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Canberra connection rides all the way to final with great Scot

JIM CULLENS lays no claim to Andy Murray's tennis ability, but the great uncle of the Wimbledon finalist did teach him to ride a bike.

Unfortunately for Murray, beating Roger Federer on centre court at the All England club isn't as easy as riding one.

Cullens, 85, isn't sure whether he will switch on the television in his Deakin home tonight to watch his great nephew's attempt to win a first major.

He finds the emotional investment of watching Murray too much at times, especially when he commits unforced errors.

Murray will carry the weight of Britain as he attempts to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936.

Cullens knows it's a terrible weight to bear.


''[Murray] must have a head of steam. There's so much [pressure and expectation] sometimes I wish that he doesn't read the papers,'' Cullens said.

''Even to get there is a tremendous achievement, but then he's up against Federer all fired up, I just hope he doesn't make unforced errors.

''If he doesn't, he'll win.''

Cullens moved to Australia during the Vietnam War because the Australian Army needed helicopter commanders and he chose to settle in Canberra in 1973.

He was born at Stirling in Scotland, which is near Dunblane, where Murray went to high school.

Cullens married Aileen, Murray's great aunt on his mother's side - Judy Erskine, who was also a professional tennis player.

He hasn't seen Murray for more than 10 years, but remembers visiting him at Dunblane when he was a child - teaching him to ride a bike and taking him to tennis lessons after school.

''I wouldn't say I taught him to play tennis,'' Cullens said with a laugh. ''My claim to fame is to help teach him to ride a bike.''

The main thing Cullens remembers about the young Murray was his determination to win, something which has stood him in good stead as a professional. It was the determination that stood him apart from brother Jamie, also a talented player.

''Jamie, in a way, was a nicer boy, but Jamie hasn't got the killer instinct, whereas we could detect Andy, at 10 or 11 playing tennis, if he was coming back from the dressing room and we could see his face and if he looked like thunder you knew he'd lost,'' Cullens said.

''And he didn't like it.''

Tonight Murray will either finish with that look of thunder as the runner-up to Federer or he will have the look of joy as the new Wimbledon champion.