Murray rejects coach concerns and takes it easy before Benneteau duel

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The exception was on No 8 Court, where Andy Murray was having a laugh with James Auckland, his friend and occasional doubles partner. They even hit the odd tennis ball.

After his hugely impressive three-set victory over Nicolas Massu on Tuesday night, Murray's attention now switches to his second-round match today against Julien Benneteau, of France. While Murray was taking it easy yesterday, Benneteau resumed a tough match against Bjorn Phau, eventually winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6.

"I didn't want to do too much today with a best-of-five-set match coming up tomorrow," Murray said. "I just wanted to hit a few balls and loosen my legs. It's fun to play with James because he's one of my best friends."

While speculation has been rife about who will succeed Mark Petchey as Murray's coach - Leon Smith, from his junior days, has been working with him in recent weeks but is not accompanying him at Wimbledon - the player himself is unruffled.

"There are some situations where you'd rather have a coach, but others when you'd rather be on your own," Murray said. "I had fun today on the court and yesterday I played well. That was all without a coach, so it's not too much of a problem.

"Yesterday I was really focused on my match. I played pretty solidly the whole way through and didn't make too many mistakes."

Even though he could be on course for a third-round confrontation with Andy Roddick, Murray refuses to look beyond today's match.

Benneteau, 24, is enjoying the best run of his career. Earlier this month he went further in the French Open than any of his fellow countrymen, beating Radek Stepanek and Marcos Baghdatis before losing to Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter-finals. He has never been higher than his current world ranking of 55, which is only 11 places behind Murray. "He's a pretty solid player," Murray said.

He insists that this year at Wimbledon does not feel any different to 12 months ago, when he made such a successful senior debut here. "The only thing that's different is that I didn't really know any players to talk to last year," Murray said. "This year is a bit different. I feel a bit more comfortable in the locker-room."

Murray's popularity with the other players was evident as Marat Safin walked past the practice court. "You've cut your hair," Murray called out. "You told me to grow my hair and then you go and get yours cut. I think I'll get mine cut now." Safin smiled. "No, keep going," he said. "What goes up will eventually come down."