ranked below you, even in the last four and to a muscular maverick with a giant-killing reputation like Tsonga, and the critics and cynics will I-told-you-so until the Henman Hill fountains freeze over.

The semi-final against Tsonga represents Murray's best chance yet to convert those nonbelievers.

A showdown against Federer or Djokovic on Sunday would unite the nation in front of its televisions and laptops like little else in British sport. A victory would elevate him to a place few other British sportsmen could hope to inhabit.

And it is that prize, that possibility, that will make Friday afternoon such a ghastly, glorious nerve-shredder for all involved.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Nadal is out. Djokovic is playing Federer. Happened days ago. Seriously - do you not have editors?

  • Comment number 2.

    Lazy journalism Tom... its Djokovic not Nadal. How about researching rather than trying to be witty...

  • Comment number 3.

    Wanted to point out the error pointed out by 1 and 2, but no one is berating Murray when he loses to a Nadal, Djokovic or Federer. We all know hoe difficult it is for him to win one of these slams in this era. The point is he unfortunately doesn't have the game to beat them at the biggest of stages. In fact he has only beaten someone from the top 3 once at a grand slam, and that was Nadal at the AO in 2010. I would like to find out, whether anyone believes Murray's game has evolved, or whether he has even tried to do something different when he faces the big 3? Probably not. People keep going on and on about the variety Murray possesses in his game, yet he was still extremely passive against Ferrer, and is just absolutely reluctant to change his game plan. As Laver says, he needs to be more AGGRESSIVE! How many times have we heard that from numerous pundits and ex-legends and players now! If Tsonga can reproduce his display against Djokovic at the French, he has a great chance to reach the finals, and in fact I think he would pose a much sterner opposition to either Fed or Djokovic than Murray as he showed against Fed at Wimbledon last year and against Djokovic at this year's French. Fed and Djokovic should fancy their chances if they face Murray in the finals, and I think the winner of Wimbledon this year will come from the winner of this semi-final.

  • Comment number 4.

    Would just be a genuine error. Put your handbags down. Great article. Keep it up.

  • Comment number 5.

    If the two of you above are willing to dismiss the rest of this brilliantly written, pertinent article over a typo, then we're all done for.
    If you really think it was lack of research as opposed to a slip of the thumb that led Tom to write Nadal instead of Djokovic than you've obviously never read his work before.
    Jeez - if they gave trophies for trolling we'd be World champs.

    For the record, I love Murray, and agree that the Henman comparisons are unfair, and I'll add unhelpful. I think he'll beat Tsonga, but God help him if he doesn't take a set in the final. He will be crucified.

  • Comment number 6.

    I approach this as a general sports fan, but one who is well read in the world of sport, and as a junior international, has a good understanding of what it takes (Albeit a team sport) to make it to the highest level possible as a junior, but also to not make THE highest level when a new level is revealed to you. Having gone through selection as a junior against members of Olympians from Athens, Beijing and London including a GB captain I think it is easy to see - even at that age - who has it and who doesn't, and yes there is the odd surprise.

    So getting the point I honestly think Murray just isn't good enough to consistently make grand slam finals. But put that in context, he is playing in an era with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic - statistically some of the best ever players (I acknowledge era comparisons to Sampras, Aggassi, Mac, Borg, Laber etc... is another lengthy argument, and is one I personally feel you can't actually ever be resolved or decide on - another pleasant facet of the history of sport) and so saying 'He just isn't good enough' is in no way saying he's a rubbish player. He's clearly an exceptional tennis player, and easily world class. But the bottom line is he just isn't good enough when put up against his peers in the highest echelons of world tennis.

    I think when you add personality into the mix with this 'higher expectation' he's not quite Britain's cup of tea, which will never help (My flat mate is impressively anti-Murray). But I respect him for being himself, yes he has changed somewhat to be more media-friendly, but he hasn't turned into something he is not. He no longer wears sweatbands coloured in that of the Saltire - the obvious sign.

    So essentially, damn good player and certainly maintains home interest in Wimbledon, but when the dust settles, he's just not good enough. But take a step back and remember, this is the challenge of elite sport, to get to the top. Those remembered will be for being some of the best in history. That's no small ask.

  • Comment number 7.

    Dirs doesnt make mistakes like this.... always found TF trying to be a little too clever for himself. Still, i agree Murray's persona has not endeared him to the public. When you've got Xmillion in the bank though, i doubt Murray loses too much sleep...

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry would just like to correct myself, Murray did beat Nadal at the US open in 2008 as well, but he has a 2-9 record against the top 3 in grand slams. Says it all really!!

  • Comment number 9.

    I watched the QF in a London pub and felt the whole place was pretty united behind Andy. I'm Scottish but this place was full of English accents and I must say it was heartening to see and hear them groan, gasp and cheer as he dug deep to level v Ferrer and then see him off.
    I think he is much more in control of himself so far this Wimbledon, but like all others know he has a history - a habit even - of finding at least one match each tournament where he fails to produce.
    There would be no disgrace in losing to Tsonga, but definitely a feeling of blowing a great chance as he must have a better hope of beating the Frenchman than Nadal.
    Let's hope the battle of Stalingrad hero gets put to rest on Sunday night - maybe we can all say 'Amen' to that!

  • Comment number 10.

    I expect Murray to beat Tsonga over best of five sets, and to push whoever he meets in the final very hard. If the Fed/Djoko semi goes long and AM can beat Tsonga in 3 or 4 he has a very reasonable chance.

    He's not as media-cuddly as Henman, but is a better player. However I think there's a bit of being a sporting winner which means you need to be able to be very single-minded, focussed and able to blot extraneous things out. Winners don't need to nice people - they need to be winners when the opportunity arises, and can change their focus later in their careers. When Daley Thomson was winning decathlon golds he could be difficult; Nigel Mansell was never very medi friendly, and some of Andy's boxing mates have "interesting" relationships with the press, and hence the public. But they win things.

