Wimbledon 2013: Roger Federer will never be as consistent again, says Andy Murray
British No 1 feels that last year's champion's consistency and domination will never be matched though he does expect the Swiss to bounce back
After the carnage here on Wednesday, Andy Murray has a message for those who believe that all he has to do to make next Sunday's final is to walk around the bodies strewn across the lawns of the All England Club. Murray has no top 10 players left in his half of the draw following the exits of three of his main challengers - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis and Ernests Gulbis respectively - but there is no way that the 26-year-old Scot will be complacent.
"Darcis beat Rafa, Roger has lost to Stakhovsky, Tsonga lost to Gulbis," Murray said as he looked ahead to his meeting with Spain's Tommy Robredo here this afternoon. "Who's to say I can't lose to Robredo in the next round? These things happen all the time in sport.
"I just think because of the consistency of the top players for the last eight or 10 years, people are so shocked. I think this used to happen a lot more previously. But I don't worry about those things. I know if I don't play well, I'll lose. That's why I'll be ready for that match and not worry about anything else."
Murray, who practised yesterday with the British teenager Kyle Edmund, has never played a match at Wimbledon when neither Federer nor Nadal have not been in the tournament. Nevertheless, he believes it would be foolish to rule out either man in the future.
"People wanted to write Rafa off after Wimbledon last year with his injury and he came back and made nine finals in a row," Murray said. "Roger and Rafa will be back competing for Grand Slams in the future, I think. It was just a couple of very good performances form Darcis and Stakhovsky, with maybe Rafa and Roger not quite being at their best. You can lose when that happens."
Pete Sampras, Federer's idol in his teenage years, never played at Wimbledon again after his second-round defeat to George Bastl here in 2002, when the American was 30. Did Murray see any similarities with 31-year-old Federer's position?
"I honestly have no idea," Murray said. "Roger still played some top-quality tennis this year, maybe not as consistent as he had been for the last 10 years, but you can't keep that up for ever. The levels of consistency and domination, we probably won't see that again. We'll have to wait and see how he responds, but he's one of the greatest athletes ever and I would expect him to respond very well to this loss. He will definitely be a danger at the US Open."
Murray, who beat Stakhovsky in the 2004 US Open junior final, watched some of the world No 116's victory over Federer. "Stakhovsky was playing unbelievably well," he said. "He was serve-volleying beautifully. It looked great the way he was playing. You always expect someone like Roger to turn the match around but when you get into tie-breaks..."
Robredo, who owes his first name to his father's love of The Who's "Tommy" rock opera, was the world No 5 six years ago, but the 31-year-old Spaniard was ranked No 471 when he began a comeback last summer after eight months out of the game with a hamstring injury. He underlined his return to form recently by reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open after becoming only the second man in history to win three Grand Slam matches in a row from two sets down.
"It's lovely to be here playing against one of the best players - I prefer this to being at home," Robredo said. "My comeback was brilliant, even more than what I expected. I am enjoying every day on the court. So what else can I ask for?
"I'm happy to be in all the tournaments. When you have been injured for a while, then any time you can go to a tournament, whether it's a Futures, a Challenger or a Grand Slam, you're happy. Then if it's a Grand Slam and you win two matches, you're obviously even happier. I'm in the third round, I've earned 90 [ranking] points and a bit of money. So, yes, I'm more than happy."
Robredo won his first two matches against Murray in 2006 and 2007, but lost the latest two, in 2009. "Andy Murray five years ago is not Andy Murray today," Robredo said. "And Robredo 2006 is not the same Robredo now."
Final hurdles: Murray's potential opponents
Third round Tommy Robredo (Spain, aged 31, world No 29)
A battle-hardened competitor. Murray has won their last two meetings, both in 2009.
Fourth round Mikhail Youzhny (Russia, aged 31, world No 26)
A stylish player who has won eight titles. Murray has won their only two meetings but they have not played for four years.
Quarter-final Ernests Gulbis (Latvia, aged 24, world No 39)
A maverick character and ferocious ball striker. Murray has won all five of their encounters.
Semi-final Nicolas Almagro (Spain, aged 27, world No 16)
The highest-ranked player Murray can meet before the final. The Scot has won their last three meetings without losing a set.
Final Novak Djokovic (Serbia, aged 26, world No 1)
Murray and his long-time friend and rival have met in two of the last three Grand Slam finals, winning one each.
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