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Andy Murray column

Andy Murray at Wimbledon

Highlights - Murray too strong for Tsonga

By Andy Murray
World number four and British number one

One of the most difficult things in tennis is to stay focused when you're not really in control of what's going on in the match, and that's what I managed to do against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

When a guy's hitting the ball as hard as he can from every position on the court, serving big, coming to the net and keeping the points really short, you just have to try and stay in the present.

Neither of us really had many chances in the first set but I got the first mini-break in the tie-break and couldn't quite hang on to it.

It was just important not to panic and stay as focused as possible, and I managed to do that, although obviously I got a bit of luck when he let the ball go at 5-5 in the second set tie-break.

That changed the match a little bit, but things are only going to get tougher from now on and I'm sure I'll have to go through some more very, very difficult moments if I want to win the title.

I obviously knew Roger Federer had lost before I went onto court because you follow the match before yours to see when you need to warm up and get ready.

The only time we've played each other at Wimbledon was in the quarter-finals two years ago and that match was a big turning point for me

It was a bit surprising but at the same time, with the depth of the players nowadays, it's not so shocking any more - there are upsets in all of the Grand Slams.

Roger's defeat doesn't affect how I view the tournament as a whole anyway; it doesn't change anything unless I can win against Rafa and I'm really not looking past that match - I'm playing the number one player in the world.

I've known Rafa for a long time as I trained in Spain when I was younger and met him quite a few times out there.

I think I was about 13 years old the first time I actually saw him play, which would have been in one of the Summer Cup junior tournaments where you compete with all the other European nations.

We played a lot of the same tournaments when we were growing up but he was older and always ahead of me, and he was well and truly on the Tour by the time he was 16 or 17.

The only time we've played each other at Wimbledon was in the quarter-finals two years ago and that match was a big turning point for me.

I'd been playing well in the tournament and managed to come back from a couple of sets down against Gasquet in the previous round, but I didn't have the energy to compete with Rafa how I would have liked and lost heavily.

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A lot has changed since then. I've spent a lot of time getting physically stronger, a lot more time in the gym, and since then I've had good results against him.

It's not daunting to face Rafa because, although he's obviously a great player, he's someone that I enjoy playing.

The fact that I've been to the semi-finals at Wimbledon before will help but I don't think it will have a whole lot of bearing on the outcome as I'm facing a completely different opponent this time.

Roddick has a huge serve and there are a lot of short rallies when you play him, whereas Rafa's one of the best defenders in the game but doesn't have a huge serve, so there's going to be a lot of longer rallies. It will a completely different match.

Either way, it's just very exciting to be back in the semi-finals at Wimbledon. That's why you play the sport - to compete in the latter stages of the major events.

I've been lucky enough to play in quite a few of these big matches in the last few years and hopefully I'll enjoy the match against Rafa and perform well again.


Andy Murray was talking to Piers Newbery and will be contributing regular columns to BBC Scotland throughout Wimbledon 2010.



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see also
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Murray wins to set up Nadal semi
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Murray through to quarter-finals
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Murray cruises into second week
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Murray hits top form at Wimbledon
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Murray eases through at Wimbledon
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Andy Murray's column
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Andy Murray column
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Tennis on the BBC
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