    I've always said that if a Brit was to win Wimbledon, betting on the Sports Personality of the Year would close, as the winner would be a shoe-in. There would be a real irony if Andy wins, as the London Olympics makes this the only year when a Brit Wimbledon winner wouldn't be a shoe-in.

  • Comment number 11.

    Don't care for comparisons to other British players. Yes, Murray will never be as liked as much as Henman, partly because of his natural demeanour and, sadly, partly because he is Scottish and some of the people in England will Scotland to lose in almost any sport (Personally, I'm English and cannot understand why people hate on the other home nations. After England, the next teams I always support are Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland)
    As a Murray fan, I'm not bothered by his popularity across the whole of Britain. I just want him to win.
    Oh and of course the Djokovic-Federer semi is more popular because its the World No1 v The 6-time champion. Both Djoko and Federer are more well-known names than Tsonga and, worldwide, Murray. Plus, its regarded as the better semi-final with the higher ranked players. Just saying.

    In terms of the match, on paper, he should beat Tsonga, but it won't be easy. Tsonga loves his grass and he revels in the role of the underdog. Personally, I like Tsonga; one of my favourite players outside of Murray. However, with the record in Murray's favour, I think he probably will win.

    Semi-final Predictions:

    Nole in Straight.
    Murray in Four.


    Djokovic in Four.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think the wimbledon organisers have missed a treated with the scheduling for the semi's. Why is murray not first out tomorrow, so that in the event of winning he can sit back and watch federer and djokovic fight it out. Gives him a better chance in the final

  • Comment number 13.

    i think he has a good chance vs tsonga, but it depends which tsonga shows up. @ Federer_Legend, murray had a game plan vs ferrer, agression was not necessarily the key to winning that match, rather patience. Ferrer destroyed one of the most aggressive players on tour in rd.4 in Del Potro. if the biggest forehand, and one of the biggest serves, on tour couldn't play through him then serve volley play and going for winners probably isn't the best plan. I actually think murray played really well against David Ferrer, he served incredibly well, better than iv ever seen him in a Slam.

    Whether or not he gets past tsonga depends a lot on which tsonga turns up, and if its the brilliant tsonga that beat federer last year, how long he maintains that level. if he gets to the final he'll probably play djokovic, though id quite like to see federer win, and if he can repeat the performance he put in in Australia then he has a chance.

    There is some scope for optimism

  • Comment number 14.

    Going to boarding school I can say that among English teenagers are just as behind Murray as they are the Rugby team or any other national team that is televised. 10. has made a very good point which crossed my mind relating to Sports personality.
    Predictions wise:
    Murray in 4
    Federer in 4
    Fed may seem against the grain in predictions but his "style" is more likely to beat Djoko then any other player imo. Factor in the roof if it comes into play (theoretically favours Murray and Federer) as well as the fact that Wimbledon is just as much (if not more) Federer's home ground then it is Murray's. Worth noting that if it is a Murray/Federer final then whoever wins the first set will take the match methinks as their opponents confidence will be shaken. I may be wrong but I don't think Federer has ever lost the first set of a Wimbledon final and actually won?

  • Comment number 15.

    At what point does he make the mistake of thinking he is playing Nadal? It's speaking about Murray's past losses. I hope people in the future read more carefully before attacking a well written and interesting article.

  • Comment number 16.

    You can see his game has evolved in the last year. He has slightly more consistent on his forehand and seems to have an in/out backhand i've not seen on anyone. Better serving is also evident. However Murray usually plays in a reactive, passive way that is vulnerable to players who take the fight to him. He has been more aggressive and markedly so when sets have been at risk. Saw some much more dangerous shots when the business end of sets approached, which makes him appear like he is playing badly but doing enough to beat the player opposite.

    The AO semi against Djokovic was the best match i've seen anyone play against Djokovic in 3 years. His forehand was really irritating in that match, but appears more consistent at the moment. If they both make the final he will be very vulnerable to the Djokovic forehand though, especially down the line where he was hurt in that semi. If he gets on top of Djokovic you need to jump up and down

    Lendl hasn't really changed much about Andy's game par se, but has tried to get Andy to trust his weapons more, like the top spin bank hand that he is using more than normal junk slice. He is close, but is he close enough.

  • Comment number 17.

    Best bit of sporting journalism I have read in ages. Well done Tom - who cares that he made a small slip
    Pom in NZ

  • Comment number 18.

    Absolutely amazing that posters 1 and 2 were in such a hurry to do the criticism bit that neither of them realised it was they who were in the wrong because they never read the article properly. Read it again guys and don't be so quick to try and prove how clever you are.
    As for Andy, I believe that the Brits are so hungry for one of their own to win Wimbledon that they never really see how good Murray is. They are too busy chewing on their fingernails every time he plays.
    He's among the best four players in the world you lot. He has made the final of 3 majors and been in virtually every semi-final. You should look on a Wimbledon title as the gravy and stop being so greedy.

  • Comment number 19.

    Andy Murray has done the nation proud once again and hopefully the whole of the UK will get behind him as they would any other great hope for success. His talents are without question and he has beaten every opponent several times, so it only takes one attempt to change history and I hope this is that time. Its such a pity people take the time to downplay his chances rather than afford him the respect he deserves. Andy Murray can win this title so why not just support him, his off court persona can easily be attributed to someone who doesnt crave the limelight and just wants to play good tennis, he is already the most successful British tennis player for decades and I for one will look forward immensely to this attempt and every other attempt he has, just as I will McIlroy or Westwood in golf or Jess Ennis or Chris Hoy in the olympics. Roll on Sunday good luck Andy...straight sets win in the semi

  • Comment number 20.

    Great article Tom- the typo did not ruin the integrity of the piece. Quite frankly I do not care if people do not want Murray to do well. It would give me a lot of satisfaction to see him go all the way and then he could truly stick two fingers up at his critics. Professional sport and tennis at this level is all about winning- look at Djokovic he is no nice guy- he is arrogant and cheeky but he is a winner.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 15. hellohello90 wrote:
    "At what point does he make the mistake of thinking he is playing Nadal? It's speaking about Murray's past losses. I hope people in the future read more carefully before attacking a well written and interesting article."

