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Nice to see some support for Andy below the piece on the Andy-smugfed rivalry
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McEnroe: Murray close to having best year of all

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• Worst Conspiracy Theorist: Ivo Karlovic. The big Croat accused the Brits of bias toward Andy Murray after Karlovic was called for 11 foot faults in a second-round match at Wimbledon. We all know that’s not true. I mean, if the All England Club really wanted Murray to win Wimbledon, it sure as heck wouldn’t have closed the roof on him in the final against Federer.

• Best Tennis Dog: Maggie May. From using the Wimbledon runner-up platter as a tray for cupcakes featuring her likeness, to posing for pics wearing Murray’s Olympic medals, the little border terrier was a must-follow on Twitter. And, yes, we know the account is run by Murray’s girlfriend, Kim Sears. Dogs can’t tweet, duh.

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Glad Maggie May beat Nole's poodle
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by ATP Staff  | 07.12.2012

Roger Federer and Andy Murray met three times in London in 2012.
ATPWorldTour.com reviews how the key rivalries played out in 2012. Today we feature Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray.

In 2012, Andy Murray was on a mission. Very few players have winning head-to-heads against arguably the greatest player of all time, Roger Federer. Murray is one such individual, who could boast an 8-6 advantage over Federer going into the 2012 season. However, while he may have recorded some notable wins over the Swiss, including in the finals of the 2010 Rogers Cup and Shanghai Rolex Masters, the Scot was yet to topple Federer in a best-of-five set encounter.

In the two Grand Slam finals they had contested, at the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open, it was Federer who had always prevailed without the loss of a set. With new coach Ivan Lendl in his corner, could Murray change that this season against a Federer who some claimed was beginning to fade at the age of 30? They had not played since the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, remarkably not crossing paths in 2011.

Their rivalry resumed in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February. Federer had shaken off defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals to rebound with victory in Rotterdam and kept up his run of form in the desert, clinching his 33rd win in 35 matches as he defeated Murray 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes.

One couldn’t have written the script better for the stage of their next meeting. At the All England Club, in the final of The Championships, Federer was going for a 17th Grand Slam championship and a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown. In contrast, Murray yearned to finally win his first major title and become the first British male to win The Championships since Fred Perry in 1936. It looked promising for the Scot when he won the first set – the first time he had won a set in a Grand Slam final – but Federer came roaring back to inflict more heartache on Murray, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

As he had in Melbourne two years earlier, Murray choked up during the trophy presentation. Receiving a standing ovation from the British public for his efforts, the Scot was left to reflect on a fourth Grand Slam final defeat – the third at the hands of Federer - and sobbed, “I'm getting closer. I was getting asked the other day after I won my semi-final, 'Is this your best chance? Roger's 30 now.' He's not bad for a 30 year old!”

"He'll at least win one Grand Slam. This is what I hope for Andy,” promised Federer, who would see his statement ring true three months later at the US Open when Murray toppled Novak Djokovic in the final. However, it was a clutch win over Federer himself just four weeks after the Wimbledon final that proved the catalyst for Murray.

The pair stepped onto the hallowed turf of Centre Court once again to contest the gold medal match at the London 2012 Olympics. This time, Murray was not letting anything or anyone stand in his way of becoming the first British man to win a singles gold medal in 104 years. Having revisited Centre Court in the intervening period to rid himself of his demons, the Dunblane native ruthlessly dismissed Federer, who had played a 4hr., 26min., semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, to claim what he hailed as "the biggest win of my life.

“This week's been absolutely incredible; I've had a lot of fun. I felt so fresh on the court today. I didn't feel nervous really at all, apart from at the beginning of the match. The support's been unbelievable."

A new man following his exploits over the summer, Murray came out on top again when he played Federer in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October. In a dominant and aggressive display, the Scot won 6-4, 6-4 in a rain-delayed clash that lasted one hour and 38 minutes.

Federer had the last word, though. In their final clash of the season, on Remembrance Sunday in London, Federer defeated Murray 7-6(5) 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – their third match of the season to be played in the English capital.

"Of course, I was looking at having lost the last two matches against him, so I thought it was up to me to change things around really and come up with a game plan that maybe was different than at the Olympics or Shanghai," said Federer. "The pressure was really on me. I'm happy with what I chose with my coaching staff today.”

