Wimbledon 2017: Andy Murray loves home crowd in grassy SW19

He’s made this parched patch of fading green his personal playground but Andy Murray insists the magic of Wimbledon will never go away.

In a week that has seen some players claim they are bored with tennis, Murray is still loving life at the All England Club.

In the 12 years since the 18-year-old wildcard came to national attention, with a run to the third round, there has been plenty of tears and cheers.

Four British players will line up in today’s third round and Murray, a master of harnessing the home crowd advantage, is urging them to seize the day.

“I learned really quickly that you’ve got to use that support and make the atmosphere work to your benefit,” he said.

“When matches are tight then use the crowd and engage with them, sometimes letting them see your emotions can really help.

“Most of the time we play in front of neutral crowds, who might have their favourite players but just want to see a good match. At Wimbledon you’ve got everyone behind you and you have to embrace it. I know that, many times, it’s been the difference for me.”

Murray’s third round opponent Fabio Fognini is certainly not afraid to let his feelings show on court.

Four years ago, his theatrical reaction to a bad line call went viral. He collapsed to the floor, waving his legs in the air, gesticulated wildly and ranted in his native Italian – it was so entertaining the chair umpire struggled to contain his laughter.

But Fognini has more to his game than Alexander Bublik and Dustin Brown, high on flash but ultimately short on substance opponents that Murray beat with ease in his opening two matches.

The pair have played six times and it’s deadlocked at three wins each, with Fognini successful in their most recent encounter in Rome earlier this summer.

“He’s not afraid to show his emotions but then so can I,” adds Murray. “He’s an extrovert but he’s a very solid player and this is a serious test.”

But four-time semi-finalist Tim Henman, who famously used to take the home crowd on emotional rollercoasters this time of year, believes Murray will have too much for the fiery Italian.

“Fognini will take confidence from his recent record with Andy but the grass will be the deciding factor and that’s definitely in Murray’s favour,” said Henman, after helping lead a coaching session with youngsters from Give It Your Max, a UK charity supported by the Wimbledon Foundation – which is supported by HSBC, the official banking partner of the Championships.

Murray admitted before the French Open that he’d been struggling for motivation since becoming world number one last year, just a few months after winning Wimbledon again and defending his Olympic title in Rio.

Injuries, including the hip concern that dominated his build-up to Wimbledon, haven’t helped either, with just one tournament won this season.

“When you look back at last year and how much he played, in hindsight maybe he should have had a bit more time off,” added Henman.

“It’s not inevitable that Murray was going to drop off at the start of this year. You look at some of the other guys, the way Djokovic and Federer continued when they got to world number one. It’s not inevitable that you get injury and illness but that’s what happened with Andy.

“There are plenty of people who come into this tournament with niggles and aches and pains. As a player, that is part and parcel of it, you just hope it is one of these things which is going to improve.

“If you’re coming in with a niggle and it’s deteriorating, then when you’re playing best of five set matches over two weeks, your chances are getting less and less.

“Andy has got to get through these initial matches and then we’ll see in the next week but he’s done nothing wrong so far.”

HSBC is the Official Banking Partner of The Championships, and shares the fans’ passion that makes Wimbledon unique. Follow @HSBC_Sport.

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