'Drama queen' Murray rounds on Wade after gutsy recovery


Roland Garros

Perhaps officials in Paris should consider relocating Andy Murray's matches across the city from Stade Roland Garros to the Palais-Royal, home of the Comédie Française, the state theatre company. Twelve months after he reached the semi-finals of the French Open despite an ankle injury sustained early in the tournament, Murray was at the centre of more high drama here yesterday as he overcame a painful back problem to beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 and book his place in the third round.

When Murray called for the trainer after going 4-0 down in the first set his prospects looked bleak. The world No 4, who was given extensive treatment on court and sent for the trainer on two more occasions, looked barely capable of walking, let alone running. When he lost the first set his entourage wanted him to throw in the towel.

Murray, nevertheless, is nothing if not a fighter and as the back spasms started to subside he fought his way back from 2-4 down in the second set. Thereafter he looked much more like his old self, while Nieminen, apparently disoriented by his opponent's remarkable recovery, could hardly put a ball in court. Murray won 16 of the last 19 games to seal victory in two hours and 27 minutes. "I just couldn't believe I had won," he said.

The Scot has been troubled by a sporadic back problem for the last six months, but insisted afterwards that this was a one-off and that he had been advised he would not cause any further damage by playing. He had woken up unable to put any weight on his left leg, recovered sufficiently to practise but said his back started to feel "really, really sore" after the third game.

Murray has been criticised in the past for making a meal of his physical problems and Virginia Wade, commentating on Eurosport, said he had been "a drama queen" against Nieminen and was "not really acting in an adult way".

When told of the former Wimbledon champion's comments, Murray said: "To me that's quite disappointing, to be honest. I know how I felt on the court. I know how bad it was. And then you have people like that who always have to come out and say something controversial, something like that, when really they should be supportive, or maybe ask me a question first.

"I've known her since I was a really young kid. She used to do coaching stuff with my mum since I was a really young child, so to me that's quite disappointing. She has no idea what I was feeling on the court. She doesn't know what was happening 20 minutes before I went out on to the court, what I was feeling, what I was doing."

He added: "I don't really see what the point would be in play-acting, going down 6-1, 4-2. I've played him numerous times, have never had major problems playing against him before, so I don't really see what the point would be in going on and putting yourself in a position where you're about to lose, and stop the match, and then somehow manage to turn it around."

At any Grand Slam tournament the top players want to get the job done as quickly as possible in order to conserve energy for the tougher challenges ahead and any suggestion that Murray was play-acting is surely wide of the mark. There have been occasions in the past when he has erred by making opponents aware of his physical difficulties with his grimacing and negative body language, but here there could be no disguising that his problems very real.

Early on, Murray was barely serving at half-speed. Nevertheless, his talent is such that he was still striking winners even when hardly able to move. His competitive spirit is evident in the fact that he has only ever retired in one match in his career, when he suffered a serious wrist injury five years ago.

In the third round tomorrow Murray will face a 24-year-old Colombian, Santiago Giraldo, who beat Bernard Tomic 6-4, 6-1, 6-3. Giraldo took just three games off Murray on their only previous meeting, in Barcelona last month, but the world No 50 is an experienced clay-court player. Since the Australian Open he has played 27 of his 32 matches on clay.

"I'm going to try and carry on regardless, whether it's a bit more sore tomorrow or in two days' time," Murray said. "I have no idea what will happen, but if it's something like a spasm, it's not like you're doing major damage. It's just a really, really tight muscle."

Giraldo said: "I think I can give Andy a match on any surface, but especially on clay. I'm playing well and feeling very good, so if he has problems it will be tough for him."

While Murray struggled, Rafael Nadal was in superb form against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. The Spaniard, who is aiming to take the title here for the seventh time in eight years, won 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. "I improved during the third set," he said. "This is when I had the upper hand. I played my best tennis. I made almost no mistakes."

Li Na, the women's champion, brushed aside France's Stéphanie Foretz-Gacon 6-0, 6-2, while Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki were also impressive. Kvitova beat Urszula Radwanska 6-1, 6-3 and Wozniacki overcame Jarmila Gajdosova 6-1, 6-4.

French Open results

Men's Singles second round F Fognini (It) bt (28) V Troicki (Serb) 6-2 3-6 4-6 6-3 8-6; (5) J-W Tsonga (Fr) bt C Stebe (Ger) 6-2 4-6 6-2 6-1; D Goffin (Bel) bt A Clement (Fr) 3-6 7-6 0-6 6-2 6-1; (6) D Ferrer (Sp) bt B Paire (Fr) 6-3 6-3 6-2; (27) M Youzhny (Rus) bt R Haase (Neth) 6-3 7-6 6-4; S Giraldo (Col) bt (25) B Tomic (Aus) 6-4 6-1 6-3; (4) A Murray (GB) bt J Nieminen (Fin) 1-6 6-4 6-1 6-2; (29) J Benneteau (Fr) bt D Tursunov (Rus) 6-4 6-4 6-4; (12) N Almagro (Sp) bt M Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-4 6-3 7-5; (13) J Monaco (Arg) bt L Rosol (Cz Rep) 7-6 6-0 7-6; (19) M Raonic (Can) bt J Levine (US) 6-4 7-5 6-2; E Schwank (Arg) bt (32) F Mayer (Ger) 2-6 6-3 6-4 7-6; (2) R Nadal (Sp) bt D Istomin (Uzb) 6-2 6-2 6-0.

Women's Singles second round (10) A Kerber (Ger) bt O Govortsova (Bela) 6-3 6-2; (7) N Li (Chin) bt S Foretz Gacon (Fr) 6-0 6-2; C Suarez-Navarro (Sp) bt S Karatantcheva (Kaz) 4-6 6-4 6-1; (14) F Schiavone (It) bt T Pironkova (Bul) 2-6 6-3 6-1; V Lepchenko (US) bt (19) J Jankovic (Serb) 7-6 4-6 6-4; N Bratchikova (Rus) bt C Feuerstein (Fr) 3-6 6-3 7-5; (4) P Kvitova (Cz Rep) bt U Radwanska (Pol) 6-1 6-3; (23) K Kanepi (Est) bt I Begu (Rom) 6-4 6-1; (9) C Wozniacki (Den) bt J Gajdosova (Aus) 6-1 6-4; K Zakopalova (Cz Rep) bt (16) M Kirilenko (Rus) 6-4 3-6 6-3; (22) A Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt M Czink (Hun) 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine