Despite a first week at Wimbledon which could have been a lot easier, rankings-wise, on paper, Andy Murray is into the last 16 and looking good to win a second SW19 title in three years. A lot of things seem to be going his way.
Ivo Karlovic, the near 7-foot Croatian with the lethal service, faces the third seed next up. While Karlovic may be a fan favourite because of his height, he won’t be able to sway the home crowd who have been vociferously behind the Brits so far.
One star of the sport who was taken aback by the Centre Court’s noise and aggression was Serena Williams. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is used to having the fans on-side, but after coming up against Heather Watson on Friday, she soon found herself to be the pantomime villain against the local underdog hero.
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Propelled by the support, Watson produced one of the best performances of her career to take Serena to three sets before finally succumbing to one of the greatest-ever female players.
The support for female British no.1 Watson has been matched in James Ward’s run to round three and will increase now that Murray is the sole player from these Isles left in the tournament – the decibels will get cranked up as we move through the round.
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Murray looking for support from the crowd
Murray has already claimed ahead of his match with Karlovic that vocal support will play a huge part in retaining the title on London grass and used Watson as an example: “When you can get the crowd involved in the match, it makes a huge difference to your performance - you saw that with Heather.
“It goes to show that when everyone goes on about the pressures of playing at Wimbledon, how difficult it is - yes, the pressures are hard, but Heather arguably played the best match of her career yesterday. She played unbelievably.
“It shows that the crowd, they really do make a big difference. They help a lot once you get out there.”
Murray could perhaps count himself quite lucky to receive the support that he is currently receiving. The Scottish-born star has got himself into a few tricky situations in the past over his national identity and his biggest controversies has occurred since he last at Wimbledon.
Murray lucky to have support from Wimbledon crowd
When Scotland were set to vote for if they wanted to leave the United Kingdom, Murray became one of the highest-profile supporters for the campaign to go independent – despite not being able to vote himself because of his English residency.
There was a huge backlash against the two-time Grand Slam champion for wanting to separate from England; a country where his biggest triumphs have occurred with the support of the crowd. The Police were even called at one point for some particularly poisonous comments.
Previously, when Murray had said that he wanted England to lose at the World Cup, the star faced a backlash of boos at SW19 from some fans. There seems to be no ill-feeling this time though, luckily.
Clearly a return to form and public wedding to Kim Sears have helped clean up his image in just a matter of months.
It’ll be something he’ll need to bear in mind as he progresses closer to business end of the tournament. He could be considered lucky to have the support and it really will help in his pursuit of silverware.