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Wimbledon Diary: Day 9

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Originally published on: 05/07/12 00:00

Wills and Kate
There was plenty of action in the Royal Box today. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were the royal representatives and the tennis royalty included Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, not to mention Rod Laver and Billie Jean King.

Compare and contrast
As for the reactions of Roger Federer and Andy Murray to playing their matches in front of the assembled dignitaries, one said: “I think it helps when royalty shows up and other legends in the game to see me play. I think it’s inspiring.” The other said: “For me, also playing in front of someone like Agassi as well and Steffi Graf. Rod Laver was there, too.  You know, it was an unbelievable privilege to play in front of those people.” You decide who said what.

Generous in defeat
David Ferrer, who was defeated by Murray for a place in the semi-final, said of the Scot: “Of course, Andy Murray, he has chance to win Wimbledon. He's [an] unbelievable player. He deserves to win one Grand Slam. “

Generous in anticipation
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who got the better of Phillip Kohlschreiber for a place in the semi-finals said of his next round opponent: “Andy's one of the players I don't like to play because he's returning really well and he can play some really good passing shots.  He's really quick. He's all the time on the ball, so is tough for me.”

Green grass
It’s amazing to think that in 26 meetings, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have never played one another on grass. Djokovic says: “You know, he (Federer) has a really smart game for this surface. But I improved playing on grass in last couple of years. I mean, I won the title here last year, get to another semi-final this year, so I'm feeling good about this surface, about myself on the court. “ For Federer: “I mean, obviously things are not that drastic of a change anymore from clay, hard court, indoor, to grass.  But it is interesting that this is our first grass court match. I'm looking forward to it.”

ITF Olympic Book launch
An amazing book, unfortunately not available on general release, was unveiled today at the All England Club. “Aspire, Inspire” contains fantastic images of 36 players holding a photo of themselves as youngsters and asks them who their Olympic hero was. Here are a few: Juan Martin del Potro named Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor; Petra Kvitova identified American swimmer Michael Phelps ; Bob and Mike Bryan chose The “dream team” – the nickname for the 1992 Olympic-gold winning American basketballers; Novak Djokovic named Alpine skier and three-time Olympic gold medalist Alberto Toma; Kei Nishikori chose Roger Federer and Maikel Scheffers chose Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden, who battled leukemia and seven years later won gold in the Beijing 10K open water marathon.

Sporting heroes
Andy Murray spoke of his admiration for Basketball star LeBron James. “There's a lot of people that said he would never win. There's a lot of people who said he never played his best in finals.  In the fourth quarter of games he never steps up. Then you see how he played the whole of the finals, the whole of the play-offs. Sometimes it takes guys a bit longer than others.“ Any chance there’s a bit of a comparison with him here?

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