Tag Archives: nikolay

US Open 2012: Roger Federer handed walkover after Mardy Fish heart problem

Federer walks into quarter-finals after Fish forced to pull out over heart scare

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 3 September 2012

Roger Federer progressed to the quarter-finals of the US Open without hitting a ball on Monday as Mardy Fish pulled out of their scheduled fourth-round match for health reasons.

The American needed minor surgery earlier this year to correct an irregular heartbeat and admitted after his five-set second-round win over Nikolay Davydenko that doubts over his health remained.

Fish then had another long match against Gilles Simon in the third round, after which he did not do a press conference because of medical reasons.

Up next: Roger Federer will face Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals

Up next: Roger Federer will face Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals

The 30-year-old did not practice on Sunday and, although no further explanation has been given for his withdrawal, it is believed to be because of worries over his heart.

The walkover means Federer extended his record of consecutive grand slam quarter-finals to 34, and in the last eight on Wednesday he will play sixth seed Tomas Berdych.

The Czech has looked in fine form this tournament and reached his first quarter-final at Flushing Meadows with a dominant 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 6-1 victory over 11th seed Nicolas Almagro.

Old problem: Mardy Fish has had surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat

Old problem: Mardy Fish has had surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat

The first set was tight but Berdych gradually wore down Almagro and in the third set the Spaniard cut a frustrated figure.

Berdych and Federer have met 15 times before, with the Swiss player winning 11 of them, but Berdych did win their quarter-final clash at Wimbledon in 2011 before going on to reach his only grand slam final.

Vitali Klitschko cools talk of David Haye showdown

Klitschko manager cools talk of Haye showdown as Vitali focuses on politics

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UPDATED:

14:35 GMT, 15 July 2012

Vitali Klitschko is unlikely to face David Haye due to his political commitments, according to the Ukrainian's manager Bernd Boente.

Haye flattened Dereck Chisora inside five rounds at Upton Park on Saturday night and later declared his explosive performance has ensured Klitschko will avoid him.

Boente mocked the suggestion the WBC world heavyweight champion, who faces Manuel Charr in Moscow on September 8, is running scared.

And while he insisted Klitschko's priorities lie elsewhere, he refused to close the door on a showdown with Haye completely.

New focus: Vitali will concentrate on his political career after fighting Manuel Charr in September

New focus: Vitali will concentrate on his political career after fighting Manuel Charr in September

'We offered Haye the fight September but he chose to fight Chisora instead because that was easier for him,' Boente said.

'David probably turned Vitali down because he got more money against Chisora, who is by far the easier opponent.

'We had a contract ready for Haye, had booked an arena, but he turned us down for a second time – the first time he chose to face Nikolay Valuev instead.

'After fighting Manuel Charr, Vitali goes on the campaign trail for parliamentary election in the Ukraine. He's the leader for the opposition, UDAR.

Knockout blow: Haye floors Chisora on Saturday night

Knockout blow: Haye floors Chisora on Saturday night

'Should he be elected on October 28 then he will probably stop boxing. For him politics is the future – he wants to fight for democracy.

'But even if he's elected, maybe he'll want to have a farewell fight.

'At the moment David Haye means nothing to us and Vitali is definitely not afraid of fighting him.'

Neither Vitali nor Wladimir Klitschko watched Haye's victory over Chisora as they were in their home town of Kiev where the fight was not broadcast.

Boente was unimpressed, however, and claimed Chisora's performance was worse than when he lost to Vitali in Munich in February.

'I was more disappointed by Chisora's poor display. He was out of shape and looked in better shape against Vitali,' he said.

Struggle: Haye was beaten by Wladimir in Germany last year

Struggle: Haye was beaten by Wladimir in Germany last year

'Saying his performance against Chisora was too good, that Vitali won't want to fight, was typical Haye.

'He has a big mouth and is like a little dog that yaps.

'We all know the calibre of fighter Vitali has fought in the past, including Lennox Lewis. I'm sure he's not impressed by that performance.

'Chisora fought a stupid fight and was completely open. Vitali would also have knocked out Chisora had he not suffered that injury in the third round.

