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

Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

Published

on

Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas Play for the Men’s Championship

Published

on

Novak Djokovic this week in Melbourne (twitter.com/australianopen)

A year ago, Novak Djokovic experienced quite an embarrassing debacle.  After the unvaccinated Djokovic was initially granted an exemption and allowed to enter Australia, he was later detained, and eventually deported and prevented from competing at this tournament.  His refusal to get vaccinated continues to prevent Novak from competing in North American tournaments, missing Indian Wells, Miami, Canada, Cincinnati, and the US Open last year. 

 

But at the events Djokovic has been allowed to participate in over the past seven months, he has been nearly unstoppable.  Since the beginning of Wimbledon last June, he is now 37-2, with five titles.  Novak comes into this championship match on a 16-match winning streak, with seven of those victories against top 10 opposition.  With a win on Sunday, Djokovic not only ties Rafael Nadal in their ongoing race for history with 22 Major titles, but he also regains the World No.1 ranking, despite all the tennis he’s missed.

However, standing in his way is a hungry and confident Stefanos Tsitsipas.  This is the Greek’s second Major final, and the second time he’s encountered Djokovic in this round of a Slam.  Two years ago in the championship match of Roland Garros, Tsitsipas secured the first two sets, before losing to Novak in five.  If Stefanos can win one more set on Sunday, he’ll not only win his first Major title, he’ll also become the World No.1 for the first time.

Also on Sunday, the women’s doubles champions will be crowned.  Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who have won six Majors as a team, face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who are vying for their first Major as a team. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (4) – 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Djokovic’s excellence in the latter rounds of the Australian Open is rivaled only by Nadal’s excellence at Roland Garros.  Novak is now 19-0 in the semifinals and finals of this tournament, which is quite staggering.  He’s also won his last 27 matches at this event, and his last 40 in Australia in general, a streak that dates back over five years.  While Novak suffered a hamstring injury a week before this fortnight, he has still advanced to this final rather easily, dropping only one set through six matches.

Tsitsipas has now reached the semifinals or better in four of the last five years at the Australian Open, but this is his first time reaching the final.  He enjoys plenty of Greek support at this event, and appears to have some extra swagger in his step during this fortnight.  Stefanos has dropped three sets to this stage, and has been superb at saving break points.  Through six matches, he has saved 44 of 53 break points faced.

Both men feel fully at home on Rod Laver Arena, and have described it as their favorite court.  But this is their first meeting on RLA.  They’ve met plenty of times on other courts though, in a rivalry that’s been thoroughly dominated by Djokovic.  The Serbian leads 10-2, and has claimed their last nine matches.  That includes four matches that took place in 2022, in which Novak won eight of their nine sets.  They played three times within a six-week period this past fall on indoor hard courts, with their closest and best matchup taking place in the semifinals of Bercy, where Djokovic prevailed in a final-set tiebreak.

Djokovic is undeniably a huge favorite to win his 10th Australian Open.  But that common knowledge takes a lot of pressure off Tsitsipas, who was so close to defeating Novak the last time they met in a Slam final.  Djokovic has been rather unbothered by all competition during this tournament, even with an injured hamstring.  Can Stefanos pull off one of the bigger surprises in recent tennis history?  I expect him to challenge Novak on Sunday, but Tsitsipas’ backhand remains a liability. And with Djokovic determined to avenge what he sees as mistreatment a year ago in Australia, a Novak loss would be truly surprising.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open: Facing Tsitsipas For World No. 1 Spot May Be Different for Novak Djokovic

Published

on

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

It probably was a good thing that Novak Djokovic wasn’t facing a top opponent in the Australian Open semifinals. Certainly not one the caliber of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

Of course, Tommy Paul did his best. He just isn’t a top ten caliber player.

The American could rally with Djokovic, but when it came time to win the point or game, he  usually was nowhere to be found on the Rod Laver court.

DJOKOVIC WILL NEED TO BE BETTER

The fact that Tsitsipas is in contention for the No. 1 ranking in men’s tennis is enough to ensure that Paul isn’t quite in the league with the Greek superstar.

Djokovic will need to be better than he was against Paul when he steps onto the court to face Tsitsipas on Sunday night in the Australian Open singles final.

There was Djokovic blundering his way through a one-sided 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over Paul. The scoreline should have been closer to 3-1-2. But Novak appeared to have all kinds of physical ailments — legs, knees, bandaged hamstring. Or just plain conditioning and breathing hard. You name it.

NIGHT-TIME DUTY ONCE AGAIN

It was just night time in Melbourne. You wonder what might have happened if Novak had been assigned some daytime duty like everyone else in the tournament. Say, like Tsitsipas had been assigned for his closer than the scores reflex in the Greek’s 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over Karen Khachanov in Friday’s other semifinal.

Tsitsipas is a real threat to claim the world’s top ranking on Sunday night with a victory over the legend from Serbia. Of course, in the 2021 French Open final, Tsitipsas won the first two sets against Djokovic.

It’s possible. Tsitsipas could come through this time.

A SHADOW OF THE OLD NOVAK

Novak was only a shadow of the old Djokovic Friday night. And that was against a player who may never earn a berth in another Grand Slam semifinal.

Of course, Djokovic wasn’t quite as out of it as Rafa Nadal was in the second-round blitzing by Mackenzie McDonald. But Nadal was nursing a hip injury. He may be a different player in Paris in four months.

Djokovic still has all of the big shots and serves he has displayed for much of the last two decades. He just didn’t seem to know where all of those weapons were headed in the semifinals.

IS NOVAK’S BAG OF TRICKS EMPTY?

Of course, if Novak pulls a solid performance out of his bag of tricks and denies Tsitsipas the world’s top ranking, Djokovic likely would stand in Nadal’s path in Paris to a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

The task won’t be easy. First, Novak has to take care of business on Sunday night. But with a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title up for grabs, Djokovic may actually look like himself. 

As Novak says, he wants to be known as the best player in the world.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending