BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Murray receives weblog hate mail
Andy Murray
Andy Murray sporting his Saltire sweatband at Wimbledon
Scottish tennis star Andy Murray has denied being anti-English after receiving abuse over comments he made about the World Cup.

Murray has been caught up in the latest cross-border spat after saying he would be supporting "anyone but England".

Dozens of posts on Murray's Wimbledon blog want him to lose his second round match against Julien Benneteau.

Murray has made a statement saying he supports English sportsmen and does not mind whether England win or lose.

The 19-year-old, whose home town is Dunblane, is the UK's number one ranked player.

I made a joke, I don't mind whether England win or lose!
Andy Murray

During press interviews earlier this month, he said he would be supporting "anyone but England" in the World Cup finals.

But in a statement on his website, he has now said: "Want to say that I'm not anti-English!

"I have supported Tim [Henman] the last 10 years and he is English! Ricky Hatton is one of my favourite boxers and he is English.

"I said I think England will beat Portugal in my press conference!

"I made a joke, I don't mind whether England win or lose!"

Leg injury

Hundreds have posted on Murray's website, which contains an unmoderated section where people can leave comments about his blog, since his Wimbledon campaign started on Monday.

Although many are supportive, a large number have criticised his England comments.

Some posters said they would now support "anyone but Murray" and one hopes the teenager will not shake off his latest leg injury.

Andy Murray's website
Andy Murray's website, where the posts were published

During his first round match on Tuesday - which he won in three sets - Murray sported a wristband decorated with the Scottish flag.

In response to this, another comment reads: "I thought we were all 'British' - but I guess that only applies to the English eh? One day, we too will get our own National Anthem, our own English Parliament - and allow our own tennis players to sport the cross of St George on their own sweat bands."

In Thursday's second round match he was winning by two sets to one against Frenchman Julien Benneteau on Centre Court before play was suspended for the evening.

Murray is ranked 44 in the world, while Benneteau is 11 places lower at 55.

Scottish National Party MP Pete Wishart urged Westminster to bring a sense of perspective to the row.

Cross-border tensions

Mr Wishart said: "No-one should be cajoled or browbeaten into supporting a team they feel no affinity to.

"Along with shameful incidents in Scotland by thugs it's about time a sense of perspective was brought to this matter."

The World Cup has stoked up the debate about the relationship between Scotland and England.

First Minister Jack McConnell was criticised for saying he would not be supporting England.

There has been a series of anti-English incidents in Scotland during the tournament in Germany, including attacks on a disabled man in Aberdeen and a seven-year-old boy in Edinburgh.

See reaction from tennis enthusiasts at Wimbledon

Fan's England flags burned down
26 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
England shirt attacks condemned
21 Jun 06 |  Scotland
Vandals try to burn England flag
19 Jun 06 |  South of Scotland
McConnell explains England stance
25 May 06 |  Scotland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific