Don’t Mention Spiders: Five Things About Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Rival Tomas Machac

Don’t Mention Spiders: Five Things About Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Rival Tomas Machac

Two-time champion Andy Murray begins his farewell tournament at Wimbledon on Tuesday against Tomas Machac.

AFP Sport looks at five things you need to know about Machac, the Czech world number 38.

Two straight victories: The 23-year-old has beaten Murray twice this year, first in straight sets in Marseille and then in a dramatic three-setter in Miami to improve his record against the Briton — he lost in four sets to Cameron Norrie in the first round in his first appearance at Wimbledon last year. Machac has enjoyed several notable victories since then, including beating Novak Djokovic on the Geneva clay in three sets in May. Machac became only the sixth player since the introduction of the ATP rankings to beat the world number one despite losing a set at love.

Steady climber: Machac first entered the Top 100 in 2022 and ended the year ranked No. 97 in the world. He has since climbed to a career high of 33 earlier this month. Machac has yet to win an ATP singles title. He has an impressive Davis Cup record of seven wins and one loss in singles.

Machac has also climbed to a career-high 56th in doubles after partnering with China’s Zhang Zhizhen this year. “It was amazing,” Machac said after they reached the Australian Open semifinals. “It’s great to play with him.”

Tennis Girlfriend: More fun awaits in mixed doubles, where Machac teams up with multiple Grand Slam champion Katerina Siniakova, his compatriot — and girlfriend.

The two have been partners since early 2021, according to Czech media. They first played together at the Australian Open in 2022. In the first round of this year’s French Open, Siniakova hit Machac in the head from behind with a powerful backhand. Machac made the crowd laugh with a theatrical fall while pretending to be unconscious.

“I was lucky I didn’t look the other way, it would have been much worse if I had been hit between the eyes,” Machac said at the time as Siniakova apologized profusely. “But it was a blow!”

Siniakova, who is four years older, has won five singles titles and 27 doubles titles, including eight Grand Slam titles, mainly with compatriot Barbora Krejcikova. The world number 27 in singles and number five in doubles also won the Olympic doubles title with Krejcikova at Tokyo 2020.

“Katerina has achieved so much, especially in doubles. I can’t reach her ankles,” Machac said. “I’m slowly starting to prove to myself that I can do this too, but I still have a long way to go.”