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Saturday 25 November 2017

Man of the people Murray takes title


Jim White

After winning the pre-Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen's Club for a second time, Andy Murray was keen to thank the supporters who crammed into the stands for an unscheduled rain-induced lunchtime session yesterday.

"It's been a great atmosphere," he said. "I hope your bosses didn't see you on TV."

After its final Sunday was washed out, Queen's opened its doors to that most unusual of visitors: the paying public. Where generally entry is restricted to those invited, it was possible to watch Murray in winning action for just £10 handed over at the gate.

Here's how popular the enthusiastically dubbed People's Monday turned out to be: midway through the third set there was a reminder from the umpire of the etiquette of not yelling out encouragement during rallies.

It was a timely intervention as there had been a continual barrage of vocal support, at times as much for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Murray's French opponent, as for the Scot himself.

With his brusque muscularity, tireless enthusiasm and broad victory grin, it is hard for the eye to stray far from Tsonga. Some of his serves, sending the touch judges scurrying for cover as they flew past Murray's outstretched racket into the back of the court, were timed at 145mph.

For much of the first set, Murray could get nowhere near him, unable to exert his usual influence on the match, scurrying round the court in vain pursuit of hammered forehands and rocket-fuelled backhands.

Though that was largely because Tsonga didn't let him, it was not until he took control of the final set, after winning the second on a tie-break, that we began to see Murray at his best. And his winner to go 5-3 ahead in the final set, an audacious, outrageous, magnificent piece of trickery played between his legs, summed up a tournament in which he has been apparently determined to give the crowd their money's worth.

"I do it sometimes in practice but I've never done it in a match before," he said of a moment which, in the manner it will have sent the fans home happy on this most unusual of Monday matches, ought immediately to be recognised as the People's Drop Volley. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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