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Murray Intrigued By 'Interesting' First-Rounder vs. Bublik

Andy Murray has never played his Wimbledon first-round opponent Alexander Bublik, but the Scot already has a favourable opinion of the 20-year-old right-hander, who will be making his Wimbledon main draw debut against Murray on Monday.

Bublik got to know Murray and other top players earlier this year at the BNP Paribas Masters in Indian Wells when he hosted an entertaining segment for ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot. Bublik began his Murray session with a memorable line: “Do I need to call you sir?”

Andy Murray will go for his third Wimbledon title this fortnight.
Murray deflected the inquiry but did offer the Kazakh some advice when Bublik asked how he can get as good as the World No. 1.

“A lot of training,” Murray said.

“Is that useful, to train?” Bublik said.

“Yeah, that definitely helps,” Murray said. “And not serving 20 double faults in a match.”

(Bublik had hit 14 double faults during his qualifying loss at Indian Wells).

Murray will surely be in a less charitable mood, though, when he begins the defence of his Wimbledon title and starts his campaign for a third crown at the All England Club. The Scot is looking to become the first British player – man or woman – to defend a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry won Wimbledon from 1934-36. During his other attempts to repeat at a Grand Slam, 2013 US Open and 2014 Wimbledon, Murray fell in the quarter-finals.

“Hopefully I'm able to deal with things better this time around. But really once you get out there, I don't feel like I'm coming in trying to defend something. I'm going out there trying to win Wimbledon again. I want to try to win the competition,” Murray said during his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday. “Maybe [defending] adds a little bit extra pressure. Maybe a few more nerves, especially at this slam, with the way the scheduling is, that you're the first one out there on Centre Court. You feel like you're opening up the tournament a little bit, and that adds a few more nerves. But I feel okay. I've felt fairly calm the last few days, considering how I've been feeling.”

The top seed said he's recovered from a hip injury that forced him to sit out a few days of practice last week.

“I've had hip problems since I was very young. It's not something new to me. It's just been very sore the last few weeks. It was giving me quite a lot of trouble moving to certain shots and getting into certain positions,” he said. “So that was why I needed to take the break, to try and give it a chance to settle down, calm down a bit. Spent a lot of time with my physio and doing some extra exercises in my warm-up, strengthening exercises, a lot of stuff to try to loosen off that area. It's felt much better the last few days.”

In a way, the Scot will be hoping for Grand Slam deja vu at Wimbledon. Before Roland Garros, Murray had been struggling and lost his opener in Rome, the last tournament he played before the clay-court Grand Slam. But in Paris, Murray reeled off five straight victories to reach the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Two weeks ago, at the Aegon Championships in London, Murray again fell in his opener against Aussie lucky loser Jordan Thompson. The World No. 1 hasn't played a match since.

“[At Roland Garros], maybe I didn't come in as well prepared, I still found a way with each match to feel a bit better and build confidence each day. I'm hoping that's the case here,” Murray said.

Funny questions aside, Murray said he enjoyed getting to know Bublik in Indian Wells. The Scot just hopes that he is the one in the joking mood after their first-round contest.

“We chatted a little bit away from the camera as well. He seemed pretty fun. He's a pretty confident guy. He was good fun in the limited time I spent with him,” Murray said. “He's obviously a big personality. He's not a quiet guy. From what I've heard, he's pretty entertaining on the court in terms of the way he plays, how he is. Quite unorthodox. He plays a lot of unexpected shots, a lot of drop shots, mixes his game up a lot, takes chances, tries some shots that guys may play in exhibitions, he tries when he's out there. That's what I've heard. But I'm not sure. I'll try and watch a bit of video this evening with my team, see what we can get hold of, take it from there. But, yeah, it will be an interesting match.”

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/murray-wimbledon-2017-preview

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