Wildcard changes gain the support of Murray

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates victory over Yen-Hsun Lu.
Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates victory over Yen-Hsun Lu.
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Andy Murray believes players with “terrible attitudes” are “not deserving” of Wimbledon wildcards.

Murray dispatched qualifier Lu Yen-hsun in his first-round Aegon Championships clash, then backed the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) for scrapping recommendations Wimbledon should award wildcards to players ranked inside the world’s top 250.

Wimbledon bosses the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) will confirm the first batch of wildcards for this year’s SW19 showdown today, moving as usual on LTA guidance.

After easing past Lu 6-4 7-5, Murray praised the LTA for removing the top-250 guideline wildcard qualification limit he views as arbitrary.

“I think it’s good to do that,” said Murray of the LTA’s shift in stance. “Some guys can have some injury troubles some guys could be ranked inside 250 and have terrible attitudes, and maybe it’s not deserving.

“Some players could have fantastic attitudes and are just outside.

“Some guys play much better on grass than others so may have more of an opportunity to win matches.

“And then also when you have some young guys now, an 18-year-old or 19-year-old that’s ranked 280, 300 in the world, that’s very good for their age: they’d probably be in the top six or seven in the world in their age if that was the case.

“So I have no problem with it being done on an individual basis rather than having a set criteria.”

Murray debuted a pair of custom-designed trainers – from new kit supplier Under Armour that had been in development for some months – in his routine victory over Lu.

The 28-year-old Scot revealed he had no time to catch up with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who was on hand to watch Rafael Nadal tumble out to world No 79 Alex Dolgopolov.

Murray will face Fernando Verdasco in second-round action on tomorrow, still hungry for success wherever possible.

“This year I want to perform better in more events,” said Murray, with one eye on Wimbledon.

“You’re not going to win every tournament but the more opportunities you have to play in finals and semi-finals against the best players, it’s beneficial when you get to major competition.

“I want to do well here because I feel that’s the best preparation for Wimbledon.”

Watched on by wife Kim and mother Judy, Murray enjoyed the sole coaching direction of Jonas Bjorkman for the first time, with the pregnant Amelie Mauresmo not linking back up with the Scot until Wimbledon.

Murray edged out his second-round Queen’s opponent Verdasco in a five-set quarter-final en route to claiming the Wimbledon crown in 2013.

Madrid native Verdasco has already revealed he will relish a “special” rematch, still ruing that missed opportunity at SW19.

The reward for seeing off Verdasco would most likely prove a quarter-final clash with defending Queen’s champion Grigor Dimitrov, who dumped the Brit out of Wimbledon in the last eight last year.

Bulgarian Dimitrov, who has for so long been tipped as a future grand slam champion, conceded “I feel like I own the court” every time he steps out at Queen’s after returning to defend his crown.

The 24-year-old also admitted he would still feel that way should he line up against home favourite Murray in the last eight at Queen’s.

“It feels different for me here, I don’t know why: it’s one of the tournaments that for me I feel that every time I step on that court, I feel like I own the court,” said Dimitrov. “It’s a really nice feeling to have.”

When quizzed if he could take that same commanding feeling into a potential clash with Murray, Dimitrov replied: “Of course, that’s my goal.

“It doesn’t matter who I play, I’m going out there to perform and play better tennis, and one of my goals is to play better every day. It doesn’t matter who I play, even though I know it’s a tough field out there.”

Nadal has already conceded his poor form fully warranted him relinquishing his French Open title for the first time since 2009, but does not view his early Queen’s exit as any problem.

“This week I lost an opportunity, but my thoughts are no different today from yesterday,” said Nadal, who approached Queen’s in good spirits after claiming his first title on grass in five years at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.

“I am playing better than before and enjoying it more.

“Today I lost, I accept that and keep going, and I hope to be ready to play well at Wimbledon.

“I am not happy I lost a match I had a chance to win, but that’s it, that’s tennis on grass.”