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Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray happy to recall his O2 mauling by Roger Federer

Men's singles

By John Skilbeck

Andy Murray admits his last match against Roger Federer was "embarrassing" and prompted a complete rethink in how he tackled the top players.

Murray set up a mouthwatering Wimbledon semi-final with Federer after he beat Canada's Vasek Pospisil 6-4 7-5 6-4 while the Swiss eased past Gilles Simon, winning 6-3 7-5 6-2.

It will be Murray's 23rd meeting with Federer, who has come out on top in their last three matches, including a 6-0 6-1 demolition of the Briton at the ATP World Tour Finals in November.

"It was obviously embarrassing, the scoreline," Murray said.

"A lot of people in my team, people around me, were very, very worried by that match. I felt quite calm about it.

"I looked at the weeks before then, the matches also that I played at the O2, the matches I played against Novak (Djokovic) over that period as well, and said, 'Where am I going wrong against the top guys and what is it that I need to do to get back to that level competing with them?'.

"I dealt with it that way and tried to be rational about it. I came back and played some extremely good tennis at the beginning of the year in Australia.

"It was a tough loss for sure but I tried to deal with it in the right way."

The British number one has enjoyed passionate support throughout the tournament but the crowd may be less unified today given Federer's wide appeal, as was the case when the Swiss won the Wimbledon final three years ago.

"I hope I get good support on Friday," Murray said. "It's been the case throughout the whole event and every year that I played here.

"Roger's extremely popular everywhere he goes, so it might not be as partisan a crowd or atmosphere as some matches that I play here."

Meanwhile, Murray's coach Jonas Bjorkman has urged the Scot to fight fire with fire and attack Federer.

Federer has typically played the role of aggressor in previous meetings, with Murray using his speed and guile to counter-punch the Swiss, but Bjorkman believes his protegee should stick to his guns and attack this time around.

"That will still be the best way, absolutely," Bjorkman said. "We're trying, Amelie (Mauresmo) and I, to get him to be more comfortable at the net and be more aggressive.

"That's what he was asking me to come into the team and help out with and it will take some time because at big tournaments it's hard to do that straight away.

"But there's no doubt he has the potential to do it. He has the legs, he's one of the fastest guys out there, he's super strong and he can attack in behind when he's under pressure.

"Even against someone like Roger that is a good way to play. It puts off the guy who wants to come in - he wants to move forward but then all of a sudden he has to go back.

"So definitely, a way to beat someone who is very aggressive is to be very aggressive yourself."

Murray's triumph over Federer in the Olympic Games final on Centre Court in 2012, just a month after the tear-jerking final defeat on the same patch of turf, was a turning-point for Murray, spurring him on to secure the US Open title that year before becoming Wimbledon champion 12 months later.

"He will definitely watch those 2012 matches, for sure," Bjorkman said. "We will all have tried to watch them but the players know each other's game so well.

Murray has dropped just two sets on route to the semi-finals and Bjorkman insists the shoulder injury that proved problematic in round three is no longer causing the Briton discomfort.

"If he had issues before, it was good in the match and it felt strong today in the warm-up," Bjorkman said.

"Andy is playing with tonnes of confidence right now and he's had a great season, the whole team has done a great job with him.

"He just has to go and prove it. When you get to his fitness level and have the confidence of winning so many matches, you just have to keep going."

Murray admits he felt a sense of awe when he first beat Federer as a 19-year-old in 2006 but there is no inferiority complex now, after 23 meetings between the pair, of which the Briton has won 11.

"There is no reason for Andy to have any fear, they have played a lot of times before and it will be another close match tomorrow," Bjorkman said.

Belfast Telegraph


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