At the close of the season both players can reflect on remarkable campaigns and Murray with the knowledge that he does have what it takes to beat Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal over five sets on the biggest of stages. “There wasn’t a stroke in particular that I changed this year, it was just a mentality,” commented Murray. Should he and Federer meet in a fourth Grand Slam final in 2013, will the Swiss still hold his number?

Federer vs. Murray: 2012 Meetings

Tournament   Winner   Score
Dubai Final   Federer   75 64
Wimbledon Final   Federer   46 75 63 64
Olympics Final   Murray   62 61 64
Shanghai SF   Murray   64 64
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals SF   Federer   76(5) 62
[ Last edit by ZARFEEN15 December 08, 2012, 02:01 PM ] IP Logged

There appears to be a series of articles in today's Saturday Times magazine about this year's sporting achievements, and listed on the front there is a feature "Laura Robson on Andy Murray".  However, I was too tight to buy the whole paper, so nipped into the library to read it.  Unfortunately, someone with less shame than me had nicked the magazine bit, so I'm none the wiser. 

If any of you get, or know someone who gets the Times on a Saturday, it may be worth a look. Smile
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Laura Robson won Junior Wimbledon at 14 – but it was when she walked onto the Olympic court with Andy Murray that she really found herself in
the spotlight

It’s not easy being Laura Robson. There she is, going anonymously about the business of playing tennis for most of the year, then Wimbledon and a home Olympics come along. All of a sudden, she’s front-page news, the great white hope of the British women’s game.

It’s a lot to cope with at 18 years old, but in the flesh, Robson has an assurance that belies her youth. In spite – or perhaps because – of all the hype, she was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round this year, but went on to win a silver medal with Andy Murray in the Olympic mixed doubles. So in the space of a couple of months, she’s learnt to take the knocks with the plaudits, and to ignore the hoo-ha. That’s partly because she’s winning enough money now to say yah-boo-sucks to the naysayers – about £350,000 to date, 99 per cent of which is saved, “because tennis is a short career, so I have to be smart” – but also because she’s never really known any different.
“I won Junior Wimbledon when I was 14,” she points out. “I think everyone expected me to beat Serena Williams the next day. The pressure is just something that you have to deal with. It’s been a long process… and maybe a bit slower than I had hoped.”
It was in the middle of Wimbledon, only three and a half weeks before the Olympics, when Robson found out she’d been selected to play the women’s doubles (as she’d expected), singles, and mixed doubles with Andy Murray. When she was warming up for her first singles match of the Games, the crowd started singing the national anthem. In her next match, against Maria Sharapova on Centre Court (Olympics matches were played at Wimbledon), they chanted Robson’s name. “I had goosebumps,” she says. “It was the most incredible moment. The crowd was much louder at the Olympics than they are at Wimbledon.”

For the mixed doubles, it was a surprise to be picked by Murray, whom she’d played with only twice. Is it not important to have a rapport with someone when you’re playing doubles? “It’s better if you know them a little bit,” she says, drily. “I went into it with no expectations, because we hadn’t really played together before. All these other teams had been pairing up all year to try to win a medal. But Andy’s such an easy person to play with, because he’s so good at what he does. We knew from the first match the other guys were going to try to hit me, rather than Andy, because obviously he’s got more of a chance of getting the ball back.

“Do I like him? Yeah, we get on. He’s a nice guy.”

Pretty, talented, successful and British, by the time Robson went to New York at the end of August for the US Open, there were TV crews waiting for her outside her hotel. She thought they must be doing retakes of Gossip Girl, but they were zooming in on her.

“It was awkward. I hadn’t done my hair that morning,” she jokes. “I’ve learnt my lesson.”
Born in Australia, Robson was raised until she was 6 in Singapore. Her mother, Kathy, is a former professional basketball player, who accompanied her daughter on the tennis circuit – and still does – while her father, Andrew, is an oil executive for Shell. After Singapore, the Robsons moved to London. They are, she agrees, a sporty family: her parents used to play doubles with her older brother and sister (Emily, 27, an architect who lives in Australia, and Nick, 20, a chemistry undergraduate at Durham University). “I had to pick up all the balls,” says Robson. “At the end, my mum would play with me for ten minutes. I really liked it, and kept going from there.”

Indeed, she kept going through holidays where arguments with her brother on the court were so bitter that her mother confiscated their rackets. And more recently a spate of injuries have dogged her career. But, she announces cheerily, there’s an upside: if you’re on crutches – as she was last year with a shin fracture – people give up their seat for you on the Tube.

“There have been some tough moments where I’ve been injured a lot. It’s difficult getting back into it when you’re doing months of rehab and all you want is to play a tournament, but I absolutely love what I do.”
It’s not all about sport. During hours spent on the road, she devours fashion magazines and confesses to a liking for cult French label Sandro and ownership of a pair of Nicholas Kirkwood stilettos. Her mum, however, says her style is best described as “granny”.

“It’s because I love cardigans and blouses. And I’m partial to the occasional floral.”

Sponsored by adidas since she was 11, Robson nearly always wears the company’s technical clothing, which takes her from the tennis court to fitness tests, to a bikram yoga class or out on a run. “Adidas clothes are just very easy. I wear them even round the house.”
She was ten years old when she went to the All England Club in Wimbledon for the first time, to play in an exhibition match arranged by the Lawn Tennis Association. Already a keen player, she was a member of a tennis club, as well as playing at school, and remembers practising for two days before the visit. It was not to be. “We ended up being rained out,” she recalls. “We loved it. They had free fizzy drinks in the locker rooms! We spent all day in there. There was no one to control us. I remember watching Federer practise on the indoor courts. That was pretty cool for a ten-year-old.”
Home-schooled from the age of 13, a year later Robson won Junior Wimbledon, and she gave up education altogether after her GCSEs to concentrate on tennis. She points out that it’s a “massive transition” between playing at junior and senior level. “You have to play a lot of matches, really work your way into it.” But Martina Hingis won Wimbledon at 16, Boris Becker at 17. What’s changed?
“The game’s a lot more physical now and any 16-year-old is going to struggle to play a full year on tour against the top girls.”

Robson is ranked 53 in the world, the youngest player in the world Top 100, and has pulled ahead of Heather Watson to become Britain’s No 1. She also won the WTA Newcomer of the Year Award. So if 2012 has been her year, will 2013 be better? Will she, for instance, win Wimbledon?

She looks embarrassed. “I don’t want to say no, but I don’t want to say yes, either. It’s one of those things you dream about, but until you’re match point up in the final, or holding the trophy, you don’t think it’s anything other than a dream. I want to win an Olympic gold, too… but winning Wimbledon is the ultimate for any British player.”

Surprisingly, she enjoys baking in her spare time. To her obvious delight, she recently won a bake-off in her agent’s offices with a chocolate and rum mousse-cake. When she was little, she used to go to sleep reading cookery books and is now a fan of The Great British Bake Off. If she weren’t a tennis player, she thinks she might like to be a chef.

Not that life as a tennis pro allows much time for baking or any sort of life: she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and is usually in bed by nine o’clock. Does she ever feel she’s missing out?
“I missed out on the odd birthday party growing up,” she concedes, “but I think it’s all been worth it.”
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McEnroe tells Murray to cheer up


John McEnroe was never known for his sunny demeanour on a tennis court, but he still has some advice for Andy Murray – cheer up now that you have won your first Major.

The veteran American thinks a more positive outlook should help Murray in his quest to add to his US Open next season, although he acknowledged that he was hardly a shining example when he was at the top of the sport.

'It would be helpful to see Andy be sort of "I want to be here and I’m loving this",' the American, who yesterday beat Jeremy Bates 6-4, 6-1 in the Statoil Masters at the Royal Albert Hall, said. 'The next time he wins a Major it would be nice to look a little bit more excited,'
Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more
Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

Cheer up: John McEnroe, renowned for his fire on court, has told Andy Murray he should be happier on court as it may help him win more

'I say it as an ex-player and someone who wished that perhaps at times I had done that a little bit more. Maybe he was more relieved than anything else when he won at Flushing Meadows.

'One of the things that worried me is that he used to get so negative that not only would it turn himself off in a way, but it turned off people watching him.

'It's like when I saw Azarenka play Sharapova at the US Open, the grunting, it takes away from what you're watching. You're trying to watch and it was a great battle, but it feels like it's hard to stay with it as much as I would like to, given the quality.'

McEnroe believes that Murray has everything to play for next season in what could be a year of change for the men’s game after so much domination by four players.

'This is around the time that something is going to give. Roger is amazing, no doubt about that, but he’s 31. Rafa is the one we don’t know about, he hasn’t played for seven months. I hope to God he does have two or three more good years.
Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

Eye on the ball: McEnroe beat British tennis star Jeremy Bates at the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday

'Novak's had two years at No 1, so it wouldn’t be unheard of to feel like there'd be some type of let-down on some level. Maybe, then again, if he won two majors next year it wouldn’t be shocking.

'Andy's sort of set himself up for doing something big as well. Someone else is shortly going to come through, I’ve been wondering myself who that is.

'Del Potro to me would be the most obvious choice of who’s got the experience and knows what it's like to go long and win one.

'If he can stay healthy and get himself just a little bit fitter, which is what you've got to do against these guys. Then there’ll be someone sort of unknown.

'I thought it was going to be Milos Raonic, but he’s sort of levelled off in a way, and I thought there were other guys that were in the mix that seem to have dropped off. But someone’s going  to appear.

'Andy has set himself for a big year, although he missed a few opportunities at the end of this season, still it was the best one he’s ever had.

'If he doesn’t take it up a notch he would be disappointed but if he wins one Major that would be a good year. They are not easy to win.'
Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

Reasons to smile: Murray claimed his first Major at Flushing Meadows in September

McEnroe has been impressed by what he has seen of Laura Robson and Heather Watson but feels the former has the potential to go further.

'Heather has done well but it might be a bit tougher for her because of her size. Robson to me is the one with the bigger upside. She has got a lot of ability and clearly if she is committed and in tip-top shape, I think she could easily be top 10.

'The US Open is the best she has ever played. I think she can do something big personally. I saw that four years ago.

'Hopefully she will have a consistent period to get where she should be. I think she could be really dangerous.

'She is a natural tennis player but she is going to have to be like a Berdych in the men's game - big and powerful. In natural talent I think she is good as anyone out there.'

Despite that view, it was ultra-competitive and mobile Watson who finished the year as British No 1. She is in the middle of a winter training block that has been mostly done in Florida, although on Thursday night she was playing a mixed doubles exhibition alongside Tim Henman at the Statoil Masters.
Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

Pride of Britain: Heather Watson and Laura Robson have bright futures

One of things she will be doing this week is sitting down with her father Ian in what is like an annual general meeting to determine her goals and mark her performance of this season.

'We have this big meeting every year when we discuss the targets for the next season. It lasts about three hours and we talk very openly and honestly and I mark my performance at each tournament. It sort of guides me through the year.

'Twelve months ago my target was to break the top 50 and win an event on the WTA Tour, and I managed both. I don’t know what we will come up with for next year yet but the training is going very well and I’m feeling very confident.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2244222/Andy-Murray-cheer-says-John-McEnroe.html#ixzz2EWLx35RO
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And Mac should "button up." ranting
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I agree - I like Mac but he doesn't know when to shut up.
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I don't think there is that much wrong with what Mac actually said and ignore the journalistic spin.  Especially as he admitted that he was the same, and who knows what else he said that wasn't included.  He was at an event where journalists wanted to get him to say something about Andy and he did.  I prefer to focus on the positive - he hopes Andy (for his own sake) will be able to visibly enjoy his next slam win more.  That means he expects Andy to win another slam!  I'm pretty sure most of us, including Andy, expect he'll be a bit less shocked/relieved and able to enjoy it more. Very Happy

Speaking of the press shifting the emphasis of what is said, I see that Andy has now apparently promised/sworn/pledged to give up swearing!  I wonder how he'll react when he sees that?!  wthell

Those of us who read the original ESPN article know he just said he'd like to do it less (very different), but that others are worse.  It didn't sound like he was that invested in trying to swear less, just acknowledging that some folk don't like it and that he knows it's not good.

Craig - that article you posted, is that the feature from the Times magazine I mentioned, or does it come from somewhere else?
[ Last edit by *Sparkle* December 09, 2012, 10:16 AM ] IP Logged

Craig - that article you posted, is that the feature from the Times magazine I mentioned, or does it come from somewhere else?

From the Times.
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Thanks very much Craig,I was really hoping someone would be kind enough to post that on here.I really like Laura-she seems like a lovely girl-and I really enjoy her tennis.Here's hoping next year will be a good one for her!
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Thanks Craig.  Smile
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It was an interesting article to read Craig, thanks. Smile They made an error in the article with the rankings though - Heather is the number 1 Brit, not Laura.
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