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Murray celebrates opening win in emphatic style

Andy Murray focuses during the first set of his first match at The Championships 2012.
Tuesday 26 June 2012

Even after all these years, there is still much we do not know about Andy Murray. For a start, there is that new victory celebration he has devised – something to do with making a sign to the heavens, perhaps? – and then there is the business of what really goes through his mind when he walks through the All England Club gates for another Wimbledon campaign.

Murray was not letting slip any nuggets of wisdom on either count on Day Two of The Championships but after his 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 sploshing of Nikolay Davydenko, we do at least know that Scotland’s finest and the No.4 seed is playing well. Awfully well. Scarily well. After all the back problems he endured at the French Open, and the gruesome tales of painkilling injections with eight inch needles that he had before he even got to Roland Garros, Murray is now looking in great nick.

By beating Davydenko, the Scot notched up his first grass court win of the season. Given that last year he arrived in SW19 with the Aegon Championship trophy tucked under his arm, this lack of form on the green stuff had set tongues wagging in the build-up to The Championships. Was he fit enough to take on Wimbledon? Was he good enough to challenge the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal? In the space of 95 minutes, Murray answered all those questions – he was ready to take on the big boys, all right, and he was as fit as a fiddle.

“It was a long couple of weeks [since the French Open] with a lot of time on the practice court, a lot of talk about various things,” Murray said. “I just wanted to go and play. I wanted to play tennis, that was it. I played well. Once I got ahead of him, I wanted to make sure I didn't let him back in. He's very, very dangerous. He's a very good returner as well. I needed to stay concentrated on my serve, and I did it well.”

Murray did pretty much everything well. In the first two sets he did not commit a single unforced error. Davydenko, by contrast just trying to get a point on the board. To be as polite as possible, this was not one of Davydenko’s finest hours. He managed to win just nine points in the second set – Murray was making mincemeat of him.

“It was a good start, and I knew obviously when I drew him I was going to need to start the tournament well, playing good tennis,” Murray said. “I struck the ball well. With the rain and stuff today, there was a chance might have to play under the roof or there might be some stop-starting. I just wanted to try to get off the court, if I could, as quickly and efficiently as possible. I did it. So once I got ahead, I really tried to keep it up; did a good job.”

One match, though cannot win a championship and now Murray must face either the huge figure of Ivo Karlovic, all 6ft 10 ins of him, or the more compact Dudi Sela (Karlovic was two sets to the good when rain stopped play and he looks to be on his way to the second round).

“It's very hard to get into a rhythm against someone like that,” Murray said of the big man from Croatia. “He's made it very difficult for a lot of players over the last five, six years because he serves so well, makes you feel pretty uncomfortable on the court. So, there's going to be games where you might not even touch the ball where he's serving, so you need to try and stay in the zone and not kind of lose focus on your service games. I'll need to serve well against him.”

Still, if Murray can play half as well as he did against Davydenko then serving well and keeping his mind on the task ahead of him will be no bother at all. At least we have learned that much.


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