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Murray and Robson storm to medal and mixed final

Andy Murray and Laura Robson celebrate a point in their Mixed Doubles win
by Alix Ramsay
Saturday 4 August 2012

Now then, let’s not get too excited. Britain has the chance of winning two gold medals by the time the sun sets over SW19 on Sunday. Andy Murray is in the final of the singles, as we all know, and after their double shift on Saturday, Murray and Laura Robson are through to the final of the mixed doubles, too. Oh, what the heck: it is time to get ridiculously excited.

Thanks to the rain earlier in the week and the late finishes of some of Murray’s singles matches, the British pair had to play catch-up on Saturday, kicking off with their quarter-final against Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur at midday and then facing Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki in the semi-final at teatime. And they rattled through both of them, winning each on a match tiebreak.

If anyone thought that Murray would be less than enthusiastic about the mixed doubles given that he has to play the match of his life against Roger Federer in the singles final, they were sorely mistaken.

As far as Scotland’s finest is concerned, a medal is a medal so he is approaching both competitions with exactly the same fervour and dedication. Murray wants to win and even if they have to carry him out of the All England Club on a shutter, it will all have been worth it if he has two gold medals hanging around his neck.

“For me both matches are very important tomorrow,” he said.  “I'd love to win two golds.  I'd obviously prefer one gold than two silvers.

Yeah, it's very different preparation than what I'm used to but that's the beauty of this competition. You never see really singles players playing mixed much at the slams.  Yeah, I'm sure tomorrow will be a great day.  Hope I play well.”

He certainly played well in the last two rounds, as did Robson. The spotlight has obviously fallen on the world No.4 but the 18-year-old Robson has more than pulled her weight. She has mopped up the all-out attack from each opposing team – targeting the fairer sex seems a little ungallant but is usually effective in mixed – and she has done sterling service at the net. And throughout it all, Murray has supported and encouraged her every step of the way. The cries of “Good stuff! Great serve!” in a deep Scots baritone have been a feature of every match.

In the past, Murray has claimed that he has never quite got to grips with mixed doubles. To him, it is a far removed from men’s doubles as doubles is from singles. But this week, he has thrown caution and his underlying sense of decorum and manners to the wind – he is on the medal hunt and he will do anything to win, even if it does mean aiming his most ferocious forehand right at the distaff side of the opposing team.

“I think it's something that maybe has changed a little bit over the last five or six years,” he explained. “I know when I first played mixed doubles, it still felt a little bit like that [to be a little gentler to the female players].

“I think with the girls getting bigger and stronger, hitting the ball harder, they'll take your head off if they've got the chance, as well.

I think you need to play the way to win the points.  You're not ever trying to hit a player. Lisicki today hit a lot of returns off Laura's serve straight at me and it is very hard to react.  It's sometimes a hard shot to play. But yeah, you never want to hit anyone, but it happens in doubles.”

And then he added with a cheeky grin: “I might.  If it means winning a gold medal or losing one.”

And if the gold medal came down to that one shot, that really would be the time to get over-excited.

The London 2012 Olympic tennis is taking place at Wimbledon. Visit the ITF Olympics site for full scores, draws and the London 2012 site for video content, venue and schedule information.

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