'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.

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links