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Murray braces for Wimbledon hype

ANDY Murray knows there is one thing he cannot escape from.

Wimbledon is only eight days away and, after becoming the first home-grown champion in 71 years at Queen's Club on Sunday, there is real anticipation that he could end Britain's long wait for a men's winner at the grasscourt grand slam.

Murray beat American James Blake 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

"Regardless of whether it's like this next week or like four months ago, the majority of people that I speak to say, 'Good luck at Wimbledon' because it's kind of how people view tennis in this country," said Murray, who could become the first British man to triumph at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936.

"When I go for a walk with the dog, if I happen to bump into someone who my dog is playing with their dog, then I'll have a chat with them. But I'm going to live my normal life. I'm not going to start switching the TV off and not listening to radio. It doesn't matter what people write and say. It doesn't win me matches and doesn't lose me matches."

But life will be anything but normal for Murray and he can expect to be plastered on the front as well as back pages of British newspapers. At 22, Murray has a mature outlook on all the hype and the world No. 3's main goal is to break the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal stranglehold at the championships.

"You can let the pressure affect you if you want to.

"You can let the expectation get to you if you really want to but I'm just going to play tennis and not worry about the rest of the stuff, because I don't think it's good for your game," he said. "I go on with the mentality that I'm going to win it, I'll have to play my best tennis ever to do it. It's so difficult to do. That's why no one in Britain's done it for such a long time, because it is that difficult.

"Especially right now with the guys that are in front of me in the rankings.

"In my opinion, they're the two best ever. So I'm going to have to beat them if I want to do that. That's not an easy thing to do."

Since the Queen's Club tournament is often regarded as a dress rehearsal for Wimbledon, Murray will also hope he can follow in the footsteps of Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Nadal - all of whom have won the two grass titles back-to-back.


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