Tuesday 12 November 2019

Alex Ferguson sprinkles 'gold dust' on Andy Murray to ease the pressure

Great Britain's Andy Murray in a practice session during day ten of Wimbledon
Great Britain's Andy Murray in a practice session during day ten of Wimbledon
Sir Alex Ferguson and his son Mark watch from the Royal Box on Centre Court

Andy Murray will go into his Wimbledon semi-final against Jerzy Janowicz this afternoon with the benefit of a sprinkling of Sir Alex Ferguson's "gold dust".

The two men met after Murray's comeback victory over Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday and the world No 2 hopes to have benefited from the former Manchester United manager's advice on coping with pressure situations.

"I spoke to him for 15 or 20 minutes," Murray said. "We spoke about a lot of things – his retirement, we spoke a lot about football and then at the end I spoke to him, not so much about the match, but about everything that goes with it. He was just giving me advice on how to handle certain pressures and expectations, those sort of things. Getting that sort of advice from someone like him is gold dust. I'm not going to be sharing too much of it."

Murray, who had Ferguson in his player's box when he won last year's US Open, will be playing in his fifth successive Wimbledon semi-final. He said preparing for such big occasions had become easier with time, but it did not mean the matches were getting any easier. "Sometimes I've played the semis of Slams and won comfortably, sometimes I've lost comfortably, sometimes it's been tough, five-set tough matches," Murray said. "In terms of preparing for them, having the experience of being there a lot of times will help."

The 6ft 8in Janowicz has a huge serve, but Murray considers his returns the best part of his game. "Normally when you are playing against the big players they don't always like playing against guys who are returning their biggest weapon," he said. "Often when you play against guys with big serves the sets come down to a just a few points and who plays the big points better. I need to be able to take my chances."

Novak Djokovic meets Juan Martin del Potro in the other semi-final. Murray considers the Serb to be the favourite for the title. "He's the No 1 player in the world, he's won here before and he has obviously been on very good form," Murray said. "He's had some tough matches against some very good grass-court players in the last couple of rounds in [Tommy] Haas and [Tomas] Berdych and he's won those matches fairly comfortably without too many problems. He deserves to be the favourite. He's earned that right with his results in the past."

Independent News Service

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