Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2014 Contents A64
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 23, 2014
LONDON---Imagine what the reception will be like
for Andy Murray today 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-throated roar.
"As the time gets nearer, and, you know, I get
ready to play the first match on Monday, I ll definitely
... be excited about it," Murray said. "I will be nervous.
It (is) an experience; something I have never expe-
rienced 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 for-
ward 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 comfortable if I was Andy
at this point."
Novak Djokovic, the 2011 champion and runner-
up to Murray last year, agreed.
"I m sure that Andy, with all 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 pressure 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 retirement 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 standards, his coaching decisions have
been groundbreaking. After parting in March with
Ivan Lendl --- whose hiring was followed 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 win-
ning more Grand Slam trophies.
He earned his first at the 2012 U.S. Open, shortly
after winning a gold medal at the London Olympics.
Those triumphs followed his loss to Federer at Wim-
bledon that year. In 2013, Murray beat Djokovic in
the Wimbledon final to end the 77-year drought.
to greet Murray
Scotland s vote in September about whether to
break away from Britain---Murray has steadfastly
avoided weighing in---will be a popular topic of con-
versation 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)
Andy Murray, of
Britain, plays a
return to Jerzy
Poland, during their
semifinal match at
the All England
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