    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    If they find it more rewarding to point out a potential typo than review and try to enjoy a well written article, then frankly their opinions aren't really worth noting anyway.

  • Comment number 22.

    To federe_legend...Murray also beat Nadal at the US OPEN semi final in 2008, 3 sets to 1. so best to get your facts right!! He may have lost to Federer in a few mjor majors but he is one of the few tennis players to have a better head to head record with Federer, 8-7 in Murrays favour, go on Andy son, different class. he would have cleaned up in Henmans era..toffee

  • Comment number 23.

    @nick606 Have to agree with you there, but you'd have to say that Murray would almost certainly have to do something different if he reaches the final. He certainly can't out rally/hit Fed or Djokovic, so no harm in trying to change up play, chip and charge a little bit, go over that forehand a bit more, hit it flatter, and come for the occasional serve and volley, upset the rhythm of your opponent. Like you I hope Fed wins, but Novak is an absolute beast right now, and will rightly so go into the match as the favorite. Wish my mind could say Fed, but it hesitates...

  • Comment number 24.

    I got the impression that people hadn't read it properly as opposed to there being a typo.

    Whether that is the case or not is irrelevant. Why are so many people so desperate to put someone down, get a life detractors!!

    For the record, I thought it was a fantastically written blog and a very entertaining read indeed. Seeing all the negative posts make me feel genuinely depressed about the world we live in!

  • Comment number 25.

    "You cannot be serious", get a life you lot. Love the English language and the author's attempt to portray what he saw before him. Have you never listened to tennis on Radio 5 or read VIS. Have you never had an email from an irate Scots customer with red hair; so unpredictable.

  • Comment number 26.

    @1 and @2 - seriously, get a life, what a bunch of whingers. Is your life lacking that much that you have to point out such irrelevancies?

    Murray Bashers - seriously, get a life. Accept that Murray has an extraordinary talent that you armchair critics clearly do not, have never had, and will never have. The jealousy you convey borders on embarassing quite frankly - embarrasing for you. And remember this - Andy doesn't give a toss what ignorant people like you think or say. Get a life.

  • Comment number 27.

    i personally couldn't stand Henman's restraint on the court, Murray is much more my kind of player. I think people misread him off court as he is very guarded around the media. People shouldn't believe that just because they've seen an interview that they know what he is like.

    There have been many instances when his guard has slipped that has showed that he has a very dry sense of humour and is more charismatic than first thought

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm a very patriotic supporter in terms of sports; however, there is something about Andy Murray that I just don't like. I think it's the fact that he swears, moans and complains about injury EVERY single match he plays. He doesn't have the class of a champion. I mean look at Djokovic a few years ago, he was very similar to Andy Murray in terms of his game and physique. He too had a mental problem where he would constantly complain, moan and point to injuries yet the minute he realised that it was actually holding him back as a player, he stopped the antics and look how far he has come in the past few years.

    He is supposed to be a role model to all the kids out there who aspire to be a tennis star yet we still see pictures of him swearing profously as he returns to the base-line. We had Wayne Rooney banned for swearing at a TV camera yet Andy Murray does it many times a match and ends up with no punishment.

  • Comment number 29.

    Federer in 5 against Nole
    Muzz in straight sets over Tsonga

    Muzz to win final in 5 set thriller lasting 6hours

  • Comment number 30.

    Murray isn't Henman, he has far more natural talent - but he lacks Tim's ability to make the most of what he has. If Murray just believes in himself and goes for it, he can do this, but I wonder if he will.

    Lendl is helping. Murray seems more focused, less prone to self-indulgent bouts of misery on court. The competition isn't as awesome as usual either: Nadal out, Federer not what he was, Djoko still mighty but no longer out of reach. It can be done, with luck and belief.

    I really hope Murray does win it, if only because my whole life has been spent hearing about Fred bloomin' Perry for two weeks every summer, and I could get to like that changing.

  • Comment number 31.

    Firstly, regardless of typo, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article.
    Secondly, Murray has beaten Nadal twice in Grand Slams, US Open 2008 & Australian Open 2010. In my opinion, Murray does need to be more agressive to win, and from what I have seen at Wimbledon he is getting there. Its a shame that he is judged more for his personailty than his tennis, but when he is playing in the zone, he is a formidable opponent. Most of all he has to believe in himself when he hopefully makes the Final. Then, and only then can he compete against Federer or Djokovic.

  • Comment number 32.

    Jubilee year, 25 years on from the last time we had a similar scenario and with the Olympics in town. Some things are just meant to be and why not...

    Murray in four
    Federer in five

    Murray in five in the final, hell yeah!

  • Comment number 33.

    I am among the crowd that cannot get excited about Murray. He's just not a likeable competitor. That fact, coupled with the inevitable hysteria that would emanate from all corners if he won Wimbledon, lead me to hope that he never does. I think he will win a Slam, but more likely a hard court major than the Championships.

    PS - great blog again, Tom, I've enjoyed reading your articles for a long time now and like the angles you approach things from, keep 'em coming!

  • Comment number 34.

    Great blog, one of the best sports one I've read in a while.

    To the first 2 trolls, if your referring to "Lose to Nadal in consecutive Wimbledon semi-finals"
    Murray lost to Nadal in 2010 and 2011, Tom's not referring to 2012

  • Comment number 35.

    @28 - I understand where you're coming from regarding Murray's penchant to swear moan and shout when things aren't going too well. However, I think he's so desperate to win, the thought of not playing to his potential (for whatever reason) and losing is genuinely terrifying to him. He lets this out of his system in petulant outbursts but it seem that recently, this has been happening less and less. Which can only be a good thing (for him).

  • Comment number 36.

    The first two commentators are not just wrong, but badly wrong. "Lose to Nadal in consecutive Wimbledon semi-finals..." is what was written, and is precisely what happened to Murrary in 2010 and 2011. They are the people who could use a little editorial fact checking.

  • Comment number 37.

