Murray hoping to take a leaf out of Li's book

Updated: 2011-06-20 09:51


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Murray hoping to take a leaf out of Li's book

Britain's Andy Murray returns the ball during a training session on a practise court on the day before the start of the 2011 Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 19, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - For a man carrying the weight of his nation's Wimbledon hopes on his shoulders, Andy Murray cut a relaxed figure as he completed round after round of media interviews on Saturday.

Then again, the 24-year-old Briton will only be flying the flag for a country with a population of 60 million or so when he steps on court to begin his latest quest for his first grand slam title on Monday.

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Li Na, on the other hand, had a significant percentage of China's 1.3 billion inhabitants glued to screens when she won the French Open earlier this month to become her country's first grand slam singles champion.

Murray, therefore, was quick to spin a question on its head when asked if the 29-year-old Li could learn anything from the way he manges the annual Wimbledon hyperbole.

"Well, she's won a slam, so I should be the one asking her for the advice," Murray told reporters.

Murray is once again saddled with burying the tired old statistic that Britain has not produced a male grand slam singles champion since 1936 and, once again, home hopes are soaring after his impressive run to the semi-finals of the French Open and the title at Queen's Club.

The three grand slam finals Murray has played (two in Australia and one at Flushing Meadows) have all ended in bitter disappointment but he knows that, like a golfer continually putting himself into contention in the fourth round of a major, all he can do is keep giving himself chances.

"You need to play your best at the end of the tournament, that's for sure," Murray said.

"That's what I work towards. That's why I play tennis now, to give myself a chance to win these tournaments and be competing for them each time I play in them.

"It's a great feeling to get to the latter stages of them, but it's tough when you just fall short.

"That keeps giving me the motivation to keep doing the training and working hard to do it."

Murray is the odd one out in the world's top four as the only one without a major on his CV but 16-times grand slam champion Roger Federer is in no doubt that he is too good a player for that glaring omission not to be rectified soon.

"To me, I think he's way good enough to win a grand slam," Federer said on Saturday. "To me it's just a matter of time. He's again in great shape.

"Now he's got the perfect preparation for Wimbledon, so it's all good. I'm excited to see how he goes."

Murray begins with a first-round against Daniel Gimeno-Traver but British media are already looking ahead to a repeat of last year's semi-final against the rather more illustrious Spaniard Nadal.

"I'm not looking anywhere past the first match," Murray, who will be working with Australian coach Darren Cahill, warned.

"It's not worth it. There's tough matches everywhere, as you would have seen last year watching this tournament."



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