Wimbledon winner Andy Murray's insatiable hunger for glory still showing 24 hours after final
8 Jul 2013 22:30
Three separate press conferences, a Twitter Q&A, tennis with kids in Lambeth and a Downing Street event... but the Brit still looks far from weary
The morning after the fight, they let you talk to the champ one last time.
Usually, particularly if it’s in Las Vegas, it’s in his hotel suite somewhere high above The Strip.
Usually, he is bleary-eyed from the celebrations, swollen-eyed from the punches.
Often, particularly if it has been a brutal contest, it feels like an intrusion.
Sometimes, it is clear that the champ is so weary with the exertion of what he has just achieved that it will be hard for him to go back to the well.
Andy Murray is a boxing aficionado but his post-fight routine had a different feel yesterday morning.
The Wimbledon champion looked tired, certainly. He had only had a couple of hours sleep after his stunning straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic the day before.
But he did not look weary. He looked eager. He seemed energised.
When there was a pause in his endless round of TV interviews in the bright sunshine on the roof lawn at the All England Club, he wandered over.
He said how much he had enjoyed the Champions’ Ball at a Park Lane hotel the night before, how well it had been organised.
He joked about how there was only smoked salmon and halibut on the menu and how he had been tempted to call out for some of his favourite sushi.
He was going to put that right, he said, by going out to a sushi restaurant last night with his friends in his support team.
And then he went back to the interviews. Then he posed for photographs next to the statue of Fred Perry outside Centre Court.
Then he did three separate press conferences for the written media. Then he did a Twitter question and answer session.
Then he went to Lambeth to play tennis with some kids from the inner city. Then he went to Downing Street to meet the prime minister. Then he went for sushi.
It was the day after the biggest win of his life and he did not stop. He worked and worked and worked.
And so when the questions started about what comes next for a player who has the world at his feet, the easiest ones to answer were about whether he would let all this go to his head.
Whether he’ll chase greatness now or whether he’ll sit back and watch the river flow.
Whether he’ll treat winning Wimbledonas the end of something, an excuse to waste away into idleness or mediocrity.
Or whether he’ll use becoming the first Briton to win the tournament for 77 yearsas a motivation, the start of an attempt to prove beyond doubt he is now the world’s best tennis player.
Does anybody really think a kid from Dunblane, an outsider who had to fight and scrap for everything he has ever won in tennis, would just throw it all away when he reached the top?
Does anybody really believe that a kid who sacrificed parts of his childhood, who moved away from home as a boy to further his career, who has overcome so much unwarranted negative publicity, would just sit back and chill out when everything he worked for was suddenly unfolding in front of him?
Murray is not that type. It’s not in his make-up. Winning Grand Slams isn’t a passport to partying for him. He is not a great one for roped-off VIP areas in nightclubs.
If winning Grand Slams is a passport to anything for him, it is winning more Grand Slams
“I’m not like addicted to going out or drinking or smoking,” he said. “I don’t do any of that stuff.
“I enjoy being around my friends, I enjoy training. I enjoy being over in Miami. So I don’t think I will get sidetracked but you never know.
“You see it a lot in other sports because with fame there comes a lot of distractions.
“But it comes down to the people you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with the right people you won’t get yourself in those situations.
“And people who are honest with you will tell you if you are acting out of line, or not working properly or you’re doing the wrong things.
“And I believe I have the right people to stop me doing anything like that.
“Ivan Lendl, my coach, was the ultimate competitor as a player and he loved winning. His consistency was amazing. He made eight consecutive US Open finals and there was no let-down for him.”
All the signs are that Murray shares Lendl’s work ethic, that drive for consistency, that refusal to relent. He has contested three of the last four Grand Slam finals and won two of them.
Djokovic is the world No.1 but there is a strong argument that Murray is now the best player in tennis. He is 26 years old and entering his prime.
His triumphs appear to have made him more relaxed but only in a way that is unleashing his full potential.
Now that the pressure of being the great British hope for ending nine decades of pain at Wimbledon has been lifted, he can soar to greater heights.
That pressure, that expectation, that was the kind of distraction Murray didn’t need. Now it’s gone, his dominance is likely to improve.
At the end of one of his many press conferences yesterday, he was asked for the kernel of the advice he had been given by the former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson
Murray homed in straight away on Ferguson’s capacity for hard work. He spoke with awe about his appetite for dedication.
“He’s on a cruise up the coast of Scotland, so he wasn’t able to come,” said Murray. “He said to me he always wanted to do that. It takes 10 days and he’s never done it in his life because he’d never take 10 days off from his work.
“That’s an unbelievable work ethic over such a long period.”
Murray spoke as if it was not something he dreaded but something he aspired to.
That’s the bad news for Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Murray isn’t going to go away just because he’s won Wimbledon. He is in this for the long haul.
Andy's route to No 1
After a short break, Andy Murray will undergo a mini training block in Miami as preparation for the US hardcourt season and the defence of his US Open title.
The Scot has declared his availability for the Davis Cup tie in Croatia starting on Friday September 13.
Andy Murray’s schedule:
Aug 5:Rogers Cup, Montreal
Aug 11:Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati, USA
Aug 26:US Open, New York
Sept 13:Davis Cup v Croatia, Umag.
Oct 6:Shanghai Rolex Masters, Shanghai, China
Oct 28:BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, France
Nov 4:Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, London http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon-winner-andy-murrays-insatiable-2038935