• Wimbledon

Murray: Rooney doesn't talk about my matches

ESPN staff
June 24, 2014
Can Andy Murray retain his Wimbledon crown?

Andy Murray has refused to allow himself to be drawn into another row over the England football team - saying Wayne Rooney does not talk about Wimbledon.

Murray was lambasted in 2006 when he joked that he would be supporting "anyone but England" at that year's World Cup. The remark, which he later told the Independent he regretted, cost the Scot much of his English fanbase.

But while Murray's comments as a teenager still come back to bite him every now and then, the new, grown-up version of the British No.1 - now a two-time grand slam champion - is not interested in getting himself in that sort of trouble again.

'I did my best to look him in the eye'

Shaquille O'Neal and model girlfriend Laticia Rolle watched Andy Murray in action © PA Photos
  • Andy Murray revealed it was a "treat" to meet NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal after his first-round victory.
  • I'm a big basketball fan and he's someone I watched play live a few times when he was with Miami Heat," Murray revealed. "He's so funny, very entertaining, and it's worth watching some videos of him if you can.
  • "A tennis match is not exactly the place I would expect to see him and he told me it was his first time, and that he really enjoyed it.
  • "It would be a tough sport for him though, he's absolutely massive - 7ft 1in. The thing I love about basketball is that, despite all the players being of a similar size, they're still so fast. In tennis, people often presume the bigger guys don't move very well, but basketball shows that isn't always the case. But they're great athletes, incredibly agile.
  • "It was great to shake his hand - which was huge, obviously - and I did my best to look him in the eye! Hopefully I can take a bit of inspiration from our meeting into the next round."

With England's football, cricket and rugby teams struggling this summer, Murray was asked if all British sporting hopes now rest on him. He shunned the question, saying: "I'm here to do my thing."

He added: "I don't think the English football team get asked about me in their press conferences, so I'd appreciate it if that wasn't brought up when I was playing.

"I'm yet to hear Wayne Rooney talk about my matches at Wimbledon. I don't think it's fair."

Meanwhile, Murray has revealed that he and coach Amelie Mauresmo found the most peaceful spot to talk tactics at Wimbledon turned out to be the unlikeliest - Centre Court.

Writing in his BBC Sport column, Murray said: "Centre Court might not seem like the best place to go, but 24 hours before my opening match, with everyone at the All England Club preparing for the start of the Championships, it seemed as good a place as any.

"There was nobody there apart from a group of stewards, and I think they were going through their own plans for opening day. I'm pretty sure they didn't even notice us."

Murray began the defence of his crown against world No.104 David Goffin, a match he won comfortably in straight sets.

"The day itself was quieter than normal, if anything," he added. "The one o'clock start was my earliest at Wimbledon for quite some time, so that might have had something to do with it, and I had to shift my usual routine forward a little, but I tried to keep everything as similar as possible.

"Amelie and Dani Vallverdu from my coaching team had sent me a few videos of Goffin's matches against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon and Queen's Club, so we chatted about them and went through a few tactical things.

"When I got to the locker room it was actually pretty empty, which was nice as it gave me some more time to think in peace and quiet. It's a very familiar place for me now and I have the same locker throughout the year when I come back as a member of the club. That's nothing to do with superstition - I don't even know what number it is, I just know which locker it is and head straight for it."

Murray admitted he was "battling butterflies" prior to his first-round match, but in the end he said they proved to be "not too much of a problem".

"To get such a great reception from a full Centre Court crowd was pretty special," he said. "I managed to enjoy the experience, just as Amelie had suggested, before getting to the chair and switching my focus to the match ahead.

"It was a special day but it was only going to be one I would remember fondly with a win. Thankfully I played very well. My timing was good from the start and I coped well when he began to play some really good tennis in the second and third sets."

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