07242017

Andy Murray column: My first Wimbledon, the Lions, and learning from boxing

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Murray makes it 10 quarter-finals in a row

When I first played at Wimbledon I ate pizza before my matches and was staying in someone’s basement, so I’ve come a pretty long way.

I didn’t actually know that I was through to my 10th Wimbledon quarter-final until someone told me after Monday’s match.

This is the tournament, and Centre Court is the place, where I’ve played my best tennis, and I guess that consistency proves it.

I lost that first quarter-final in 2008 in straight sets to Rafael Nadal, and I must admit I don’t remember that much about it now. I must have played about 600 matches since then and it’s the very earliest ones that have really stuck in my mind.

I played juniors at Wimbledon in 2004 and then seniors for the first time in 2005, and I have much clearer memories of that whole experience.

I can vividly remember specific moments of my second-round match against Radek Stepanek, and the third-round match against David Nalbandian on Centre Court.

I’ve actually watched that back quite a few times – I don’t know why.

I know I was nervous but I just had no expectation to do well, so it was completely different to the kind of nerves I get now.

When I went to speak to the press I just said whatever I was thinking, whatever was on my mind. There was no filter, no concept of everything else that goes on at an event this big.

Murray lost to Nalbandian in five sets at Wimbledon in 2005<!–

Murray lost to Nalbandian in 2005 having been two sets up

Of course I knew it was important but in truth I was not really aware of how big a deal Wimbledon was, and how much focus there was on this event. I was so young, I just wasn’t aware of it. I’d been playing tiny events just a few weeks before that.

And, yes, I was enjoying pizza for dinner before facing some of the best players in the world.

I was staying in the basement of a house in Wimbledon village with my mum, my brother, and Kim stayed there a little bit. We just walked down the hill to the All England Club most of the time.

I do remember fairly clearly that I didn’t eat well. With things like diet, we just didn’t know any better and I was very naive.

‘I’m always keen to learn something where I can’

David Haye (left) and Carl Froch attended Wimbledon on Monday<!–

David Haye (left) and Carl Froch were at Wimbledon on Monday

I chatted to the boxers Carl Froch and David Haye when I was walking back to the locker room after Monday’s match – it’s always flattering when other athletes come and watch you play.

I know Carl and David quite well, and it’s one of the perks of the job that I get to meet people from across loads of different sports and chat to them about what they do.

It depends on the sport, but there’s often quite a bit you can apply to your own. I’m always keen to learn something where I can.

I’ve followed boxing since I was quite young, so I feel like I have a little bit more awareness of what’s happening with it than some other sports, and I’ve watched quite a lot of boxers train.

There are lots of boxers I’d like to spend a bit of time with. I met Manny Pacquiao, but it was just to say ‘hi’ and take a picture with him when I was in the Philippines.

There are loads of other athletes I’d like to meet if I knew I could give them a bit of a grilling, ask them whatever I wanted and guarantee I’d get a reply!

‘Lions game was great but a slight anti-climax’

The British &amp; Irish Lions drew their three-match series in New Zealand<!–

The British & Irish Lions drew their three-match series in New Zealand

I watched the final Lions Test against New Zealand, but I didn’t play rugby when I was growing up – which is strange in Scotland, because it’s a pretty big sport there – so I don’t know loads about it.

I understand the rules but rugby is one of those sports I just watch hoping that whoever I’m supporting wins.

I wasn’t shouting at the screen on Saturday morning but it was pretty tight at the end, and New Zealand were only a couple of metres from scoring.

It was a great game but just felt like a slight anti-climax at the end because it finished in a draw.

The players didn’t know whether to celebrate or not, but that’s sport sometimes.

That’s one situation we don’t have to worry about in tennis – I know I won’t be walking off court after a draw on Wednesday.

‘I’m hitting the ball and moving better’

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Wimbledon 2017: Epic rally, Brit joy, crazy costumes & day seven funnies

I might be through to my 10th quarter-final but the nerves don’t disappear, you just learn to handle them better.

Sam Querrey will be a tough opponent and I can’t afford to play too many loose service games because he’s got a big serve and is tough to break.

The good thing is I was hitting the ball better on Monday, was more aggressive and was moving better, all of which gives me confidence.

I just need to prepare well, work on a gameplan with my team and make sure I avoid having pizza for dinner on Tuesday night!

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport’s Piers Newbery

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