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Andy Murray out to avoid Wimbledon hangover and rise to World No.1

By Paul Newman

Published 12/07/2016

Picture perfect: Andy Murray poses for photos on his return to Centre Court after winning his second Wimbledon title against Milos Raonic
Picture perfect: Andy Murray poses for photos on his return to Centre Court after winning his second Wimbledon title against Milos Raonic

When Andy Murray said he wanted to enjoy his second Wimbledon title more than his first, he was not kidding. The 29-year-old Scot hardly ever drinks alcohol but was nursing a serious hangover when he returned to the All England Club yesterday less than 18 hours after his victory over Milos Raonic in the final.

"It was brutal," Murray said when asked whether he might have changed his opinion about the taste of alcohol. "I didn't enjoy the taste that much."

After attending the official Champions' Dinner at the Guildhall in London, Murray and company headed for a nightclub, where the World No.2 set about contradicting the words of his autobiography, 'Hitting Back', in which he had written: "I hate the taste of alcohol. I don't even like champagne. I don't like wine. I think beer is disgusting and I haven't tried whisky."

In the cold light of day back at the All England Club, Murray said he could remember the whole evening, except that he could not recall exactly what he had been drinking. When was the last time he had drank like that? "Never," he replied. "Never in celebration, that's for sure."

Despite his sore head, Murray said the night had been "good fun" and would provide a topic of conversation at the dinner he was planning to have with his entourage yesterday evening.

"Last time I won Wimbledon I said I didn't enjoy it as much, so I just wanted to make sure I enjoyed last night," he said. "It was nice. You get a good group of your friends, work colleagues, family around and you can relax. I very rarely get the chance to do that.

"The nice thing about winning here is that everyone is around. For example, Mark Bender, my physio who comes to a lot of tournaments but wasn't (working with me at Wimbledon), was able to join us. A bunch of my family were there too.

"Tonight will be calmer. It will be nice to be around the team. We'll probably chat more about the night than the match. There were some amusing scenes."

Hangovers may fade away, but Murray senses that it will be days and weeks before he fully recovers from his exertions of the last three months. He has been on the tennis treadmill almost non-stop since the start of the clay-court season.

His run since reaching the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters in April has been remarkable: he has made the final of all five tournaments he has played since and won three.

"I could do with a few days off," he said. "The last few months have been really long, the longest of my career. I have played more matches than I ever have done and I just need to take a few days off."

This summer's schedule is busier than usual, with two Masters Series tournaments and the Olympics to be contested before the US Open, where Murray lost in the fourth round last summer.

"I maybe messed up a little bit last year before the US Open," he said. "I played a little bit too much and by the time the US Open came around I was a little bit fatigued. I don't want that to be the case this time around."

Murray said it was "unlikely" that he would play in Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final away to Serbia this weekend, especially as the tie will be played on clay, a surface which has contributed to his back problems in the past.

He has been discussing his participation with Leon Smith, Britain's captain, who says he is willing to keep all options open until he has to make a final decision on his line-up the day before the quarter-final starts on Friday.

With Dan Evans suffering with a shoulder problem, it is likely that Kyle Edmund and James Ward will be Britain's two singles players.

"If it was on grass like we had at Queen's last year (in the quarter-finals against France) then that's a bit easier," Murray said. "I did have a great clay-court season this year and my body has been much better, but I also need to respect that it is a surface that I have had real trouble with my back on in the past.

"Every time I come back on to clay I need to respect that. The surface is the main obstacle."

Nevertheless, Murray may well fly out to Belgrade to support the team. "I do think we could win the Davis Cup again this year," he said. "That would be an amazing achievement for everyone.

"I am part of the team and I feel a responsibility to the team and to Leon. My brother is part of the team as well, which all adds to it. It's difficult. On the other hand if there was another tournament this weekend, unless it was maybe a Slam or the Olympics, there's no way I would play."

Having secured his third Grand Slam title (all of them with Ivan Lendl as his coach), Murray said he definitely wanted to win more, but did not want to put a number on his goal.

Asked if he thought he could emulate Andre Agassi, who won five Grand Slam titles after passing his 29th birthday, Murray said it was possible but stressed that Novak Djokovic was "still No.1 in the world right now".

Murray added: "Novak is not just going to go away because he has had one bad tournament. You can't forget what he has done in the last 18 months or so.

"It has been incredible. This has been a great tournament for me, but if I want to win a few Slams over the next few years I am going to have to get better. I know he will come back strong because of the player he is."

Djokovic - who has said he will not play for Serbia this weekend - still has a big lead at the top of the world rankings, but Murray has levelled the gap. Djokovic has 15,040 points, Murray 10,195 and third-placed Roger Federer 5,945.

Reaching No.1 in the rankings is now "definitely a goal" for Murray, who said that when he won his first Wimbledon title three years ago his only major motivation was to do well in the Grand Slam tournaments.

"Now I feel a lot more motivated throughout the whole year," he said. "It's something I spoke to my team about. I would love to get to No.1, and the way to do that is to show up every week and be focused on that event."

Belfast Telegraph

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