Andy Murray hopes the British public continue to side with him rather than switch allegiance to Roger Federer as he prepares to do battle with the 17-time grand slam champion in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Murray set up a mouthwatering clash with the world No 2 after he beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4 7-5 6-4 in the last eight yesterday.
It will be his 23rd meeting with Federer, who has come out on top in their last three matches, while Murray’s Olympic gold-winning performance on Centre Court in 2012 remains the most recent match-up on grass.
Murray has enjoyed passionate support throughout the tournament this year but the crowd may be less unified tomorrow, given Federer’s wide appeal, as was the case in the 2012 Wimbledon final.
“I hope I get good support on Friday,” Murray said. “It’s been the case throughout the whole event and every year that I played here.
“Roger’s extremely popular everywhere he goes, so it might not be as partisan a crowd or atmosphere as some matches that I play here.
“But it will still be an excellent atmosphere. I’ll still get a boost from the crowd, I’m sure.”
Federer, who turns 34 next month, has enjoyed a renaissance under coach Stefan Edberg and Murray believes the world No 2 could be competing at the top for another “three or four years” yet.
The Swiss has won seven Wimbledon titles and will climb above Pete Sampras to become the tournament’s most successful men’s player of all time if he adds another this year.
“It could be three, four years at the rate he’s going just now,” Murray said.
“But it depends on a lot of things, if he wants to continue or not. The reasons he’s still at the top is he has a pretty efficient game style and he’s quite loose on the court.
“It’s very impressive that he’s managed to stay at the top of the game for so long, considering how long he’s been at the top and how many matches he’s played.
“He’s won over a thousand matches and played over 1,200 matches.
“That’s a lot of tennis.”
Murray’s place in the semi-finals never really looked in doubt against Pospisil, who played his part in the contest but struggled to exert any sustained pressure.
The world No 56 had reason to feel hard done by, however, after umpire Pascal Maria handed him two time violations.
The first came at a pivotal moment, as he was serving at 5-5, 30-30 in the second set, moments before Murray sealed the decisive break.
“They (umpires) just need to use their judgement and try to take little things out of it – maybe their egos,” Pospisil said.
“I think a lot of times these umpires, they seem to just want to be seen.
“I went 30 seconds. How many times do you see the top guys go more than that and they don’t get any violation? Especially when it’s important moments.
“He said it was right on 30 seconds – I was just about to serve the ball. If he had waited one second longer, I would have served.
“I don’t agree with that time when he did it. Maybe the second one, yes, but not that, not at five-all, 30 all.
“That was ridiculous, in my opinion.”
Murray had sympathy for his opponent, admitting the application of violation rules can be “frustrating” for players but the Briton was pleased with how he stepped up at key moments.
“I needed to (step up) because at times he was serving really well and made it very difficult for me,” Murray said.
Murray’s victory was watched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Centre Court, as well as a host of celebrities including David Beckham and Anthony Joshua.
Wimbledon round-up: Page 20.