VIDEO: Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych progress in Miami Open

Scott 14:46 28/03/2015
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Second round victories for Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych, but Feliciano Lopez crashes out to Dominic Thiem in the early action from Miami on Friday (27th March).







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Andy Murray makes light work of Donald Young at Miami Masters

Tom Allnutt 09:39 28/03/2015
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Straight through: Andy Murray.

Andy Murray cruised into the third round of the Miami Open with a comfortable 6-4 6-2 win over America’s Donald Young.

Murray had only lost once to Young and he got off to a blistering start, breaking the American’s serve twice and holding his own to claim an early 4-0 lead.

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Murray looked on course for a whitewash first set when he opened up another two break points in the fifth game but Young dug deep to ensure he at least had one notch on the scoreboard.

The 25-year-old left-hander seemed to grow in confidence as he capitalised on some windy conditions and an incorrect Murray challenge to break back, winning three consecutive games to trail only 5-4.

Murray cut a frustrated figure but he recovered his composure to serve out the first set, before claiming a break in the opening game of the second.

A superb backhand pass gave Murray another break point at 3-1 and while Young held off temporarily, the Scot took advantage two points later to take a three-game lead.

Unforced errors continued to undermine Young’s hopes of a fightback and while he pulled another game back to make it 5-2, Murray served out the match.

Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, third seed Simona Halep had to recover after losing the second set to earn a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 win over Czech Nicole Vaidisova.

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INTERVIEW: Mansour Bahrami discusses life as tennis’ trick shot specialist

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Bahrami plays one of his trademark shots to the delight of the crowd.

He’s probably the most entertaining tennis player on the planet yet he has no grand slams nor a long list of accolades to his name.

– VIDEO: Nadal ‘happy’ to make pre-Wimbledon Queen’s return
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Iranian-born Frenchman Mansour Bahrami is a true magician on a tennis court and the things he can do with a racquet have driven people like John McEnroe to call him a “genius”, Bjorn Borg to dub him a “legend” and Roger Federer to say: “Mansour makes tennis so much fun. If you haven’t seen him play or ‘perform’ yet, it’s a must!”

One of the most famous characters in today’s legends’ doubles scene, Bahrami’s success came very late in his career after he spent years unable to practise the sport in Iran before he moved to France. He had to wait a long time to become a legal citizen there in order to be eligible to play on the ATP tour.

The trick-shot specialist, nicknamed the Court Jester, made the 1989 French Open doubles final aged 33 and shot to fame after he retired from professional tennis, thanks to his showmanship and wizardry with a racquet.

Sport360 caught up with the 58-year-old on the sidelines of the Tennis at the Palace exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to find out more about his path to prominence.

How did you enjoy the Tennis at the Palace event? 
[It was a] fantastic event. Very well-organised, beautiful weather, the people are very friendly and it’s great to be here. I’m very happy I came to Abu Dhabi to play tennis and meet some really friendly people.

You’ve become one of the most popular players on the Legends’ circuit, how do you explain the way people are reacting to your tennis?
I have a way of playing tennis that is different from other players. Fortunately for me, people liked the way I play but I never had a tennis lesson in my life.

Everything was very difficult when I was young. To play tennis wasn’t easy, so it became a challenge for me to become a tennis player and today I’m very happy that I have a pretty good name in the game and that’s great.

As you said, you’ve faced a lot of obstacles in your life, has there been a particular moment you find most defining?
The first eight years when I started liking tennis, was [between] age five to 13. Those are the years you learn everything and I never had a coach or a lesson, so I played for eight years with a piece of wood as a racquet, or just with the palm of my hand.

Those days were very important for me and I could say the reason I play the way I play is because I never had a lesson. If I had a coach he would tell me, ‘Mansour, stop this nonsense and play serious tennis’.

But this is the way I like tennis. For me tennis is just a game. I never played tennis to become rich or to make money but it happens now that people pay me to play tennis. It doubles the joy.

Was it difficult to leave Iran and start a life in France?
It wasn’t easy because I went to France and I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t speak the language. For two or three years I hadn’t played tennis at all because it was forbidden in Iran and going to France, I literally lost 10 of my best years between age 20 to 30 as I didn’t play professional tennis.

I played only amateur tournaments in France for six and a half years. By the time I got my French citizenship, I started to play the ATP tournaments. I won some events and I got to the French Open doubles final, but all that after the age of 30.

So what was it like being in a grand slam final after all this time?
It was great, it was a great memory. That was a dream for me, to play a final in Roland Garros and that dream came true when I was 30 years old.

Coming where I came from, I’m very proud.

Having been forbidden to play the sport in Iran and it taking a long time to gain French citizenship, were you ever close to giving up the sport?
I love tennis, it’s my passion. I can’t imagine my life without tennis and the people. They like me because they know I’m not faking it.

I’m there to make it fun for them and I get a lot of pleasure playing. They gave me the energy to continue and play.

I’m almost 60 years old now, and it’s becoming physically not as easy as it was 10-15 years ago. But still, the people give me enough energy to continue.

You’re most famous for your trick-shots. Have you ever surprised yourself with the things you’re able to do with a racquet?
Sometimes I look at my videos and I just laugh. Things just happen, I don’t know. I make people laugh and I love that.

Do you ever go to Iran and get involved with tennis there now?
My home is in Paris. I love Iran but I left 35 years ago. I just go see my family for two or three days every two years.

I have nothing to do there. My kids, my family, my wife are all in France. 

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