Sunday 18 March 2018

Wimbledon: Youzhny ready for Centre stage

Mikhail Youzhny
Mikhail Youzhny

Owen Gibson

Andy Murray's fourth-round opponent, the combustible Russian Mikhail Youzhny, said he was relishing the opportunity to play on Centre Court against the No 2 seed.

After defeating the Serbian Viktor Troicki in straight sets, surviving an ankle injury that required the attention of the trainer and a late rally from his opponent, Youzhny said he was relaxed about the prospect of meeting Murray.

"It will be a tough match for me. I just need to be ready to play and enjoy the Centre Court, because it's not every year you can play against top players on Centre Court. It will be a nice atmosphere against a good player," said the No 20 seed, who has a reputation for losing his temper, having drawn blood by striking his own head and smashing his racket on the ground during this year's French Open.

But against Troicki, who he defeated 6-3 6-4 7-5, he endeared himself to a Court Two crowd waiting for Laura Robson's clash with Marina Erakovic.

Youzhny was cheered loudly after delivering a military style salute to each stand with his racket on his head after sealing the third set, a celebration that he said had been his trademark for the past decade to "say thanks to the people". The 31-year-old, who achieved his best Wimbledon performance when he reached the quarter-finals last year before being thrashed by Roger Federer, has previously been ranked as high No 8 in the world.

Renowned for his all-or-nothing approach, Youzhny has never beaten Murray and admitted: "I think everybody knows him and how he plays. He plays really, really well on grass."

Asked about his outburst at the French Open, he added: "Sometimes everybody has some problems. It was bad luck for the racket and bad luck for me because I still lost this match. But I think during the match, when I do this, maybe it helps me and I come back like another player to the court."


Irish Independent

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