Rray revving up nicely

The Herald - Herald Sport - - TENNIS -

Mur­ray, who had taken care of Ni­co­las Mahut, Al­jaz Be­dene, Kyle Edmund and Marin Cilic to get this far, said this was a spe­cial achieve­ment at a tour­na­ment where he had won his first matches as a pro­fes­sional back in 2005. It wasn’t only the watch­ing McEn­roe who he sur­passed: the one-time Su­perbrat was one of an il­lus­tri­ous list of four-time win­ners of this ti­tle, along with Boris Becker, Roy Emer­son, Lley­ton He­wit, Andy Rod­dick, An­thony Wild­ing and Ma­jor Ritchie. “It’s a tour­na­ment that ob­vi­ously means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s not like I have had some sort of easy fi­nals.”

It took a per­fec­tion­ist to sug­gest that his best play, once again, had come when cor­nered. The re­ally bad news for the rest of the field is that, with the ben­e­fit of a week’s un­fet­tered prepa­ra­tion – he will give him­self Tues­day and Satur­day off – he plans to be even bet­ter by the time Wim­ble­don ticks round.

“Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to get your­self in tough sit­u­a­tions,” said Mur­ray. “But to­day was the one match re­ally where I was be­hind. My best ten­nis is there. And I’m happy with that.”

Mur­ray con­ceded that Raonic may well be in the mix in the ma­jors from now on, par­tic­u­larly on the faster sur­faces, but then we knew that from the five-set tus­sle be­tween th­ese two in the Aus­tralian Open semi-fi­nals. Like many knocked out op­po­nents in Mur­ray’s beloved box­ing, he went away dream­ing of a re-match at SW19. “Hope­fully I can maybe have a re-match in a cou­ple of Sun­days’ time.” We’ll see about that, but on Father’s Day one new dad had proved he was the daddy of them all at this venue.

WIN­NING RE­TURN: A de­lighted Ivan Lendl back in Team Mur­ray

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