Football Threat to Defending Champion Andy Murray at Wimbledon

Updated: 27 June 2014 13:22 IST

Andy Murray's opponent, in a bid to make the last 16 at Wimbledon, Roberto Bautista Agut, was on Villarreal's books as a junior and could have had a promising career as a footballer, had he not opted for tennis instead.

Football Threat to Defending Champion Andy Murray at Wimbledon
Murray will be up against Roberto Bautista Agut, who almost became a footballer. © AP

London:

Defending champion Andy Murray targets a place in the Wimbledon last 16 Friday when he faces a man who could have been playing Spanish professional football if his life had taken a different turn.

Roberto Bautista Agut, the 27th seed, was on Villarreal's books as a junior and could have had a promising career had he not opted for tennis instead.

"When you are 12, 13 in Spain you change. I had to change my friends on the team. I was playing with people one year older than me and it was not easy. I was not feeling well with this team," said Bautista Agut.

"With tennis I was enjoying it and I was playing good. I had to take one sport."

It's a decision which has paid off with Bautista Agut having claimed a first grasscourt title in the Netherlands on the eve of Wimbledon despite a Spanish cultural addiction to clay courts.

"No, I'm not scared of facing Andy. I will try to play my game. I am winning a lot of matches," added the Spaniard.

"I will try to be aggressive, to play my game. I will try to enjoy to play with Andy here on grass."

Murray and Bautista Agut practiced together on the clay of Valencia in the run-up to the Madrid Masters in April.

The Briton is not under-estimating the challenge he faces. "He's a very good player. He won the tournament last week on the grass in Holland. He doesn't play like a lot of the Spanish guys. He plays very flat. Not much topspin. The grass courts suit his game pretty well," said Murray.

"It will be a step up for sure. He's improving all the time." Murray is bidding to become the first British man to successfully defend the Wimbledon title since Fred Perry successfully retained his 1935 Wimbledon title in 1936.

Top seed Novak Djokovic opens proceedings on Centre Court where the roof may be closed with rain expected for a second day.

The Serb, who was champion in 2011, faces experienced French player Gilles Simon against whom he has a 6-1 record with Simon's only win coming in their first meeting in 2008.

In between the two men's matches, five-time women's champion Venus Williams faces 2011 winner Petra Kvitova, the only Grand Slam champion born in the 1990s.

Chinese second seed Li Na, a three-time quarterfinalist, opens action on Court One against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.

Topics : Andy Murray Wimbledon 2014 Tennis
Related Articles
All Top Stars Confirmed For Australian Open
All Top Stars Confirmed For Australian Open
Will Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Not Play in IPTL?
Will Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic Not Play in IPTL?
'Arise Sir Andy' - World Number One Andy Murray Tipped For Knighthood
'Arise Sir Andy' - World Number One Andy Murray Tipped For Knighthood
Show Comments
Advertisement