Andy Murray: “He was the better player from start to finish” - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Andy Murray: “He was the better player from start to finish”

Published

on

TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 2nd of July. G. Dimitrov d. A. Murray 6-1, 7-6, 6-2. An interview with Andy Murray

Q. In his post match Grigor said he could tell something was wrong even in the warmup. Did you feel that as well?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I didn’t. Right at the beginning of the match I had breakpoints in the first game.

But my start to the match was poor. I started the match badly. And I think that gave him confidence.

You know, I should have done a better job at the beginning of the match of making it tougher for him, and I didn’t manage to do that. Also, when I got back into the second set, the end of the set, you know, that was my opportunity there.

He’d been up in the set a break and I’d come back. Momentum was starting to shift a little bit. Couldn’t quite do it.

 

Q. In your reckoning so far   I mean, you haven’t had time to analyze   would you say you lost today and he won or he won outright?

ANDY MURRAY: He was the better player from start to finish.

 

Q. Can you describe the difference between the pressure this year and last year, defending champ, and how that might come into play whatsoever in a match like this?

ANDY MURRAY: No. To be honest, I handled the pressure fine. I mean, I started the tournament well. I was playing good tennis. Today was a bad day, you know, from my side. I made many mistakes, unforced errors, and then started going for too much and taking chances that weren’t really there.

I think I hit maybe one backhand winner the entire match, which isn’t normally what I do   especially on this surface.

So it was a tough day all around.

 

Q. Only four players have successfully defended their title in the open era after winning it for the first time. Now that you’ve actually gone through that whole experience yourself, can you identify with why that’s such a small number?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, to start with, I mean, it’s an incredibly difficult tournament to win. You know, quite a lot of the players that have won have come back and won the tournament in the future.

But, yeah, to win, you know, any tournament back to back, never mind a Grand Slam on a surface like this which, you know, rests sometimes on a few points in a set, you know, it’s not always going to go your way.

So I would say grass, you know, it’s a tough surface to do it on. But I didn’t feel like that had any bearing on the outcome of my tournament.

 

Q. Is this the toughest loss of your career, would you say?

ANDY MURRAY: No. Toughest loss of my career was losing in the final here in 2012. But I need to go away and make a lot of improvements in my game. I’ve lost a couple of matches in the last few slams where I’ve lost in straight sets and, you know, played poorly.

So I need to have a think about things, what are the things I need to improve, and get myself in better shape and work even harder. Because everyone’s starting to get better. The younger guys are now obviously becoming more mature and improving all the time.

I need to make some improvements to my game.

 

Q. How would you describe Dimitrov’s game and what your appraisal is of his potential?

ANDY MURRAY: It’s very hard to know what someone’s potential is because, you know, there’s a lot of factors involved in how someone’s career goes.

But he plays well on all of the surfaces; he moves well; he’s a very good athlete; he has variety in his game, which helps him play on all of the surfaces.

Yeah, he’s a talented guy. He has a talented hand, so he can dig himself out of tough situations and points. You know, when you think the point’s won, he can come up with some great shots.

Yeah, I don’t know his exact potential. It’s impossible to say. But he’s obviously made some big improvements over the last 12 to 18 months and he’s getting better.

 

Q. Do you believe your best tennis is yet to come?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. But if I’m going to play better tennis than I am just now, the only way to do that is by working even harder than I have before. Getting in the gym, getting stronger, becoming physically better.

But, yeah, the only way that I can improve is by getting myself on the practice court and working harder than I have done in the last 12 months. Hopefully that will help.

 

Q. With what you said about Dimitrov being young, did the performance   with no disrespect   make you feel a bit old out there today, that he’s coming through like that?

ANDY MURRAY: No, I don’t feel old. I mean, like I said, I still played some very good tennis this tournament. I’ve had a good run here at Wimbledon over the last few years. Obviously it’s disappointing for it to end like that.

But, you know, now we’ll see whether I can come back stronger and come back better. And, yeah, no one knows, but I’m going to try.

 

Q. How will it work now with Amélie? Would you like to carry on working with her?

ANDY MURRAY: We’ll sit down and chat about that maybe tomorrow or in a few days. But, yeah, it has to come from both sides.

I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of weeks. I’ve found it good fun. I found it calming. Tactically, you know, I feel like the chats have been good. Also the direction that I would like my tennis to go in.

So I hope so, but we’ll need to sit down and chat.

 

Q. Did you feel this morning at all that it might be a flat day, or was it out of the blue to you?

ANDY MURRAY: It’s not necessarily about being flat. The fire was still there. My game was just not where I would have liked it to be.

I hit the ball well in practice the last day or two. I hit the ball well, fine in the warmup this morning. That wasn’t a problem.

Yeah, I just played badly today. I’m disappointed with that. Obviously, you know, I have to have a think about maybe why that was. But often I think people overanalyze things and look at things in too much detail.

I just didn’t play well today and he played much better than me from the beginning to the end. That’s not going to add up to a good day at the office.

