Keeping Tabs: July 5
Over the last two weeks he’s been Andy Murray the moaner, the ruthless, the efficient, and the curfew breaker, among many other names that have been forgotten in the daily London press morass. Today, a day after Muzz’s grueling quarterfinal win over David Ferrer, the Mail provides a new and more glorious (and complicated) description of him:
ALL HAIL MURRAY THE GLADIATOR! MURRAY’S 135 MPH COUP DE GRASS BLOWS FERRER AWAY IN SW19
He finished it the only way he could. An ace, 135 mph, straight down the middle. Tennis’s equivalent of the stake through the vampire’s heart
Poor David Ferrer. You keep your head down and your mouth shut and you run hard all day and what do they call you for it? Count Dracula.
There’s no getting around it, it’s a mostly Murray day in the papers
Thistling While He Worked
The Mirror doesn’t waste any time throwing a few sprinkles on Murray’s parade:
TWO WINS FROM GLORY: ANDY MURRAY THROUGH TO WIMBLEDON SEMIFINALS AFTER NAIL-BITING CLASH—BUT KATE AND WILLS MISS THE EPIC ENDING
The Scot beat David Ferrer after coming from behind in a four-set thriller, but Kate and Wills had already left the Royal Box after meeting Roger Federer
Second fiddle to the Maestro again!
The Mirror later speculates that the Duke and Duchess, “may have had to leave early as Wills will tomorrow be installed as Knight of the Thistle—the highest honor in England—at a special service in Edinburgh.”
With all due respect, the "highest honor in England" is really something called the Knight of the Thistle?
Putting the Pedal Down
Boris Becker’s column appears in the Telegraph today, accompanied by a shot of the German looking not unlike his London namesake, mayor Boris Johnson.
Becker believes that Murray will win the tournament—if he plays the way he did yesterday. He sees some improvement in his mental stamina since the Australian Open.
“In the past,” Boom Boom booms, “Andy has had a problem with front-running. Remember that Melbourne semifinal against Novak Djokovic where he went up 2-1 in sets, and then went to sleep for half an hour? . . . In the third and fourth sets [yesterday], Andy never gave Ferrer the luxury of a weak game to bring him back into the match.
Becker also spots a little of Murray's coach creeping into his game.
“The penultimate point of the match was a great example,” Becker says. “Andy ran around his backhand and pumped a big forehand winner up the line. It was a real Lendl trademark from a man who didn’t use [sic] to trust his forehand on big points.”
Interesting. Even more interesting: Boris Becker using the word “penultimate.”
The scene shifts, briefly, from Murray to Federer over at the Times. No nation's press, perhaps not even Switzerland's, has crafted as many over-the-top odes to Fed’s angelic play as England’s, but Giles Smith still comes up with a pretty good phrase that I hadn’t heard before:
“As Roger Federer cavalierly skewered Mikhail Youzhny yesterday, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, a realisation seemed to take hold around the Centre Court: that Rog is really quite good at tennis.”
“Cavelierly skewered”: I’ll try to remember that.
The Ol’ Double Teapot Semaphore Skirl
Simon Barnes brings the focus back to Murray, and he does it in his inimitable, even more over-the-top way:
“There were a few pouts,” Barnes writes of the man known as the Muzzard. “The classic double-teapot with bowed head, the wild semaphore in the general direction of the box, the glances at the sky—now God’s against me as well—and one or two muted roars. But he kept away from the full skirling despair we have heard too many times: self-hatred that can sometimes seem an easier option than victory. . . .
Perhaps that was the principle triumph of yesterday: That Murray managed to stay on speaking terms with himself even under the pressure of his own errors.”
The Barnes way: Sportswriting that reads like a nature poem you don't understand, but which sounds better than anything you've read about the match anyway.