|   March 24, 2014    2:01 PM ET

Defending champion Andy Murray eased into the fourth round of the Sony Open in Miami with a straight-sets win over Spain's Feliciano López on Sunday.

Murray extended his perfect record against López to 9-0 with a 6-4 6-1 victory in 73 minutes to set up a clash with France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who recovered from 5-1 down in a second set tie-break to beat Marcos Baghdatis in three sets.

World number six Murray made the ideal start with a break of serve to love in the opening game of the match, but there was a moment of concern in the next game when he grabbed his lower back in pain after dumping a forehand into the net.

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Murray has responded well to his split with Lendl

The Scot went on to lose that game after saving two break points, but did not appear to be physically hampered afterwards and he soon broke López again for a 3-2 lead.

Murray lost just one point in each of his next three service games to serve out the set and again broke López at the start of the second set.

López looked to be suffering from back problems of his own and never threatened to get back into the contest, losing his serve twice more as Murray sealed victory with a casual backhand return winner down the line.

  |   March 21, 2014    1:59 PM ET

Bernard Tomic suffered the ignominy of the quickest recorded defeat on the ATP Tour at the Sony Openon Thursday, as Jarkko Nieminen beat an 18-year-old record set by Great Britain's Greg Rusedski.

The 6-0 6-1 win lasted just 28 minutes and 20 seconds, with Tomic winning only 13 points in Miami and dropping his serve on five occasions.

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Tomic reacts after his record-breaking defeat to Nieminen

That passed the mark of 29 minutes set by Rusedski when he beat German Carsten Arriens 6-0 6-0 at the 1996 Sydney International.

bernard tomic

The erratic Tomic won just 13 points during his match

Tomic's presence at the event in Miami was a surprise, coming ahead of the Australian's expected 12-week recovery schedule after hip surgery which followed his withdrawal from his Australian Open first-round match against Rafael Nadal in January.

  |   March 21, 2014    9:28 AM ET

Andy Murray has admitted parting company with coach Ivan Lendl was has left him "gutted".

The Scot and Lendl announced they had decided to end their hugely successful partnership on Wednesday in a move that appeared to come out of the blue.

In a little over two years together, Murray won an Olympic gold medal and broke his grand slam duck at the US Open in 2012 before going on to record a historic triumph at Wimbledon last year.

andy murray ivan lendl

Murray and Lendl's partnership helped turn the Scot into a Grand Slam winner

Murray sat down for dinner with his mentor on Saturday evening to discuss how they could expand on a glorious 12-month period which culminated with his seminal Wimbledon win. It became their last supper.

"That night it was tough," Murray told the Mail. ‘He was a big part of my life. We chatted for an hour about other stuff, then we chatted about moving forward.

"The next couple of days for me on the court after that were not particularly fun, but he is going to come and watch my matches here. I was gutted but I still think the guy is great. It’s not like anything has changed there. I will be disappointed for a few weeks but I need to try to move on."

Murray has been struggling for form since returning from a back injury that required surgery towards the end of last season, and with Lendl apparently keen to pursue other projects, the two decided it would be best to part ways after meeting recently to discuss their future.

"We sat down after I finished in Indian Wells and it had basically ran its course," Murray added in Miami on Thursday.

"Ivan wanted to do other things and the time required to make a difference is more than he could offer right now.

"It's a shame and it's a tough one for me because it was the best part of my career I had with him, I have a lot to thank him for, he made a huge difference to my game and also to my team.

"He's been a big part of my life, so it's tough."

There has been much speculation already over who Murray will appoint next, with his regular hitting partner Dani Vallverdu, Australian coach Darren Cahill and former world number one and seven-time grand slam champion Mats Wilander all linked with the post.

However, the 26-year-old is fully focused on defending his Miami Masters title before turning his attention to Britain's important Davis Cup tie against Italy in Naples, which runs from April 4-6.

He is then scheduled to take a break from competing and may take the opportunity to appoint a new coach, although for the time being Murray is unsure whether he wants to turn to another former player.

