New kid Zverev sad at ‘coolest dude’ Mur­ray quit­ting ten­nis

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT -

MEL­BOURNE, Aus­tralia (AFP) — Bright­est new kid on the block Alexan­der Zverev said yes­ter­day he was sad to hear “su­per nice” Andy Mur­ray say the Aus­tralian Open could be his last tour­na­ment.

Mur­ray on Fri­day shocked the ten­nis world by declar­ing that his chronic hip pain had not been eased by surgery a year ago, and he could end his sto­ried ca­reer in Mel­bourne next week.

World num­ber four Zverev is the flag-bearer for the next gen­er­a­tion of stars, hav­ing beaten Roger Fed­erer and Novak Djokovic to win the big­gest crown of his ca­reer at the ATP Fi­nals last year.

And he said he would al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate what the 31-year-old, three-time Grand Slam win­ner Mur­ray had done for the sport and new play­ers like him­self as they emerge on tour.

“Ob­vi­ously he’s one of the best guys on tour out­side the court. He’s al­ways su­per nice to be around, su­per nice to kind of be in the locker room with,” Zverev told re­porters at Mel­bourne Park.

“The me­dia al­ways kind of puts him as a bor­ing guy who doesn’t give in­ter­views well or some­thing like that. No, he’s ac­tu­ally one of the fun­ni­est and coolest dudes out there.

“We as play­ers, well, you can see how much we re­ally like, re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what he’s done.”

Zverev said de­spite his stel­lar 2018 sea­son he had lit­tle ex­pec­ta­tion com­ing into the sea­son’s first Grand Slam, hav­ing only ever reached one quar­ter-fi­nal in 14 pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ances at the ma­jors.

“I’ve never been past the third round (in Mel­bourne), so we’ll see how it goes,” said the young star who faces Slove­nia’s Al­jaz Be­dene in the first round.

“But I just want to en­joy be­ing here; I just want to en­joy play­ing as much as I can. I just want to en­joy play­ing in the big­gest sta­di­ums, play­ing in the big­gest matches.

“Once I learn how to re­ally en­joy it and re­ally find fun in what I do, I think ev­ery­thing else will take care of it­self.”

World num­ber two Rafael Nadal has en­dured some epic en­coun­ters with Mur­ray down the years and said he had felt for the Brit af­ter his jaw-drop­ping, tear-filled press con­fer­ence on Fri­day.

“Yeah, of course it is very bad news,” said the Span­ish 17-time Grand Slam cham­pion.

“But be­ing hon­est, when you are go­ing on court ev­ery day with­out the clear goal be­cause you can­not move well, you have pain, then is a mo­ment to take a de­ci­sion.”

Nadal, 32, gave a heartfelt trib­ute to his long-stand­ing ri­val and recog­nised that with Fed­erer now aged 37 and Djokovic 31, the era of the “big four” was draw­ing to a close.

(Photo: AFP)

ZVEREV...HE’S (Andy Mur­ray) ac­tu­ally one of the fun­ni­est and coolest dudes out there.

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