Andy Murray insists there is no chance he will start dreaming of the Wimbledon 2013 title despite the remarkable list of big-name casualties in an astonishing first three days at the All England Club.
In the week before the tournament,world number two Murray was bombarded with questions about the draw after Rafael Nadal was controversially seeded fifth and placed in the same half of the draw as the Scot.
That meant Murray seemed likely to have to beat either Nadal or Roger Federer in the last-four if he wanted to emulate his run to the final 12 months ago.
But in the space of just 72 hours the Wimbledon draw,and Murray’s path to the final,has taken on a dramatically less demanding look thanks to two of the most stunning results in the event’s long and illustrious history.
On Monday,Nadal slumped to a straight sets defea against unheralded Belgian Steve Darcis,then just hours after Murray completed a business-like 6-3,6-3,7-5 second round win over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun,defending champion Federer crashed out at the hands of Ukrainian journeyman Sergiy Stakhovsky.
To make the day even better for Murray,French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Croatian 10th seed Marin Cilic,both potential quarter-final opponents for the 26-year-old,were forced to withdraw due to injuries.
The highest ranked player left in Murray’s half of the draw is 15th seed Nicolas Almagro.
Yet Murray,who faces Spanish 32nd seed Tommy Robredo in the third round,refused to get carried away.
“This is the thing. Everybody was so obsessed with how the draw was before the tournament started. Now everybody wants to change their views on it because a few guys have\ lost,” Murray said.
“Upsets happen every single day. You can’t take any matches for granted. People want to do that often and just write people through to finals or semifinals or whatever. But it doesn’t work that way. You need to be ready for every match. That’s just the way that sport is.”
“You need to be ready for every match. That’s just the way that sport is. There’s top players still left in the tournament,and there’s a lot of young guys as well coming through,guys like (Ernests) Gulbis,(Jerzy) Janowicz.
“Those sort of players are starting to break through and play more consistently. I’ll just concentrate on my next match. I’m playing a tough player,a very experienced guy. I’ll worry about that match.”
The injuries to Tsonga and Cilic came on an incredible day when seven players,five in the men’s draw,were forced out by injuries.
And Murray,who missed the French Open with a back problem,conceded all the injury horror stories made him slightly nervous at the start of his match.
“That’s sport. You never know. You can pick things up very easily,” Murray said.
“Obviously when you’re playing,when you’re practising,sometimes guys get injured. You can fall down the stairs,trip over your shoelaces. Who knows. But I feel fine right now. “When a lot of players get injured,the one thing is you may be a little tentative yourself at the beginning of the matches,maybe not feel that comfortable throwing yourself around the court. But after the first few games that normally goes away.”
Murray has reached the final of the last three Grand Slams he has entered and the US Open champion looks in the mood to make it four in a row.
He is on a 13-match winning run on grass,a sequence which brought him gold at the London Olympics and a third title at Queen’s Club.
Asked if he felt better than ever at this stage of a Grand Slam,he said: “Yes,probably. But it really doesn’t matter,because again,every day’s different. So,like I said,I played fine the first couple of matches.
“But I’ve just got to prepare properly for the next round. If I do that,practise well,then I’ll give myself a chance of winning.”