TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 30th of June. A. Murray d. K. Anderson 6-4, 6-3, 7-6. An interview with Andy Murray
Q. You mentioned in your TV interview, you said you played well outdoors, and when it went indoors you kind of fell back a bit. Could you expand on that, what the difference is with the roof?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, obviously everything was going my way when we stopped, and then, yeah, it’s different conditions. I mean, most players will tell you that there’s a big difference between playing indoors and outdoors. It changes the way the court plays.
And, yeah, that was it. He started hitting the ball cleaner. I started off a bit tentative when we came back out.
But, you know, I still did well. I still created loads of chances, a lot of opportunities in the third set, and just couldn’t quite get them.
But, I mean, I still played pretty well under the roof. I was just a little bit more tentative and he was going for his shots a little bit more, was maybe feeling – you know, when there’s no wind, it was drizzling a little bit for like 20, 30 minutes before we stopped, he was maybe a bit more comfortable under his feet as well when he was moving. Maybe that was it.
Q. With the roof, were you given an explanation why the match started with the roof open when there was rain coming?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, they should always try to play with the roof open because it’s an outdoor event. I think we need to give the players the opportunity to play outdoors as long as possible.
Yeah, when it does rain, you know, it’s going to be there for a while. Yeah, they obviously need to close it.
But, I mean, we played for, what, 1 hour and 20 minutes or 30 minutes outdoors. It wasn’t like it was just five or ten minutes.
Q. How happy are you with your performance?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t mark myself. I was just happy that I won the match. I was a bit disappointed with how I started under the roof. The beginning, like I said, I was a little bit tentative. Apart from that, that sort of three or four games when we came back out, I played well.
I created many chances, gave him a few opportunities. That’s what you need to do on grass court tennis. You don’t always break. But if you keep putting them under enough pressure, you’re going to get through in the end.
Q. When you went off court, I presume you spoke with Amélie, what were the logistics of that? Did you have a chat in the corridor?
ANDY MURRAY: I’ve been asked that question quite a lot about the locker room. On the women’s tour, there’s literally no female coaches, so they have to deal with those things every single day.
I went in, I showered, I got changed. Then went outside the locker room and chatted with Danny and Amélie five steps from the door to the locker room. That was it.
Q. Sir Alex was in the Royal Box today. Have you had a chance to see him? How much contact do you have with him generally?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, sent a message to each other at various times during the year. I chatted to him for a few minutes after the match. Not for long, but just immediately when I came off the court, I had a little chat to him.
Yeah, we stay in contact throughout the year.
Q. You mentioned you talked to Alex Ferguson. Last year you mentioned gold dust from him. Without giving away any secrets, did he tell you anything today you might use further on in the tournament?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, we chat about a lot of things. We talked about my match today, spoke about football, World Cup a little bit. Then, yeah, he just said a few things, what he’s observed when he’s been watching me, not necessarily about technical or tactical things, but more sort of mental things, how you respond to tough or tight situations.
Yeah, I mean, obviously you’re going to listen to someone like him. He’s witnessed a lot of big sort of tight sporting occasions. He obviously knows his stuff.
Q. You play Dimitrov next, who is not a top-10 guy but has gotten a lot of attention. When you see someone getting this sort of buildup before they have a major breakthrough, what do you think? Can it be harmful to them or does it just encourage them?
ANDY MURRAY: I think everyone deals with those things differently. I think maybe right at the beginning of his career it was hard for him because everyone was comparing him to Federer. That’s impossible to live up to what Roger’s achieved.
You know, maybe no one again will ever win that many slams. I know Rafa’s got a shot, but it’s going to take a while I think before someone wins 18, 19 majors again. So that could have been tough for him at the beginning of his career.
But now he’s starting to come into his prime. He’s won a lot of matches this year. You know, he’s a tough player. Will be a hard match for me.
Q. Your reading of what Kevin Anderson was going to do today really stood out. Was that luck or was there a bit more, a sixth sense in reading what he’s going to do?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I mean, I guess, you know, anticipation is – yeah, a bit of it’s guessing, but a bit of it is just sort of being educated in a way that you can see certain movements that they’re making just before they hit the shot and almost thinking what they’re thinking, as well, in that little split second that you have to make a decision which side to go.
But, yeah, that’s just part of defending in the game. Anticipation is very important. It’s something I’ve done well since I was a kid.
Q. Back to Dimitrov, what changes have you seen in him since he took up with Roger Rasheed?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, he’s a more mature player now, I think. He makes better decisions on the court than he used to. I mean, watching him play, his strokes and stuff, technically he hasn’t made many changes to his game.
But he’s playing higher-percentage tennis, making better decisions. That adds up to winning many more matches.
So he can obviously hit a lot of different shots. He has a lot of variety in his game. Sometimes it takes time to know how to use that properly. He’s starting to do that now.
Q. How big a step up do you think Grigor is from what you’ve faced so far?
ANDY MURRAY: It’s a step up because it’s one round further, and the guys that are in the quarterfinals are going to be playing top tennis. He obviously won Queen’s a couple weeks ago. He likes the grass courts.
Yeah, it’s a big opportunity for him, as well, playing on the Centre Court, the courts at Wimbledon for the first time.
Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for him. Hopefully we can play a good match.
Q. What are your thoughts on the idea of a timer for the time in between points? Do you think that could possibly be something that would be embraced by the players and be helpful?
ANDY MURRAY: I think it’s the only way to go, to be honest, because how are you supposed to know as a player how long 20 seconds is or 25 seconds between a point?
When I’m playing, it’s not something I’m ever thinking about, how long I’m taking between the point. Then sometimes if you’re playing too slow, the umpire tells you at the change of ends. You ask him, How slow am I going? He said, Two or three seconds.
Obviously we’ve been playing a lot of tennis matches, so we have an understanding of, you know, when we’re kind of going over the limits or not. But you don’t know when it’s 4-All in the fifth set of a match, you played a 30-shot rally, you’re not counting in your head 20 seconds. You’re thinking about tactics or what you’re going to do on the next point.
When you get a warning or a player gets a warning, at that stage you can understand when they’re frustrated because they don’t know how long they’ve taken. If it’s right there for everyone to see, then there’s no arguing from the player’s side.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
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