Andy Murray of Britain reacts after defeating David Ferrer of Spain during a quarterfinals match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Wednesday, July 4, 2012.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
WIMBLEDON, England -- Drawing inspiration from LeBron James and his new NBA title, Andy Murray is ready to win his first championship, too.
The fourth-seeded Murray, who has lost in three Grand Slam finals, advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals for the fourth straight year by beating No. 7 David Ferrer of Spain 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (4) Wednesday.
"He came very close to winning quite a lot of times," Murray, Britain's best tennis player and a big basketball fan, said of James. "I would say for me I guess it's a similar situation. I've been close a lot of times and not quite made it. You know, just have to keep putting myself in the position, and hopefully it will click."
Murray's three near-misses in major finals -- twice at the Australian Open and once at the U.S. Open -- have raised questions about whether he'll ever win the big one. But this year, with Rafael Nadal already out and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga waiting in Friday's semifinals, could be his time -- at least to make the final. Winning it all, like James did last month with the Miami Heat after two losses in the NBA Finals, would be even better.
"There's a lot of people out there that didn't want him to win," Murray said. "There's a lot of people that said he would never win. There's a lot of people who said he never played his best in finals, in the fourth quarter of games he never steps up.
"Then you see how he played the whole of the finals, the whole of the playoffs. Sometimes it takes guys a bit longer than others."
Out on Centre Court, Murray finished off Ferrer with a royal flourish, smacking his 18th ace on match point and setting himself up with yet another chance to reach the final match at the grass-court Grand Slam.
"I've had a good run here the last few years, but, yeah, I'm not satisfied with that," Murray said. "I want to try and go further."
For much of Wednesday's match, Prince William and his wife Catherine -- also known as Wills and Kate -- watched from the Royal Box. The pair sat in the front row, applauding politely at times and clapping loudly at others.
"It's always going to make a difference when you have royalty in there," said Murray, then turning his attention to some former Wimbledon champions who also sat in the Royal Box. "For me, also playing in front of someone like (Andre) Agassi as well and Steffi Graf. Rod Laver was there, too. You know, it was an unbelievable privilege to play in front of those people."
Murray is trying to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. If Murray beats Tsonga, he will be the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938.