'He fought Chisora with only his right arm, he could not use his left arm any more.'

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray prepares for giant Ivo Karlovic

Murray's mountain: Andy has the tools to down giant Karlovic

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 27 June 2012

When Andy Murray steps out to face Ivo Karlovic, at least he will not be facing quite such an intimidation factor as the man the giant Croatian ate for his tea on Wednesday, the relatively diminutive Dudi Sela.

The 5ft 9in Israeli was giving away a full 13 inches to 6ft 10in Karlovic, and so often could only flail away in despair as a total of 26 aces were pumped past him, the bantamweight brushed aside by the Super Heavy in straight sets.

Murray’s reach and exceptional reflexes will mean that he is likely to get more change out of what is thrown at him from the other end, but an uncomfortable session in the coconut shy beckons nonetheless. The British No1 will have much to lose, his deputy James Ward less so when he takes on American Mardy Fish.

Ivan idea: Coach Lendl gets Murray thinking big for Karlovic clash

Ivan idea: Coach Lendl gets Murray thinking big for Karlovic clash

Murray’s match will be very different to his opening encounter against Nikolay Davydenko, and the 25-year-old Scot will need to show all the composure displayed on Tuesday, and the confidence gleaned from it, to get through without mishap.

He is mentally prepared for a match-up that was only confirmed early yesterday evening when Karlovic finished off Sela from two sets up to win 6-4, 6-4, 7-6.

‘The momentum was with me the whole match against Davydenko, but that isn’t going to happen this time,’ said Murray, who had young Brit Oliver Golding trying to bomb him with serves on Wednesday.

‘There will be some ups and downs and there will be times when I do not touch the ball for a couple of games, so I am not necessarily going to get much rhythm. I have to make sure that mentally I am there for every single point because he can miss a bit and you need to be there to capitalise on it. It’s the sort of match that can come down to a few points.’

Working on his strenght: Murray during practice at Wimbledon

Working on his strenght: Murray during practice at Wimbledon

In Murray’s favour is that he tends to handle the big men well, partly through his return and his skill at keeping the ball low. In his three previous matches against Karlovic, he has won each time, although four of the eight sets they have played have gone to tiebreaks.

The 32-year-old is not a one-trick giant as he can hit the ball reasonably well off the ground and likes to volley, but it is the serve which is his defining feature. In his 21 (mainly best-of-three) matches in 2012 it has delivered 305 aces, which is a lot of free points.

But he is only 59 in the world and loses more often than he wins, against players of lesser calibre than Murray. This has led him to a sardonic accommodation with the vagaries of a pro’s life, which he often expresses with humour via his Twitter account.

Serving up a treat: Murray is second on Centre Court on Thursday

Serving up a treat: Murray is second on Centre Court on Thursday

Upon losing in the first round last month at Roland Garros, he tweeted of his Paris experience: ‘I came, I saw, I iced my shoulder, I ate croissant, I called the travel agency.’

Karlovic, who battles a considerable stammer, speaks in few words and when asked who in the game has best returned his serve smiled: ‘I aced everybody.’

His quickest ever was recorded at 156 mph. He will be happy if the roof is pulled over, entirely possible, so the elements do not interfere with his service delivery.

‘Everything should be indoors,’ he pronounced.

Ward must have a realistic chance of springing an upset, at least more of a chance than the massive ranking deficit he faces against Fish would suggest.

Bringing down the giant: Murray faces Ivo Karlovic

Bringing down the giant: Murray faces Ivo Karlovic

The world No 173, who lives across the road from Euston station, takes on the all-American ranked 12, but Fish’s recent health issues and lack of matches give the London cabbie’s son a chance of making a real name for himself.

Fish’s first-round win was his first since April, due to the time he has spent having a heart condition treated.

The 30-year-old Californian initially feared he might die when his heart started beating wildly as he tried to go to sleep. He was found to have arrhythmia, treatable with an operation, and this is his first tournament back.

When he missed his obligatory post-match media duties following the first round there were fears he had suffered a reaction, though he explained yesterday that this was due to an adverse stomach reaction to painkillers he had been taking for his shoulder.

Tall order: Ivo Karlovic stands in the way of Murray and a place in the third round

Tall order: Ivo Karlovic stands in the way of Murray and a place in the third round

He admitted that he is still anxious about his condition: ‘During the day I don’t have any issues. It’s just when I don’t feel perfect and don’t feel exactly the way I like to be feeling, that’s when I get into a little bit of trouble.

‘It’s the confidence part, me convincing myself that everything is fine.’

This is probably not the best way to enter a best-of-five set match, but the biggest physical disadvantage he might have is purely the lack of mileage in his legs and the absence of recent match experience.

Ward is coming in on the back of a victory over world No 36 Pablo Andujar and has shown before that he can do damage on grass, notably last year when he reached the semi-finals of the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club.

There he beat the likes of Stanislas Wawrinka, but has been unable to build upon that and make the longed-for move up into the top 100. If he could snatch the first set and ensure that proceedings will be stretched out then he might really be in business.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray ready for Ivo Karlovic

Murray preparing for an onslaught from big-serving Croat Karlovic

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UPDATED:

19:07 GMT, 27 June 2012

Andy Murray is expecting to find Wimbledon's grass a far less comfortable place when he returns for his second-round match on Thursday.

The fourth seed began his campaign on Tuesday with a brilliant display to beat Nikolay Davydenko, losing only six games in what looked a potentially tricky encounter against the former world No 3.

The prize for that victory, though, is a second-round meeting with Ivo Karlovic, the 6ft 10in Croatian who reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2009.

Gearing up: Murray practices with coach Ivan Lendl

Gearing up: Murray practices with coach Ivan Lendl

The 33-year-old has not been in that kind of form this season and is ranked down at 59th, but Murray remains understandably wary of a man who possesses one of the best serves in tennis history.

'It's a tough match,' said Murray. 'It's very hard to get into a rhythm against someone like that.

'He's made it very difficult for a lot of players over the last five or six years because he serves so well and makes you feel pretty uncomfortable on the court.

'There's going to be games where you might not even touch the ball where he's serving, so you need to try to stay in the zone and not lose focus on your service games. I'll need to serve well against him.

Pulling the strings: Murray will look to dominate from the back of the court

Pulling the strings: Murray will look to dominate from the back of the court

'A lot depends on the day when you're playing a guy that's 6ft 10in, because a lot of it is just reaction. Sometimes you'll see it, sometimes you might pick a couple serves in a row, sometimes you won't.'

Murray and Karlovic have played three times before, with the Scot winning each time, but all have been close, and Karlovic has some notable scalps on grass, including the then defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the opening round of Wimbledon in 2003.

Murray managed to get his practice session in before the rain arrived on Wednesday, hitting with talented British teenager Oli Golding.

Preparing for a match against a player with such an unusual weapon is a challenge in itself, and Murray said: 'Even when I'm not playing someone like Karlovic, when I'm practising, I always have Dani (Vallverdu) or any of my coaches stand and serve from just behind the service line just for the reaction and getting used to the ball coming from that height. That's really the only thing you can do.'

Tough task: Karlovic reach the quarter-finals two years ago

Tough task: Karlovic reach the quarter-finals two years ago

Karlovic returned to Court Five on Wednesday to complete his first-round match with Dudi Sela, and endured a rain break before triumphing 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7/5).

Murray is also enjoying sharing the limelight at Wimbledon this year, as one of five British players to have survived the first round. Heather Watson is already into round three, the first home woman to have done so for 10 years.

Murray said: 'Anytime the Brits do well in slams it's good for British tennis. It's been a good tournament so far, and hopefully it continues.'

Karlovic, the tallest player ever to be ranked in the top 100, was left frustrated by the weather but relieved to come through in straight sets against Sela.

He said: 'This is how it is over here. I was ready for it. But it wasn't easy because I was already leading and then we had to stop again and again.

Man-mountain: Karlovic is the tallest player ever to reach the world's top 100

Man-mountain: Karlovic is the tallest player ever to reach the world's top 100

'Then I was also a little bit nervous because, what if I lose this set now But in the end it all was okay.'

And the Croatian will go into tomorrow's match confident he can cause a huge upset by knocking out the home favourite.

'If I don't think so, I can leave right now and go home,' he said.

'I'm confident on my serve and I feel good, so tomorrow hopefully it will be a good match for me.'

Karlovic's run in 2009 was his best at a grand slam, with his scalps including Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco before he lost out to eventual winner Roger Federer in the last eight.

He added: 'Now I am little bit older. I've also had injuries: back, knee, heel, shoulder. But I feel good at the moment. Everything is fine now.'

Wimbledon 2012 Andy Murray"s win over Nikolay Davydenko was was pure punk tennis Martin Samuel

This was pure punk tennis… it was edgy in a good way

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 26 June 2012

The advertising slogan, it turns out, was quite wrong. You can hurry a Murray.

It certainly seemed that way as Andy Murray dispatched former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets and after just 94 minutes.

He turned in a quite outstanding first match, notable for its urgency and tempo. Despite a late rally in the third set, Davydenko never stood a chance and nor, more importantly, was he given one.

Sprint finish: Andy Murray made light work of Nikolay Davydenko

Sprint finish: Andy Murray made light work of Nikolay Davydenko

This was Murray the professional, Murray the efficient, Murray the ruthless. Clearly, first round defeat at Queen’s stung him, and here was the payback. It was mightily impressive stuff from a performer at the peak of his powers. He will need to be, too, given the tricky nature of his route to the business end of this tournament.

There were all manner of imperatives to get the job done quickly and the draw was one. Murray could face a few strength-sapping encounters this week, so all the more reason to get Davydenko out of the way and rest up. After watching England in Kiev, it was nice to see a plan come together.

The weather would have played a part in Murray’s impatience, too. Like the rest of Centre Court he could see the gathering gloom, the grey clouds growing darker. Like his audience, he wished to get it over with.

He didn’t want to wait for the roof to do its thing, the lights to come on, the delay in knocking up again, then the cumbersome process of crawling towards the inevitable.

Power play: Murray was a class apart on Centre Court

Power play: Murray was a class apart on Centre Court

Davydenko wasn’t going to beat him, he knew that. He would simply resent having to hang about longer than necessary to confirm a victory we all knew was coming.

So he played the way Ronnie O’Sullivan rushes to the snooker table or Carl Froch sprints out of his corner; with an intensity that seemed to unnerve his opponent and unlock his A-game. It was punk tennis, edgy and nervous, but in a good way.

Maybe the weather forecast was just a coincidence and this is the way Murray intends to approach Wimbledon now. If so, it will be a good thing. Sometimes he seems to have too much time to think, and brood.

Here, no sooner had one point finished than Murray was on the balls of his feet waiting to start. He was always the first out after breaks, always waiting impatiently for Davydenko to occupy his end. If he had a watch he would have been checking it irritably or tapping it like an angry boss.

Mentally fragile: Davydenko

Mentally fragile: Davydenko

Whatever the motivation it helped Murray deliver some of his best tennis. The draw is difficult for him this year and some have predicted a shock early exit. Such an outcome was never in danger.

Murray was a different class to Davydenko, who only showed glimpses of his true talent in the final set, going down a respectable 6-4. The score of the first two sets, however, read more like a crowing football chant, 6-1, 6-1, and did the Russian little credit.

He has always been fragile mentally, but once trailing he lacked the fortitude for revival. Between the third game of the first set and the first game of the third, he dropped his serve on six of seven occasions.

What happened to Davydenko, who can say Some would want a sports psychiatrist on the case, others a team of investigators. There were some dubious defeats and some very nasty rumours.

Maybe he just lost it, as can happen in tennis. Either way, it was at times pitiful to see. For all the talk of his veteran status, Davydenko is only two months older than Roger Federer.

/06/26/article-0-13CCBF28000005DC-152_634x420.jpg” width=”634″ height=”420″ alt=”Crowd favourite: Murray leaves to rapturous applause after a job well done” class=”blkBorder” />

Crowd favourite: Murray leaves to rapturous applause after a job well done

In many ways, the point summed up the match. It was Murray’s slice that Davydenko found impossible to handle. He got balls to kick and buck, to move away, to drop a shoulder and sprint away like an elusive winger. Davydenko was reduced to the status of outwitted full back, clumsily offering a tackle to a man who was no longer there.

Another simply brilliant slice, midway through the second set, curled the ball away but kept it low, an unplayable shot that left Murray’s opponent floundering.

It gets harder from here, of course, but not by much if he can stay as fast and as furious as this.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray thrashes Nikolay Davydenko

Pure class! Murray races into round two with straight-sets thrashing of Davydenko

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UPDATED:

18:47 GMT, 26 June 2012

Andy Murray sent out a message to his main rivals for glory at Wimbledon this year as he thrashed former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko in the first round.

The Scot flew out of the blocks against the more senior Russian, claiming the first set 6-1, and continued his all out assault, winning the second set by the same score in under an hour.

Davydenko was then broken again early in the third, but showed some fight to at least add a degree of respect to the final set, won eventually 6-4 by Murray.

More to follow…

Pure delight: Andy Murray made light work of former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko

Pure delight: Andy Murray made light work of former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko

Pure delight: Andy Murray made light work of former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko

Tricks and flicks: Murray was so confident he produced some crowd-pleasing shots

Tricks and flicks: Murray was so confident he produced some crowd-pleasing shots

Centre of attention: The usual patriotic crowd were joined by Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears

Centre of attention: The usual patriotic crowd were joined by Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears

Centre of attention: The usual patriotic crowd were joined by Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears

Centre of attention: The usual patriotic crowd were joined by Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears

Nothing out of reach: Murray showed no signs of the poor form that blighted his preparations

Nothing out of reach: Murray showed no signs of the poor form that blighted his preparations

Pulled apart: Davydenko simply had no response to the power and precision of the fourth seed

Pulled apart: Davydenko simply had no response to the power and precision of the fourth seed

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray should copy Ivan Lendl – Brad Gilbert

Andy can earn net profit by copying Lendl

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 25 June 2012

Back in the Eighties the grass was very different at Wimbledon. It was quicker than today and Ivan Lendl used to change his time-honoured habits by serving and volleying all the time on it.

So I am going to be really interested to see if he advocates that kind of change in Andy Murray’s approach to fulfilling his potential at the All England Club.

As Murray takes on Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko today, the key to him doing well on grass is simple: ‘Take care of your serve.’

Coach: Andy Murray could learn a thing or two from Ivan Lendl (left)

Coach: Andy Murray could learn a thing or two from Ivan Lendl (left)

His return game is so good that it is going to give him break opportunities, so if he can hold his own serve he is going to be very hard to beat.

How does he do this I would like to see him adopt some of Lendl’s old grass philosophy and come into the net more often than he does. Not all the time, but as a tactic to keep opponents guessing.

Murray is what I call a ‘handsy’ player — he has got a beautiful touch around the net and the more he comes in the better he is going to be.

His main rivals will go through whole matches, maybe two or three of them, without dropping serve and this is what he must look to emulate.

You want to see him with a first-serve percentage above the 60 mark and to do plenty of ‘V-serving’. /06/25/article-2164617-13C7DF04000005DC-813_468x313.jpg” width=”468″ height=”313″ alt=”Switch it up: Lendl was never afraid to innovate” class=”blkBorder” />

Switch it up: Lendl was never afraid to innovate

Unlike on hard or clay, if you hit wide on grass the ball tends to die and is very hard to return. You need to mix it up, which he is well-equipped to do.

You cannot afford to donate your serve because there are guys out there beyond the main stars, players like John Isner, Milos Raonic and Gilles Muller, who are very hard to break. When you come up against them you have to be patient.

I look at Rafael Nadal last year.

He was forced to a tiebreak twice by Muller but hung in and then smashed him in the third set.

I like Andy’s chances on grass and it suits his game well because it rewards good feel for the ball. His sliced backhand works well on it and any time he gets near the net his superior hand skills should pay a dividend.

