Andy Murray will focus firmly on Wimbledon semi-final rival Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday, having cast a longing gaze across the Atlantic for title-winning inspiration from NBA basketball hero LeBron James.
Murray, looking to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938, is an avid follower of basketball and believes he can learn from James’ recent breakthrough NBA triumph with the Miami Heat.
Like Murray, James also spent years battling the critics who doubted his winning mentality.
“He came very close to winning quite a lot of times and winning this year for him was massive,” said Murray, who has now reached four successive Wimbledon semi-finals without being able to push on.
“There’s a lot of people out there that didn’t want him to win. There’s a lot of people that said he would never win. There’s a lot of people who said he never played his best in finals. In the fourth quarter of games he never steps up.
“Then you see how he played the whole of the Finals, the whole of the Playoffs. Sometimes it takes guys a bit longer than others.”
Murray, 25, knows what it’s like to reach Grand Slam finals — he was runner-up at the 2008 US Open and 2010 and 2011 Australian Opens.
But he has not been able to end Britain’s long wait for a men’s Grand Slam singles champion, a stretch which has now reached an agonising 76 years.
He is aware that there are plenty of opinions out there, from the media to former players, but he is confident he can block out any unsolicited advice.
“If you think too much about it, and you read the newspapers and you watch the stuff on TV that’s said about you, I think it would become far too much,” he said.