Martin Rogers

Wimbledon Slice, Day 4: Murray staying loose

Busted Racquet

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FIRST SERVE

The British public sees nothing funny in the 73-year drought since a home hopeful last won the Wimbledon men's singles.

However, Andy Murray, the man charged with finally quashing that embarrassing statistic, is treating the biggest tournament of his life as a big joke.

Murray has discovered that humor is his best weapon in trying to combat the oppressive level of expectation he has been placed under as he shoulders the hopes of a nation.

While millions of nervous viewers anxiously look on to see if the great British hero can continue his run, Murray is busy ignoring all the newsprint, television bulletins and public discussion of his chances.

Instead, he is deeply immersed with his tight-knit team of friends and advisors in the system that has served him well in his rise to No.3 in the world.

All too often, that system means he is the butt of practical jokes - and Murray doesn't care one bit.

In the lead-up to his second-round victory over Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, Murray suffered the misfortune of losing a game of "head-tennis" - a routine his camp uses as part of his training.

The forfeit was to practice on Wimbledon's outer courts fully kitted out in cricket uniform, including a navy blue helmet with a full metal grille.

Harmless fun yes, but also a useful tactic for Murray to ease the burden on himself, something Tim Henman never fully managed to do.

It is this kind of mentality that could take Murray all the way to the final, keeping him closeted from the fingernail-biting British fans whose dreams he bears.

DROP SHOT

It has been nearly 30 years since John McEnroe's most infamous Wimbledon meltdown, but the former champion is still capable of finding reasons to get hot and bothered at the All England Club.

McEnroe was far from impressed at being told he was not allowed to enter the locker rooms this year, as he is not entered in any events due to his broadcasting commitments.

CLEAN WINNER

Jesse Levine's 2009 has taken a serious turn for the better over the past week. The 21-year-old Floridian had not won a single tour level match all year before making his way into the main draw at Wimbledon. But his five-set win against Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas on Thursday puts him through to the third round and means he is the last qualifier standing. Next up is a clash with 19th seed Stanislas Wawrinka and a guaranteed check of around $48,000 even if he loses.

RAISING THE ROOF

The British call it Sod's Law - as soon as Wimbledon has a Centre Court roof it no longer needs one. Yet another day of bright sunshine makes you wonder if the torrential tournaments of yesteryear were merely a figment of the imagination.

MATCH OF THE DAY

No.11 seed Agnieska Radwanska emerged from a fierce battle with China's Shuai Peng on Court 14, edging home 6-2 6-7 9-7 in a shade under three hours.

UPSET ALERT

Mardy Fish has got his game in grass court shape since arriving in London and looks to stand a chance against No.4 seed Novak Djokovic on Centre Court. Djokovic has performed better than his 2008 Wimbledon effort, but still shows some inconsistency on this surface.

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