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Hollywood stars, beauty queens are mad for Murray

india Updated: Jul 02, 2009 11:04 IST

AFP
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Hollywood queens, beauty queens and Her Majesty the Queen are among the famous faces getting behind Andy Murray in his bid to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and her Hollywood director husband Sam Mendes were in the royal box on Centre Court as Murray beat Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Music mogul Simon Fuller, the inspiration behind the Spice Girls, and lyricist Sir Tim Rice were also in the box as Murray cruised through to the semi-finals in straight sets. Adding a touch more glamour to the proceedings, his old school pal Katharine Brown -- Miss Scotland -- was also in the crowd roaring him on.

"I went to school with her, my mum used to coach her, my brother was best friends with her brother, which was quite annoying, but obviously she's a nice girl," Murray said. "Regardless of whether it's a Miss Scotland I'm happy that one of my school friends came to watch."

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor and British pop legend Sir Cliff Richard were among the fans on Centre Court for Murray's fourth round match on Monday, the first competitive game to be entirely played under the new Centre Court roof.

Earlier in the tournament, Murray received a letter from Queen Elizabeth II congratulating him on becoming the first British man to win Queen's, the pre-Wimbledon grass court warm-up tournament, since Bunny Austin's triumph in 1938.

The letter raised hopes that Queen Elizabeth could attend Wimbledon for the first time since her jubilee year in 1977, when Britain's Virginia Wade won the women's title. Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery has also sent him a good luck message.

"I got a handwritten note from Cliff Richard this morning," Murray said.

Asked about being watched by "Titanic" star Winslet, the 22-year-old said it all added to the glamour of tennis.

"I think it's good for tennis any time you get big stars or celebrities coming to watch. It makes it cooler for kids which is important in this country."

Despite the celebrity backing, the laid-back Murray said he was not letting the Wimbledon hype get to him.

"It doesn't make any difference to the way you perform," he said. "If you ignore it you don't realise it's happening."