Nice moves: Murray is good at getting round the court

Nice moves: Murray is good at getting round the court

He moves tremendously well on the turf, recovering his position much better than he does on clay.

And although not specific to the surface, his focus always seems to be better on Centre Court, maybe due to the cathedral-like calm of the place. If Andy can keep his mood similarly calm, he can beat anyone at Wimbledon.

The serve holds the key

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray on painkilling injection plan

Murray backs needle plan as he hopes to make it through until after Olympics

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 24 June 2012

Andy Murray will go into Wimbledon hoping the eight painkilling injections he has had in his back will last him until the end of the Olympics.

The British No 1 is angry that aspersions have been cast on the extent of his back problems, and had the succession of needles pumped into him in one session at the Italian Open in Rome.

According to sources close to Murray – who says the injections have enabled him to get on top of the unspecified problem – the idea is that this will tide him over until after the Olympics end in early August, when matters will be reassessed.

Back issue: Andy Murray will take painkilling injections

Back issue: Andy Murray will take painkilling injections

MURRAY'S SW19 RECORD

2005: Third round
2006: Fourth round
2007: Injured, did not play
2008: Quarter-final
2009: Semi-final
2010: Semi-final
2011: Semi-final

How’s he done this year

Australian Open: Lost in semi-final to Novak Djokovic

French Open: Lost in quarter-final to David Ferrer

Murray revealed the exact number of injections into his lower back in response to the likes of ex-Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade and top German player Tommy Haas saying he had a tendency to exaggerate any physical difficulties.

The matter has come into focus after Murray revealed he has been struggling with a back issue since December, and his remarkable comeback to beat Jarkko Nieminen in the second round of the French Open, having lost the first set 6-1 and required on-court treatment during the second.

Sportsmail understands that upon his arrival at Wimbledon Haas sought Murray out to explain the quotes attributed to him in a German TV interview and maintained they had been taken out of context.

Murray is said to have accepted his apology and gave the German credit for fronting up to him and making his position clear. Murray plays Nikolay Davydenko on Monday.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray and Brits warm up

Brits gear up for Wimbledon: Murray and co warm up at All England Club… now let's hope the rain stays away

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UPDATED:

14:23 GMT, 24 June 2012

Andy Murray and his British compatriots polished their preparations for Wimbledon ahead of the start of the Championships on Monday.

Although rain forced the players off for a while during a warm-up session at the All England Club, most of them were able to be put through their paces on Sunday.

Along with Murray, Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Anne Keothavong were spotted warming up.

Fighting fit: Andy Murray tests his strength on the eve of Wimbledon

Fighting fit: Andy Murray tests his strength on the eve of Wimbledon

Looming: Dark skies hang above Murray as he's put through his paces

Looming: Dark skies hang above Murray as he's put through his paces

In the spotlight: Murray arrives for his session at the All England Club on Sunday

In the spotlight: Murray arrives for his session at the All England Club on Sunday

Murray will not step out at Wimbledon until Tuesday when he takes on Nikolay Davydenko in the first round.

The Scot has angrily dismissed suggestions that he exaggerates his physical problems on court, but world No 1 Novak Djokovic said he believes showing your aches and pains projects a sign of weakness.

Murray came in for criticism at the French Open as he battled a back problem, with former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade calling him a drama queen and John McEnroe telling the world No 4 to forget about it.

McEnroe also hinted Murray's problems could be largely in his head, a claim that was quickly shot down by the Scot ahead of his first-round match at Wimbledon against Nikolay Davydenko on Tuesday.

Water nightmare: A shower forced the ball boys and girls to run for the covers

Water nightmare: A shower forced the ball boys and girls to run for the covers

The 25-year-old said: 'I think eight painkilling injections in your back before the French Open justifies a genuine injury.

'If someone is going to say to me my back injury is not genuine, they can come see my reports from the doctors, they can see the pictures of a needle about eight inches long in my back. I'm not accepting criticism any more because it's not fair.'

Murray made no attempt to hide his problems in Paris, particularly when his back went into spasm against Jarkko Nieminen, while he continued to clutch at his back and show he was in pain throughout the rest of the tournament.

Djokovic is not afraid to get angry on court, as he demonstrated in the French Open final when he whacked his seat so hard with his racquet that bits of wood flew across the court.

But the Serb, who is a week younger than Murray, feels trying to hide any physical problems is important in order not to give an advantage to your opponent.

Ready to go: Laura Robson was in good mood ahead of her knock-up

Ready to go: Laura Robson was in good mood ahead of her knock-up

Djokovic said: 'I think it's very subjective. Every player has different behaviour, a different character, a different way of presenting himself on and off the court.

'But, of course, on the court you always try to, in my opinion, hide whatever you're feeling from your opponent. You don't want to show your opponent that you're struggling too much because you're revealing your weaknesses.'

Murray has been handed probably his toughest draw at Wimbledon, beginning with former world No 3 Davydenko, who is now down at 47th but still potentially a dangerous opponent.

The Russian's greatest moment came in London in 2009 when he won the first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals played at the O2 Arena, and he has won four of his nine meetings with Murray, although they have not faced each other for three years.

Murray said: 'It will be tough. He was in the top four or five players for a number of years. He's won some big events. He's won the Tour Finals. He's won Masters Series. It's going to be a tough match. He hasn't played so well this year, but he has a lot of experience and has been a top player for a lot of years.'

All smiles: Heather Watson takes a walk around the All England Club on Sunday

All smiles: Heather Watson takes a walk around the All England Club on Sunday

Wimbledon has a slightly different feel this year with the Olympics to follow at the All England Club only three weeks after the end of the Championships.

Murray is currently the only confirmed member of the British team, but he will not be allowing thoughts of medals to distract him from his grand slam bid.

He said: 'There's so many big competitions for tennis players right now with Wimbledon, the Olympics, and then a few weeks afterwards the US Open.

'You really need to make sure you don't get ahead of yourself or start thinking three or four weeks in advance. You need to make sure you stay in the present and stay concentrated on Wimbledon. When Wimbledon is finished, then I'll get myself ready for the Olympics.'

While Murray is not in action tomorrow, several British players are, led by Heather Watson, who takes on Iveta Benesova in a match that is likely to be played on a show court in the evening.

Johanna Konta, the former Australian who was cleared to compete for Britain last month, faces 28th seed Christina McHale in the last match on Court 17 while Naomi Broady meets Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

In the men's competition, 18-year-old Oli Golding, the US Open junior champion, will take on Russia's Igor Andreev on Court Two and Josh Goodall faces Grega Zemlja on Court Three.

Wimbledon 2012: Andy Murray blasts critics

McEnroe and Wade, if you think I'm a drama queen, look at the pictures of the eight-inch needle stuck in my back

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UPDATED:

21:17 GMT, 23 June 2012

Andy Murray's anger at the pain inflicted on him by a celebrity cast of critics has followed him from Paris to the gates of Wimbledon.

And after keeping his counsel, Murray finally snapped as he applied the finishing touches to his preparation for his seventh assault on the world's most prestigious tournament.

On Thursday night, after playing reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in his last public warm-up match, Murray issued an enraged challenge to his most vociferous detractors, who include past champions Virginia Wade, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Boris Becker, as well as former world No 2 Tommy Haas.

Flat out: Andy Murray receives treatment for his injured back during his French Open victory over Jarko Nieminen

Flat out: Andy Murray receives treatment for his injured back during his French Open victory over Jarko Nieminen

'If someone is going to say to me that my back injury is not genuine, they can come and see my reports from the doctors, they can see the pictures of a needle about eight inches long in my back,' said a seething Murray.

'I'm not accepting criticism any more, because it's not fair.'

Murray revealed he had received eight pain-killing injections in one day before the French Open began.

Hitting back at critics: Andy Murray voicing his concerns

Hitting back at critics: Andy Murray voicing his concerns

While he declares himself to be fully
fit for Wimbledon, where he will play Nikolay Davydenko in the first
round on Tuesday, Murray is clearly embittered by the fall-out from his
appearance in Paris.

