MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Andy Murray has received numerous good wishes from his fellow players about the impending birth of his first child, but Sam Groth is the only one who wants the baby to come earlier than expected.
Murray’s wife Kim is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in mid-February, though the Briton has said numerous times if she goes into labour early he will abandon his Australian Open campaign to return home.
“Be nice if his wife went into labor overnight,” Murray’s second-round opponent Groth joked on Tuesday. “I might be just cheering for that one.”
The big Australian overpowered France’s Adrian Mannarino with 27 aces and the fastest serve recorded at the tournament so far at 235 kph to set up the clash with Murray.
The 67th-ranked Groth was under no illusions as to the challenge facing him against the Briton, considered one of the best returners in the game.
“Hopefully I will serve well and it doesn’t come back,” Groth said. “I’m going to take it to him. It doesn’t really change too much. I’m going to serve big and try to get forward and play aggressively.
“But it’s tough. Number two seed and two in the world.
“He’s a quality player. He’s where he is for a reason.
“I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Murray has never played the powerfully built Groth, but knew exactly what he was going to face on the opposite side of the net on Thursday.
“He’s a big guy. Serves big, and, you know, serve and volley tactics,” Murray said. “He tries to get forward as much as he can. You don’t see many players like that now.
“He will make it tough for me because he has a different game style to a lot of the players now… so hopefully I can return well and, you know, pass well.
“I’ll need to if I want to win.”
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)