Murray: 'I was not expecting that but I don't want to stop there'
When Andy Murray set out on his Wimbledon campaign last week he refused to look beyond his first-round match against Nicolas Massu, the Olympic champion.
The British No 2 will still take one match at a time, starting with his fourth-round encounter this afternoon with Marcos Baghdatis, but after his thrilling victory here on Saturday night over Andy Roddick he could be forgiven for starting to think about the challenges that could lie ahead.
"If I play like I did against Roddick, I think I have a good chance of winning my next match," said Murray, who would probably face Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals if he were to make further progress. Roger Federer is in the other half of the draw.
Firstly, however, Murray has to beat a player who has already played in the final of a Grand Slam tournament. Baghdatis, 21, lost to Federer in the Australian Open final in January.
"Baggy" left his family home in Limassol at 13 to train at a tennis academy in Paris. He was the world junior No 1 in 2003 and became the first Cypriot to reach the world's top 100 and play in a Grand Slam tournament. His breakthrough came in January in Melbourne, where thousands of boisterous flag-waving fans from the sizeable local Greek community came out to support him as he beat three top 10 players en route to the Australian final.
Following Melbourne, however, he had reached only one quarter-final until he found his feet on grass by making the semi-finals in Rosmalen last week. He has followed that with victories here over Britain's Alan Mackin, Romania's Andrei Pavel and France's Sebastien Grosjean.
"For the last six months I haven't believed in myself," Baghdatis said as he looked forward to facing Murray. "I've had so many doubts in my head, saying: 'Come on, all the matches are tough, no matches are easy, everybody's going on the court wanting to beat me.' It's been hard. But I think today the feeling of being in the second week of another Grand Slam gives me more confidence. It's a positive thing.
"It will be fun to play on Centre Court, though playing against a British player at Wimbledon will be tough. It's a new experience for me, but I'll just go on the court and try and find a way to win. Andy can do everything. He's a great player. He can defend, he can attack, he can do lots of things on the court."
Murray, who is good friends with Baghdatis, believes the Cypriot's game is suited to grass and that his opponent has the edge in experience. "I'm two years younger than Marcos, so physically he's a bit stronger as well," Murray said.
However, the manner of Murray's win over Roddick, whom he had already beaten in San Jose earlier this year, showed how much the Scot enjoys the challenge of playing high-pressure matches on the biggest stages.
"I've beaten the second best player on grass in the world and I've beaten him in the third round of a Grand Slam on one of the biggest courts in the world," Murray said. "It's one thing beating him in San Jose. It's different doing it here in a big tournament.
"It's huge to beat a guy who's been in the final twice here. If Federer wasn't around, Roddick probably would have won here. To win in straight sets is obviously special for me. I definitely wasn't expecting that. But I don't want to stop there.
"I know now that I can beat the best players in the world. It's more about doing it week in, week out, which might not happen this year, might not happen next year, but come 21 or 22 that's when I want to be doing that. That's when I've got a real chance of winning a Grand Slam tournament."
Murray is playing the best tennis of his life despite having been without a coach since parting with Mark Petchey nearly three months ago. His team and the Lawn Tennis Association are currently in talks with Brad Gilbert, the former coach of Roddick and Andre Agassi.
"When I was younger, all the coaches used to say that my main strength was being able to work out how to beat opponents, how to play on their weaknesses and play to my strengths, and get the match to go the way that I wanted it to go," Murray said.
"Maybe after being at the academy in Spain for a while and having quite a few different coaches over a short space of time I was listening to the coaches a lot and maybe not thinking enough for myself.
"This week I've really done that. I'm pretty chuffed because everyone was saying I needed a coach for the grass-court season. I definitely need a coach, but I would much rather be on my own than have the wrong coach."
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