Some traditionalists believe there is not enough contrast in the way that the modern game is played on different surfaces. Try telling that to Andy Murray. After spending the last two months on clay engaged in relentless baseline exchanges, the world No 4 began his grass-court season here at the Aegon Championships yesterday against a Spaniard who charged in to the net like a bull on amphetamines.
Murray, who won the title last year without dropping a set or being taken to a tie-break, beat Ivan Navarro 7-6, 6-3. The world No 108's powerful serve and determination to get to the net caused the Scot some problems, though he never looked in danger of dropping his own serve. Murray wore a support on the knee that had caused him some discomfort during the clay season and moved well considering it was his first match on grass since last summer.
Navarro forced two set points in the tie-break, which Murray eventually won 10-8 with a lovely backhand cross-court pass. The Scot returned better in the second set as two breaks of serve sealed a third-round meeting with Mardy Fish or Santiago Giraldo.
Murray, who partnered his brother Jamie to a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Americans Scott Lipsky and Sam Querrey later in the day, said: "It's nice to see someone serve-and-volley. I haven't played a serve-and-volley this year. It was tricky and he did it very well."
He added: "It was a tough first match. He served very, very well in the first set. I didn't return particularly well. You don't expect a Spaniard to come forward on every point."
By the time he went on court, Murray was in a familiar position as the last Briton left in the singles after Alex Bogdanovic was beaten 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov. The match resumed early in the third set after being called off because of rain the previous evening.
Bogdanovic revealed afterwards that he had told Leon Smith, Britain's new Davis Cup captain, that he would not be available for next month's tie against Turkey at Eastbourne, a match to decide who will be relegated to the lowest division, alongside the likes of Albania, Andorra and Malta.
As the world No 166, Bogdanovic, the British No 2, is ranked 88 places higher than the next Briton, Jamie Baker. However, Baker is the only home player on Wimbledon's initial list of men's wild cards. The Lawn Tennis Association recommends that wild cards should be given to Britons in the world's top 250.
Bogdanovic, who has lost in the first round on all eight occasions when he has received a Wimbledon wild card, has been dropped from the LTA's Team Aegon, which provides financial support for the travel and coaching costs of 43 leading British players. Bogdanovic, a talented player who has never realised his potential, still receives some financial support from the LTA but said that it had been cut from £15,000 to just £4,000 in the first six months of this year.
The 26-year-old said LTA player director Steve Martens had told him he was being dropped because he was not working hard enough. "I thought that was just so disrespectful," said Bogdanovic, who said he had always given his best.
Having "hit rock bottom" after learning of the decision, Bogdanovic has subsequently been consulting a sports psychologist. He insisted he was not turning his back on his country but added: "If you can't get the funding, if you can't be in the team, then how can someone want you to play for your country? To play Davis Cup you're playing for a team and you want to feel like the team has the backing, supports you, believes in you."Reuse content