Murray relishing Wimbledon clash with left-hander Verdasco

01 July 2013 / 20:50

Andy Murray believes he'll need to lift his game to prevent his first southpaw rival of the year delivering a knockout blow at Wimbledon.

Murray briefly wobbled during his fourth round clash with Russian Mikhail Youzhny but rallied from 5-2 down in the second set to clinch a 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 victory.

It secures a sixth consecutive appearance in the All England Club quarter-finals, where his opponent is Spain's Fernando Verdasco, who he has beaten in eight of their nine previous meetings.

Verdasco has fallen outside the world's top 50 but has enjoyed a championship that befits his former top ten status - and it will also be Murray's first match against a left-hander this season.

"Verdasco is a very, very good player, who is playing very, very well here. He is extremely dangerous when he is on his game," he said.

"I haven't played a left-hander this year, which is pretty amazing after six months. I'll try to get a lefty to serve against me in practice tomorrow but I grew up playing with my brother, so it's not such a big issue.

"I lost to Verdasco at the Aussie Open a few years ago and he was playing unbelievable tennis then. He does well on every surface but perhaps consistency hasn't been there recently and he's had a few injuries as well.

"The matches keep getting tougher, you don't fluke getting to the quarter-finals of a Slam, you need to win four tough matches to get here."

Murray also admitted some of the tournament shocks - defending women's champion Serena Williams was the latest big-name casualty at SW19 - were starting to make him nervous.

But he has no problem with being the sole standard bearer for British tennis, following Laura Robson's fourth round defeat in the women's singles.

"Playing at the latter stages of Slams is why I play the game but pressure builds with every match," he added.

"I've dealt with the pressure well over my career. I've played well here, it is consistently my best Slam and that is partly down to the surface but also it's down to playing in front of a home crowd. 

"It's a stressful few weeks but it's one of the biggest tournaments of the year and I'm working hard to give myself a chance to do well.

"You can't afford to get ahead of yourself, that's why there have been so many shocks here."

Murray, who pulled out the recent French Open with a back injury, took two hours after his match to speak with the media but insists there are no injury concerns, despite appearing to hold his side and grimace during his match with Youzhny.

"I need to make sure I do the right things after the match, like having an ice bath and massage and taking care of my body," he added.

"There is no cause for concern, my back is what it is and it's way better than a few weeks ago.

"Everyone's got niggles, you just need to manage them. Now I'm playing there is no chance I would stop, unless I couldn't hold the racquet."

© Sportsbeat 2013