Andy Murray vs Roberto Bautista Agut Wimbledon 2014: ‘I’d have more chance beating Murray at football,’ says Bautista Agut

The Scot's third round opponent was on Villarreal’s books as a boy but chose to concentrate on playing tennis

tennis correspondent

If they had not made similar career decisions at about the same age they might have met for the first time at Ibrox Park or Estadio El Madrigal, but instead Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut will first cross swords here on the lawns of the All England Club on Friday afternoon.

Considering that they are ranked No 5 and No 23 in the world respectively, the Scot and the Spaniard clearly made good choices when they opted to concentrate on tennis rather than football.

Murray, who grew up as a Hibernian fan, was offered a place at Rangers’ academy as a boy but turned it down, even though he preferred playing football at the time. Bautista Agut, who at 26 is a year younger than Murray, was on Villarreal’s books but also chose tennis.

“I was playing [football] with people one year older than me and it was not easy,” the Spaniard said. “I was not feeling well with this team. But I was enjoying my  tennis. I was playing well. I had to choose one sport.

“I was a striker at Villarreal. Nobody from my time at the club really made it, but I know a lot of the players there just now. I think I made the right choice when I opted to become a tennis player – although I think I would have more chance of beating Andy at football [rather than tennis].”

Bautista Agut and Murray did not know each other as juniors but have become friends since. Earlier this year they practised together when Murray went to train in Valencia, which is where Bautista Agut is based, in the build-up to the clay court season. They also took the opportunity to watch a  football match together. “We practise quite a lot together and we always talk about football rather than tennis,” Bautista Agut said.

Although Bautista Agut won a title – the first of his career – on grass in the Netherlands earlier this month, he prefers clay. “We don’t have grass courts in Spain,” he said. “I was practising on clay before I went to the Netherlands. I grew up on clay. I like to play from the baseline like every Spanish player. I like to play more on slow courts.”

Murray, nevertheless, pointed out that Bautista Agut’s game was not like that of most other Spanish players: “He plays very flat, without much top spin. The grass courts suit his game pretty well.”

The Scot added: “He’s a very nice guy. Very quiet. Very polite, very good  manners. He works hard. He has a very good attitude.”

Bautista Agut is a late  developer, having broken into the world’s top 100 only two years ago and the top 50 just three months ago.

“He has been improving a lot in the last couple of years playing at this level,” Murray said. “He has never really got stuck at a ranking. He has kept moving up.”

The Spaniard said his win in this year’s Australian Open over Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, then the world No 5, had done much for his confidence. “After this match I thought I could beat every player,” he said.

Bautista Agut said that being fit has also made a difference to his fortunes this year. “My body is healthy, but last year it wasn’t,” he said. “I feel fit. This is one of the big reasons that I keep playing and winning matches.’

Asked if he might feel any fear against Murray, Bautista Agut said: “No, I’m not scared. I will try to play my game. I am winning a lot of matches.

“I will try to be aggressive, to play my game. I will try to enjoy playing against Andy here on grass.”

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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.

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?