HeraldScotland blogger GARY JOHNSTON sees the UK number one shrug off the heat to reach the third round
It’s 41C. That’s 106F in the old money. You could fry an egg on the pavement outside Hisense Arena except you’d probably burn it.
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Hot. And humid. ‘Okay if you’re with a women, not so good at the tennis’, as Robin Williams nearly said in the film Good Morning Vietnam.
Aye, we love a good mump, we Scots. Except, as we take our seats, Billy ‘Mr Zydeco’ Abbott and I realise something - we’re the only ones who seem to be moaning. Everybody else – all the Aussies backing Andy – and there’s more of them than us – are taking the frankly horrific heat and clamminess in their stride.
And, as he walks on to the Court, milking the home crowd support in Aussie green white and gold, you have to say Big Andy – Aussie Andy, Crocodile Dunblane – isn’t the least bit bothered by it either.
It’s not my imagination; Murray is rapidly becoming a big favourite of Australians, a significant amount of whom proclaim their Scottish ancestry louder than Craig and Charlie Reid. (The Proclaimers – geddit?)
‘I’m not Scottish but my forebears certainly were,’ a nice young woman called Beryl beside us says – ‘Oh you had forebears’, the ever hopeful Billy replies. ‘One more than Goldilocks.’
The game is over almost before it begins. Andy is up against Jaoa Sousa from Portugal, a lonely figure in a 1980s bubbly perm who’s already admitted he hasn’t a cat’s chance - and he’s not playing Fergie-type psychological games.
Andy is better, bigger and stronger in every department and poor old Joao is being completely outclassed. Before either Billy or I have been able to rouse ourselves and buy the first beer, Andy is two sets up – 6-2, 6-2.
Wearing black shoes which come way up over his ankle, giving him a slight bovver-boy look, Andy is giving Joao the ginger stepchild of a pasting. It’s almost embarrassing.
Even the scorching heat and invasive humidity doesn’t seem to be touching Aussie Andy; he looks cool, calm and very much as if he’s just about ready to have Sousa collected.
Laughing at Old Nick himself, he seems utterly fireproof. ‘Call that heat?’ he declares, challenging the sun to a square go - ‘C’mon, ya big yella balloon, ye. Dae yer worst!’
And then, suddenly, the big man falters. The heat.
Even the Aussies in the crowd are suffering, it’s like being locked in a sauna. It’s intense.
In the third set Andy overheats, makes a couple of mistakes, gets a bit red in the face, shows us he is, after, all, human.
Still comfortably in the lead and never in any real danger, he duly closes the match out but, as he doffs his sweat-soaked baseball cap at the end, you can see his hair is flat plastered to his head, like he just got out a bath or, more accurately, a Scandinavian sauna.
Andy is puggled. Most of the crowd are too. Let’s hope his next game’s at night.
Andy can handle it. It’s me I’m worried about.