Gold champion Rory McIlroy was at Wimbledon to wish Andy Murray the best of luck but Britain's best tennis player for three-quarters of a century believes that if he is to win Wimbledon it will be through hard work rather than good fortune.
"To me, the people that are the best prepared and put the work in deserve to be there and to win," Murray said as he prepared to face Spain's Feliciano Lopez in today's quarter-finals. "There's that saying: 'The harder I work, the luckier I get'. I think that's how it works. If you put everything in on the practice court and when you're training, then you get a little bit of luck along the way."
McIlroy, the US Open golf champion, met Murray for the first time before the Scot's lunchtime practice session. Murray has also been in regular contact with the boxer David Haye, who fights Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight title in Hamburg on Saturday.
"I haven't texted him – 'good luck' isn't something you send a boxer," Murray said. "They don't believe in luck. There was something on Twitter about wishing me good luck and he sent me a message saying: 'There's no luck in sports'. So no good-luck messages, but I'll send him a message closer to the fight." Might the message be "good wishes" rather than "good luck"? Murray said: "Yes. 'I hope you smash him in' is something more like what they say."
Murray, the world No 4, will be the clear favourite to beat Lopez, the world No 44, but the Scot said the current Wimbledon showed the sport's unpredictability. "A few people said to me: 'You've got a really tough draw and it's going to be hard'," he said.
"You just never know. Sometimes you go through draws and they open up, someone gets injured or someone like Andy Roddick loses. You've just got to beat the guys who are in front of you, and I'm lucky that I've played well when I've needed to."
The winner of Murray's match will face either Rafael Nadal or Mardy Fish in the semi-finals. Nadal had been concerned that he might not be able to play after suffering a foot injury during his victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Monday but the world No 1 said yesterday: "After the match I went for an MRI scan at a London hospital. During the match I thought I had something serious, but as the match went on the pain got better and thankfully the tests don't show an injury."
In the other quarter-finals Roger Federer will play France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Novak Djokovic, who will replace Nadal at the top of the world rankings if he reaches the final, faces the Australian teenager Bernard Tomic. If Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray win it will be the first time that the top four seeds have reached the semi-finals here for 16 years.