FORMER Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will not be invited to join Team Murray in an official capacity, but was on hand last night to offer words of wisdom he hopes will take his Scottish compatriot all the way to the Wimbledon final once again.
Ferguson watched from the royal box on Centre Court as close friend Andy Murray reached his seventh consecutive SW19 quarter-final with a rain-disrupted 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 win over big-serving No20 seed Kevin Anderson.
Murray revealed last year how Ferguson’s “gold dust” had helped him end a 77-year wait for a British male champion at Wimbledon and the 72-year-old was on hand to give a pep talk once more.
“You’re going to listen to someone like him,” said Murray, who will play Bulgarian No11 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight. “He’s witnessed a lot of big tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff. He’s someone I would obviously talk to if something came up that I felt I could benefit from speaking to him about. But I wouldn’t see myself employing him or offering him a job within my team.
“We chat about a lot of things. We talked about my match, spoke about football, the World Cup a little bit. He just said a few things, what he’s observed when he’s been watching me. Mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations.”
It took Murray a matter of minutes to execute his plan to deal with Anderson’s monster serves. The South African was stunned as his 130mph-plus efforts came back at him with similar ferociousness and Murray broke for an early 2-1 lead, before serving out the set.
The 27-year-old won a marathon opening game of the second set on his seventh break point and continued to stun Anderson with a breathtaking variety of shots to break again before the rain came.
A short delay for the roof to close ruined Murray’s rhythm briefly as he dropped serve immediately after their restart. He regrouped to close out the second set, but Anderson now had a foothold in the match.
The 6ft 8in challenger saved five break points in the eighth game of the third set and forced Murray into his first tie-break of the tournament, where the champion triumphed 8-6.