Tough to wake up on the day of the draw for a slam and not be in it! Was hoping it was a bad dream... #reality
Andy's latest Column - The Australian
Column taken from The Australian 21/1/13
BACK in December, I decided to invite some journalists to Miami to give them an insight into how I go about my preparations for the Australian Open and the rest of the year. Hence you may have seen a few photos of five middle-aged journalists jogging down a beach in Miami alongside me. It was hardly David Hasselhoff-style from Baywatch but I hear it did create a bit of a stir on Twitter.
The reason for the invitation dates back to some tough questions in press conferences through the years after some difficult losses, a couple of which happened here in Melbourne in finals. I was always being asked whether I was doing enough to become a grand slam winner, when it was going to happen or if I would consider approaching things in a different way. As I have always said to anyone that asks, I am trying my best every time I step on to a court. I had given 100 per cent in those finals and when I was preparing. I had spent a lot of time in the gym, a lot of time on the court preparing to try and win those matches and just because I didn’t, it was not through a lack of doing the hard work.
I get on well with the media guys and had said to a couple of the writers that if they ever wanted to come and watch me train, to see how hard I was working, they should feel free because it would give them a better appreciation of how I went about things and I promised not to be too tough on them (well that’s what I said to their face). My fitness trainer Jez Green and Ivan Lendl helped put them through their paces in December and I am pretty sure that a few days doing weights, pull-ups, Bikram Yoga and running through the sand in Miami is quite different to how they would usually spend the tennis off-season. I am also pretty sure that a couple of the writers felt a little sore for a few days after it – payback time for all those tough questions But I felt it was a worthwhile exercise and they have told me they appreciated it as well. I won’t name any names but one or two couldn’t manage a single chin up and I won’t even get into what happened on the VersaClimber, but it turned out to be an amusing few days and beneficial for all.
So after putting those journalists through hell, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an award over the weekend from the International Tennis Writers. The award was for Ambassador of the Year and Serena and I won it for 2012, it was voted for by over 100 top international tennis journalists. I have got to say that I’m still not exactly sure what the trophy is, people have told me it is a device that helps keep champagne cool. Hopefully I’ll be able to put it to use if I manage to win the Australian Open but it will go pride of place next to my US Open trophy and gold medal!
Now to the tennis. Even though I didn’t play my best tennis against Ricardas, a good friend of mine, I was able to get through the match in straight sets, which means I’ve survived the first week of another major. That is never an easy task given the quality of the players on tour and Ricardas is an example of just how much depth there is. He is a really talented player yet he was forced to fight through qualifying just to get into the main draw in Melbourne.
My fourth round opponent is Gilles Simon, another really talented guy from France who is clearly playing some good tennis. I hear he and Gael Monfils had a rally that lasted 71 shots on Saturday, that’s pretty amazing. Gilles can be a tough player to beat if he is at his best and injury free. I remember he pushed Roger Federer to five sets in Melbourne a couple of years back and he is a very talented player, who has been as high as number 6 in the world.
I’ll need to play better than I did on Saturday but I feel I’m improving and importantly I’m finding ways to win matches regardless. That said, I’m confident of lifting my level today.