Andy Murray column: Don't write Rafael Nadal off

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Wimbledon 2013: Andy Murray eases past Becker in round one

WIMBLEDON 2013

Venue:
All England Club, London
Date:
24 June - 7 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD Channel, Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live, plus 10 live streams available on the BBC Sport website, tablet, mobile and connected TV.

This might be my eighth Wimbledon but I still feel the nerves, the pressure and the excitement to get out there on the court.

For the last few days before the tournament you're not really hitting many balls, but you're around Wimbledon doing the media work and practising a little bit.

You just want to get out there and play, so it was great to finally step onto Centre Court.

Sometimes the grass can be a bit slippery under foot on the opening day, but it was playing beautifully and I made a good start against Benjamin Becker.

The build-up has been a bit different this year as I missed the French Open, so I've been at home for longer than usual, but the last couple of weeks have gone fairly quickly for me.

And, for the record, my coach Ivan Lendl hasn't tried to repay me for hitting him with a forehand during the charity match at Queen's Club last week. We hit some balls one day, but he didn't try anything. I'm on my guard though, don't worry.

I'm always nervous the night before a big tournament and this time there was also a bit of build-up to the BBC documentary that went out on Sunday. I took a fair bit of persuading to get involved with it, but I know there's been quite a bit of positive reaction and I appreciate it a lot.

I haven't actually seen it myself yet, apart from the last five minutes, as I was told it probably wouldn't be a good idea for me so close to the biggest couple of weeks of the year.

We recorded it and I'll definitely have a look at some stage, but I watched Mock The Week instead. The perfect preparation!

It clearly worked as I got through my first match in straight sets, but obviously the big news of day one was Rafael Nadal losing to Steve Darcis.

I could see what was happening via the scoreboard on Centre Court at each change of ends, but to be honest I didn't think much about it at the time as I was concentrating on my match.

I know Rafa was in my half of the draw, but I would have to win five matches before it even became an issue for me, so it doesn't alter my thinking at all right now.

I'm sure there will be people writing Rafa off left, right and centre because he lost in the first round, but that happens sometimes. He'll be back.

I've no idea how bad his knee is and whether it affected him, but I'm sure the thing he found really difficult was that this year he's played predominantly on clay.

He didn't have a warm-up event on grass after the French Open and he was playing against a guy who likes playing on grass - Darcis beat Tomas Berdych in the first round of the Olympics here last year, so he likes this surface.

Players get injured a lot and you often have niggles that you have to deal with. Sometimes they make no difference to how you play, sometimes they make a big difference, but the thing with injuries is that if you say something about it afterwards, you're called a sore loser.

The fact is everybody's got used to the top guys dominating at the end of Grand Slams and that can't go on forever.

It feels like a big surprise that Rafa is out, and last year it was a huge shock when he lost to Lukas Rosol, but I'm sure that in the years to come it won't be so surprising because there's going to be more guys coming up and challenging.

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Wimbledon 2013: Andy Murray expects more Grand Slam upsets

It's so tough to keep getting to the latter stages and winning these events all the time, because the level of play is getting better, guys are continuing to improve, and there's a lot of pressure as well. Sometimes that can get to you, and the more times you have to deal with it, the harder it can become.

My next match is a perfect example of how difficult the early matches can be, as I lost to Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

I was so excited to play in the Olympics and be part of it that I was doing a lot of media, I was going to the opening ceremony, I was trying to speak to all of the athletes and take pictures with them, I was collecting the pins from each team - I was loving being part of it.

But when I lost, I thought, 'Why was I doing all that stuff? I'm here to win matches, I'm not here to collect pins.' I loved going to the opening ceremony but had to think 'is that the best thing for my preparation'?

I learnt a lot from that match, it was one of the toughest losses of my career, and I don't plan to repeat the experience on Wednesday. I'm feeling fit, healthy and in form, so hopefully it will be another good performance.

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport's Piers Newbery.

To watch Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet on the iPlayer, click here

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