Murray feeling pumped up for shot at glory
Briton believes improved mental and physical strength can lead to SW19 triumph
Andy Murray was in recovery mode yesterday after his heroics of the night before, but the 22-year-old Scot was far from satisfied. As he prepared to face Juan Carlos Ferrero here this afternoon, with a place in his first Wimbledon semi-final at stake, Murray made it clear that he regarded his five-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday as a mere stepping stone on the route to greater glory.
"If you feel like you can win a competition, it's not like you're going to be satisfied with a quarter-final just because you come through one big match," Murray said. "I've got the chance to go further than I did last year and to win the tournament. That's my goal and the change in mentality."
Twelve months ago – just as he did on Monday night – Murray needed just under four hours to beat a French speaker (Richard Gasquet) over five sets in the fourth round to earn a quarter-final against a Spaniard (Rafael Nadal). Last year, however, Murray struggled to pick himself up again after the emotional high of his back-from-the-dead victory over Gasquet and was brushed aside in straight sets by Nadal, the eventual champion.
"Until you get past the quarter-final stage, or get to the final of a Slam, you don't know what that feels like," Murray said. "And then you come up against someone like Nadal, who has done it over and over again, and their mentality is going to be better than yours because it's normal for them to get into the latter stages of tournaments. It wasn't until after last year's Wimbledon that I was able to do that on a consistent basis."
While Ferrero offers a less daunting challenge than Nadal – Murray beat the 29-year-old world No 70 in the semi-finals at Queen's Club less than three weeks ago – the Scot also believes that he is better equipped to handle the situation than he was 12 months ago.
"When I played the match against Gasquet last year that was the first time I had played a match like that at Wimbledon and had to come back a couple of days later," Murray said. "I just felt emotionally flat. I feel fine just now. I'll just have to see how I feel tomorrow. I think I know how to recover better than I did before. I've got the right guys around me and they know how my body works, so we'll do the right things to get me ready."
If the 10.38pm finish against Wawrinka was a record for Wimbledon it was nothing out of the ordinary for Murray, who plays in many tournaments around the world with evening sessions. Only last month his quarter-final against Juan Martin del Potro in Madrid finished more than half an hour after midnight.
That was about the time that Murray got home yesterday morning. He said that he had slept until 10am. Unlike after one of his matches last week, Murray's dog, Maggie, did not wake him up as his girlfriend, Kim Sears, took her out for an early-morning walk.
Murray arrived at the All England Club at lunchtime looking relaxed and rested. He practised in the afternoon and after stretching and a massage planned to go home, where he would be doing "nothing interesting unfortunately". He added: "I'll just watch some TV, maybe some tennis. I won't be doing anything stressful."
Murray said his preparations would be much the same as they had been before his quarter-final against Nadal last year, but added: "I'm going to have the same amount of recovery time, but my body just feels stronger. I recover better from long matches. I'm not going to change my routines from other tournaments."
The Queen's semi-final, which Murray won in straight sets, was the Scot's only meeting with Ferrero. "The courts here are a little different," Murray said. "Ferrero is a very tough player. He plays well on any surface. He's a former world No 1. Anything can happen on the day, regardless of who you're playing, especially in an individual sport. I played great at Queen's. If I play poorly, there's a good chance I'll lose against him, but I'll try to play well. If I do that, I've got a chance."
Murray and Ferrero will play second on Centre Court after Roger Federer and Ivo Karlovic. Unless the roof is used again – and the weather forecast is for a hot and dry afternoon – the noise levels are unlikely to match Monday night's, though Murray will hope to whip up the crowd's support.
"That's something that I've always done when I've played on big courts," he said. "Especially at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup, when the whole crowd's for you, you can get them going. When the big points come, especially in long matches when you sometimes need a lift, you need to get the crowd into it."
Murray has gone one round better every year that he has played here. Reaching a semi-final by winning today would maintain that rate of progress, though the world No 3 has his eyes on an even bigger prize.
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