Tuesday 12 December 2017

No pressure! Andy Murray bids to make Wimbledon final as first British competitor in 74 years

Great Britain's Andy Murray during practice of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Photo: PA
Great Britain's Andy Murray during practice of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Photo: PA

Ellen Branagh, Press Association Chief Reporter

Andy Murray will fight today to become the first British man in a Wimbledon final for 74 years.

The 25-year-old takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his fourth SW19 semi-final in a row.

The British number one is favourite to win today's match against fifth seed Tsonga, whom he has beaten five times in six matches.

This is Murray's seventh Wimbledon and he remains the nation's best hope of a British champion for the first time in 76 years, since Fred Perry lifted the trophy.

Murray mania has swept the nation, with bookmakers offering the best odds yet for the Scot to win the grand slam, and online ticket marketplace Viagogo saying tickets for today's semi-final were changing hands for up to £4,500, with the average selling for £3,500.

Viagogo said at one point yesterday that tickets for Sunday's final were being offered for up to £15,000 each, although prices fluctuate constantly.

It said there was a 20% increase in searches on the site for finals tickets after Murray booked himself a place in today's semi-finals, and predicted that prices could get as high as £45,000.

If Murray beats Tsonga today he will become the first British man to reach a Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin 74 years ago.

William Hill has put the Scot at 4/9 to beat Tsonga to make it into the final. But they also put him at 10/11 to finish the tournament as runner-up.

Spokesman Rupert Adams said: "There can be no doubt that the public and punters are getting behind Murray to win Wimbledon this year and hopefully victory on Sunday will open the floodgates for major victories."

Murray has now equalled Tim Henman's tally of four semi-finals and, with Rafael Nadal - who has knocked him out of the semis in the past two years - out of the contest, he stands a great chance of reaching the final.

Today's semi-final comes as Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska prepare to battle to become the champion of the women's singles tournament tomorrow after winning their own semi-finals yesterday.

Of his own campaign in the grand slam, Murray said: "When you start each tournament, you want to try and win. Obviously now that I'm in it, I'm not thinking, 'Great, I'm in the semi-finals'. You want to try and go further.

"But I know how hard it is. Everyone kept telling me I had such a hard draw and how tough it was going to be to get through. I managed to do that. I've beaten some very good players. It's been a good tournament so far.

"But I want it to continue. I'd be disappointed if I lost before the final in any tournament, but I don't just expect to get there. It's a very difficult thing to do. You need to make sure you perform properly."

The rain stayed away for yesterday's matches at the All England club, with organisers saying that despite a few showers they were hoping for plenty of dry weather again today.

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