Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tennis: Andy Murray drops his shorts ... because he doesn’t have deep enough pockets

Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates a point in his match against Cyprus's Marcos Baghdatis during day six of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Photo: PA
Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates a point in his match against Cyprus's Marcos Baghdatis during day six of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Photo: PA


HAVING landed a €18.5m sponsorship deal with Adidas, one might have imagined Andy Murray's pockets were deep enough

However, the tennis player has blamed the depth of his shorts' pockets for a series of distractions that saw spare balls drop onto the court during his crucial Wimbledon match against Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday night.

Murray, who beat Baghdatis in the third round of the tournament, said the garment lost him two points, as tennis balls rolled out during play, causing him to become distracted several times.

Once, he managed to catch the ball in his hand while playing, grimacing and gesticulating in understandable frustration.

His opponent Baghdatis even appeared to empathise at one point, smiling with his hands on his hips as Murray sent a forehand shot far beyond the line.

Calling the diversion “annoying”, Murray said “it felt like it was always about to happen” and added: “It lost me two points”.

A spokesman for adidas said the player would now be changing his shorts, blaming issues on an "individual technical error" with the handmade pockets.

Murray, who will now play Marin Cilic on Monday, also suffered from slippery shoes, causing him to take a “tumble” which left him with a stiff knee.

Speaking of the escaped tennis balls, he told the BBC: “It’s happened before but not like that. It happened, like, five times. It felt like it was always about to happen. The ball felt like it was always there.

“When I took the break I asked about getting a ball so I was serving with one ball and not having one in my pockets.

“It was annoying; it lost me two points. I need to make sure I have no problems with that in the next few rounds.”

When asked whether he should have simply put the balls deeper into his pockets, he joked: “I’m blaming the shorts – it wasn't my fault.”

“I was struggling quite a bit with my footing early on, I changed shoes as well during the break and that helped,” he added.

The falling tennis balls had moved commentators to exclaim “That’s throwing his concentration” and “That ball’s come out again”.

One noted: “He’s got €25m in prize money; you’d think he’d have deeper pockets at least.”

Murray signed a €18.5m five-year contract with adidas in 2009, saying at the time: "I'm in no doubt that this deal will help me both on and off the court."

On Saturday night, he was wearing white tennis shorts in keeping with Wimbledon rules.

A spokesman for Adidas said: "adidas works closely with Andy on the design of all his tennis kit and we believe the issues he experienced on Saturday were the result of an individual technical error in the handmade pockets of those particular shorts.

"For the remainder of the tournament, Andy will change shorts and wear the Barricade Bermuda short. These are the same shorts worn by all other adidas sponsored players and have had no issues whatsoever."

Judy Murray, Andy’s mother, has now said she hopes the problem is resolved.

“I know they were looking at it yesterday to make sure it doesn’t happen again, so I hope it’s sorted now,” she said this morning.

Former professional tennis player and television presenter Annabel Croft said she understood how escaping tennis balls could be blamed on modern shorts, with the tight shorts of yesteryear giving way to longer, baggy garments.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I have seen it before but I’ve never seen it happen to Andy Murray. It was very, very unfortunate.

“Men’s shorts in tennis have changed shape so dramatically, it’s hard to believe what they used to look like. They used to be so tight; very short shorts.

“Now the players are rolling round the courts in these very baggy, long shorts down to their knees.”

But, she added, she would not be fronting any campaign to bring back the old-style garments.

“Definitely not,” she said. “I don’t think it was a good look – they looked extremely uncomfortable.

“The shorts they wear now look a lot more comfortable.”

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