Aussie Open not a psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­rier: Mur­ray

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Andy Mur­ray says he does not have a men­tal block when it comes to the Aus­tralian Open de­spite los­ing the fi­nal of the open­ing Grand Slam of the sea­son five times.

The 29-year-old world No. 1 – whose sea­son opened with a de­feat in the Qatar Open to No­vak Djokovic – told the Times in an in­ter­view he had also pon­dered over whether he should ac­cept the knight­hood he re­ceived in the New Year’s Hon­ours list.

Mur­ray, who is in Aus­tralia pre­par­ing for next week’s Aussie Open, is adamant he no longer has is­sues over tour­na­ments he has yet to win.

“I don’t feel like I have men­tal hur­dles now,” Mur­ray said. “I feel like I’m past that, to be hon­est.

“I just go there and give my best to win. So long as I give my best ef­fort, I don’t judge my­self or feel like I’ve failed here [Mel­bourne] or any­thing like that.”

Mur­ray, who had a mem­o­rable year in 2016 be­com­ing Bri­tain’s first ten­nis No. 1 of the pro­fes­sional era and won Wim­ble­don and de­fended his Olympic sin­gles ti­tle, ad­mit­ted he had con­ferred with those clos­est to him – but not his brother Jamie – over whether to ac­cept the knight­hood when he was of­fered it in the mid­dle of De­cem­ber.

“I spoke to a few of the peo­ple clos­est to me. I didn’t have too long, but ob­vi­ously you think about some­thing like that be­cause I do feel like it’s ob­vi­ously a big honor to be of­fered that, but with that comes maybe a lit­tle bit more re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Mur­ray said.

“I’m still very young, I’m still com­pet­ing and ob­vi­ously don’t want any­thing to dis­tract me or af­fect my per­for­mance on the court.”

“I kept it fairly quiet and just spoke to the peo­ple that I was clos­est with and ex­plained what the sit­u­a­tion was. I just tried to get the best ad­vice pos­si­ble.”

Mur­ray is clear, though, how he wishes to be ad­dressed by his ri­vals on the cir­cuit.

“A few of the play­ers have been chat­ting to me about it and ask­ing how it works, what does it mean and what do we call you,” Mur­ray said.

“Andy is fine.”

Mur­ray, whose win in the 2012 U.S. Open was the first in a Grand Slam by a Bri­tish ten­nis male ten­nis player since Fred Perry in 1936, says an­other thing that has changed as he has ma­tured is how he re­acts to per­sonal crit­i­cism.

“When you are com­fort­able like that with who you are, some­one say­ing that you’re bor­ing or mis­er­able or what­ever it is, it doesn’t af­fect you like it does when you are younger and you are still not sure of your­self,” Mur­ray said.

“When you are grow­ing up in the spot­light and you don’t know ex­actly who you are or what you’re go­ing to be­come, that’s prob­a­bly a bit more dif­fi­cult.”

Mur­ray, who says he likes to or­ga­nize his sched­ule so he can see his daugh­ter Sophia and wife Kim every fort­night, re­ceived a flood of con­grat­u­la­tions when he be­came No. 1 but two phone mes­sages, left by two sport­ing gi­ants, in par­tic­u­lar touched him.

“I got one from Alex Fer­gu­son and one from Jose Mour­inho,” said Mur­ray. “That was pretty cool. I ob­vi­ously watch a lot of foot­ball and they are two of the most re­spected and best man­agers in one of the hard­est sports to suc­ceed in at the high­est level. That was pretty nice.”

In­deed such is Mur­ray’s affin­ity with ‘the beau­ti­ful game’ he would like to be in­volved in the sport when the day fi­nally comes to put away his racket, although he would also like to coach a Bri­tish player.

“I would like to do some­thing in foot­ball,” said Mur­ray, whose grand­fa­ther Roy Ersk­ine played for his­toric Scot­tish club Hiber­nian in the 1950s.

“I watch loads of it. I am into my fan­tasy sports a lot.” –

De­spite be­ing knighted, Mur­ray just wants to be called Andy.

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