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Thursday 31 July 2014

Andy Murray: Unexpected early start didn't help my lacklustre quarter final

Published 03/07/2014|17:23

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Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Wimbledon defending champion hints that the early start may have contributed to a poor quarter-final as Andy Murray was heard muttering about something occurring "five minutes" before the match

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 Andy Murray has hinted that an unexpectedly early start to his Wimbledon quarter final may have been behind his lacklustre performance.

The Scotsman lost in straight sets to 23-year-old Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Centre Court on Wednesday.

During the match, Murray, 27, was heard to shout “shut the f--- up” and was seen muttering under his breath.

Later, when he was 4-2 down in the third set, Murray was heard shouting “five minutes before the f------ match” – giving the impression there had been some sort of incident before the game.

In his BBC column published on Thursday, Murray said there was “nothing different” in the build-up and that he had “no reason to expect that kind of performance”.

But he said: “The timings changed a bit because we played the quarter-final pretty early compared with some of my other matches, but my routine was the same and I practised with James Ward both days."

It is not clear what his comments were referring to, although Murray's match did start earlier than normal.

Play began on Centre Court at noon rather than the usual time of 1pm to catch up with the schedule after rain delays, and the match before Murray's ended after just 57 minutes.

Murray has yet to beat a top 10 player since his 2013 Wimbledon – when he became the first British male champion for 77 years. But was expected to beat Dimitrov, having breezed through to the quarter finals without dropping a set.

In the event, Murray appeared out of sorts and struggled to win points on Dimitrov’s serve. He also produced a high number of unforced errors.

Dimitrov also seemed baffled by the Scot’s poor performance and claimed he had “sensed” something was wrong with his opponent before play started.

Murray left SW19 alone immediately after his post-match interview, getting into one of the All England Club cars, still wearing his tennis kit.

His girlfriend Kim Sears, 26, who looked visibly upset as she made a hasty exit from the players’ box, was later seen leaving Wimbledon alone, in contrast to 2012 when the couple left together after his defeat in the final to Roger Federer.

Murray’s spokesman Matt Gentry said Murray often swore on court but gave no indication of the source of his frustration.

In the column, Murray said he would be traveling to Miami soon to train. It is not known if he would support his brother Jamie, who is due to play on Centre Court in the doubles on Thursday afternoon.

Murray said: “I was nervous, I felt the butterflies and was excited about the match, but that's perfectly normal. I didn't feel overcome by the moment, but I certainly wasn't very good when I got out on court.

"I made a bad start and I think that gave him confidence, and then there were just too many errors from me. All the percentages were going in his favour.”

Speaking about getting back to his training, he said: “I would expect to head out to Miami fairly soon as that's where I've spent most of my training blocks over the last six or seven years, and it's worked well for me when getting ready for the summer in the States.

"The tournaments there like Cincinnati and the US Open are pretty hot and humid, so I'll try and get some good training done.

"Hopefully I will be back at Wimbledon next year after 12 months of hard work and be in a position to challenge for the title again. Centre Court is a special place and I truly believe I can have some more great moments out there.”

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