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Murray playing better than the rank

india Updated: Jul 03, 2006 18:03 IST
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In just 12 months, Andy Murray has jumped 268 places in the world rankings and will now carry the hopes of a nation on his slim shoulders when he contests his first fourth round match at Wimbledon on July 3, 2006.

The proud Scot has replaced Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski as Britain's best hope of ending the 70-year search for a men's champion at the All England Club and he is revelling at the prospect of taking on Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis on Centre Court.

"To get into the second week of a grand slam for the first time is great," said the 19-year-old from Dunblane.

"I'm (not) used to being around the locker room when there's only kind of 16 people left. I'm obviously looking forward to playing."

For the second year running, Murray is the last Briton left standing at Wimbledon and the way he dispatched twice runner-up Andy Roddick in straight sets in the third round proved his growing stature in the sport.

The American with the thunderbolt serve could not match Murray's skills or will to win and floundered to his earliest defeat here since 2002.

Hailing the win as the "greatest in his career", Murray feels he could also claim 18th seed Baghdatis's scalp and reach his first grand slam quarter-final.

"If I play like that, I think I got a good chance of winning my next match," said Murray.

"Baghdatis has got a bit more experience than me having made final of Australian Open this year and he's in the Top 20 just now."

However, he did not want to get too carried away about the possibility of emulating Henman and reaching the semi-finals.

If Murray overcomes Baghdatis, he could run into 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt.

"Hewitt's the highest seed left in my section and he's obviously won Wimbledon," said Murray.

"I wouldn't really expect to get past the quarter-finals if I had to play him."

But anyone who has followed the trials and tribulations of Murray's career, whose ranking has shot up from 312 to 44 since last year's Wimbledon, will be aware that he defeated the Australian to capture his first ATP title in San Jose earlier this year.

Along with his talent, Murray also possess a hot head which has often led to his downfall in the past.

But on Saturday, a focused Murray kept a lid on his emotions and refrained from his usual displays of whacking the net with his racket in frustration or challenging line calls in anger.

He believes his calm demeanour is a sign of the times.

"It's easy when you're playing like that to keep your cool," said Murray.

"I get really annoyed when I'm playing badly because I'm a perfectionist. I know I can play matches like that."

With England's exit from the soccer World Cup on July first, Murray knows that he will be the sole British sportsman under the spotlight next week and is hoping he will be able to live up to expectations.

"Them losing is going to change things a little bit. I think I'll almost get more support now than I would have done," he saId.

"You don't get crowds as big as this cheering you on at any of the other tournaments throughout the year.

"It's really special. It makes you raise your game a little bit higher."

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