Magic Mon­day

Andy and Jo­hanna bat­tle to give Bri­tain a man and woman in the fi­nal eight for the first time since 1973

Daily Mail - - News - By Emily Kent Smith

ANDY Mur­ray and Jo­hanna Konta will today re­turn to Cen­tre Court on a ‘Magic Mon­day’ at Wim­ble­don – with fans queu­ing since last Wed­nes­day in the hope of see­ing the ten­nis he­roes in ac­tion.

The sec­ond Mon­day of the tour­na­ment is known as Manic Mon­day be­cause it is the only Grand Slam where the last 16 men and women all play on the same day.

But this year will be ex­tra spe­cial for Bri­tish fans as it is the first time in four years a woman rep­re­sent­ing this coun­try has reached this stage. And if Konta and de­fend­ing cham­pion Mur­ray both reach the last eight, it will be the first time a Bri­tish man and woman have done so since 1973.

Crowds des­per­ate to see the stars in ac­tion camped out in blis­ter­ing heat for days. Wim­ble­don tweeted it had al­ready run out of tick­ets for today for Cen­tre Court and Court One by 8.50pm on Satur­day, adding: ‘Please wait un­til Mon­day morn­ing to queue for ground en­try.’ But last night 1,500 re­mained in line in the hope of get­ting into the All Eng­land Ten­nis Club.

Chris Fava, 41, from Los An­ge­les, who is No 2 in the queue, said: ‘I’ve been here since Thurs­day. This is the fifth year I’ve been here and the long­est I’ve ever queued for. No 1 in the queue has been here since Wed­nes­day.’

He added: ‘Some have left be­cause it was so hot. Peo­ple were faint­ing. You’re only sup­posed to be away [from the queue] for 30 min­utes.’ Laura Brick­ell, 61, from Dorset, said: ‘We are run­ning back and forth be­tween the queue, the loo and South­fields for din­ner. You are con­stantly ne­go­ti­at­ing the crowds.’

As ex­cite­ment reached fever pitch, tick­ets for the men’s fi­nal, worth £190 each, were on the open mar­ket for £48,000 a pair.

Konta, 26, the world No 7, who is touted as the fe­male favourite by some book­ies, could be­come the first Bri­tish woman to win since Vir­ginia Wade in 1977.

Today she goes up against France’s Caro­line Gar­cia, ranked 22nd.

Konta’s coach Wim Fis­sette said she pre­pares for games like an exam, with him tex­ting her tac­tics the night be­fore which she then mem­o­rises and re­peats back to him five min­utes be­fore a match.

He added: ‘Maybe it’s a bit unu- sual but when she is 100 per cent clear about her in­ten­tions, that is when Jo plays her best matches.’

World No 1 Mur­ray, 30, today takes on French­man Benoit Paire, 28, ranked 46th, on Cen­tre Court. In 2014, Paire com­plained about Wim­ble­don, say­ing ‘the at­mos­phere dis­pleases me greatly’.

He also sparked con­tro­versy at the Rio Olympics last year when he was kicked out of his team ac­cused of ‘dam­ag­ing’ his na­tion’s im­age.

Asked about their match, Mur­ray said: ‘He moves well, takes a lot of chances. He seems to have played pretty well so far at this event. I ex­pect that to be tricky.’

Paire seemed con­fi­dent, say­ing: ‘It will be a good ex­pe­ri­ence. I think I can do some­thing good against him.’ Five-time cham­pion Venus Wil­liams, the only for­mer win­ner of the women, will take on Croa­t­ian Ana Kon­juh. The US star, 37, had al­ready made her de­but in a Grand Slam fi­nal at the US Open in 1997 be­fore Kon­juh, 19, had been born.

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