Wimbledon 2014: Andy Murray faces lofty challenge against 6ft 8in South African Kevin Anderson

Champion says he enjoys pressure as he prepares to cut down giant in fourth round

Wimbledon

Andy Murray has enjoyed his best first week in his nine Wimbledons but knows that the biggest challenges are only just beginning. The 27-year-old Scot faces his tallest order yet when he meets the 6ft 8in Kevin Anderson in the fourth round on Monday. Thereafter he could have to beat Grigor Dimitrov, the champion of Queen’s Club, Novak Djokovic, the top seed, and Rafael Nadal, the world No 1, if he is to retain his Wimbledon title next weekend.

Murray has dropped only 19 games in his first three matches. His previous best performance in the first week was when he dropped 26 games in 2010. There are those who believe it can help to be stretched early in the tournament, but Murray is quite happy to have won each of those three matches in straight sets.

From a physical point of view the world No 5 believes the long matches he played at the recent French Open were all he needed in terms of maintaining his powers of endurance. On a mental level he is well aware that from Monday his task will get considerably more difficult.

“The only way there could be a problem is if you are not mentally prepared for the matches to get more challenging,” Murray said. “If you just think everything will be the same as it was in the first week and you are playing well enough, then you will have problems because you are complacent.

“I’m aware against Kevin things will be a lot tougher. There are going to be harder moments in the second week. Of course I know that.”

He added: “Sometimes I’ve had tough first weeks and gone on to do well and sometimes I’ve had easy first weeks and had equally good tournaments. I don’t think it makes a huge difference.

Ball-watching: Andy Murray practises before facing Kevin Anderson in the fourth round Ball-watching: Andy Murray practises before facing Kevin Anderson in the fourth round (Getty)

“Last year I was coming to the tournament having not played at the French Open and missed quite a bit of tennis. Because of the grass it was important for me to get a good start because maybe physically I wasn’t in my best shape. This year I don’t see that being a problem.”

Considering Anderson’s height, it is perhaps no surprise that other players look up to the world No 18. The softly-spoken 28-year-old, who is the first South African to reach the fourth round here since Wayne Ferreira 14 years ago, is one of the sport’s nice guys, and a player who has made the most of his ability through hard work and dedication.

Anderson has taken his time to reach his current career-high position in the world rankings, but with his big serve and bold groundstrokes he can trouble the best. He is one of a group of players, including John Isner and Ivo Karlovic, who use their height to good effect, though Murray believes that the South African’s game is far from one-dimensional.

“He doesn’t serve as big [as Isner and Karlovic] but he is probably better from the back of the court,” Murray said. “He has a better return game than Isner and Karlovic.

“There might be more chances to break, but equally he will return better and make more balls when you are serving. There are obviously some similarities because of the size of them, but he has a pretty much different game to those guys. I would say he is more mobile than Karlovic. It depends on the surface. I haven’t played him on grass before so I don’t know how he moves on the grass.”

Anderson is based in Delray Beach, Florida, and knows Murray’s former coach Ivan Lendl, who lives nearby. “I got to know Ivan a little bit more last year and actually practised with him a couple of months ago,” Anderson said. “I’ve been down to Miami to practise with Andy a couple of times. Obviously there’s a huge difference from a practice set in Miami to Wimbledon.”

Murray did not appear to be concerned that his former coach had been practising with his next opponent. “That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” he said. “Ivan loves playing tennis. He hits balls all the time when he is over in Miami. But you can’t compare practising with Ivan to playing against me. It’s completely different.”

Although Murray knows the pressure will build this week, he is ready for it. “The nerves and the pressure here are different to other tournaments for me,” he said. “It’s probably greater here than it is at the other Grand Slams. But I enjoy pressure. I like feeling nervous. I’m not scared of that feeling. I felt like I played my best tennis when I’ve been under pressure.”

Tale of the tape

Andy Murray/Kevin Anderson

27 Age 28

Dunblane Born Johannesburg

5 World ranking 18

6ft 3in Height 6ft 8in

13st 3lb Weight 14st 1lb

$31.5m Career earnings $4m

28 Titles 2

Champion (2013) Wimbledon best 4th round (2014)

Previous Meetings

2010 Australian Open 1st round: Murray won 6-1 6-1 6-2

2011 Canadian Masters 2nd round: Anderson won 6-3 6-1

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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.

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?