As Andy Murray entered the Royal Box on Saturday, the crowd were oblivious to what had happened just moments earlier. Preparing for his appearance alongside a number of distinguished Olympians, Murray cut himself shaving.
A potential mini-crisis was averted, however, thanks to some tissue paper and Murray's panic was quickly forgotten after a standing ovation befitting of the man who won Olympic gold on the lawn of Centre Court less than a year ago.
“It was a nice feeling,” said Murray. “Normally when you go out there and you are just walking out to the court, you don't really get the chance to enjoy that so much. You are obviously quite nervous and trying to concentrate on the match. Going in as a spectator is a bit different.”
Murray could not hang around for long, however. The No.2 seed has important business to attend to on Monday against Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round and is hoping for another rapturous reception from the Wimbledon crowd.
“So long as when I get on the court everyone is behind me and I get the support going from the beginning of the matches that is all I can really ask for,” said the 26-year-old. “It is my job to deal with everything else that goes on around Wimbledon but if the crowd is behind me in the matches it definitely helps me raise my game. If they can do that, starting Monday, it will be a big help.”
The brief chance to chat with fellow Olympians such as Sir Chris Hoy gave Murray the chance to relive some of the memories of last summer.
“It was cool to be able to do something like that,” said Murray. “For me it was the best ten days of my career, I don't think it will ever really be topped. It was ahead of the US Open, because the whole experience was just great."
The All England Club is a place where Murray clearly feels at ease. The pressure may be intense but he is playing at a place he knows so well. This is the eighth Championships he has played, this is where he claimed Olympic glory and this is where he can freely pop in for a bite to eat, having become a member last year.
“All the people who work in the locker rooms you see them every single day during the year when you come here,” said Murray. “You have your own locker here during the year, you come here for lunch sometimes. It has been about a year now that I have been a member and that was the first time I have ever worn the badge.”
With the draw having opened up for Murray, many feel it is inevitable that he will compete in his second Wimbledon final next Sunday. The man himself is not looking too far ahead. He may have a leading 2-0 head-to-head record against Youzhny but the Russian No.20 seed can play some of his best stuff on grass, as he showed last year in his run to the quarter-finals here.
Youzhny can be volatile, though. The 31-year-old recently smashed the same racket nine times during his fourth round defeat to Tommy Haas at Roland Garros and infamously drew blood from his own head when he hit himself repeatedly with his own racket at Indian Wells in 2008. Murray will bear these incidents in mind if he faces some sticky moments.
“It is important to remember those things, especially if you are behind in matches,” said Murray. “Always a chance you could come back and he might get upset about something but you can't go into the match kind of banking on that, because he also can play some great tennis.
“He has played some of his best tennis in high pressure matches before, like Davis Cup and stuff, where he has had some big wins, so he can cope with pressure. He does like the grass as well, I haven't asked him but I would assume it is one of his favourite surfaces.”
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