"When I finish in the Davis Cup, I'm not planning on playing a tournament for about four weeks after that," he said. "I'll sit down and think about it. Right now I have a tournament to play and you don't want to rush into decisions like this."

Samuel Luckhurst   |   March 19, 2014   12:30 PM ET

Andy Murray and Ivan Lendl have "mutually agreed" to end their two year coaching relationship.

The partnership between Murray and Lendl brought an Olympic gold medal at London 2012, the US Open title and 2013 Wimbledon Championship.

“Working with Andy over the last two years has been a fantastic experience for me”, said Lendl on Murray's website. “He is a first class guy. Having helped him achieve his goal of winning major titles, I feel like it is time for me to concentrate on some of my own projects moving forward including playing more events around the world which I am really enjoying.

andy murray ivan lendl

Murray won his only two majors under Lendl's watch

"I will always be in Andy’s corner and wish him nothing but great success as he too goes into a new phase of his career.”

Murray added: “I’m eternally grateful to Ivan for all his hard work over the past two years, the most successful of my career so far. As a team, we’ve learned a lot and it will definitely be of benefit in the future. I’ll take some time with the team to consider the next steps and how we progress from here”.

Murray won 83% of his matches with Lendl in attendance but only 69% when his coach was absent.

Canadian Milos Raonic beat the reigning Wimbledon champion 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 at Indian Wells last week, as Murray squandered a break in the third.

Kinect Sports Rivals, More Like FIFA Than Wii-Sports

Andy Robertson   |   March 14, 2014   10:36 AM ET

Some people love the Xbox One's Kinect controller, while others seem intent on using it as a big stick to punish Microsoft for its insistence that every Xbox One includes it. Kinect Sports Rivals promises to change all that.


What the system needs is a game that really shows off what the new controller has over its predecessor. Rare's Kinect Sports Rivals is firmly setting its targets on this territory. I had exclusive access to the studio and game at a recent event at the developer.

You start by scanning yourself into the game with the camera and immediately it's clear that Kinect 2 can see more of you and the environment than before. Even the smallest movements of your face are picked up and shown in great detail on the screen.

Soccer, Bowling and Tennis return in updated form while new activities Target Shooting, Climbing and Wake Racing expand the Kinect Sports Rivals cannon. It's an excellent way of keeping things familiar while including fresh interest for more core gamers.

Getting into the game proper and it is also apparent that there is a much greater sense of competition and skill required here. The increased accuracy of the Kinect sensor turns this into a game that requires a deft touch and strategic understanding. It feels more like FIFA than Wii-Sports.

As you can see here I talked to Craig Duncan, Studio Head at Rare, about how the new sensor opens the door to a whole new experience. "When we started to work with the Xbox One hardware team it made natural sense to take [Kinect Sports Rivals] further -- make it look better, play better and add more depth and mastery."

Rare are perfectly placed to achieve this. Equally they will be breaking ground that Microsoft will be keen to see other developers follow. Having Kinect available to all Xbox One gamers legitimates it as a commercially viable control scheme for a wider range of games.

Duncan was candid about shortcomings in the previous Kinect experience that didn't necessarily match up to the marketing message. "Fundamentally it is a camera, it sees as a camera sees. You need to set it up for an optimum experience. Kinect is an amazing piece of technology as long as you set it up right and calibrate it."

"I think what it's been missing is that killer awesome game. Which obviously at Rare we want to be that, and why we were a demo on day one and why we made the game."

Later I talked to Danny Isaac, Executive Producer on Kinect Sports Rivals. He spoke about the unique opportunities for Rare as a Microsoft studio. "You can look at profit in a number of ways. Keep the costs down, or build something really awesome so more people buy them. Everyday there's a push-pull for any decision we make but fundamentally at Microsoft we are in a privileged position that the company is very solvent."

"As professionals we wouldn't just throw good money after bad. Ultimately it's a balance and sometimes money wins out on some things, but I'm always looking at it from a consumer perspective."

"There's a number of things we do to make it easier for people to play. With the sensor itself it's a lot more accurate so we can really pickup the intent of the player. That said, every player moves slightly differently. There will still be instances where it doesn't work perfectly well. But as a gamer those are the things I love to learn to get the most out of the game."

It's a strong combination, the improvements of the Kinect controller itself, Rare's experience of getting the most out of the technology and an all important appreciation for the reality of using that software-hardware in a real family home.

The game launches in the UK on 11th April. It will be interesting to see how gamers respond to the experience. If my time with Kinect Sports Rivals is anything to go by this will be a watershed moment for Xbox One.

  |   March 9, 2014   10:43 AM ET

Andy Murray will not make his views on Scottish independence known because he does not want a repeat of the furore that followed his comments about the England football team.

Murray joked in an interview ahead of the 2006 World Cup that he would be supporting anyone but England and the remark has dogged him ever since.

It is still cited by some English people as a reason not to support him, even though the reigning Wimbledon champion has explained many times that it was not a serious comment.

As one of Scotland's highest-profile celebrities, were Murray to express his opinion ahead of the independence referendum, it would be a big story, even though as a resident of England he cannot vote.

But speaking at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, he said: "I will take a position. My thoughts on it aren't that relevant, because I can't vote myself.

"I wouldn't personally choose to make my feelings on something like that public either because not a whole lot of good comes from it.

"I don't know a whole lot about politics, and I have made that mistake in the past and it's caused me a headache for seven or eight years of my life and a lot of abuse.

"So I wouldn't consider getting involved in something like that ever again."

Murray spoke after beating Lukas Rosol 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the second round of the competition.

Voters in Scotland will go to the polls on September 18 to decide whether to break the 200-year-old union and go it alone.

Murray's comments are a reversal of what he said following his Wimbledon triumph last summer, when he stated he would say what side he was on once he had made up his mind.

He spends a lot more time in America these days than in Scotland, with Miami his base for pre-season training and other blocks during the year.

He said: "I love the States. I have loved it since the first time I came for the Orange Bowl when I was 11 years old.

"I just enjoy the positivity of the people here. You wake up at 6am and go to Starbucks and the person that's serving you just genuinely seems happy to see you. They are awake and just have a positive outlook on life.

"It's not the case everywhere. That's why I always enjoy coming here and why I spend my off seasons training here and why I have made Miami my second home."

  |   March 7, 2014    3:49 PM ET

Former British number one Elena Baltacha has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver.

The 30-year-old only retired from tennis in November last year but at the age of 19, she was diagnosed with the liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis.

"I have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver," Baltacha said in a statement.

"I'm currently undergoing treatment and fighting this illness with everything I have."

Judy Murray, captain of the GB Fed Cup Team added: "Obviously this is a tough time for Bally, Nino and her family but she is a such a determined, upbeat person and everyone around her is staying positive as well. I know she'll be really grateful for all the support that she's getting."

Baltacha won 11 titles during her career and married her long-term coach and boyfriend Nino in December.

Why We Need to Do More at Grassroots Level to Train the Next Generation of Tennis Stars

Tim Henman   |   February 5, 2014    5:33 PM ET

It was a bit of an adjustment arriving at Wimbledon as a commentator for the first time in 2008. I had to remind myself not to take my usual route through to the men's locker room, but head on towards the BBC Media Centre instead. After 13 years of playing at Wimbledon, it was also a great moment to reflect. I was able to look back at all the amazing opportunities I had, playing tennis around the world as a pro, and get a great new perspective on British tennis as a whole.

My tennis career would not have been possible without the support and encouragement I received as a kid, first from my parents, then with a scholarship to train as part of the Slater Squad, and finally as a tennis scholar at Reed's School in Surrey. Without this chance to train at a young age, I wouldn't have been able to develop my game and make it on the ATP circuit.

