Murray signals his intent with a top class display but Nadal and Federer are looming large
BRITISH No1 Andy Murray produced one of the most complete grass court performances of his career to defeat Richard Gasquet in straight sets and reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, but admits he now feels like a boxer heading into the final stages of a heavyweight contest.
Murray coped admirably with the scorching temperatures on Centre Court to dispatch the Frenchman, who had taken him to five sets on their two previous grand slam meetings, in little over two hours to record a 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.
The 24-year-old Scot overpowered and outmanoeuvred the world No13 in a performance which swelled hopes of a British victory in Sunday’s final.
But with the other members of the established big four also through to the last eight, Murray knows the going is about to get a whole lot tougher. “I’m heading into the final rounds at Wimbledon now and, like a heavyweight title fight, this is the time to step it up,” said Murray who faces Feliciano Lopez in the last eight.
“It was great to get through my match so quickly, I was expecting a tough one, but the first set was pretty crucial. Once I got ahead it was always going to be tough for him to come back in such hot conditions.
“Things will only get more difficult from here on in though, and I need to be right on top of my game and my mind.”
Murray has worked on the psychological as well as the physical side of his game with close friend and world heavyweight boxing champion David Haye after they met at a training camp in Miami earlier this year.
On the impact Haye has had on his upturn in form since the start of the clay court season, Murray said: “I last spoke to David a few days ago and keep in regular contact, I find it really helpful for my game.
“Tennis is certainly a lot more gentlemanly than boxing, but in any individual sport the psychology plays a big part, especially right at the top level.
“In tennis the guys are mostly very sporting and get on well, but when you’re out there you need to put that to one side. I think you need to treat your opponent like they’re your worst enemy on the court.”
While Murray sailed through, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both required four sets to get the better of Mikhail Youzhny and Juan Martin del Potro, respectively.
Nadal also picked up a heel injury which required a lengthy medical timeout but there were no dramas for No2 seed Novak Djokovic who eased through in straight sets against France’s Michael Llodra.