Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Murray ready to sparkle for Queen

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Andy Murray plans to give the Queen a home victory to enjoy on her visit to Wimbledon on Thursday after powering through his opening match against Jan Hajek yesterday.

Murray expects that to be scheduled as the opening match on Centre Court tomorrow, meaning a date with royalty for the 23-year-old.

The Scot, though, is confident he will not let the occasion get to him as the monarch visits the All England Club for the first time since 1977.

He said: “I hope it doesn't affect me in the match. I think it's one of those things that when you get out there you're aware of it, but then it is our job to be able to concentrate and to focus, not let things that are going on off the court distract you.

“I've been doing it for the last five, six years, getting used to playing in big stadiums with people watching and various distractions. You just need to stay focused.”

Murray named David Beckham as the most famous person he has met so far, but that is set to change tomorrow with the world number four expected to have the opportunity to meet the Queen after the match.

“I don't know what I'll say exactly,” he said. “I'll probably be a little bit nervous, understandably. I guess I don't want to mess up at all.”

And, contrary to a few headlines over the weekend, Murray will definitely bow, along with Nieminen.

He said: “The plan was to bow to the Queen, as everybody would. What I was trying to say, which I think was unfairly reported, was I wanted to make sure what the etiquette was before we went out on the court.”

A run of poor form since Murray's defeat by Roger Federer in the Australian Open final in January meant nothing could be taken for granted against Hajek, despite the Czech's lowly ranking.

And it was the world number 90 who made the better start, breaking Murray's serve in the third game. But from the moment the fourth seed broke back in game eight there was only one winner.

Another break gave Murray the set and he lost only three more games in the final two sets, looking confident off the ground and particularly on his serve.

The 23-year-old said of his performance: “It was good. The start of the match was tricky. I haven't seen him play that much.

“He started very well but once I got back into the first set I did start to feel a lot more comfortable.

“I served well and didn't give him many chances.”

The match was the first Murray had played not on Centre Court since his debut year in 2005, and he admitted he was surprised to be scheduled on Court One.

He added: “I wasn't that bothered which court I played on. I was probably due not to play on Centre Court.

“It was actually nice in a way. But it was a little bit of a surprise because I hadn't played on any other court for the last few years.”

Meanwhile, Fernando Verdasco became the biggest casualty of Wimbledon so far in the men's singles when he was beaten 7-6 (11/9) 6-2 6-7 (6/8) 6-4 by Italy's Fabio Fognini.

Fognini hit the headlines at the French Open last month in an epic match against Gael Monfils where play controversially continued until nearly 10pm.

The pair had to come back the following day and it was the Italian who eventually clinched the victory.

Fognini is ranked down at 80th in the world and his record at Wimbledon before yesterday read one win in two appearances.

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