Defeated Murray blames media pressure
Tuesday 17 January 2006
Andy Murray blamed the weight of expectation for his hapless first-round exit in the Australian Open.
The 18-year-old Scot suffered a straight sets defeat to Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela a day after fellow Briton Tim Henman fell to Dmitry Tursunov.
After suffering a 6-1 6-3 6-3 defeat by Chela at the Vodafone Arena, Murray admitted feeling the pressure.
"If you guys expect me to play well every single match and every single tournament then it's not going to happen," a flat Murray said.
"Everybody has a bad tournament sometime. Unfortunately, it came here.
"But I'm going to have much better days than this one, and I'm sure I'll have worse days. You guys (the media) are expecting me to win matches like this. The guy's ranked 20 places in front of me, he is a much better player than me."
Murray continued: "It's difficult for me to go out there and try to perform to the best that I can when I'm expected to win all these matches."
Questioned further about his claims, after it was suggested he has received nothing but good press since he arrived on the circuit, Murray bristled before the press conference came to an abrupt end.
"You don't think there's any pressure on me?
"Well, if you don't think that, then I'm obviously going to disagree on something.
"If you guys don't think you're putting pressure on me, then that's fine. I'll forget about it."
After making the biggest jump of any player in 2005 as he surged from world number 514 to number 65 by the end of the year - and also becoming the first British teen since Buster Mottram in 1974 to finish in the top 100 - Murray has been touted as a future champion.
But a day after Henman was sent on his way in four sets by Russian Tursunov, Murray similarly had no answer to the consistent play of his more experienced Argentinian opponent Chela.
Murray made a poor start by surrendering his serve in the second game of the match and a second service break in the sixth game, as he committed 15 unforced errors, saw Chela take the set in just 23 minutes.
Having converted both his break point chances in the first set, Chela was not as quick to take his opportunities in the second set, but it mattered little as he broke in the second game on the way to leading 3-0.
Murray lifted his intensity and pressured Chela's serve in the sixth and eighth games in an effort to get back into the contest but, after failing to break at 30-40 and with Chela leading 4-3, he dropped his serve for a fourth time to fall two sets behind.
Thirteen second-set winners were offset by 17 more unforced errors, and for the third time in as many sets Murray was broken in the second game, with Chela then holding firm on his own serve to cruise home and set up a possible second-round clash with local hope Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt and Chela famously did battle in the third round of the tournament 12 months ago, with the centre court contest on the first Saturday degenerating as Chela claimed he had been bumped at a change of ends and Hewitt angered when he believed Chela had spat at him.
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