Murray tries to play down Nadal defeat

Scot taking it one match at a time – and first up it's Baghdatis today

Wimbledon

Andy Murray will be the last person to look beyond his third-round meeting with Marcos Baghdatis here this afternoon, but at least his supporters can dream. Rafael Nadal, who beat the Scot in the semi-finals at the last two Wimbledons and was seeded to meet him at the same stage next week, lost on Thursday night to Lukas Rosol. Milos Raonic, the big-serving Canadian who could have met Murray in the fourth round, was beaten yesterday by Sam Querrey.

After so many tournaments when his hopes of becoming Britain's first Grand Slam singles champion for three quarters of a century have been ended by one of the big guns, might this be Murray's year at last?

The Scot himself will not be letting any such thoughts cloud his thinking. Asked whether Nadal's defeat might have opened up the draw for him, the Scot replied: "It's completely irrelevant to me unless I reach the semi-finals. I have a guy who's been in a Grand Slam final in my next match, so that's the focus for me."

Murray prepared to face Baghdatis, who was runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open, with a practice session at Aorangi Park. Oliver Golding, the US Open boys' champion, was on the other side of the net, while Ivan Lendl, Murray's coach, Dani Vallverdu, his hitting partner and friend, and Leon Smith, Britain's Davis Cup captain, watched from the sidelines, along with the world No 4's mother, Judy, and one of his young cousins, nine-year-old, Cora Erskine. The relaxed mood in the camp was clear to see.

Baghdatis, who is quick around the court and hits the ball with impressive power, beat Murray in their only previous Wimbledon meeting six years ago, but the 27-year-old Cypriot is not the force he was. He has not won a tournament for two and a half years.

One potential advantage for the world No 42 is the fact that his coach, Miles Maclagan, was the central figure in his opponent's entourage until they parted company two summers ago, shortly after Murray had lost to Nadal in his second Wimbledon semi-final. Maclagan had also helped guide Murray to his first semi-final here, against Andy Roddick, the previous year.

"It's got to be a help, although it's two years since I've been at the heart of it," Maclagan said yesterday. "Things will have changed in that time. But I know how he reacts to certain things, and things that make him less comfortable. Andy is a great player so Marcos has to come out and play really well, but the pressure is all on Andy. Rosol showed that to beat these top guys you can't go out there and just play a decent match. You need to play in a style that is going to topple them."

He added: "Having been alongside Andy, I know what the pressures are on him. Everyone is focused upon him, but he handles it well. I know from having been there that there's this massive expectation on him to win. The questions keep coming about when he is going to win a Slam. With Nadal out, there will be a lot of the public who think he is just going to cruise to the final, which of course is just not the case, regardless of what happens tomorrow."

As for his present relationship with Murray, Maclagan said: "We still get on well and I'm good friends with the guys in his camp. We had two and a half good years together and in this job that is a reasonable amount of time. When I left maybe it was a question of him needing to freshen things up a bit, which happens. We parted on good terms. I've played a few rounds of golf with Lendl here. That's actually been a bit of a highlight of my summer. He was a bit of a hero of mine growing up."

Murray does not believe that Maclagan's experience of working with him will be a significant factor. "I will be doing things Marcos might not be expecting," Murray said. "I'm sure Miles will have some tactics for Marcos to try and use against me in the match.

"He will have made sure Marcos has worked hard and is in good shape, because that was what I got out of him when we worked together. From a coach's point of view it's easy to say 'try this' or 'try that' but it's a whole different story when you're on court."

Murray has beaten Baghdatis twice since Maclagan started working with the Cypriot and said his defeat to him here in 2006 felt a long time ago. "I feel like I'm a much better player as I didn't handle things as well as I do now," he said. "At that time Marcos was close to being a top 10 player and was a Grand Slam finalist. He was playing his best tennis at that time."

The Scot said he had been pleased with the way he had concentrated on his task in his first two matches here against Nikolay Davydenko and Ivo Karlovic. "Some days it's easier than others, but so far it's been a good start and I've been very focused throughout," he said. "I got off to a bad start against Karlovic and after being 40-0 up I got broken. To break straight back was pleasing. Mentally so far it's been good and I need to keep it up."

Maclagan said Baghdatis's chances were "definitely slim" but added: "What happened [on Thursday] night has probably made a lot of guys in the locker room sit up. The top guys will be thinking: 'Wow, we can be beaten'. And the other players think: 'We can beat the top guys'. You claw every bit of hope you can."

Possible route to the final:

Third round Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp)

Fourth round Marin Cilic (Croa)

Quarter-final David Ferrer (Sp)

Semi-final Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fr)

Final Novak Djokovic (Serb)

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas