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Murray upbeat after Ljubicic victory

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Originally published on: 25/06/11 13:42

Talking after his 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-6 victory over Ivan Ljubicic on Friday night, Andy Murray reckons he might need to get some practise hitting outdoors over the weekend. Not entirely joking, he has of course played all of his three matches cosseted under the Centre Court roof and it was his opponent Ljubicic who asked Andrew Jarrett the referee if he could take a look at the court under the roof before he stepped out on Friday night.

“The conditions are obviously different. That’s why the next couple days’ practice will be more to make sure I get some hitting outdoors. The serving and stuff is very different when you’re under a roof. So, yeah, I need to make sure the next couple days’ practice I get enough time on the court, and I’ll play some points probably on Sunday.”

Murray has the luxury, if it can be called that, of two days before his next match. Rafa is scheduled first on No. 1 court today to complete his weather-delayed match with Gilles Muller. But whether it really makes a difference or not Murray is unsure. “I don’t know how much of an advantage it is. Most of the time on the grass, the matches aren’t too physical, you know. So one day off is normally good”.

His next match is against Richard Gasquet, against whom he had a tough match three years ago, when you recall he dropped the first two sets and staged a stunning comeback to take the match 5-7 3-6 7-6(3) 6-2 6-4 in near darkness at SW19. Murray is aware of the challenge Gasquet, seeded 17 here, presents on his current journey. “I played him many times. I grew up playing with him. He was always one of the best juniors growing up. He’s been in the top 10 in the world before.”

Murray and Gasquet are locked two-apiece in their head-to-heads, but the last time they played at Roland Garros in 2010, Murray won in five sets 4-6 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 6-1. In fact both Gasquet victories came back in 2006 and 2007 but the Frenchman has shown some good form recently, beating Federer in Rome. Murray recalls: “Two times I played him in Slams, I was down two sets and a break both times – he’s a tough guy.” So too, is Murray mindful that Gasquet seems comfortable on grass.

With two days to prepare, Murray knows he needs to remain in the zone: ”I’ve got a couple days. I need to make sure I do the right things,” he added. No doubt, he will work hard. Perhaps the promised warm conditions forecast for Monday will help the No. 4 seed by reminding him of his other home, in Miami, far away from the frenzy that is SW19.

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