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Andy Murray will learn from slow start at French Open as he faces fellow British ace Broady

Speed star: Andy Murray wants to fly through the early rounds of Wimbledon to save himself for later challenges
Speed star: Andy Murray wants to fly through the early rounds of Wimbledon to save himself for later challenges

By Paul Newman

If spending an extra five hours on court was a contributory factor in Andy Murray's French Open final defeat to Novak Djokovic earlier this month, the Scot is determined to avoid a repeat at Wimbledon. Murray plays his opening match on Centre Court today against Liam Broady in his first SW19 meeting with a fellow Briton.

At Roland Garros, Murray was taken to five sets in both of his opening matches, by Radek Stepanek and Mathias Bourgue. It was not the only match en route to the final in which he was pushed hard as Richard Gasquet and Stan Wawrinka both took the World No.2 to four sets in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively.

Djokovic, in contrast, won all of his matches in straight sets apart from his fourth-round win in four sets over Roberto Bautista Agut. Murray won the first set of the final but Djokovic went on to win the next three.

"My job is to learn from the French Open," Murray said. "One of the things I could have done better there is start the tournament quicker. Those first few days were tough psychologically and physically.

"Although I recovered, the match against Gasquet again was a match where I was 5-2 up in the first set, 5-2 up in the second and I ended up being on court for an hour and 20 minutes longer than I needed to. So that is something I will try to learn from."

Murray said that similar lessons could be learned from Djokovic's experiences at last year's French Open, when the Serb lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final.

"Novak played the five sets with me in the semis and even the match in the quarters against Rafa (Nadal) was big psychologically," Murray said. "It can take a lot out of you. Maybe that made a slight difference for Novak in the final that year.

"But Novak was better (than me) in the final (this year). To win against him, or against any of the best players, the fresher you are, the easier it becomes, though there are no guarantees that even if I was fresh that I would have won the match. The last few sets he did play unbelievably well."

Broady, 22, hopes that his experiences here both last year, when he won his first match in the main draw, and as a junior will stand him in good stead.

"I think I have always felt comfortable from the juniors - winning the junior doubles on Court One and making the final of the junior singles," he said.

"It all adds up. And I always enjoy playing in front of a crowd. It brings the best out of me."

The World No.235 said that after his junior exploits here he would have hoped to be "a lot higher" up the rankings than he is now. However, he added: "Everyone has their own path in the way that they rise through the game.

"A part of me didn't expect it because I played brilliant tennis for two weeks, and a lot has changed since then on and off the court, so it has been quite a bumpy road for me."

Broady said he counted Murray as a friend but added: "The first time I practised with him was about four years ago now. I was terrible. I was so nervous. Andy being Andy, he didn't get annoyed. He stayed calm and put up with my standards."

As they rarely play in the same tournaments - Murray is on the main tour while Broady competes mostly on the Challenger circuit - they do not see each other often.

"When I see him, we say hello and he'll ask how my tennis is going," Broady said. "I'm pretty sure that he keeps tabs on all the British guys' results because he loves the game and wants British tennis to do well."

Belfast Telegraph


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