Murray comfortable with increased interest

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray is confident the extra attention following England's World Cup exit will not derail his bid for British sporting glory.

The 23-year-old has progressed through to the Wimbledon quarter-finals without dropping a set, beating big-serving American Sam Querrey 7-5 6-3 6-4 in his latest match yesterday.

Murray's march at the All England Club has been overshadowed by events in South Africa but, following England's defeat by Germany on Sunday, he is set to return to the back pages as the national obsession with a home win at Wimbledon gathers pace.

The Scot, though, insists it is business as usual. He said: "The build-up was a lot quieter, there were less journalists around, less photographers. But that was it.

"Once the tournament starts, I don't really pay any attention to the press and what's going on because it's just not worth it. It can only be a distraction. So it's better just to stay away from it."

Murray's performance yesterday was patchier than in his victories over Jan Hajek, Jarkko Nieminen and Gilles Simon but still good enough to ensure he is the only quarter-finalist not to have lost a set.

One concern was his first-serve percentage, which dropped below 50% for the first time in the tournament. Murray's second serve has been a major weakness but he managed to win 63% of points when he missed his first delivery, and he was delighted his hard work had paid off.

"It's probably seven or eight miles an hour quicker now," said Murray, who will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next. "I served a few aces on my second serve towards the end of the match.

"Obviously I'm going to need to serve better if I want to win the tournament but the stats in all of the matches so far have been good.

"That one in particular (yesterday), it shows how well I was hitting the ball from the back of the court because normally on the second serve he's going to put the ball back in, there's going to be a lot of rallies. I won a lot of long rallies."

Queen's champion Querrey enjoyed his big moment on Centre Court even if it did not turn out the way he had hoped.

The 18th seed said: "I had to hit a special shot to make a few people clap for me. But it's understandable. The fans are excited, especially now that the soccer is done. He's their hope for the next week. I had a good time out there."

And Querrey is confident Murray can handle the rising expectation levels as he looks to end Fred Perry's 74-year reign as Britain's last male grand slam singles champion.

"I think he's got a lot of pressure on him," added the American. "I'm sure he expects a lot from himself. The fans and the crowd expect him to win every tournament he plays in, so he probably feels a lot of the pressure from them.

"But kudos to him for stepping up and winning Queen's last year, making a semi-final here. And he's now back in a quarter-final, so he steps up to the pressure."