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"Changing the way we interact with you"
LONDON---French Open runner-up
Simona Halep says she is ready for
Wimbledon and has recovered well
from the right shoulder muscle injury
that forced her to withdraw from a
tuneup tournament this week.
The Romanian, who is seeded third
at the All England Club, heads to Wim-
bledon with more confidence than in
the past, saying: "I m looking forward
to go very far in this tournament."
Halep has never been past the second
round at the grass-court major.
But she reached the second week at
each of the past three Grand Slam tour-
naments, getting to the fourth round
at last year s US Open and the quar-
terfinals at the Australian Open in Jan-
uary, before making it to the final at
Roland Garros this month. (AP)
says shoulder fine
LONDON---Japan s Kei Nishikori
says he is "almost 100 per cent per-
fect" health-wise heading into Wim-
The tenth-seeded Nishikori has been
hampered by a hip problem that he
says yesterday contributed to a first-
round loss at the French Open.
But the first Japanese man to be
ranked in the top ten says his run to
the semifinals on grass at Halle, Ger-
many, last week showed he is fit.
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam
tournament where Nishikori has not
made it to at least the fourth round.
He lost in the third round each of the
last two years at the All England Club,
and in the first round in his other three
Says Nishikori: "Actually never did
well on grass court yet, so hopefully I
can do better this year." (AP)
Nishikori 'almost 100 per cent'
LONDON---Imagine what the
reception will be like for Andy
Murray tomorrow when he first
strides onto the green grass of
Centre Court at Wimbledon.
A year ago, Murray became the
first British man since Fred Perry
in 1936 to win the singles title at
a tournament the locals refer to
simply as "The Championships,"
ending a nation s long wait and
sparking talk of a knighthood.
This year, Murray gets the
defending champion s honour of
playing the fortnight s first match
on the most famous tennis court
in the world. Seems safe to say
that 15,000 or so of his closest
friends will greet him with a full-
"As the time gets nearer, and,
you know, I get ready to play the
first match on Monday, I ll defi-
nitely ... be excited about it," Mur-
ray said. "I will be nervous. It (is)
an experience; something I have
never experienced before. Players
have talked about it in the past,
that it s a great experience. But it
can also be a nerve-racking one."
Murray had a slow start this
season, coming off back surgery,
and he hasn t reached a final since
Wimbledon 50 weeks ago.
But he showed he s on the way
back to peak form by reaching the
semifinals at the French Open.
Performing that well on clay
would seem to bode well for what
he can do on grass.
"I expect to play well there. I m
really looking forward to going
back. I think it will give me a lot
of positive energy," Murray said.
"I m glad I m back playing to a
level that was able to get me
through to the last stage of Slams."
As for how Murray will handle
whatever jitters accompany his
first trip back to the site of his
most significant victory, his peers
think he ll be just fine.
"The way he s got himself back
into shape again, I think he can
really believe again. That s what s
most important now," said Roger
Federer, who won seven of his
record 17 major championships at
Wimbledon and is coming off a
grass title at Halle, Germany.
"(Being) defending champion is
never an easy thing. But then again,
he played so well on grass the last
few years. ... I would feel com-
fortable if I was Andy at this point."
Novak Djokovic, the 2011 cham-
pion and runner-up to Murray last
"I m sure that Andy, with all
No 'Fred Perry, 1936'
references for Murray
the experience he has playing in the
big matches, and especially here in front
of his home crowd, understands and
knows the way how to handle the pres-
sure and expectation," Djokovic said.
"So I expect him to do well."
The other reigning singles champion,
France s Marion Bartoli, will not try to
defend her title, announcing her retire-
ment at 28, less than six weeks after
the 2013 final. That actually fits well
with the quirky career of Bartoli, who
certainly did things her way, down to
her two-fisted strokes for forehands,
backhands and volleys.
While Murray s baseline game is
rather conventional by today s stan-
dards, his coaching decisions have been
groundbreaking. After parting in March
with Ivan Lendl---whose hiring was fol-
lowed by those of fellow past greats of
the game Stefan Edberg (by Federer)
and Boris Becker (by Djokovic)---Murray
picked former women s No 1 Amelie
Mauresmo as a replacement this month.
"All I m interested in is to be able to
help him (reach) his goals," Mauresmo
said. "That s about it."
Murray, who grew up in Dunblane,
Scotland, has made plain that those
aims are primarily about winning more
Grand Slam trophies.
He earned his first at the 2012 US
Open, shortly after winning a gold
medal at the London Olympics. Those
triumphs followed his loss to Federer
at Wimbledon that year. In 2013, Mur-
ray beat Djokovic in the Wimbledon
final to end the 77-year drought.
Scotland s vote in September about
whether to break away from Britain---
Murray has steadfastly avoided weighing
in---will be a popular topic of conver-
sation around London this summer,
and with England s early elimination
from the World Cup, the attention on
"Our Andy" at Wimbledon figures to
be as strong as ever. (AP)
Britain's Andy Murray has a laugh with his coach Amelie Mauresmo on the
Practice Courts at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon,
England, yesterday. The 2014 Wimbledon Championships will start tomorrow.
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