Andy’s latest column – US Open 2015
As he marches through the United States Open while battling a cold, Andy Murray talks to the New York Times about rest, recuperation, and recovery.
Q. So with that win behind you, let’s move on to what you’re doing tomorrow. How do you recharge tomorrow?
A: It does change a little bit. This time I want to practice early, and I did that after my last match as well with Mannarino. I came into practice quite early, around 1 o’clock so I could get back to the hotel. It’s pretty late just now, midnight. I’ll see my physio when I get back, and have a little bit of food at the hotel. But yeah, tomorrow I’ll come in here, leave the hotel at 11 a.m., and then I’ll see my physio for 45 minutes to an hour. I’ll warm up with my physical trainer, and then practice for an hour, probably fairly light. It’s not always light on the days off, but just because I’ve played a lot of tennis, I’m trying to kind of conserve my energy as much as I can, and recover on the days off rather than doing a tough practice session. After I finish, I’ll do an ice bath in there in the locker room. I do eight minutes in the ice bath at 46 Fahrenheit, which is like 9.5 Celsius or something like that. And then after that I’ll get in the car back to the hotel. I make sure I eat and drink a lot on the days off. When I get back to the hotel I’ll see my physio and have a stretch, massage, maybe sleep, and then go out for dinner. That’s pretty much it.
Q. Do you ever do things to take your mind totally off tennis during a tournament? Federer went to a Broadway play, Kvitova watched Moneyball; anything along those lines of an activity unrelated to optimizing your tennis?
A. I’ve done it before. We went to see War Horse, I went to see Lion King, just before the tournament. In Australia I’ve gone to see comedy shows during the event. But here, normally because it’s quite a long way to get to and from the venue, I don’t normally do much, to be honest.
Q. A bunch of players have been battling sickness at this tournament, you among them. What do you do to prevent that, if anything, or is it just luck?
A. Hand sanitizer–a lot of hand sanitizer. And when players are sick, it sounds stupid, but I try not to shake loads of people’s hands. I just give them the fist bump instead of shaking hands. And it’s important to not spend so much time here in the locker room.
Q. So is it awkward when you see someone coughing and you have to move away?
A. (Laughs.) I’m not that bad with the germs and stuff, like Brad Gilbert and Andre Agassi. I don’t know if you’ve heard this story: when I went for dinner with Agassi and Brad Gilbert once in Vegas, Agassi went to open the door, and literally, I swear to God, bent down and grabbed the bottom corner of the door. I went, ‘What’s he doing?’ And then Agassi goes ‘No one touches the door down there!’ Um, O.K. (Laughs). But those two are big germaphobes, and I’m not that.
Q. When you have a cold or something, you have to be careful about what you can take and what might contain a banned substance. Do you have a stash of approved stuff with you, do you apply for exemptions?
A. I have never in my career applied for an exemption for anything. I go to the tournament doctor, and just speak them. There’s a couple of things you can take, like decongestants. That’s pretty much it–and 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C every morning, and try to sleep as much as possible.
Q. And you always go through those official channels to play it safe.
A. Yeah, I would absolutely never buy anything over-the-counter from any pharmacist. I don’t understand athletes that do that.