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Friday, July 3, 2009

calm Murray looks to future

Photo Titled Murray feeling the heat
Andy Murray dries off during his gruelling semi-final with Andy Roddick.
The Andy Murray who fronted the press after his semi-final defeat to Andy Roddick looked and sounded very much like the Andy Murray who had beaten Stanislas Warwinka in five thrilling sets earlier in the tournament.

Throughout the tournament his press conferences have been delivered in the same deep, flat Scottish brogue irrespective of the result. Nobody could ever describe him of losing his cool.

But there were other signs that his 6-4, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 defeat to Roddick was different. For a starter Murray was still dressed in his tennis whites. His match finished at 6.44pm and he was at his press conference at 7pm. Like removing a Band-Aid, the world No.3 clearly did not want to drag this out.

He was also more fidgety than usual. His hands played with the microphones and its cords as he answered questions from a packed interview room. “I thought I played well. I mean if you look at the stats, I hit more winners, less unforced errors, more aces. I'm sure the points that we won were very, very similar. It just came down to a few points here or there on his serve,” Murray said.

“And he served really, really well. You know, very close to the lines. Hitting at that pace, at such a high percentage, I think he was high 70s for a lot of the match. Sometimes there's not a whole lot you can do with that. But definitely I didn't play a bad match.

“I'll move on very, very quickly and go and work on my game and improve and come back stronger. That's a pathetic attitude to have, if you lose one match and you go away and, you know, let it ruin your year.

“I've had a very good year so far. I'm very close to, the top of the game. The US Open I've always said is my best surface, my best chance to win a Slam, and I'll give it my best shot there.”

And, despite what some people will suggest, he said it was not the weight of a nation’s expectations weighing heavily on his shoulders that cost him a place in the final and chance at sporting immortality.

“I put obviously pressure on myself to play well. I don't think there was any sort of moments where I felt too tight to go for shots. I maybe made a couple of mistakes that I shouldn't have in the first tiebreak. But if you look at the amount of winners I hit compared to him, I don't think that I could say I wasn't swinging freely. I think I hit twice the number of winners as him.”

Murray says he has learnt a tough lesson: that his opponents at Grand Slams can lift their game. He says he is mentally much tougher but there is still room for improvement. He will take a five week break until the next tournament, prepare for the hard-court season, look ahead to his favourite major - the US Open - and, most importantly, be back here next year with a chance of ending Britain’s long wait for Wimbledon glory.

“I think I have a chance. And I think the way that I played this year, it was very, very close to getting [me] to the final. I believe I can win a Grand Slam. Whether it's Wimbledon or the US Open or Australia or whatever, I'm going to give myself chances.”

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