    Nice blog , don't care about typos etc.
    Murray is the 4th best tennis in world and has been for sometime. If he was a football player he would up there with Messi,Ronaldo,Rooney,Iniesta....
    As for the question ,can he win a Grand Slam..YES...he took Djokovic to 5 sets in Australia after beating him two sets to one...point is it was very,very close and Djokovic got lucky on some points in the end ..same as when he met Nadal in the final.
    Everyone says Djokovic is a winner and comes good on the big points..yes but so does Andy week in week out during the tennis year. By the way Djokovic double faulted on Nadal's first match point in Paris ...he is human like all other great tennis players.
    This Andy's year...he should think stuff the history books ...enjoy the his best tennis and win the trophy for himself and his family ...he can win the Gold Medal for Team GB later in the summer.

  • Comment number 38.

    All these armchair critics who damn Murray with lukewarm praise make me shake my head. No one knows. The past is irrelevant. Before he began his surge one could make a case that Djokovic bottled it quite often.Federer takes five sets to beat a Frenchman ranked 30 or thereabouts. No comment.
    The truth is that Murray is more than capable of winning this tournament. It just depends on how it pans out on the day.

  • Comment number 39.

    Personally I feel that Murray has been and still is being held back by his ....Mother.
    Yep, Judy Murray has embarrased him so many times with her tweets about her 'hots' for other tennis players and who can forget Andy's own anger towards his Mother when she kept going on about 'Deliciano' in reference to Feliciano Lopez.
    A few days ago when everyone was applauding a Murray victory his Mother was more concerned with resting her hands on the shoulders of some young guy in front of her (ugh), and then after he beat Ferrer, while everyone was going mad and clapping, she was more concerned with getting some message through to Andy's girl-friend Kim Sears. Looks like she's running the Murray show. Virginia Wade referred to Murray as a 'drama queen' because of his frequent on-court injuries and this upset him big-time. This persistient 'attention seeking' behaviour by Murray has all the hall marks of someone who is being mothered too much. Send her home Andy and you will prosper!

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    @34 et al.: They weren't referring to that. In the original piece Tom wrote:
    "A showdown against Federer or Nadal on Sunday would unite the nation in front of its televisions and laptops like little else in British sport."
    The mistake's been amended. To call it lazy journalism rather than an honest mistake is a bit sad to overlook the rest of a quality article.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lazy comments 1 and 2! The irony that these jobsworths making tedious comments are wrong, made me smile. There is NO TYPO. Wish people in this world weren't so quick to be negative the whole time. It is so unnecessary.

    P.s. I am supporting Tsonga this afternoon. In tennis the individual takes precedence any national leanings for me, and Tsonga is such a great character. Having watched his interview on the BBC I was touched by the fact that he said that plays with a smile on his face because he so lucky to be playing tennis when there is so any people are suffering in the world. Wish other professional sportsman would take a leaf out of his book!


    Comment number 2. At 21:30 5th Jul 2012, Superman69 wrote:
    Lazy journalism Tom... its Djokovic not Nadal. How about researching rather than trying to be witty...

  • Comment number 43.

    Have 1 Shudd, 2 Superman69 (surely irony) etc apologised yet? It would be good to see. I spent 5 mins looking for the "error". Read (carefully) first then type is my advice

  • Comment number 44.

    How sick and tired is everyone getting by the scheduling of this thing though? Why is Murray always behind Djock and Fed in the scheduling?. People were saying Nadal, Djocko or Fed don't have a home slam so why should Murray, well I can gurentee if one of them did have a home slam they'd get all the best treatment, oh wait they do, its called Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 45.

    Re 14, federer lost the first set against roddick and won in 5 sets. Sporting injustice but still came through.

  • Comment number 46.

    @15 Well said.

    Normally I don't post on these, just enjoy a good read. I was compelled to register to give @1 and @2 a little bit of advice.

    @1 and @2 I emplore you to learn a trade, you know like, something useful with your hands and/or vocational that people will always require as a service. This can be anything from Hairdressing to Carpentry. If I'm honest the less customer facing the better for you guys. That way the rest of the world will not have to endure such idiocy and downright discourtesy to other people who are trying to help fools such as yourselves be a little more informed.

  • Comment number 47.

    On the scheduling question I heard a comment a few days ago that some of the scheduling had been requested by ESPN, and no doubt BBC have an input as well. In terms of securing audience numbers, a later Murray match would suit the BBC as people who work a "normal" working day will be more likely to be at home and switching on.

    If the boot was on the other foot at Roland Garros, I feel sure the French would make the schedule give Tsonga (or Simon, or Gasquet, or Monfils, or Benneteau etc.) the best possible chance. There is also a likelihood I suspect that at Flushing Meadow the Yanks would try to do the same for Roddick, Fish, etc (and the US networks would buy into this for the audience benefits of having a Yank in the final). However, as I think McEnroe said the other night, "You Brits are just so fair."

    No doubt in my mind that having Murray on first could potentially help him, but only if he can beat Tsonga swiftly and start his preparation for the final early. He may however need the adrenaline enhanced by a Pimms fuelled Friday night crowd if the Tsonga match goes into 4 of 5 sets.

  • Comment number 48.

    Murray's amazing. So what if he's a bit introverted? He's a world class tennis player: nothing else matters. Only in this country could we criticise one of our greatest sportmen because he doesn't smile enough. I would prefer him to be himself, rather than a bland nothingness like other British sportspeople.

    Anyone who watched his 5 hour epic Australian Open Semi-Final when he matched Djokovic (and could have won it), will know that he can win Wimbledon this year. His time is now.

  • Comment number 49.

    I really thought Murray would be on first as internationally the Djok-Federer semi would be by far and away the biggest pull.

    Murray can certainly make the final but I would not write Tsonga off - remember how he beat Federer & put up a great fight against Djokovic at the FO.

    Would love Federer to get through, can't back it up with logic but we have seen flashes of the old maestro. I am just not sure about his mobility, he admitted he did not run for every lost cause ball in the last match - you can't do that against Djokovic & still win. Still maybe he is feeling the hand of history on his shoulder & can make something special happen.

