Tennis: Besieged Murray ponders new Wimbledon approachBy Dave James
PARIS – Andy Murray hasn’t ruled out skipping his traditional Wimbledon warm-up duties if it helps him capture a first Grand Slam title and give Britain’s demanding media the slip.
World number four Murray saw his latest hopes of becoming Britain’s first Grand Slam men’s singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936 crushed by David Ferrer in the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Defeat ended the 25-year-old’s run of five consecutive semi-final appearances at the majors, leaving him to fend off fresh questions over his ability to win Wimbledon, the next Grand Slam stop.
For the last four years, Murray has played the Queen’s Club tournament, often seen as a mandatory feeding station for Wimbledon in the short four-week grasscourt season.
But that may change this summer for Murray, who is still battling a niggling back injury.
“I’ll do what’s best for my preparation for Wimbledon, back or not,” he said.
“I need to get some good physical work done. That’s going to be important. It’s not a disaster if I can’t play a tournament beforehand.”
Murray pointed to the options taken by world number one Novak Djokovic who won last year’s Wimbledon without playing a warm-up and this year’s Australian Open despite skipping the hardcourt schedule beforehand.
It has paid dividends for the Serb who can become just the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time if he takes the French Open on Sunday.
“Novak didn’t play before Australia this year; I don’t believe he played before Wimbledon last year. Many times Roger (Federer) has not played an event before.
“It happens all the time. You just need to make sure you’re comfortable on the courts and the surface you’re playing on before you start the tournament.”
Murray’s best Grand Slam performances remain his three runners-up places to Federer at the 2008 and 2010 US Open, and to Djokovic in the 2011 Australian Open final.
He has got used to explaining away the defeats to a travelling British pack which often exceeds the number of players from the country taking part.
That makes Murray the go-to-man when it’s time for answers.
After Wednesday’s 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2 loss to 30-year-old Ferrer, in a match where he committed 59 unforced errors, he was quickly onto the attack.
“I feel like I went for my shots. If I hadn’t done, I would have got criticized for that. If I do go for my shots, then I get criticized for making mistakes,” he said.