Andy Murray: Fergie's advice is welcome, but he won't be joining my team
Published 30/06/2014 | 22:24
Andy Murray will head into a Wimbledon quarter-final against Grigor Dimitrov with advice from Sir Alex Ferguson safely stored away.
The former Manchester United manager watched Murray beat Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-3 7-6 (8/6) from the Royal Box and the pair met for a quick chat afterwards.
Murray met Ferguson for the first time at the US Open two years ago, with Ferguson joining Murray's support camp for his maiden grand slam triumph.
Ferguson was also at Wimbledon last year when Murray fought back from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco, the British number one describing Ferguson's advice as "gold dust".
He was unable to be at the final for Murray's historic triumph over Novak Djokovic, though, because he was on a cruise around the Scottish islands.
After beating Anderson, Murray said: "I chatted to him for a few minutes after the match. Not for long, but just immediately when I came off the court. We stay in contact throughout the year.
"We chat about a lot of things. We talked about my match today, spoke about football, the World Cup a little bit.
"Then he just said a few things, what he's observed when he's been watching me, not necessarily about technical or tactical things, but more mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations.
"Obviously you're going to listen to someone like him. He's witnessed a lot of big and tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff."
Murray, though, dismissed a suggestion he might take on Ferguson as an adviser in a more formal scenario.
"He's someone I would obviously talk to if something came up that I felt I could benefit from speaking to him about," Murray said of his fellow Scot.
"But I wouldn't see myself employing him or offering him a job within my team."
Anderson provided Murray's stiffest test so far, the third seed having to save a set point in the third-set tie-break.
The defending champion still has not yet dropped a set but may do well to maintain that record against 11th seed Dimitrov, who succeeded Murray as Queen's Club champion and is having the best season of his career.
The Bulgarian has begun to live up to the talent that has always been obvious and is through to his second grand slam quarter-final.
Murray said: "It's a step up because it's one round further, and the guys that are in the quarter-finals are going to be playing top tennis.
"He obviously won Queen's a couple weeks ago. He likes the grass courts. It's a big opportunity for him, as well, playing on the Centre Court. Hopefully we can play a good match."
Murray is through to his seventh successive Wimbledon quarter-final having maintained the form that carried him untroubled through the first week.
At a set and 3-0 up Murray looked in total control, but at that point it began to rain and the roof was deployed.
Indoors, Anderson was more of a threat, and Murray had to fight off a break point that would have made it 3-3 in the second set.
The Scot then upped his game again to tighten his grip on the match, but he was unable to break the Anderson serve in the third set despite having five chances in the eighth game.
It was the South African 20th seed, making his Centre Court debut, who had the first set point in the tie-break but Murray saved it with a big serve and then clinched victory on his first chance.
Murray said: "Obviously everything was going my way when we stopped and then it's different conditions. Most players will tell you that there's a big difference between playing indoors and outdoors. It changes the way the court plays.
"He started hitting the ball cleaner. I started off a bit tentative when we came back out. But I still did well. I still created loads of chances and just couldn't quite get them.
"I created many chances, gave him few opportunities - that's what you need to do in grass-court tennis. You don't always break. But if you keep putting them under enough pressure, you're going to get through in the end."
The roof had been opened before the match after earlier rain, and Murray backed the decision to start play outside.
He said: "They should always try to play with the roof open because it's an outdoor event. I think we need to give the players the opportunity to play outdoors as long as possible.
"When it does rain, and it's going to be there for a while, they obviously need to close it. But we played for an hour and 20 minutes or 30 minutes outdoors. It wasn't like it was just five or 10 minutes."
Murray has maintained an intense focus throughout the tournament, making a big effort not to allow his opponents back into matches with any lapses.
He was pleased to have come through his first moments of concern, saying: "It's good.
"I knew I was going to get tested at some stage. And today I was pushed, especially in the middle part of that second set, then obviously later on in the third there were some tight moments.
"But I handled them fairly well. It was a good match.