Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Tennis

Murray's fire is still burning as he approaches new age at Wimbledon

By Paul Newman

Published 27/06/2016

Andy Murray is currently ranked 2nd in the world
Andy Murray is currently ranked 2nd in the world

This will be Andy Murray's last Wimbledon before he turns 30 but the Scot is aiming to make plenty more appearances at the All England Club before putting his rackets away for the last time.

Not only does he feel in as good a shape physically as he has ever done but he also has additional motivation to carry on playing in the shape of his four-month-old daughter Sophia.

The world No 2 says he would like Sophia to grow up having seen her father play at the highest level. "I think it would be nice so that she knows what it is that you've done or is maybe old enough to understand what it is that you do," he said. "Maybe as I start to get older that might be more of a motivation to keep going and training and working hard to stay at the top."

Murray, who plays his opening match on Tuesday against Liam Broady, first competed in the senior event at Wimbledon 11 years ago. With each passing year he appreciates more the opportunities he has had, though he is not at a stage of his career where he starts to think those chances will start to dwindle.

"As you start to get older, I think you want to make sure that you make the most of every event that you play," he said. "But I would imagine that you start to think more in those terms when you feel like you're starting to drop off a little bit, or physically you're not quite the same, and your results and ranking are starting to drop. Whereas right now I don't feel that way at all.

"Novak Djokovic and I were born one week apart and he also seems to be doing fine and showing no signs of slowing down either. So I think because the guys are playing longer now it's not something that I've been thinking about yet. But I'm aware that I need to make the most of every opportunity I get."

An indication of how much older the leading players are getting is the fact that the top four men's seeds at Wimbledon are all fathers. However, Murray said that he did not feel any different playing as a father.

"It still feels the same for me," he said. "It's just that each day doesn't feel the same especially on days when I get to see my daughter. She is changing all the time, learning new things all the time, and every day is a bit more exciting.

"Maybe before, when you're maybe doing a practice week, it can be the same thing every single day and can be a bit boring. Whereas now I have something away from the court which takes my mind off tennis but also gives me a little bit of freshness. That's how it feels to me."

Murray said he did not envisage having to make any major changes to his Wimbledon routines as a result of being a father. "The only thing is that I've been waking up a bit earlier and going to bed earlier than I used to," he said. "When I get up in the morning I have time to see my daughter before I leave, because often I'm out for most of the day. But I'll still drive into Wimbledon and I would think I'll still do most of the same things that I've always done there."

The Scot said that so far he has not had many "Dad fail" moments. "I haven't bumped her head on anything yet or dropped her or had her roll off the bed or anything like that," he said.

Murray said he and his wife would encourage their daughter to play sport. "It's a good way to stay fit and healthy," he said. "It's not about tennis, it's just about trying a different number of sports. Because if you find one that you like, often it's a skill that you have for life."

Murray thinks he is just as strong physically as he was in 2013, if not stronger. In particular his back has been much better than it was before he had surgery at the end of that year.

"It's always difficult to compare now with three years ago, but on some of the sessions I am doing now my numbers are better in a lot of them than they used to be," he said. "I'm in good shape. Obviously a few of the matches that I played at the French Open would suggest that my record over five sets has been strong for the last few years, so I'm not concerned about that."

The Scot also believes he is a better and more complete player than he was when he won the title here in 2013. "I think I've improved things since then," he said. "I think the game always improves and gets a little bit better and if you aren't improving yourself you get left behind a little bit."

The world No 2 said that winning the title at Queen's Club last weekend had proved that his desire remains as strong as ever. "It shows to me that I still want it, the character is still there to win the major events," he said.

"I will stop when I don't think that I can or if I am not working hard or not motivated by those tournaments. And I am. I am pumped for Wimbledon."

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph