Murray beats Gimeno-Traver in 4 sets at Wimbledon

The racket bag emblazoned with messages of support from Facebook fans looked like it might have had the opposite effect on Monday when Andy Murray dropped the first set of his Wimbledon campaign.

Updated: June 21, 2011 10:31 IST
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Wimbledon: The racket bag emblazoned with messages of support from Facebook fans looked like it might have had the opposite effect on Monday when Andy Murray dropped the first set of his Wimbledon campaign.

But as if flicking on a switch, Murray reeled off 15 straight games from 3-3 in the second set for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver to reach the second round.

Gimeno-Traver began the match confidently under the roof on Centre Court and hit some particularly brutal forehands, but by the end, the 56th-ranked Spaniard looked every bit the player who has lost in the first round at eight of his 12 Grand Slam tournaments.

And Murray's unusual bag - the brainchild of his racket sponsor - didn't end up being consigned to history. Murray said it might even turn out be a source of inspiration in the future.

"I didn't today, but a lot of players in the past have done it with having notes in their bag, and some have had things written on like their rackets or something, on the back of their hand," he said. "Players have done those sort of things a lot in the past. And, yeah, something I could do if I felt like I needed it."

One of the messages read: "Believe in yourself and never give up." Another simply said: "Make history."

Murray is once again carrying the hopes of the home nation, desperate for a first Wimbledon men's singles champion since 1936.

The 24-year-old from Scotland has reached the semifinals the last two years, and after a poor run of form following a loss to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, he has raised hopes again by making the French Open semifinals and winning the grass-court title at Queen's last week.

A rare day off in the lead-up to Wimbledon was interrupted by a 7 a.m. call from the doping testers on Thursday. It was the third time he had been called upon for a sample since losing at Roland Garros.

"It's a lot of testing, but just part of our job, unfortunately," Murray said. "It's just very intrusive when you get someone sort of in your house in the morning. When you're going to the toilet and they're staring at you, it's a bit ... you know, in your own home, it's just quite strange feeling."

Against Gimeno-Traver, Murray seemed to take a while to adjust to the conditions under the roof - closed because of rain - but he didn't look back once he broke for the first time in the match at 4-3 in the second set.

"The roof, it changes the conditions," Murray said. "If anything, it's, like, almost too perfect. There's no wind, obviously no sun, no sort of elements to contend with. It's different, different grass-court tennis.

"And, like, you saw in the first set, he was able to hit a lot of huge forehands which it's normally harder to do when it's a little bit breezy outside or whatever."

Once he had regained control of the match by winning the second set, Murray conceded nine points in the third and only six in the fourth, hitting 23 winners and four unforced errors in the last two sets.

"I changed the way I was playing," Murray said. "I changed the way I was returning, especially. I was missing returns off the first serve, and really just giving him a chance to dictate a lot of the points."

The only negative for Murray was that not all of his fans inside the All England Club got to see him play. With heavy rain falling, organizers switched off the big screen in front of what has become known as Henman Hill.

Organizers said it was to prevent spectators from slipping on the grass. It is the first time since the roof was inaugurated in 2009 that the conditions have been wet enough for the ruling to come into play.

"I'm sure they'll find a way of making sure in the future that they can get it on," Murray said.

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