  • Comment number 50.

    Good article - especially on the gap between Henman and Murray. OK, so he's a dour Scot, but he's our dour Scot and I don't see any competitor looming on the horizon.

    Any other era, he'd have at least one GS under his belt by now.

    C'mon Andy !!

  • Comment number 51.

    Perhaps Murray SHOULD pretend he's playing Nadal.

    That way, he will raise his game the necessary 15% to reach the Final.

    OK, Tsonga isn't exactly a ringer for Rafa, but it's all in the head, and that's where he needs to pretend.

  • Comment number 52.

    Shudd & Superman69: Why not learn how to read?

  • Comment number 53.

    @malky bee

    Please check comment # 8. I did correct my mistake. And as for his record over Federer, yeah true he leads the overall head to head, but in grand slams its 2-0, and at the world tour finals its 2-0 as well. So at the biggest stage, he hasn't beaten Federer or Djokovic, simple... And what do you mean by 'he would have cleaned up Henman's era'? Do you know who were even playing at that time, forgetting the likes of Sampras, Agassi, Ivanisevic, Krajieck and I could go on and on. Get a grip, it is almost impossible to compare eras, and try to assume who would have done what if they were part of another one. Pointless, Murray is part of this current generation, and he needs to compete with the players who are at the opposite side of the net. That's it.

  • Comment number 54.

    Posts 1 & 2 I think you'll find TF was referring to previous encounters with Nadal, not this year. No typo's as far as I can see.

    Go Murray!

  • Comment number 55.

    Perhaps less negativity about Murray is the order of the day. Winning at this level requires a high degree of skill but also luck, Murray has had some luck, so why is everybody prepared to just give up on him. It seems the British would rather say 'Oh well I'm not going to win so why not give up now!' is that what people really want. No. Don't give up because anything can happen! Actually, he is serving a lot better and has a new coach and will probably approach the matches, as he has done, with a very different attitude to the past. His match against Ferrer demonstrated just how far he has come. By the way nit picking about a journalistic mistake is very petty. Try to focus on the big picture. Good luck Andy!

  • Comment number 56.

    Sure, it would be nice if Murray were more likeable, but that's no reason not to support him as a sportsman. I imagine that many of those criticising him aren't terribly likeable themselves; and they don't have the excuse of headlines everywhere demanding and analysing and criticising.

    They also haven't had to deal with certain rather major traumas at a young age.

    Personally, I feel that if he's a bit introverted and moody; that's just the way he rolls. And he's been trying to overcome his faults; he's hired Lendl to help him even out his match temperament, he's working on being more media-friendly, and I have far greater respect for someone who acknowledges and works on their faults than someone who was lucky enough not to have them to start with.

    I think this is an insightful article into the public's relationship with Murray; thanks, Tom.

  • Comment number 57.

    @46 - Well said yourself sir.

    Excellent blog.

    I'm expecing an easier match for Murray than his QF, even though JWS gave him a huge fright here 2 (?) years ago and is well suited to grass. I do fear for his confidence, should he beat Tsonga, that he will be facing a player that has beaten him already in a Slam final, and convincingly so. Maybe this is where Lendl comes in and does his part, but for me, if Murray had the mental attitude/resilience of someone like Hewitt then Lendl would not be needed and a Slam may have been in the bag already.

  • Comment number 58.

    Is this really his best chance? Didn't he fall over once before with Roddick, who from memory was more than 1 place below him in the rankings.

    But put that aside. I think Murray will beat Tsonga, but the winner of Wimbledon will come from the other semi.

    With Henman, Pistol Pete stood in the way. Murray (who I believe is the better player) has Nadal, Djokovic and Federer - 3 of the best ever players - unlucky timing.

  • Comment number 59.

    Pretty sure Murray is on second as he is in the bottom half of the draw.

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a thought. As a rugby man - how often have I heard "depends on which French Team turns up for the match" , does this sound familiar!!!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Why are the English people supporting Murray? He and his family hate the English, are we all that stupid that we cannot see it. Murray wants England to lose the football in any tournament that we play, so why should we support him?
    At the end of the day, Murray is out for himself, and that's it...
    I for one hope tsnogna "tonks" him.
    Murray is a good tennis player but nowhere near the Nadal, Federer, or Djokovic standards, so lets not get overhyped about a sportsperson who is a goo tennis player not a "world beater" and who has contempt for the English.

  • Comment number 62.

    #61 Happy Hammer

    He doesn't hate the English - You've been suckered in by the urban myth. He does come across in interviews as a bit of a miserable bugger but, as I've never met him, I've no reason to believe he isn't charming and witty in private.

    All tennis players (and all players of individual sports) are out for themselves by the way.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why does everyone keep talking about the scheduling? The draw is in two halves. The players in the top half play first and the players in the bottom half play second. If Murray were seeded 1 or 3, he would play first, but he would also be playing against (presumably) Djokovic or Federer in the semi instead of (potentially) the final. Wimbledon schedules games according to its rules, not according to what the public might want to see assuming a certain sequence of unpredictable events pan out. They can't seed Murray ahead of one of the other three just because he's British, and they aren't going to reschedule everything just to fit in with TV audiences. This is what the American open does and that's why the final has ended up being played on a Monday so much in the last few years.

    As far as the matches themselves (which would be the only thing that really mattered if BBC sports blogs weren't haunted by the presence of many people who would not be allowed to own a computer if some sort of minimum intellectual capacity were made a pre-requisite to ownership) are concerned, I would love Murray to win and I would love to see a Murray/Federer final. I would infinitely prefer Murray to win in that final because I think he works incredibly hard, I think winning one would maybe give him the self-belief that he needs to go on and win more, and he's British; on the other hand I love tennis enough that to see Federer win another slam would not leave too bitter a taste. I don't care that Murray's Scottish because a) I'm an adult, and b) as an Englishman I rather like Scotland. I certainly don't care about his demeanor on court because I would rather watch a brilliant but angry winner than an almost-brilliant also-ran who keeps himself to himself. I loved watching Tim too but I never totally believed that he would win, much as I wanted him to and brilliant though he was to watch.

