Andy Murray Interview

Here are some highlights but this was a real good interview with Andy Murray from the Daily Mail

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CLICK HERE for the entire interview

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‘In tennis, it is not the opponent you fear, it is the failure itself, knowing how near you were but just out of reach. I think I will be able to control my emotions better next time I am in that position; I feel mentally stronger, I feel comfortable. I am as high about my game now as I was low after the Australian Open this year. This is where I want to be and I’ve got to keep it up.’

A straight sets defeat by Novak Djokovic in Melbourne — Murray has never won a set in any of his three Slam finals — took a greater mental toll than anticipated. Murray fell into a slump lasting several months and spent a lot of time evaluating his game.

‘I don’t think a defeat has ever taken longer to get out of my system,’ he admits. ‘The Australian Open takes place in January, so in December I decamped to Miami to prepare. I spent Christmas Day alone, running on the beach.

‘It could be worse, I know, but everyone else is with their family, and all you keep thinking is, “Don’t worry, it’s all going to be worthwhile.”

‘So to get so close and lose hits you doubly hard, because of all you’ve given up. All that effort for not quite. Then everyone wants to console you, which is the last thing you need.

 ‘In tennis, it is not the opponent you fear, it is the failure itself’

‘You really don’t want to be hear, “You’re doing great and it’s going to happen if you keep working hard” because you’re thinking, “Look, I am working hard, and it hasn’t happened, so don’t keep telling me that.”

‘There are moments when you don’t want pepping up, you don’t even want to speak to people. There is nobody who can help. You are the only one who can deal with it. By March, I simply felt terrible. I hated practising. Everything was wrong.

‘On your own, you can get very intense. You ask what you need to do: is it my training, my team, my preparation? In reality, it is never usually the drastic stuff. It is more about having confidence in what you are doing: coaching, tactics, the physical side.

‘As you get older or smarter you learn to understand what is going well and how to repeat that, with maybe an extra five per cent added.’

The quest for self-improvement continues and he is realistic enough to know the challenge to claim even a single Grand Slam in a golden era for men’s tennis is immense. Yet Murray is not greatly given to pessimism or to beating himself up over circumstances of birth.

‘This year has been good for me,’ he says. ‘I haven’t won a Grand Slam but it has been my best year in all competitions and the first step is to be at ease with yourself and your progress.

‘I understand how strong men’s tennis is right now. I think I am competing against the two best players in the history of the sport in Federer and Rafa Nadal, and Djokovic has had one of the greatest individual seasons of all time.

‘Tennis is an individual sport and I am quite a self-conscious person,’ Murray admits. ‘There are 50,000 people watching, millions more at home, cameras everywhere and when something is happening that  I don’t like, or things are not going well, I have always looked up to see the people who are there for me, who aren’t judging or criticising me and I direct my frustration at them.

‘Anyone who has played the game knows what it is like to be under pressure and become frustrated. So, yes, I know I have to concentrate more on me, and on my own game, to become better.

‘All I would say is that a lot of the British ex-players who commentate have never experienced that particular type of stress on court, because they were never at the level where it was present. They don’t understand what it is like.

‘It is something I need to improve on — but it isn’t what will take me from No 4 to No 1. It’s one thing, but there are many factors that are more important.

‘I’m not perfect, I know that. But everybody is different. Roger Federer stays calm. Yet if you look at a great footballer like Wayne Rooney, getting p****d off at his team-mates or at himself, he is a completely different character but still a fantastic sportsman. I’m sure he tries to improve his temperament but, obviously, it is a part of his game that needs work. It is a flaw, but it doesn’t stop Rooney being one of the best in the world.

‘I’m not perfect, but everybody is different. Federer stays calm, then there’s Rooney,  getting p****d off at his team-mates  or himself. He’s a completely different character, but still a fantastic sportsman’

‘That is where I am. It just wouldn’t make me feel good to bottle my emotions. Saying nothing and standing there makes me feel uncomfortable and flat. There is a fear of emotion in tennis. If someone boos everyone looks at them as if to ask, “What the hell are you doing?” Yet in other sports it happens all the time.

‘I find it strange that at Wimbledon every year, almost every day I get asked about the stress and pressure of playing in front of a home crowd. In every other sport, the home team is thought to have the advantage. So why should it be a problem for me? I’ve never felt it, never made it an excuse, and it’s not going to go away, so deal with it.

‘I think we as a nation expect to win and when we don’t we look for these big reasons. Why did Tim Henman not win Wimbledon? Why has Andy Murray not won Wimbledon? Well, sometimes you’re not quite good enough.

‘I can’t say exactly why it hasn’t happened for me there, but I’ll tell you what isn’t the reason: the pressure of the people and the pressure of the media.’

And that is what makes Murray a British sportsman to be cherished. He is very good at his job, doesn’t make excuses and never stops working.

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