After clinching his place in the third round with a straight-sets win over Nicolas Mahut, Tommy Robredo treated himself to some chocolate cake and ice cream on Wednesday night.
Hardly ideal less than 48 hours before taking on world No.2 Andy Murray some may say, but who can argue that he doesn’t deserve it?
Ranked No.471 in May 2012 after a seven-month lay-off following surgery on a left leg injury, former world No.5 Robredo returned by playing tournaments at Challenger level. A year later at Roland Garros he remarkably became the first man since Henri Cochet in 1927 to come back from two sets down in three consecutive Grand Slam matches on his way to the quarter-finals.
It was a remarkable turnaround in the space of 12 months for the 31-year-old Spaniard who missed Wimbledon last year, instead playing in a Challenger in Milan. Now ranked No.29, Robredo is feeling as good as ever and is content with just being able to step on the court these days.
“Obviously when you come back in three matches from being two sets to love down, you get a lot of confidence because you believe you can do it in all the games,” said Robredo. “But anyway, that was clay, here is grass. It’s another tournament.
“I am happy to be in all the tournaments. When you have been injured for a while, then any time you can go to a tournament, even if it’s a Futures, a Challengers, a Grand Slam, you are happy. It’s lovely to be here playing with one of the best players. I prefer this than being at home.”
Robredo, whose best surface is clay, has never been beyond the third round at Wimbledon. Few would give him much of a chance of going any further this year considering his opponent, but events at this year’s Championships so far have shown that results are not quite going by the form book.
The head-to-head record between Murray and Robredo is locked at 2-2, with Robredo winning their first two meetings in 2006 and 2007. The Murray of 2013 is a very different proposition, however.
“It is going to be tough, for sure,” admitted Robredo. “I have nothing to lose. I am enjoying. I am playing great tennis. It’s lovely to be in a Grand Slam playing one of the best players on tour. Also he’s British, so he’s going to have the crowd. It will be lovely to be on Centre Court here again.
“Truly I don’t remember what I did yesterday, so if you ask me what I did against Murray [to beat him] in the last match, I will have to check the statistics, I will have to check where, and then I will remember maybe. Andy Murray five years ago is not Andy Murray today. And the Robredo of 2006 is not the same Robredo now. We’ll see what happens and I hope you guys enjoy.”
FIVE FACTS ON TOMMY ROBREDO
1 Robredo is named after the rock opera album Tommy by The Who. His father was a big fan of the English rock group and both he and his son met the band at Wembley Arena in June 2007.
2 Robredo posed nude with a tennis racket in hand for the UK magazine Cosmopolitan in July 2007. The picture was taken to benefit the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign, which helped raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer.
3 Robredo was named the ‘Most Stylish Man’ by Spanish magazine Men’s Health in October 2007. He received the award at a gala dinner in Madrid in front of hundreds of Spanish celebrities, before flying straight to Metz, France where he won his first ever hard-court title, beating Murray in three sets in the final.
4 Robredo is an ambassador for wheelchair tennis and is tournament director of the Open Memorial Santi Silvas, an NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour event held the week after the French Open in Olot, Spain in memory of his good friend who he used to play tennis with until Silvas had an accident which left him disabled, before he later died in 2008.
5 Robredo is a massive fan of FC Barcelona and rates defender Carlos Puyol as his favourite player. He attended the Champions League semi-final second leg in 2009 between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge where a last minute goal from Andres Iniesta took the Catalan club to the final.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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