the legend

joyful rogger fedder

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let Andymonium begin

Photo Titled Andy Murray
Andy Murray celebrates winning a point at Wimbledon 2008.
Ladies and gentlemen – Andymonium will begin (properly) this afternoon on Centre Court. Fair enough, the phenomenon has been gathering momentum for the past few months, but the official launch of that two weeks of British madness that is following our best player through the rounds in SW19 begins today once Serena Williams and Andy Roddick have completed their afternoon’s work.

Andy Murray will kick off his campaign against Robert Kendrick, the world No.76, from America. In theory, the world No.3 facing a bloke ranked 73 places below him should be fairly straightforward but Scotland’s finest is taking nothing for granted.

Grand Slam tournaments are not like your run of the mill events and every early round is potential banana skin for the big stars, while for the lower ranked men, they are a chance to make a name for themselves.

“I’m focusing totally on the first round. Not looking past him at all,” Murray said of Kendrick. “He's a tough grass court player. He obviously proved that when he nearly beat [Rafael] Nadal here [in 2006]. He has a big game, plays very aggressive and takes a lot of chances. So, no, no chance of me underestimating him.”

So, then, down to the nitty gritty. Murray and Kendrick have played each other three times, with Murray winning all three matches. Indeed, Kendrick has only managed to prise one set from the Scot’s grasp. And when they met on a grass court – in Newport, Rhode Island, three years ago – Kendrick did not win a game as Murray walloped him 6-0, 6-0.

Kendrick has only ever won three matches at Grand Slam level. He has been plugging away at the singles since 2006 (this is his 14th Grand Slam) but always he seems to run into a brick wall when he plays at the major events. Murray, by contrast, is the second highest seed in the draw, a quarter-finalist here last year and at the French Open a few weeks ago and was the runner-up at the US Open in September.

Still, Kendrick’s greatest moment as a professional came here at Wimbledon when he held a two-set lead over Rafael Nadal three years ago. The stage was set for a huge upset – the second seed kicked out in the second round. Except that Kendrick could not keep up the pressure and Nadal clawed his way back.

"That's my fondest memory in tennis, and hopefully I can go out and give another good show like that,” Kendrick said. “I didn't close the deal that day. Andy is a different opponent from Rafa, and he's given me problems in the past. Andy does everything well. He's the world No. 3 for a reason. He's got an all-round good game.

“I like grass. It's got a little slower, which doesn't help me too much, but if the weather is hot and the balls are moving and I'm serving well, you just never know. I'm a guy who goes for his shots, but I'm not going to serve and volley too much against him because he's such a good returner so I'm going to have to mix it up."

At least Kendrick was talking a good fight but putting the theory into practice may prove a little harder this afternoon.

"It's not a very good draw,” he admitted. “I've played him a few times before and he's a tough opponent. I hope I have a good day."

With all due respect to Kendrick, there will be very few people on Murray Mount (formerly known as Henman Hill) who will be hoping he has a good day. Andymonium is warming up nicely and is scheduled to erupt on Centre Court today, third match on.

No comments:

Post a Comment