Wimbledon 2011: Andy Murray column

By Andy MurrayBritish number one

Wimbledon, R4: Andy Murray beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 6-3 6-2

I'm heading into the final rounds at Wimbledon now and, like a heavyweight title fight, this is the time to step it up.

It was great to get through my fourth-round match so quickly against Richard Gasquet, I was expecting a tough one, but the first set was pretty crucial. Once I got ahead it was always going to be tough for him to come back in such hot conditions.

Things will only get more difficult from here on in though, and I need to be right on top of my game and my mind.

The mental side of the game is something that I've consciously tried to improve, and it also comes a little easier as you get older. The most important thing is to stay calm when you're in the crunch time of a match and being really tested physically and mentally.

I know I'll get pushed very hard before the end of this tournament, but it's a challenge that I'm looking forward to.

There's another Briton with a big day coming up this weekend on Saturday night. I last spoke to him a few days ago and keep in regular contact, I find it really helpful for my game.

Obviously boxers are a bit different as they have to be larger than life to promote fights, whereas tennis players don't get a bigger pay cheque if more people watch their matches. Tennis is certainly a lot more gentlemanly than boxing, but in any individual sport the psychology plays a big part, especially right at the top level. You need to make sure you're strong in the mind.

In tennis, the guys are mostly very sporting and get on well, but when you're out there you need to put that to one side. I think you need to treat your opponent like they're your worst enemy on the court.

I know John McEnroe thinks we need a little more animosity between the top players and it's probably true. I think everyone would enjoy it a little more if the players were a bit more vocal about any dislike we might have for each other, but at the same time tennis is in a really good place right now.

When I was on my way back from the French Open on the train after I lost to Rafa in the semis, everyone was talking about tennis - our match and Federer v Djokovic - and not because they knew I was there, I was just listening in. I've never really experienced that before.

I suppose the last time that happened was in the era of McEnroe, Connors and Borg. I've seen plenty of clips of the aggro between Connors and McEnroe, and I heard some good stories about Lendl from my former coach Brad Gilbert, who had an 0-16 record against him. Unfortunately, due to the number of swear words, I can't repeat any of them here!

But it was a different sport back then and, while there were more examples of players arguing on court, at the same time more of them would go out for dinner together, even the night before they played each other. Nowadays we're probably not close in the same way, but I think everyone's generally a bit more friendly.

My quarter-final opponent, Feliciano Lopez, is a good example because we get on well, but maybe I should take a leaf out of David Haye's book and try a bit of trash talking beforehand.

It will also be interesting to see how my mum copes with me playing Feliciano - or 'Deliciano' as she keeps calling him. I haven't spoken to her about that yet but I'm pretty sure she'll be supporting me on Wednesday, I think.

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