Rory McIlroy swings to Andy Murray
U.S. Open golf champion Rory McIlroy is good friends with Rafael Nadal, the defending Wimbledon champion.
But when McIlroy taped a BBC TV segment with Andy Murray and John McEnroe on the Wimbledon practice courts before taking his seat in the Royal Box on Tuesday, he threw his support Murray's way if Murray plays Nadal in the semifinals.
"I'd love to see Andy get his first Slam," McIlroy said. "I felt it myself, that once you get that first one out of the way, it's a lot easier to go on and win more. Rafa's got 10 of them, so I want Andy to get his first one."
The Murray brothers make their money playing tennis: Andy is ranked No. 4 and considered a solid contender for the Wimbledon title. Older brother Jamie has made a name for himself in the doubles arena.
But golf is not a foreign sport to the Murray clan of Scotland.
"My back gets stiff when I play, but my whole family plays golf," Murray said during the shooting of the TV segment. "My gran and grandpa live on the second tee of the golf course of where I'm from. My brother is [a] single-digit [handicap], and my dad, as well. My uncle is a golf pro over in Dallas."
As for McEnroe, he revealed, to no surprise, that his temper gets the better of him on the links, just like on the tennis court.
"You probably can imagine with my frustration levels being fairly high at times that I've been known to run out of clubs before the round is over," McEnroe said, smiling.
Murray said that McIlroy's win at the U.S. Open after his collapse at the Masters is inspiring.
"It does happen to everyone," Murray said. "It's about the way you come back from it. I've had a fair few upsets in major competitions, and it makes a difference when you see somebody come back from that. It was an unbelievable performance."
World or words
For many retired players, their new life is still connected to their old life: Coaching or TV commentating is a frequent career shift.
Tina Krizan, 38, of Slovenia, who was known as a doubles player and was ranked as high as No. 19 in the tandem game before retiring in 2005, has followed a non-tennis path. After earning a degree in languages -- she speaks six -- she came up with a business concept of teaching young kids to speak a variety of languages through child's play, games and sports.
Krizan is visiting Wimbledon and talked to friends about her new business. She is running gatherings twice a week for 3-to-5-year olds and 6-to-8-year olds. The sessions are offered in English, French and German. If it's successful on a small scale, Krizan is hoping to take the business global.
"Languages are very important in the world to communicate with other people -- you combine your language with the other languages," Krizan said of her teaching approach. "It's interesting when you speak with them in a different language, they never say they don't understand.
"You give a lot to the kids, but they give a lot back, too, and I'm having fun. The best thing is they don't even know they're learning another language because they're having fun."