All
of his critics, in some shape or form, decried Murray for showing he was
experiencing pain in his back during his second-round match with Jarkko
Nieminen at the French Open. Wade, the last British Wimbledon singles
champion, called Murray a 'drama queen'.

Murray: Will he ever break big three

In Germany, Haas delivered another
hurtful barb when he claimed the world No 4 had acquired a reputation
among the players for being melodramatic on court.

'People talk about it in the locker room,' said Haas.

Murray's possible route to the final

Murray had previously refrained from defending himself but, clearly, his patience has been exhausted.

As
ball girls with pen and paper formed an orderly line to wait for
Murray, after he had showered and undergone physiotherapy following his
gentle work-out against Djokovic in Buckinghamshire, the British star
articulated his true feelings.

When
asked to comment on McEnroe's assertion that his back problems 'could
be more mental than physical', Murray said tartly: 'I think eight
pain-killing injections in your back before the French Open justifies a
genuine injury.

'A lot of
people have suggested that it hasn't been genuine. I have a genuine back
problem, it's not a mental thing. It's something that is there.'

Murray has been informed the injections will have a lasting effect throughout Wimbledon. He declined to specify the exact nature or area of his injury.

'I'm not going into the details,' said Murray. 'It's a problem I had at the beginning of the year. I played through it for five months, but it just got worse. But it feels better since I had the injections.'

Rarely has Murray been so animated outside a tennis court, or felt compelled to defend himself with such vigour. His eyes burned with indignation.

He feels with justification that he is a role model, in so many ways.

He can sulk, he can infuriate, he can divide opinion.

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But he can play. And he feels he has
done enough to have earned respect, on and off the court, which is why
the criticism in Paris bit deep.

Courier
told a TV audience that he thought Murray should quit mid-match; Becker
had warned beforehand that he should not even play if his back was
troublesome.

To Murray neither was an option.

He
trains hard, lives a quiet life with his long-time girlfriend Kim Sears
and has a coterie of employees from coach Ivan Lendl, an eigh-ttime
major champion, through fitness trainers Jez Green and Matt Little, to
physiotherapist Andy Ireland, all being paid to make him become the best
he can be.

He is
undeniably the fourth best player in the world. Yet still Murray seems
unable to make ground on the three ranked ahead of him: Djokovic, Rafael
Nadal and Roger Federer.

'Everyone was saying after Australia that the gap, from me to the top three, had changed,' said Murray.

'Then, when I didn't make the semis at the French Open, they said it had changed back again. To me, things change in tennis on a weekly basis. If I was to win Wimbledon everyone would say, “There's no gap any more”. It's all about how you perform in the big competitions. We'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks.'

Lendl is with him to give an edge missing in the past. The 52-year-old Czech-American never won Wimbledon, but his worth to Murray is calculated through his iron-hard attention to discipline and the values he demands, as Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, who will be a member of the BBC team covering the Championships, explains.

'Lendl was the first real professional in the tennis world. He left no stone unturned to become a better player. He was the first one with a conditioning coach, the first to have a regimented diet, the first with a separate racket stringer and the first with his own physio. Lendl asked himself how could he become better by not only practising more than the rest of us.

'Having Ivan around him, Andy will understand better about professionalism, discipline, preparation and putting yourself in the best position to win.

'You have to have the highest respect for Ivan. If you have someone that good on your side, you cannot mess around. And maybe there is an extra motivation, an extra drive for both men as neither has won at Wimbledon.

'You expect Andy to be around far into the second week, then it takes a little bit of courage, a little bit of luck and great tennis to go all the way. He's doing everything in his power to give himself his best chance of winning.'

Murray will walk through the gates of the All England Club believing he can end the 76-year wait to anoint a British champion in succession to Fred Perry.

'I have no other choice,' said Murray. 'There's not much point in playing if I didn't think I could win.'

But Murray is a realist, not a dreamer.

'When I finish my career, if I haven't won a Slam, maybe it will annoy me,' he said.

'Or maybe my achievements will be seen as being even better because I've played against some of the greatest of all time.'