Murray has one eye on Hibs’ fortunes
Andy Murray is hoping for a timely French Open morale-booster from his favourite football team Hibs who will be looking to smash a more than a century-old Scottish Cup final jinx against Rangers in Saturday’s final in Glasgow.
The Murray family, though based in Dunblane, have strong ties to the Edinburgh outfit and both Andy and big brother Jamie are both huge fans, regularly charting the team’s fortunes as they travel the globe.
Saturday’s match will be no exception with Hibs’ last win in the Scottish Cup dating back to 1902. Since then they have lost a succession of heartbreak finals notably going down 5-1 to city rivals Hearts four years ago.
Already there has been more heartache for Hibs recently losing out to Falkirk in the playoffs to get back into the Scottish Premiership from which they were relegated in 2014 and only a win over Rangers can salvage another tough season for them.
Murray, rated among the favourites for a first French Open crown after his straight sets win over top seed Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final last Sunday, said that he expected it to be a tight affair at Hampden Park.
“Hopefully they (Hibs) win, but there are two teams playing tomorrow. One of them has to lose,” he said.
“But the most important thing is to try to make the most of it and give your best effort the whole way throughout. Because if you do that, you can obviously be disappointed if you lose, but you come away with no regrets.
“I think as an athlete, that’s hard to deal with. You know, if in a big match you feel like you haven’t given everything or you could have done more that can sit with you for quite a while.
“Whereas if you go out and do everything you can, try your best to the end regardless of the outcome, you’ll be able to deal with that much, much better.”
Murray, who turned 29 last Sunday in Rome, won the second of his two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon three years ago, but such has been his progress on clay, previously deemed to be his weakest surface, that he harbours realistic hopes of winning in Paris.
He defeated nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in Madrid before his stunning 6-3, 6-3 win over Djokovic in Rome.
– Generous draw –
With Roger Federer sidelined due to injury, Murray has benefitted from a generous draw with both Djokovic and Nadal on the other side of the fence.
He opens against a qualifier and although he has young Australian Nick Kyrgios and home hope Richard Gasquet in his half of the draw, he has a clear run into a quarter-final matchup with Kei Nishikori with defending champion Stan Wawrinka a potential semi-final opponent.
Murray though says he is wary of “easy draw” syndrome.
“The qualifiers have played three matches. That’s tough. They have won three matches here. They are probably feeling pretty good about their conditions and comfortable on the courts,” he said.
“You know, it’s only two days out from the start of the tournament and I don’t know who I’m playing against yet, so obviously like you practice this afternoon you can start working on things and start talking about things. But I could play one of 16, 17 players depending on the lucky losers potentially, too.”
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.