Press catch Murray fever ahead of Wimbledon semi
It’s stuff dreams are made of, say the tabloids, and for once they’re spot on
Only Rafael Nadal now stands between Andy Murray and the Wimbledon men's final – and don't the press just know it. As the two men head for Centre Court for today's semi-final, the papers have erupted in a fit of patriotism. "Come on, Andy!" both the Times and the Guardian shout from their front covers, while the Independent simply asks: "Andy Murray: Has his moment come?"
"In the past 50 years, a British man has graced the Wimbledon semi-finals 10 times – and they have all lost," says the Guardian's Kevin Mitchell. If Murray can win the men's singles title, he continues, the Scot is guaranteed to finally be embraced as British.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of, the tabloids declare, and for once they are actually right: Murray has admitted to seeing himself winning a Grand Slam in his sleep. "You can't control what is in your dreams," he said, "but I did dream of holding up a Grand Slam trophy. It wasn't one in particular. It was around Indian Wells this time last year. I don't know which [slam] it was."
The 24-year-old, however, is wary of falling for the media hype, acknowledging it's still a long road to the Wimbledon trophy. "I am so far away from it right now," he said, "six sets away, and I have to play Rafa followed [maybe] by Novak, who has lost one match this year and is playing unbelievable. So it is just so far away, it is not worth talking about."
When the players step out in the sun this afternoon after the first semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, there should be no doubt who is the pragmatists' favourite. Rafael Nadal is the world number one, has beaten Murray in their last three meetings and has won 11 of their 15 encounters in the past.
Yet any number of columnists in the London papers have that inexplicable 'feeling' that this is Murray's day.
Brad Gilbert, the Scot's former coach, makes the conveniently timed admission in the Daily Mail that "from the beginning of this tournament I have had a feeling that this just might be Andy's year." Meanwhile in the Telegraph Boris Becker writes that "if Murray sticks to the blueprint we have seen over the past few days, he should have the edge. The way he is looking, I don't see anybody better out there."
Indeed Murray's quest for his first Grand Slam even receives support from the most unlikely of corners: his opponent. "If I have to say one player who I want to win a Grand Slam, if it's not me, I would say it's Andy," Nadal says in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. "When you look at his career he deserves to win a Grand Slam… I always want to wish the best to the good guys, the good people, and he's a good person."