In this country we've got world-class athletes, as our success during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games showed us, and as we can see every year in our football, rugby and cricket teams. We want to see those world-class athletes in tennis but it won't happen without a lot more work where it all starts. The LTA are already investing a lot of funds into junior tennis, but we need to invest even more in the grassroots. If we want to produce top-class players, we've got to engage our kids at a young age, at primary schools around the country. We need to give six, seven, eight-year-olds the chance to pick up a tennis racket and get the best ones in for training. This way our standards will improve, reaching the top world positions that British footballers and cricketers have reached.

This Thursday I'm taking part in the Andrew Reed inaugural City Debate at the Guildhall in London, organised by my old school, Reed's, which was founded by Rev Dr Andrew Reed in 1813. Reed was a philanthropist and social reformer who addressed poverty and deprivation by giving orphaned children access to high quality education, and so investing in the younger generation. Reed's School continues to play their part in doing this via their tennis scholarship scheme, bursary awards and outreach programme, working with children's charities and state schools in deprived areas.

We should do the same in tennis across the nation - make sure all kids, no matter how rich or poor, living in the inner city or in deep rural locations, have access to good tennis courts and good coaching from as early an age as possible, so they can nurture real aspirations of becoming tennis stars of the future.

Tim Henman will be taking part in the Andrew Reed Inaugural City Debate at the Guildhall on Thursday 6 February: www.andrewreeddebate.org

  |   February 3, 2014    8:53 AM ET

Great Britain can look forward to their biggest Davis Cup match for more than a quarter of a century after Andy Murray clinched a memorable victory over the United States.

The Wimbledon champion defeated Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-3 on clay in San Diego to give Britain an unassailable 3-1 lead and a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.

Their reward is another away tie, this time against Italy, who are sure to choose clay for the clash in early April.

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Murray celebrates breaking serve in the fourth set en route to his victory

That will be another uphill task for Britain, with Italy boasting top-35 duo Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi.

The sides have met 15 times before, Italy winning 11 of them, while Britain's only victory on Italian soil came in 1926 in Rome.

Murray has stated his intention to take part in all the ties, fitness permitting, and playing on clay in April should suit him well given he will be building up to the European clay-court season.

He told the BBC: "It's good for me to play on the clay. Often going into the clay season I haven't played any matches on it for 11 months. It'll be a tough match."

Murray extended his winning streak in Davis Cup singles matches to 17 by beating Querrey, but this tie is the first time he has played at the elite level of the competition.

The crucial victory came not from the Scot, though, but from world number 175 James Ward, who stunned Querrey in five sets on Friday.

  |   January 31, 2014   10:14 AM ET

Well, who can blame him? It was the Australian Open.

Game, set and match to this Golden Retriever, we say!

(Via Blame It On The Voices)

  |   January 29, 2014    4:32 PM ET

Andy Murray has announced he is engaged to long-term partner Kim Sears.

Murray has been in a relationship with Kim Sears, daughter of tennis coach Nigel Sears, since 2006 and the Wimbledon champion revealed the couple will be married in the summer.

"We are getting married just after Wimbledon, should be a great day," Murray tweeted during an afternoon Q&A on Wednesday.

HOWEVER, Murray was having everyone on and isn't getting married... yet.

andy murray kim sears

Sears congratulates Murray following his Wimbledon win last year

Roger Federer Is the Best Tennis Player Ever... Just Not Against Nadal

Tom Moseley   |   January 24, 2014    1:32 PM ET


Unlucky, old chap. It was nip-and-tuck for the first set, and a couple of breaks decided it overall.

Sure, you could have sliced a few more backhands, and made Rafa play a bit more with his dodgy left hand.

But you've had a decent Australian Open, sent Andy Murray packing, and played some exquisite tennis.

Now, though, you know what's coming. It's what happens every time you lose a match.

For some reason, pundits will attach more significance to your semi-final defeat than they will to the earlier ones of Novak Djokovic and Murray.

As long as one of the 'other three' wins the tournament (not to write off your Swiss mate Stanislas Wawrinka in the final), the narrative lives on: Federer is a fading force and Nadal/Djokovic/Murray have taken over.

At times it seems like three against one.

But don't let that get you down. Just keep on doing what you do best, playing the beautiful brand of tennis that has inspired millions of people around the world.

I suspect you've never doubted this, but you remain the greatest player to pick up a racquet.

There has never been, and probably never will be, a player with your range of shots, which make the rest of the ATP Tour look like club players.

You are a one-off sporting genius, and the current generation of tennis fans are honoured to have witnessed you in action.

But, and there is a but, just not against Nadal. It looks like you and your devoted fans will have to accept that.

It doesn't make him a better player, he's not. His sledgehammer forehand aside, your shots are vastly superior.

Anyway, until he reaches your 17 grand slam titles that's a debate we don't need to have.

It's just that he tends to beat you more often. Perhaps you go for broke too much, perhaps you get tempted to take him on at his own game. There seems to be a stubbornness to your approach when you play him - who knows.

There we go. Hopefully this tournament has persuaded you that, at 32, and after spanking Murray and Tsonga the way you did this week, you have plenty more to give.

Stefan Edberg - another man who played tennis the proper way - is a great addition to your camp.

Don't listen to those who want to write you off for a quick headline. You're fitter than most of your rivals, who take time out injured while you battle on.

And your fans need you. Some of us are also 32, and you are our last sporting hero before we become mere observers for the rest of our adult lives.

Frankly, Roger, I'd be happy to see you in 10 years' time, still doing your thing. Maybe on the doubles tour, alongside Wawrinka.

Just don't stop any time soon.

Samuel Luckhurst   |   January 22, 2014   10:36 AM ET

Roger Federer outclassed Andy Murray in straight sets to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The elegant 17-time Grand Slam winner defeated the Wimbledon champion 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in the Rod Laver Arena and will face familiar foe Rafael Nadal in the last four.

Murray broke back when Federer was serving for the match and saved two match points in the tie-break, before finally summoning the spell to end Federer's sorcery and take the third set.

However Federer regained control in the fourth and broke the Scot in the penultimate game of the set, before serving out the match.

Nadal earlier struggled past Grigor Dimitrov in four sets, despite nursing a blister on his left hand.

Federer's victory also sets up the prospect of an all-Swiss final against Novak Djokovic's conqueror, Stanislas Wawrinka. He will take on the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych.

Currently coached by seven-time Slam winner Stefan Edberg, Federer has not won a major since his defeat of Murray in the 2012 Wimbledon final.

His 21st meeting with Murray was the first time Federer was the lower ranked, and despite Murray's lack of matches this will rank as one of Federer's outstanding displays in the twilight of his career.

  |   January 22, 2014   10:05 AM ET

Rafael Nadal survived a serious examination by Grigor Dimitrov - and a nasty blister - to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Spaniard began the match as the only member of the world's top three in either the men's or women's draw still in the tournament, and for a long time his place looked far from secure.

Nadal did not find anything like his best form throughout the match but Dimitrov's inexperience showed at the crucial moments.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal progressed through to the last four despite a blister on his hand

The 22-year-old held three set points in the third set but missed them all and it was Nadal who moved through to the last four with a 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (9/7) 6-2 victory.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal checks the extent of his injury

"I was so lucky," said Nadal. "Especially on one set point, he missed an easy one. The fourth set was for me and I'm very happy for that. I love this tournament. I'm very happy to be in the semi-finals after missing it last year. I suffered a lot."

rafael nadal blister

The Spaniard was allowed treatment to ease the pain in his hand

Nadal had struggled against Kei Nishikori in round four, with the large blister on the palm of his left hand proving particularly troublesome.

rafael nadal blister

Nadal shows off the damage at his post-match press conference

And the problem resurfaced during his victory over Dimitrov, but the world No.1 prevailed yet again.