'Everyone loves a fighter' says Lloyd as public won over

Deep in his heart of hearts John Lloyd, just like Judy Murray, knows that today's events on Centre Court should not – if tennis logic prevails – go the British No 1's way. "Is this a year too soon?" he asked yesterday, which rather suggested he thought it was. "I think we're still two to three years short of Andy playing at his best."

But the manner of Andy Murray's victory over Richard Gasquet in the fourth round has swept all logic aside. Lloyd perceived, in the Briton's sheer, bloody-minded refusal to accept defeat on Monday night a quality he saw in Jimmy Connors and has observed in few men since. This has at a stroke, Lloyd believes, converted the British public to Murray's cause and will create a different atmosphere today to the one which greeted Murray for the first few sets on against Gasquet. "[Many said] 'we're not sure about him yet'. But if you come back from that... Everyone loves fighters," Lloyd said.

Murray, like Connors and perhaps Lleyton Hewitt, has now demonstrated that he never concedes, Lloyd said. "That, to me, is what was special [about Murray] and Hewitt's got it. Hewitt is not quite as vocal as Connors but it's the same kind of thing. You look across the net and he's still saying: 'You've still got to beat me; you've still got to get the last point'. It's really fearsome when someone's got that. It's going to keep him in very good stead for the next 10 years because you can't coach that."

The points of comparisons grew richer. Lloyd also alluded to the great Roy Emerson, who always prepared to be able to hit top gear in the fifth set. "I thought Andy played his best in the fifth," Lloyd said. "That was great indication of how the training has worked and when he did the bicep-thing I thought that was almost the message, 'I'm catching you up.' He's got a way to go but it was semi-Popeye."

Tim Henman, despite commanding 13-million audiences on television for some of his epic Wimbledon battles – a level which Murray (an unexpected high of 10.5m on Monday) has yet to reach – never quite delivered such qualities. But he, too, has an inkling that Murray can prevail if he plays with intensity. "His body language and his attitude have been the key to that because he has kept fighting all the time," Henman said. "The Gasquet match was a great one to turn around. But his demeanour has been the biggest positive. He's been very composed and also he's working so hard."

Like Lloyd, Mark Petchey, one of Murray's former coaches, believes that his spirit has had redemptive qualities where a mildly suspicious British public is concerned. "I hope it really dispelled any of the thoughts people have about him in terms of his competitiveness, his desire to win and also his ability to play great tennis. I think the crowd fell in love with him. It takes a match like that."

But will a partisan Wimbledon crowd affect Rafael Nadal in the slightest? The Spanish media contingent have been struggling, amid the Euro 2008 euphoria, to make themselves heard at home but the manner of Murray's progress did not have too many flinching yesterday. "He [Nadal] has had Davis Cup experiences, the Paris finals with [Roger] Federer where all are against him," said Diario Sport's Neus Yerro. "Nadal will not be affected by that. They have both grown but the difference this year is that Rafa is playing grass naturally. He does not have to think every time before choosing his shot."

There is some discussion in Spain about the strain Nadal sustained to the back of his right knee during his own fourth-round tie with Mikhail Youzhny. There was no indication from the Nadal camp that this might be a problem, though, and it is in Murray's own hands to progress. With either the unseeded Arnaud Clement or Rainer Schüttler awaiting the winner in the semi-final – making the final quite achievable for today's victor – all the incentives are there.

Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own