    As for his demeanor off-court, I don't subscribe to this view that he is miserable. He doesn't seem to much like talking to the media as a rule, which is understandable, but he is engaging and courteous in interviews, his columns, and on other shows. Most importantly, he is one of the best tennis players of his generation (at the moment it is impossible to really see light between the top three but there is only a chink of it between them and Murray, and he still has time to close that gap), he is certainly the best British player of this and many generations before this, and he has proven that he can, on his day, beat three men any one of whom can legitimately lay claim to be among the best that have ever played. Why can't we be happy with that, whilst hoping that he goes on to be even better?

  • Comment number 64.

    @61 Happy Hammer

    I was always under the impression that the English, as a nation, were capable of a) taking a friendly ribbing and b) recognising dry humour. Apparently I was wrong.

    Murray has never actually wanted the English team to lose a football tournament. He has, however, joked about it while taking an ironic sideswipe at his own Scottish nationalism. Poor sod, no wonder he's taciturn with the press given what they do to him when he lets a bit of himself show.

    Get a sense of humour, and try learning something about the subject before opening your mouth and showing your ignorance.

    (Now me, I /do/ support anyone-but-England. But that's not because I'm Scottish, it's because I hate football. The sooner the hysteria is over the better!)

  • Comment number 65.

    I still do not understand why everyone in England supports Andy? This is a man who openly admits to not liking the English, to never lend his support to an English team or person and who would support any other person other than and English team or person.
    So why do we continue to cheer for him?

  • Comment number 66.

    I think their has been a huge improvement in Murray's game. In the past going down a set or losing a tie-break would break him. He did really well to win the game against Ferrer. His play was not spectacular but he did pull it off and you have to give him credit for that. If I'm being honest i didn't expect him to win that match. Although Murray Mania is still their i don't think it's as strong as it's been in previous years. Expectations have been lowered this year,which might be a good thing. My expectations certainly have. Health wise don't think i could go through much more. I don't think my heart would take it. I tend to take every shot with him and when he misses i tend to react like the old Murray and lose it. I wish him well against Tsonga. I will be watching but i won't be expecting to much.
    If he does get through to the final on Sunday i think i will have a problem as British Grand Prix is on at the same time. Oh which one to watch ?

  • Comment number 67.

    @65 kEVIN nORTH

    Oh for goodness' sake, not that old chestnut again.

    I'm not sure who to despair of more; our tabloid media for creating a controversy out of nothing (Murray made a joke. Has anyone here ever heard of those?) or the sheer number of idiots who swallowed the resulting hysteria whole.

  • Comment number 68.

    He doesn't hate the English - You've been suckered in by the urban myth. He does come across in interviews as a bit of a miserable bugger but, as I've never met him, I've no reason to believe he isn't charming and witty in private.

    All tennis players (and all players of individual sports) are out for themselves by the way.


    Thank you for a sensible and reasoned post on this blog!

  • Comment number 69.

    I still do not understand why everyone in England supports Andy? This is a man who openly admits to not liking the English, to never lend his support to an English team or person and who would support any other person other than and English team or person.
    So why do we continue to cheer for him?


    Could you please provide a link to the exact interview where he said he openly says he didn't like the English?

    Thank you.

    Until you do, I'm sure you'll understand me thinking you've made it up to support your point.

  • Comment number 70.

    #68 TopClassCitizen

    Thank you for your compliment - What a nice polite chap you are! You've obviously been brought up very well :-)

  • Comment number 71.

    D G Hooper - "With Henman, Pistol Pete stood in the way. Murray (who I believe is the better player)".

    It's not a matter of belief, he is a better player than Tim Henman ever was. I'll never understand the tendency for people to utterly ignore or feel they should pass comment when apparently ignorant of how much better Murray is on paper (with a few years left in him) than Henman.

    He surpassed Tim's record sometime ago and there's seemingly no one in the wings about to come close to his achievements when he does retire.

    How about giving him a little credit for that.

    No, let's stick the boot in anyway cos he's a bit grumpy, Scottish, can't beat some of the best players in history, etc.


  • Comment number 72.

    @69 - I can't find the interview but there was a much-reported time when he was asked who he was supporting in the football and he apparently said 'Anyone but England'. I think it is true that he did say that and I think I even have a memory of seeing it myself (though memory is a funny thing and I wouldn't swear that I did). I think the point that Kevin North and a couple of other people are missing is:

    a) it was a subtle joke and as such is bound to wind up people too unsubtle in their world-view to appreciate it
    b) he has since explained and rescinded the comment, pointing out that his girlfriend, most of his management team, his training base and his home are all English/in England: he is not a rabid England hater
    c) even if it wasn't a joke and even if he really DOES hate the English, so what? Only children think that the appropriate response to enmity is to respond in kind. Adults appreciate that enmity is either an opportunity to re-educate or to take the position that one's own view of oneself is generally far more important than others' view of you
    d) Nationality is an accident of birth. Feeling a sense of pride when someone from the same arbitrarily defined general geographic area as oneself is deeply-ingrained and therefore understandable (I feel it, even though objectively I recognise that it is nonsensical), but to actively disparage someone on that basis is ridiculous, whether your opposite party is doing exactly that or not

    I guess what I am saying is that anyone who dislikes Andy Murray on the basis of a difference in which side of Hadrian's wall each popped up on, or something that he said which may or may not have been a joke and which may or may not have been an expression of a genuinely-held belief should probably grow up, and if they are not willing to grow up they should probably stop polluting an otherwise grown up conversation with their juvenile drivel.

  • Comment number 73.

    so, all you critics, when shall we expect you to walk onto centre court in a semi final?? as you obviously have all the answers/skills/determination/dedication required to be in the top echelons for the last 4 years or so........

    the only Brit with the right to criticise/speculate is Henman - the only one recently to have been there and done that in this instance

  • Comment number 74.

    PLEASE people can everyone move long from this TOTAL MYTH that Andy Murray is "anti English".

    @72 you've partially explained it but I think you've missed some important details about the circumstances - Murray and Henman were speaking to an English journalist at the time. It was very obviously just a friendly joke between a Scot and 2 Englishmen while the World Cup was on. Henman himself has said many times since that it was just a bit of banter and they all laughed.

    Subsequently there was a myth about him wearing a Paraguay shirt (because they're readily available in the UK!) which was reported as if it was true by some tabloid papers.

    Andy Murray is not anti English. He merely happens to be Scottish. He's also a decent bloke, a gracious sportsman in victory or defeat, and possesses a dry sense of humour that unfortunately tends to come across as being a being a bit miserable and downbeat at times.

    In my experience the people who voice this dislike of Murray and question why any English people support him tend to be England football fans with little interest in, or knowledge of tennis.

    Come on Andy.

  • Comment number 75.

    Lets iron out a few facts here, I was lucky enough to witness Murrays final at queens on the Monday last year where i was in line for three ours to pay a tenner to get in and watch his victory. I would say that 50% of the crowd i was sat in supported Murray the rest through whatever reason did not like anything about Murray, I loved it when murray came back to win against Tsonga not just the victory for him but to watch the faces of the so called british crowd who were against him. Another fact I watched him at the o2 and witnessed the same bias, I dont know why this dislike is so? maybe jelousy! Come on everyone lets get behind an athelete yes who is a proud Scot but also flys the Union flag as a brit for our proud combined union. Come on Muzza lets make everyones face happy today.

  • Comment number 76.

    56.At 11:06 6th Jul 2012, RE What Ceiswyn wrote:
    So when asked if he would be supporting England re the football, and he said No, he did not want England to win, then that was really a joke? tongue in cheek???
    Oh silly me!
    If I need to get a sense of humour then you need to get a sense of reality, I am fully conversant with the subject that I am commenting on, however if all you can do is insult a person to give your argument weight then it shows a complete lack of intelligence on your part.
    The hysteria that you mention regarding football, but at least it's English and English people, not a Scotsman... what a true English patriot you are.....

  • Comment number 77.

    75.At 12:40 6th Jul 2012, raygrant :
    He maybe a proud scotsman, as far as Murray flying the Union Jack, we shall never see whether he flies that or the Scottish flag.. as he wont make it past tsonga..

  • Comment number 78.

    @76 Happy Hammer.

    Yes, it was a joke. Yes, it was tongue in cheek.

    You've got it now.

  • Comment number 79.

    #72 batman2504

    Excellent post!

    The problem is the tabloid press taking the transcript of the interview out of context just for a tiny non-news story to fill the pages. I actually heard the interview - Des Kelly was interviewing Henman and they were both making fun of Murray for Scotland's failure to qualify for a tournament (Euro 08, I think), joking with him, asking who he would support since Scotland weren't there.

    And Murray replied with an obviously jokey off-the-cuff retort that Kelly and Henman had set him up for. If you'd actually heard the interview you wouldn't be in any doubt.

    This just reflects badly on the pathetic English bigots (and I'm English by the way).

  • Comment number 80.

    RE: 74.At 12:38 6th Jul 2012, throttledick...
    That's a very ambiguous statement regarding the people that do not like Murray are all Football fans, my personal opinion is that it is not true, ive come across people who do not want Murray to win and DONT like football either....

  • Comment number 81.

    Almost crying as I write this!!!

    How amazing wouldi t be to finally have someone from Britain in the final. I am not like a lot of people in this country I see. I love Andy Murray anytime he is on TV I want to tune in. The boy is blessed with great talent, in any other era he would have countless titles!! I am not just saying it, its true!! Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are three of the greatest we may ever see, to have them all in their prime at the same time is a blessing and a curse all in one for Murray.

    It is a curse at the fact he may never win a major, it is a blessing because if he wins one in this era, it will be the equivelant of 3/4 in any other era!!!

    To challenge and beat these players and to have won the titles he has surely makes him the greatest British Tennis player we have seen. To do it at the biggest stage in world tennis - Wimbledon would be amazing.

    If he loses tonight Murray will still be amazing!! A win tonight and he may become a Hero!!! COME ON ANDY!! Show the idiots you have what it takes!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    PLEASE can we put the "Murray doesn't like the English" thing to bed on this blog at least. He was asked in an interview/discussion by Henman who he was supporting for (I think) the 2006 world cup finals. England had qualified, Scotland hadn't - Henman was pulling his leg about that. Murray's response of "anyone but England" was a response to Tim's ribbing, but the tabloids have peddled it for years. End of.

  • Comment number 83.

    #74 throttledick
    Bugger, you got there before me!

  • Comment number 84.

    @80 Happy Hammer - I'm not sure if you know what the word ambiguous means but my statement wasn't ambiguous, it was quite clear based on my experience.

    The majority of British tennis fans - people who don't believe silly tabloid myths and don't go in for this ridiculous Scottish/English bigtory - support Andy Murray and are desperate for any British player to win Wimbledon.

    It's just so sad and pathetic that every discussion about him gets dragged into the gutter by haters.

  • Comment number 85.

    I enjoy Tennis and will be supporting Tennis as there are no English players left to support in the semi-finals, so hopefully we will see 2 good semi-finals, culminating in a very good final between the 2 players who have got there on merit, not by receiving some very dodgy foot fault decisions.. thus Djokovic V's Tsonga Final...

  • Comment number 86.

    84.At 12:50 6th Jul 2012, throttledick wrote: I am fully aware of the meaning of ambiguous, but thank you for the offer of explaining this to me..
    In my experience the people who voice their dislike of Murray and question why any English people support him, tend NOT to be England football fans with a vast amount interest in, AND knowledge of tennis.

  • Comment number 87.

    Best thing to do is ignore anti English drivel.Don't respond to it and stick to the Murray battles Tsonga - and weight of history discussion that it's meant to be.

  • Comment number 88.

    Happy Hammer = absolutely no idea about the concept of extraordinary sporting talent

    Happy Hammer = absolutely no idea about what "sport" actually is, and how people derive enjoyment from it

    Happy Hammer = absolutely no point in any further words being wasted on this individual.

