Andy Murray plays down row over court selection

 

Andy Murray believes he must earn the preferential treatment many feel he is entitled to at Wimbledon and hopes his title prospects this year have not been scuppered by the bad weather.

The placing of the Scot's fourth-round match against Croatia's Marin Cilic on Court One, despite a poor weather forecast, provoked accusations that Wimbledon were hindering the prospects of the home favourite.

And as expected Murray was unable to finish his match yesterday, although he showed few ill effects from the delay when they returned this afternoon, winning 7-5 6-2 6-3 despite further rain showers to set up a quarter-final against David Ferrer.

The fourth seed said: "All of the players would say they would rather play on Centre because they know they're going to finish their match.

"I don't deserve to play all my matches on Centre Court. Someone like Roger (Federer) does."

Federer is a six-time champion, and he and defending champion Novak Djokovic were on Centre yesterday.

"It's not a bad thing playing on the outside courts," Murray said. "It's just when the conditions are bad it's not ideal to be out there because matches can last for two or three days, and then you get a backlog.

"But I don't think just because you're from the home country you should necessarily get preferential treatment, but I hope that I play my next few matches on Centre."

Murray now faces the prospect of playing five days out of seven if he is to reach the final, but the consolation for the Scot is that all the other players in his half of the draw are in the same boat.

He said: "It's not just me. There's lots of guys in exactly the same position. Anyone will tell you if you play four matches in eight days, it's better than playing four matches in five or six days.

"The more rest you can get the better, but it's part of playing grand slam tennis. Often it's happened to me in the past at the US Open where there's been a backlog of matches. It's not going to be the only time it happens here either."

There was also some confusion last night with rumours Murray's match might be moved to Centre to be completed under the roof.

Tournament organisers are always reluctant to move matches when they have already started, and Murray insisted that was never on the cards anyway.

He said: "It wouldn't have made sense to move my match. I thought maybe the Florian Mayer/Richard Gasquet match to try to finish all the matches from the top half."

Murray had begun nervously yesterday against 16th seed Cilic but gradually grew into the match, coming from a break down to win the opening set and then moving a break ahead to lead 7-5 3-1 when the rain arrived.

He looked confident from the start today, hitting the ball extremely cleanly off both wings and serving especially well.

Murray had to save four break points at the start of the third set, all with big serves, before seizing his chance in the fourth game and confidently serving out victory.

Cilic approached the clash on an eight-match winning streak on grass after lifting the AEGON Championship title at Queen's Club, but he had played for five-and-a-half hours in beating Sam Querrey on Saturday night and had no answer to Murray.

The Scot, who is through to the quarter-finals for a fifth straight year here and for a seventh successive grand slam, felt he had handled the difficult circumstances of the match well.

He said: "It's tough. In matches you can build momentum and build leads, and then when you stop, once you come back out again, you feel like you're starting off from square one.

"But I did well today. He started the third set well. He had a few chances. I came up with some big serves. I served very well in the third set especially."

Murray may well have expected to face big-hitting Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals but Ferrer was simply too strong for the Argentinian today, winning in straight sets to reach the last eight at the All England Club for the first time.

The Spaniard and Murray have faced each other 10 times and have managed five wins each, although four of Ferrer's have come on his favoured clay, including a victory at the same stage of the French Open a month ago.

They have never met on grass before, and the fast surface should suit Murray better, but seventh seed Ferrer is having his best season and won the warm-up tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch.

"I'd rather not play him on a clay court because it's a surface that I've struggled against him on," said Murray.

"But on the other surfaces I've played some good matches against him. Tough matches, but good.

"I've won against him a few times. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow."

PA

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