 

Q. Rafa said yesterday he was looking forward to going to the beach. What are you going to look forward to be doing in the next few days?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. Yeah, for me, like I said, I need to make some improvements in my game. I need to get on the practice court soon, because now there’s time before the next bunch of tournaments to do that, to make improvements. You know, it’s not often in the year you get that much time.

But I’ll also need to have a think for a few days about how it is I’m going to go about that, how it is I’m going to go about improving and trying to get better again.

So, yeah, I’ll definitely take a few days away from the court. Probably won’t be on a beach. I’ll then start practicing fairly soon.

 

Q. You spoke a minute ago about a day at the office. Are you enjoying playing tennis at the moment?

ANDY MURRAY: The last few months, yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed being on the practice court. I’ve enjoyed, you know, especially the last few weeks with Amélie. It’s been different. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. That’s the most important thing.

In terms of moving forward, I think when you stop enjoying practicing and training, you know, and traveling, then you have to have a think about what you actually want to do with yourself. Because, you know, you don’t want to make yourself miserable when you’re doing something that you’ve loved since you were a kid.

But there’s been periods where I’ve struggled, but right now isn’t one of them.

 

Q. You seem particularly philosophical after that. Are you still 100% confident in your own game, and would be looking to go on and try to win the title here in the future?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, when I stop thinking I have a chance of winning these tournaments I’ll stop playing tennis. This is what I play for. I love these events. You know, I’ve had a lot of hard losses in them in my career, but also with some big highs, as well.

Yeah, this is obviously one of the hard ones. But, you know, I need to gain some motivation from it. The only way for me to, like I say, to get better or win these tournaments again is to make improvements because other guys are getting better now.

 

Q. Over your career have you gained most motivation from victories or defeats?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, I gained a lot of motivation when I lost in the final of Wimbledon in 2012. But, yeah, I mean, after the US Open I was pretty pumped and motivated because, you know, it took me such a long time to do that. It was nice to feel what it was like to win one of them. I gained a lot of motivation from that, too.

But the reality is you lose in most tournaments that you play. You don’t win even 30%, 40% of them. In tennis, most weeks you end up being one of the losers. Sometimes it’s in the final; sometimes it’s a bit earlier. You need to be able to deal with defeats and move on from them. That’s what the best players do.

 

Q. I was wondering how you found the crowd on Centre Court? Do you have a message for people who gathered on Murray Mound, as well?

ANDY MURRAY: The crowd have been great the whole event. It was obviously nice for me to come back and play the first match on Centre Court on the opening Monday.

Yeah, I mean, the crowds have been packed from the beginning. The support’s been fantastic. You know, obviously not everyone can get in to watch on the Centre Court, but I know there’s many more people out there that have been supporting and have been behind me.

I appreciate it. It always makes a big difference. That’s why I love coming back here.

 

Q. You had a very good first week. Did you ever believe that you would go all the way to the final? Did you have that belief in you when you started?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. Well, because of the way I was playing, yeah, I felt like I had a good chance of doing that. I was moving well. I was hitting the ball good. Yeah, I had not used up much energy. I had beaten some tough players. I had played well in my last match, too.

So, yeah, there was no reason for me to think    I’m aware of how difficult it is to get to the latter stages of these events and to win them. I’m aware of that. But I felt like if I played well, I would have given myself a good opportunity.

 

Q. You played so well on Monday; today you say you didn’t play well. How can it change so quickly?

ANDY MURRAY: It’s a high skill sport. So your timing is slightly off, you know, that can make a huge difference. When you’re playing team sports, you know, one player    five players have a bad day, and, you know, six players in football can make a difference.

In an individual sport, you know, you can wake up and the ball doesn’t feel as good on the racquet as it did two days beforehand. That’s just the way this sport is. That’s one of the things that makes it extremely challenging. It’s one of the things I enjoy about it. You never know how you’re going to feel when you wake up.

But, you know, obviously for me I’m just disappointed that today was one of those days and I wasn’t able to find a way to get better during the match.

ATP

Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

Continue Reading

ATP

Injured Alcaraz Pulls Out of Rio Open After Two Games

A sprained ankle a couple of minutes into his debut at the Rio Open forced top seed Carlos Alcaraz to abandon his match against Thiago Monteiro

Published

on

Carlos Alcaraz after the injury - Rio 2024 (photo Tennis TV)

For world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, this year’s Rio Open lasted two games: the Spanish champion had to retire on the score of 1-1 in the first set during his first-round match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the second point of the match.

In an accident somewhat reminiscent of the terrible one suffered by Zverev in the semi-final of Roland Garros 2022, Alcaraz’s right foot “got stuck”  in the clay as he returned towards the center of the court after returning from the left, and he immediately flew to the ground dropping his racket. The Spaniard immediately asked for a medical time-out, but as soon as he took off his shoe it was immediately clear that his ankle had already swollen.

After having a tight bandage applied, Alcaraz tried to continue the match, but just two games later he understood that it was not possible to continue so he shook hands with his opponent, abandoning the Brazilian tournament.

The match was played on a very heavy court due to the rain that had fallen heavily during the day. The organizers had been forced to cancel the daytime session and play could only begin around 7.30 pm local time, after the courts had remained under pouring water all day.