    Go Andy the sportsman. Go Andy the Brit.

  • Comment number 89.

    happy hammer you and your kind are the reason we love to hate the english football team. i admit and i hold my head up high saying this, i have never and will never support the england football team in fact i think I take more joy when england loose than the other home nations winning. But in any other sport i want the brits to win I loved watching henman and all the other brits before him try at wimbledon i supported them and went through the agony as much as anyone. But as for the england football team i love it when they loose. Come on murray! and any other team that is playing england at football!!

  • Comment number 90.

    RE: 74.At 12:38 6th Jul 2012, throttledick...
    That's a very ambiguous statement regarding the people that do not like Murray are all Football fans, my personal opinion is that it is not true, ive come across people who do not want Murray to win and DONT like football either....
    I guess that you just happen not to be one of those people?

    Well done on successfully googling the term 'fully conversant with' by the way - it's just a shame that you so clearly aren't 'fully' or even 'partially' conversant with the ACTUAL circumstances of his comment, since you seem to be relying on hearsay rather than on the first hand evidence of your own eyes which (as others have pointed out) would have told you that the comment was made under such circumstances as to allow even the most one-eyed English patriot to categorise them somewhere in the tiny portion of his brain labelled 'harmless jokes about the English made by non-English people'.

  • Comment number 91.

    81.At 12:47 6th Jul 2012, TonyBlair61
    He wont win a mjaor because he is not good enough, every era has their greats, that is like saying if "Pistol" Pete was not around then Henman would have won Wimbledon, a sign of a "GREAT" player is one who can take on everyone and succeed.
    One cannot compare to a previous era, as technology, science and fitness techniques are constantly progressing.

  • Comment number 92.

    90.At 12:58 6th Jul 2012, batman2504

    You appear to be making a great dela of assumptions, but well done for being able to do so. What you also appear to have missed is that the comments made by Murray regardign the football are only your perceptions, as I am sure you are aware as human beings we are al different, and not everyones perceptions of certain circumstances will be the same... therefore in your opinion and perception of the forementioned it was a joke, in others eyes it was not.. Unless of course you were actually there at the time and put the question to Murray as to whether he was joking or not?

  • Comment number 93.

    89.At 12:58 6th Jul 2012, raygrant
    I rest my case... Another ambiguous comment "happy hammer you and your kind"
    Oh so many people leaving themselves wide open... bit like Murray when he plays today... COME ON TSONGA.....

  • Comment number 94.

    88.At 12:57 6th Jul 2012, nowhereman111
    What a great post.. why waste the time then....

  • Comment number 95.

    Re: 88.At 12:57 6th Jul 2012, nowhereman111
    In your opinion..... fortunately your opinion does not make one iota of difference to me

  • Comment number 96.

    Happy hammer has nothing better to do than make trouble, of course he must be misrable being a hammer as he is used to loosers, why not try harder on the football blogs but your comments on there will be poor as well i suppose as the team you support have no substance or worth in the big football world.

  • Comment number 97.

    Nice to see so much love, peace and harmony on this blog. The arguments are boring me, so I'd like to try and bring things back to the article and the rather good point made by Tom about the attitude of British fans to Murray as compared to Henman.

    Henman was the perfect foil for the British public - spirited, determined, well-spoken, polite, and with just enough talent to make things interesting. But he was never a favourite, or even close to being a favourite, for Wimbledon. He was always the plucky underdog, and if there's anything the British public loves, it's a plucky underdog - and particularly a plucky underdog that tries his hardest but just doesn't quite make the grade. Hence the endearing love affair between the British public and Tim Henman.

    Murray, on the other hand, has all the talent necessary to win a major. He's also extraordinarily driven and focussed. He has a style of play that is defensive and doesn't necessarily lend itself to the spectacular in the manner of someone like, for example, Tsonga. But as someone who has all the tools but who, for whatever reason, has not achieved everything he can achieve, I think the British public are a little distrustful of him.

    I think we don't really like British success stories in sport, I think we just can't stomach them with the result that the public finds themselves either loving or hating them. Witness Man Utd, loathed by probably 95% of the country mainly for being successful; the 2003 English rugby team, accused by many at the time of being boring; and any number of individual sports stars from Sir Ian Botham to Wayne Rooney.

    Why? I think it's easier to be disappointed when you hope against all expectation, then when you expect. And with Murray we have a right to expect, so when he doesn't deliver we feel that much more disappointed.

    But I for one will be praying he can get to the final - as I have done the previous three years!

  • Comment number 98.

    FAO Happy hammer

    Forgive me if you've heard this before, but before the last World Cup finals I interviewed Murray and Tim Henman together for the first time. Murray was late joining the conversation and dropped into his chair midway through a chat about the impending football World Cup.

    Naturally, we immediately teased him about Scotland's absence from the competition. As Henman snorted with laughter, I asked Murray what he would be doing while we all watched the World Cup. Reading a good book, perhaps?

    With the appropriate degree of sarcasm, Murray replied by saying he would be 'supporting whoever England were playing against'. So we mocked him some more and moved on

  • Comment number 99.

    Murray is the best British tennis player in my lifetime - end of. With the greatest of respect to Henman and Rusedski, the guys who got me watching Wimbledon back in the 90s, Andy would see off both of them at their respective peaks.

    As a result I'm not quite sure why people have an issue with him. He has already made it to three Grand Slam finals and it's surely only a matter of time before he wins a Slam. This is the best chance of seeing a Brit in a Wimbledon final for the first time in my parents' lifetime, let alone mine! So any Brit who considers themselves in anyway a tennis fan should be making a lot of noise on his behalf later this afternoon!

  • Comment number 100.

    The Hype is all the same England lost the euros , Hennman waste of time , now Murray , what is the diffrence , none British Sport is a waste of time , dont expect murrary to do any better than Henmman , just wait for the Olympics too , theyve stopped world no1s competeing inn the olympics from this country !!! Say no more !


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