• Wimbledon, Day Nine

Murray playing like a champion - just don't tell him

Jo Carter July 3, 2012
Andy Murray beat the race against the rain © PA Photos

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When Andy Murray was lying prone on the clay after suffering a back injury during his match against Jarkko Nieminen at the French Open, it looked like his chances of victory were slim.

Receiving treatment having failed to hold serve in the opening set, it looked like he would be forced to surrender defeat, but he bounced back to claim victory in four sets.

That performance prompted Murray to be accused of being a drama queen, with Tommy Haas suggesting that the world No. 4 exaggerates his injuries.

What is strikingly obvious for the long-suffering British tennis fan is that Murray loves a bit of drama. Whether he is battling injury, the conditions or the circumstances, the Scot is at happiest when is he is up against it.

Murray recently acknowledged his taste for adversity when he said: "There's lots of stories of guys winning tournaments when they've been in big losing positions, match points down, guys serving for matches a couple of breaks up and then suddenly they'll come back and win and then they'll start to relax into the tournament a little bit."

As the Scot bids to end his major duck, he was handed a nightmare draw at his home slam, with former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko a daunting first-round opponent. Some feared Murray, who so often starts slowly, could struggle against the Russian. That doubt was enough to inspire Murray to demolish Davydenko in straight sets.

Then, against the giant challenge of Ivo Karlovic, Murray stood firm. On Saturday, Murray was up against the clock as he beat the 11pm curfew (well, nearly) to see off Marcos Baghdatis.

After his fourth round clash with Marin Cilic was forced into a second day thanks to heavy rain on Monday, Murray was at the mercy of the elements. With his quarter-final opponent having the luxury of playing under the Centre Court roof (David Ferrer beat Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets) - it was up to Murray to get the job done as quickly as possible to ensure maximum recovery time ahead of Wednesday's quarter-finals.

Murray will have to step up once more when he takes on Ferrer on Wednesday, but based on his performance against Cilic, his odds to win his maiden slam have been slashed from 10/1 before the tournament to 9/2.

While he will face tougher challenges than Cilic, starting with Ferrer, who beat him in the French Open quarter-finals, Murray is playing his way into form. One pundit went as far to say that the fourth seed is playing like a future Wimbledon champion.

Just don't tell Murray.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jo Carter Close
Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk