WIMBLEDON WATCH: Centre Court loss brings back college tennis memories to Anderson


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Kevin Anderson of South Africa plays a return to Andy Murray of Britain during their men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)


Kei Nishikori of Japan celebrates defeating Simone Bolelli of Italy in their men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


Kei Nishikori of Japan celebrates defeating Simone Bolelli of Italy in their men's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


LONDON — Facing Andy Murray on grass is never easy. It's even harder to take on the Wimbledon champion on Centre Court at the All England Club when the British star has an adoring home crowd behind him.

Kevin Anderson experienced it on Monday, losing 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Murray. Despite the loss, he enjoyed his afternoon under a closed Centre Court roof.

"It was great. I didn't feel put off by the crowd at all. It was a fantastic atmosphere," Anderson said after equaling his best performance at a major.

"Didn't feel like any unnecessary cheering. I mean, I think way back from playing in college tennis, you know, that sort of really vocal environment is something I've really come to enjoy," added the South African, who attended the University of Illinois from 2005-07. "It was really enjoyable playing out there. Didn't feel like it was a factor against me at all."

By Samuel Petrequin — https://twitter.com/sampetrequin


A NAP TO RELAX

Last year's Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli used to have naps in the locker room during rain delays.

Come rain or shine, it's the way Kei Nishikori is relaxing in his hotel room. And it's worked well so far at Wimbledon for the Japanese player, who reached the fourth round for the first time on Monday.

"I try to relax in my room usually," the 10th-seeded Nishikori said after beating Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. "Yeah, I love to sleep. So I usually sleep a long time."

Apart from the naps, Nishikori said the influence of former French champion Michael Chang — one of his coaches — helped to strengthen the mental side of his game.

"He's very positive, always," Nishikori said.

"My tennis is also changing. You see ranking is much higher than last year," said Nishikori, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 9 in May.

— By Samuel Petrequin — https://twitter.com/sampetrequin


LISTENING TO THE BOSS

With new coach and former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo by his side, Andy Murray surely doesn't need extra advice on the subtleties of grass-court tennis. Still, when Alex Ferguson speaks, Murray listens.

The former Manchester United manager sat in the Royal Box on Wimbledon Centre Court and watched Murray advance to the quarterfinals.

Last year, Ferguson watched Murray become the first British male player to win at the All England Club since Fred Perry in 1936. Along with Sean Connery, Ferguson also crashed a post-match news conference after his fellow Scot won his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in 2012.

Murray is in touch with Ferguson "throughout the year" and the two had a little chat after Murray's victory over Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.

"We talked about my match today, spoke about football, World Cup a little bit. Then, he just said a few things, what he's observed when he's been watching me, not necessarily about technical or tactical things, but more sort of mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations. Obviously you're going to listen to someone like him. He's witnessed a lot of big sort of tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff."

— By Samuel Petrequin — https://twitter.com/sampetrequin

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