• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 5:37pm
SportTennis
French Open

I pulled a 'Gareth Bale' says Andy Murray of scrappy win

Top sportsmen win even when they're not playing well, says Scot

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 10:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 10:48am

Andy Murray compared his battling first round win at the French Open on Tuesday to Gareth Bale’s explosive impact in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph.

The Wimbledon champion overcame blustery, chilly weather on a heavy Suzanne Lenglen court but still had too much guile to overcome Kazakhstan world number 59 Andrey Golubev, 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

When asked if his win was akin to Real Madrid winning the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, the Scot said winning in tennis is much to same to football.

“Some of my friends are Barcelona fans and I was just winding them up a little bit to start with,” he said in reference to Real’s 4-1 extra-time win.

“But there is a point that just because someone doesn’t play particularly well [Bale], you know, scoring what was essentially the winning goal in a game of that magnitude when you aren’t playing well, that’s what top athletes do and that’s what sportsmen do.

“They find ways to win or influence the outcome of matches or games when they aren’t playing their best or when they have had chances and missed them.

“That was obviously what Bale did that night, and to be fair to him, he scored essentially the winning goal in the Champions League and he scored an incredible goal to win in the Copa del Rey, as well.

“I think he had a pretty good first season.”

Indications are there that the 27-year-old Scot is almost back to his best after recent back surgery and a solid win in Paris follows his run to the Rome Masters quarter-finals where he fell in three sets to Rafael Nadal.

“It was tough conditions. It was obviously windy, especially with the beginning of the match, and very heavy conditions, cold and slow. There wasn’t too much rhythm out there. It was a tricky match,” said Murray.

The Wimbledon champion reached the 2011 semi-finals on the Paris clay, his best result to date on his least favourite surface but he was given a stern workout by his world number 53 opponent.

Still without a coach since splitting with Ivan Lendl, he backed that up with a solid showing on the Suzanne Lenglen court, using a patient baseline game and winning just under 50 per cent of his opponents service to wrap up a place in the last 64. When asked about a future coach, Murray joked: “I’m looking but not many people want to work with me, hopefully soon.”

Murray now meets Australian Marinko Matosevic in the second round.

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