Today's big match: Andy Murray v Juan Carlos Ferrero
Andy Murray's victory against Stanislas Wawrinka was, I believe, the biggest test of his career to date. Bigger than the US Open final last year because no neutral expected him to win that. The Wawrinka match was big precisely because Andy is expected, on ranking and by a nation, to reach the final at Wimbledon.
It wasn't always pretty but he got the job done. The key ingredient – and the key to him continuing his run – is his vastly improved physical condition over the past 18 months. If Murray hadn't been in the shape he is in, we would have two Swiss rolling into the quarters. Without the muscle, stamina and power that underpins Murray's game and fills him with the confidence that allows other parts of his game to prosper, he would have been a goner.
Wawrinka is hard-hitting and dangerous and he played out of his skin. He also had 100-per-cent control; and no sign of the mental wobbles that have hurt him before. And still Murray came through. Digressing for one moment, I heard Pete Sampras say the roof took away a little of the spirit of Wimbledon, robbing it of the will-it/won't-it-rain edginess. I see his point, but what's done is done. A new era will have its own classics.
Murray's serve was off a little off, but his movement and all-round conditioning kept him balanced enough to stay in there. Now he faces Juan Carlos Ferrero and the question is whether the late-night, five-setter on Monday will have hurt him. I think not, but the further we go, the harder it gets, especially between the ears.
Ferrero was a hell of a player at his peak. A damn good server, with great ground strokes and movement to leave your neck cricked. He ain't "Mosquito" for nothing, quick as a tic, his bites stinging. He is also a former world No 1. He reached Wimbledon's quarters in 2007 and this year, where I can't see him going further.
He is a clay-courter by instinct but has an all-court game and a decent record at all four Slams. Though his level has understandably dropped off at the age of 29, this is precisely the kind of tie where danger lurks for Murray. His team need to bang out the same message again and again: "This is the match of your life. Your physical strength will sustain you. Use all your weapons.
"Your time is now."
Tale of the tape
British Nationality Spanish
22 Age 29
Dunblane Place of birth Onteniente
Dunblane Residence Villena
2005 Turned pro 1998
Right-handed Plays Right-handed
6ft 3in Height 6ft
84kg Weight 73kg
No 3 World ranking No70
No 3 Wimbledon seeding Unseeded
12 Career titles 12
£3.6m Career prize-money £6.5m
W13 L3 Wimbledon record W22 L8
QF (2008,09) Wimbledon best QF (2007, 09)
1-9 Odds 7-1
Head-to-head: One previous meeting (Queen's 2009). Murray won
Bollettieri's prediction: Murray in no more than four
Even if Karlovic's big serve is firing, Federer will shoot him down in four sets
Ivo "Big Man" Karlovic has got to try to clear his mind of the name, face and reputation of the man he's facing today. The man who owns Centre Court and in the absence of Rafael Nadal aims to be king of all he surveys this year in SW19. It goes without saying Ivo needs a massive serving day to stay competitive. He also needs to heed one of the tweaks we made to his game during his recent month at my academy: get closer to the net for his volley.
Federer's returns are excellent. He is also capable of dictating the pace of play, and the match. And he's no mean server himself. If Ivo's serve fails at all, then Roger is looking at a comfortable win. If Ivo serves amazingly well, I still think Roger will have too much. I'd be surprised if it goes further than four sets.
Roddick must avoid being drawn into Hewitt slug-fest
Lleyton Hewitt is 28, has had hip surgery, has his peak years behind him and arrived at Wimbledon outside the top 50. You think he gives a crap?
The Adelaide scrapper doesn't give a flying wallaby about anyone's view of his chances. The guy I'd always have in my foxhole in a war just refuses to lose.
That's one reason why his match-up with Andy Roddick today is so lip-smacking, folks. Yes, Andy Murray's match is prime viewing in the UK. Globally, and especially in the US and Australia, this is the cracker.
I've been pleasantly surprised how good Hewitt's movement has been after his surgery. He coped well to win a five-setter against Stepanek. Today he faces an in-form, in-shape, fired-up Roddick, whose all-round game can give him the edge, in my view. Roddick needs a big serving day. He needs to come in. He doesn't want to get into a slug-fest that Hewitt can win. Instinctively I say Roddick in four sets but Hewitt is never to be ruled out.
Haas confidence is high – now he must make it pay
My boy Tommy Haas's confidence is sky high. Hell! He's coming in so much we're gonna change his name to Volley Haas. He's ready for today's test against Novak Djokovic. At 31, Haas is increasingly confident, after a spell in the doldrums, that he's got quality time left in his career. But he also knows he's got to make hay while the sun shines and make the most of every big chance in a Slam.
This is a big chance. It's a tough one to call. Emotionally I'm with Tommy. Djokovic wins on ranking but hasn't achieved all he should have. He also lost to Tommy in the Gerry Weber Open in Halle.
Improve your game: When to stop practising
Got a tennis problem? Email me and I'll try to help out. Today's questions comes from Jane Kendall who asks: "What is the maximum amount of time that an eight-year-old should be spending on court per day? I ask as someone with a son who would play non-stop if we let him." Well, Jane, if your boy is doing this wholly of his own volition, there's no maximum. But if you think he's already had a good few hours playing, turning him off when he's in the groove won't hurt. That can even sustain his hunger.
The Ato Z of Bollettieri: napshots from 53 years as a top tennis coach
R is for Richard, as in Richard Williams, the most successful tennis parent of all time, father of Serena and Venus. He's proved his method of teaching and support is the right way. I loved his quote this week about Serena's on-court stance. "Serena's as mean as a junkyard dog," Richard said. "She don't give a shit about no one walking on that court. Serena's more mentally tough than any player out here." Yet his girls are such polite, funny, clever kids, they're a credit to him. He's there for them at every important moment. Apart from when he nips out for a smoke, of course.
S is for Sleep, as in something I'm not familiar with. Athletes need plenty of good rest. It's as important as the working out and the practice. But it's not a word I like to associate myself with in my own life. I'm a "Let's go, baby!" kind of person, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I won't, don't, can't sit still. I'm up before the sun and out on my courts, where I stay all day. I might take a break for a bike ride. I don't want to miss out on the action. We get one shot at this.
Win a week in Florida at my tennis academy
Want a week's tennis holiday at my academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition, accommodation in our poolside clubhouse, and all meals. The winner arranges the travel. All you have to do is email to tell me who will win today's big match. I want a specific score line, and as a tie-breaker, a one-sentence summary of the manner in which your pick will win. At the end of the tournament, all the daily winners will go into a hat, and one overall winner will be picked from there. Monday's winner was Gary Goodger (second daily win!), and yesterday's was Peter Robertson. Both go into the hat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgReuse content