Big names cheering on Britain's Andy Murray

CHRIS LEHOURITES
Last updated 09:29 04/07/2013

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In the stands and from afar, some of the biggest names in Britain were cheering on Andy Murray at Wimbledon.

There was Alex Ferguson, the recently retired manager of Manchester United, sitting among the crowd at the All England Club and smiling broadly.

And there was David Cameron, the country's prime minister, tweeting his well-wishes before the match and then later a photo of him watching it on television.

Murray didn't let either of them down, or any of his other millions of fans, but he did make it hard to take at times.

The second-seeded Briton advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals for the fifth straight year, overcoming a two-set deficit to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 today on Centre Court.

"I think when you play more and more matches and gain more experience you understand how to turn matches around and how to change the momentum of games," Murray said, relating his comeback win to one of Ferguson's famous late turnarounds with Man United.

"Maybe when I was younger I could have lost that match. But I think I've learnt how to come back from tough situations more as I got older."

Ferguson is becoming something of a regular at Murray's big matches. Along with Sean Connery, Ferguson even crashed a post-match news conference last year after Murray won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Ferguson didn't make it that far this time, but there could be two matches still to go at Wimbledon, where a British man has not won the title since Fred Perry in 1936.

"Just got off the court a few minutes ago, so I haven't seen anyone yet," Murray said flatly about Ferguson, perhaps trying to downplay the feeling of having such an accomplished fan in his corner.

One of many accomplished fans, it turns out.

Cameron may have skipped the trip out to the All England Club, but before the match he wrote on Twitter that he wished Murray luck.

He did the same for Laura Robson ahead of her fourth-round loss on Monday, leading some to think his gesture could be a bad omen, a so-called "Cameron curse."

It looked like there could have been something to that over the first two sets against Verdasco, but it didn't seem to matter in the end.

Or, according to Murray, it didn't matter at all.

"What he tweets has absolutely zero bearing on the outcome of my match today. Zero at all," Murray said. "It's nice to get messages from the prime minister, but whether I win or not, his tweet has no bearing on that at all."

In the semifinals, Murray will face Jerzy Janowicz, a 22-year-old from Poland who beat Lukasz Kubot 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

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Like Verdasco on Wednesday, it will be Janowicz that will next play across the net from an opponent who is going to get another large helping of support from the local fans, both celebrity and ordinary alike.

"Fun," Janowicz said of playing Murray. "It's fun."

- AP

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