Alcaraz told the press present in Rio: “I think these things happen, especially on clay. It wasn’t a problem with the court, I hurt myself in a change of direction and this happens on this type of surface. I went back into the match to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if the ankle would improve. It didn’t happen, so we preferred to be cautious and withdraw as a precaution.”

Considering that Alcaraz left the court on his own two feet and managed to wobble through a couple of games after the injury, it is quite likely that the injury he suffered is much less serious than the one that kept Alexander Zverev away from tournaments for over seven months. However, it will be necessary to verify whether it is just a sprain or whether tendons or ligaments have been involved. If this were to be the case, the prognosis could turn out to be longer, and this is happening less than two weeks before the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Spaniard is scheduled to play an exhibition in Las Vegas on 3rd March against Rafael Nadal: it will be decided in the next few days whether to withdraw as a precaution for the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells.

Continue Reading

ATP

Can Jannik Sinner dodge the morning-after syndrome?

Very few players have managed to follow up their first triumph in a Major. Hewitt is the last new Grand Slam champion to immediately win an ATP title. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all misfired, can Jannik Sinner do better?

Published

on

Jannik Sinner - Australian Open 2024 (photo: X @federtennis)

By Roman Bongiorno

“The morning-after syndrome,” as they call it. The list of great champions who have suffered from it – Carlos Alcaraz, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, is impressive.  Some of the most illustrious names in our sport, the most successful ever. Yet, even for those who are legends, the match immediately after their first Grand Slam triumph is often an insurmountable hurdle.

The very young Spanish phenomenon, born in 2003, was the latest striking example. After winning the 2022 US Open and becoming the new world No. 1, Alcaraz managed to win just one set in his next two matches: he lost 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Davis Cup against Felix Auger Aliassime, who was definitely on fire in that period, and was inflicted a 7-5 6-3 defeat by veteran David Goffin in his first match at the ATP 500 in Astana.

Mentally, it’ not easy. The most important triumph of one’s life, immediately to be put aside.  And go back to work. The media are quick to pounce on any slip, headlines hinting at signs of a career already over: “it’s gone to his head”, “he has made his money” etc.

Less than a year later, Carlos Alcaraz was once more a Grand Slam champion, beating Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.

Just think of tennis legends such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who fell victims to this serious syndrome. The former, after his triumph at Roland Garros 2005, stepped back on court on the green grass of Halle, losing in 3 sets to the world number 147 German Alexander Waske: 4-6 7-5 6-3. For many, that was a disastrous defeat foreshadowing a future that would not be as bright as it had seemed. Rafa told another story, by winning another 21 Grand Slam titles, on every surface.

The Serbian, on the other hand, thrived on the hard courts of Melbourne, just like Jannik Sinner. In 2008, after winning the title, he was engaged in Davis Cup against Russia. He did not finish his rubber against Nikolay Davydenko and retired at the beginning of the fourth set while trailing 2 sets to 1. In his first ATP tour appearance, in Marseille, after brushing aside Ivan Dodig, he was ousted in three sets by Gilles Simon. Over the following 15 years Novak Djokovic went on to become the has become the most successful player ever.

What about Roger Federer? After lifting the trophy won at Wimbledon in 2003, he moved to the home clay of Gstaad.  He survived the morning-after syndrome  after a fierce but victorious struggle in the first round with the Spaniard Marc Lopez, ranked No.190. Then he cruised till the final, but was defeated in a five set hustle 5-7 6-3 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Jiri Novak.

The morning-after did not spare Juan Martin del Potro. After his stunning victory over Federer at the 2009 US Open, he set foot on an ATP tennis court three weeks later in Tokyo. It was Edouard Roger Vassellin, 189th in the world, who spoiled the party, neatly defeating the Argentinian in two sets, 64 64.

Even “Ice man” Bjorn Borg, the man without (apparent) emotions, focused only on tennis and winning, lost the first match after his success at Roland Garros 1974. He was defeated in the first round in Nottingham by world No. 71 Milan Holecek from Czechoslovakia. Over the next years he definitely made up for that impasse on English lawns.

A rare bird at last, and not by chance does it come from Australia, a land which is ever so rich in unique species. Lleyton Hewitt, who in 2001 after steamrolling Pete Sampras in the US Open final, immediately won his next matches, two singles rubbers in the Davis Cup against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, and then went on to win in Tokyo by beating Michel Kratochvil in the final.

Jannik Sinner has been building up his success on gruelling feats. Sure he’s eager to be back on the Dutch indoor courts of Rotterdam where he enjoyed a brilliant run last year, only surrendering to Danil Medvedev in the final. Just one year ago the Russian seemed an impossible opponent to defeat. Now, in the last 4 challenges, Jannik has beaten him 4 times. The last one, in the final of the Australian Open.

Rotterdam could have been the stage for a rematch, but Medvedev has pulled out of the tournament. Jannik Sinner appears as a favourite, and is vying to close in on that third place of the rankings currently held by Daniil.

Jannik has set out on his mission. But even if he were to be defeated in the first round by an opponent ranked beyond the top 200, no one should dare cry failure. Italy at last has a Grand Slam winner, and he is not to be downplay him in case of first defeats.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending