Thanks a lot for all the messages of support...seeing specialists on monday and tuesday... Will let you know how it goes
I’ve just arrived in Rome and enjoyed being in Madrid last week, two amazing cities we are fortunate to visit on the tour.
I played some gruelling matches this week at altitude, and although I’m disappointed I didn’t get the win against Tomas Berdych, I feel like I can take away a lot of positives. I was also really pleased to reach four hundred match wins, not many players can say they have won over four hundred matches.
My preparation for Madrid was positive and although it was disappointing to go out early in Monte Carlo, it gave me the opportunity to practice playing lots of matches on the clay. I had a few practices matches with Grigor Dimitrov and also Dolgopolov who are both solid clay court guys.
I did a coaching clinic for some kids earlier this week and I’ve got one tomorrow here in Rome, which was really enjoyable and a good way to relax and have fun.
Madrid is obviously a little bit different to all the other clay tournaments. The ball moves in a completely different way and the altitude makes competing at a high intensity really tough. When matches are as tough as they are in Madrid, recovery is difficult but really important.
After my match with Gilles Simon, by the time I had finished my press conference I think it was like one thirty in the morning by the time I got out. It’s hard when you finish that late, sleep is often the best form of recovery but it’s also important to make sure you do as much as you can before to help the natural recovery process. Everyone has different methods but for me I like to get on the bike then have a shower then stretch and have a massage and get to bed as quickly as I can, so I can feel as fresh as possible the next morning.
On a separate note away from the tournament, I was able to make an appearance on one of my favourite TV shows ‘Sky Sports Ringside.’ It was great to be able to talk boxing with Jonny Nelson and Adam Smith, both who are legends in the boxing world and there are some really exciting fights coming up, which I’m hoping to watch whilst I’m away.
Alongside keeping up to date with the boxing world, I’ve been keeping a close eye on my fantasy team, last few weeks of the season and it’s really heating up. I say that, but I’ve got a pretty comfortable lead over the other guys, so I should be retaining my Premier League crown any day now!
Up next for me now is the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Rome is probably up there with one of my favourite tournaments to play during the clay season. They only recently built a new centre court here a few years back, but the atmosphere remains really relaxed and it’s a great tournament to be a part of, which is nice as it means I can go into the French Open feeling fresh.
Also being in the heart of Rome there’s obviously some amazing sights, and the food is always great wherever you go but the traffic can be an absolute nightmare, so it definitely pays to leave a little earlier when you have a match!
Andy has lost in the quarter finals of the Madrid Open, losing in straight sets 6-7 4-6.
In a match that was closely fought from the outset, Andy led by a break in the opening set but lost it on a tie-break and was unable to replicate the comeback of Thursday night. Andy had a break point in the opening game of the first set but was unable to convert, and the opening games went with serve. The set proceeded to a tie-break, which Berdych decisively won.
Andy struggled out of the blocks at the beginning of the second set, and was broken in the first game. But this time it was his turn to break back, taking the set to 1-1. Berdych broke to love in the fifth game of the set, part of a run of 11 straight points. Two match points arrived, and a weary looking Andy lost the set 4-6.
Speaking after the match, Andy rued his missed chances but admitted he could take positives from his performance “Tomas is a very good clay court player and it was a close match – I had my chances. I think I’m playing OK. Some things I would like to do better, but I did play very well in practice in the build-up to this tournament”
Andy retains the world number two ranking from Roger Federer, and now moves to Rome where he will play in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Masters tournament.
Andy survived a scare to progress to the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open with a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Gilles Simon.
Andy started the match slowly as he dropped his opening service game. He was also broken in his third service game as Simon cruised into a comfortable lead and easily saw out the first set.
Andy’s woes continued as Simon again broke in the first service game of the second set. However this time Andy responded, breaking back to level at 2-2 before holding his serve to go ahead in the second set for the first time.
Andy had the momentum at the start of the third and a strong offence in the second game saw the British No 1 gain an early break and surge into a 2-0 lead. The set then went with serve until the 12th game, where Murray struck on his fifth set point to break Simon and take the contest into a decider. Despite the numerous match points, Simon fought back, breaking in the fifth game and the Frenchman just about held firm for the rest of the set to take things into a tie-break, where his resistance was finally broken, and Andy closed out the set 8-6 in the tie break.
Speaking after the match Andy said “It’s very different playing in the evening, the ball doesn’t bounce particularly high. He was taking my time away and hitting close to the lines and making it very difficult. I managed to turn it around. I probably could have finished the third a bit quicker if I had taken some of my chances but he fought.”
Andy has secured his 400th career win with a hard fought straight sets win over his German opponent Florian Mayer.
The match looked as though it was going to be a close encounter from the outset with both players hitting well from the back of the court. Both players were holding well, and there was an air of inevitability about a first set tie break. As expected the first set did go to a tie break, and continued in a similar fashion, both players had opportunities to win the set and Andy looked to be struggling, being forced to save five match points. However Andy’s determination shone through and he eventually found the opportunity to take the first set, winning the tie break 13-11.
After the gruelling tie break of the first set, Andy appeared slow to start slipping to a 0-3 deficit. However Andy eventually found his stride again, and despite some strong resistance from his German opponent, he fought back to level the set at 4-4. Both players then held serve well to force another tie break in which Andy had little trouble securing. Racing to a 3-0 lead in the tie break, Andy held well to close out the breaker 7-3.
Speaking after the match Andy said “I moved way better than I did in Monte Carlo, he’s a very difficult player to play. He’s so unorthodox, he can play almost any shot and he’s got a long reach but I thought I did well to come through.”
Speaking on his previous clay court performances Andy said “Obviously I have had some solid results on the clay before, I made the semis of the french, it just takes me time to get used to it, it was great to get out on the clay and practice with Ivan. I just needed to play lots of sets which I did in practice in Monte Carlo, which has helped.”
Andy will now face the sixteenth seed Frenchman Gilles Simon in the third round.
Andy lost in the third round of The Monte Carlo Masters after losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets.
Andy was slow to start and after failing to capitalise on an early break point, it was his swiss opponent who quickly took control. The second set followed in a similar fashion, and Andy fell to a 1-6 2-6 defeat.
Speaking after the match Andy said “I starting making some errors and started hitting the ball shorter. It does take me time to feel comfortable on the surface, there are things I need to work on, on this surface that I need to get better. There are times your just not quite feeling the ball and today was one of those days. Nobody likes to lose like that so hopefully I can use it as motivation to improve, ill need to work really hard over the next few weeks and get myself ready for Madrid.”
Andy will return to clay court action in two weeks time in Madrid.
Andy has stormed into the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters after sweeping aside Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets.
Andy flew out of the blocks racing into a 4-0 lead. He faced little resistance from his French opponent in the first set and comfortably closed out the set 6-1. Andy’s french opponent returned to the match in the second set in a much livelier fashion, however Andy secured an early break to stay in charge of the second and he withstood a break-back point to ensure he led 4-2. His opponent managed to hold serve however Andy comfortably served out the match and secured the set 6-4, to win the match.
Speaking after the match Andy said “I got to 4-0 early on which helped, I think he was a bit nervous, didn’t move that well at the beginning and then he started to play better. He was getting a lot of balls back and I tried to attack as much as I could. It’s a positive and good start.”
Andy now faces the world number seventeen Stanislas Wawrinka and is third on Court Central tomorrow.
So last week turned out pretty well! It was great to be able to win at the Sony Open. The final itself was one of the toughest matches I’ve played for a while. David is a formidable opponent at the best of times and he really brought everything to that court on Sunday. He is a good friend of mine, and a great guy and always works for every point. It’s tough playing in that heat and humidity, part of the reason there were so many breaks of serve, and we were both struggling towards the end. I was just pleased that I could close the match out and gain my 26th career title.
I’ve spent the last few days having some time out to relax after a pretty intense couple of weeks of tennis, it’s good to rest and recharge ahead of the clay season. It will come as no surprise to most of you that I’ve managed to fit in a few Miami Heat games, The Heat have been on fire this season, so its always great to go and watch them. I think they have only lost 2 games in their last 30 matches, which is just incredible. The end of the Premier League season is on the way and after a very busy few weeks it’s safe to say my my fantasy football team needs some attention, I’m confident though I can make the necessary changes to gain those all important points in the closing weeks.
I’ve also spent a lot of time with my dogs the last few days, they came out to Miami with me for the first time this year, and it has been great having them here and coming home to them everyday, and as I’m sure you can tell from my Facebook, I think they have had a decent time, at least they’ve avoided the snow back home!
After winning in Miami I moved up to number two in the world rankings. Its great to be back in the top two after almost three years. My hard work over the last twelve months has really paid off, which is motivating me to push even harder this year. For now I’m staying totally focused on putting in a solid performance on the clay, taking it one tournament at a time.
The clay’s not always been my favorite surface, the ball tends to bounce higher and travels much slower than some of the other surfaces on the tour. However this year, I intend to prepare myself so that I’m in the best possible shape at the French Open. My first clay tournament of the season will be in Monte Carlo, so after a few more days out here in Miami doing some lighter training on the clay courts, I’ll head over to Europe to get started on my clay court preparation.
Monte Carlo is one of my favourite tournaments, it’s set in one of the best locations in the world, with some spectacular views across the bay, and some equally amazing boats and cars. The weather is always nice which is a bonus and it’s a very well run tournament, so I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks as always for your support and see you in a few weeks.
Andy has won his twenty sixth career title after winning a gruelling three set epic against world number four David Ferrer.
The match from the outset always looked destined to be a gruelling affair with long rallies from the outset, however it was Ferrer that flew out of the blocks, racing to a 5-0 lead. Andy began to settle, taking back two games, however he had left himself too much to do to salvage the first set and Ferrer secured the set 6-2.
The second set saw a considerably improved Andy break straight away to lead 2-0, however it was not to be plain sailing, as Ferrer replied with a break of his own. Andy however decisively broke at 4-4, and then emphatically served out the second set taking it 6-4.
The real drama of the day developed in the third set, both players appeared to be struggling under the Miami sun and both struggled to hold serve. The first hold of serve didn’t arrive until Ferrer held to lead 4-3. However undeterred by Ferrer’s hold of serve, Andy immediately hit back, holding and then breaking Ferrer to lead 5-4. Undeterred by the pressure of Andy serving for the match Ferrer immediately replied to level the score at 5-5 and then go on to lead 6-5. Serving to stay in the match, Andy was forced to save an epic match point to force the match back to deuce and then to a tie break. An inspired Andy then stormed head first into the tie break, racing into a 3-0 lead. It seemed from then on, the deficit was too large as Andy closed out the match confidently and emphatically dominating the tie break 7-1.
Speaking after the match Andy said “It was such a tough match it could’ve gone either way, I mean both us fought as hard as we could, we both struggling physically and I was lucky enough to come through.” Paying tribute to his opponent Andy credited Ferrer saying “David is one of the best players in the world, its so tough to play against him, he’s incredible, he’s got a great attitude and he is a great fighter, I’m sure we will have more tough matches in the future.” Also Andy commented on the incredible atmosphere at the tournament, saying to the delight of the crowd “I love playing here I love training here, its a great city and its great to come back here, the atmosphere was unbelievable, so thank you everyone.”
Andy has now passed Roger Federer in the ATP World Rankings to secure the world number two rank, his highest rank since 2009.
Andy has defeated Richard Gasquet in three sets to reach the final of the Sony Open in Miami for the second successive year.
The match looked to be a close encounter from the outset with both players engaging in long rallies from the baseline and both players making winners from all areas of the court. Andy initially appeared to be struggling as he slipped to a 0-3 deficit. However Andy found his form and clawed back three games in a row to even the score and then went on to serve for the match. However Andy failed to capitalise and Gasquet forced a tie break. Gasquet pounced on an early mini break to take it 7-3 and lead Andy 1-0 in sets.
However Andy refused to allow Gasquet to gain any momentum from the first set and stormed the second set, dominating the frenchman with an emphatic 6-2 score to level the match at one set each.
The third set took a similar fashion to the first, both players fighting hard to gain the upper hand, and both breaking each other respectively. Andy however seized a key break opportunity to lead 3-1, and from then on his french opponent was chasing him. Andy secured the third set with a solid 6-3 score.
Andy will now face world number five David Ferrer in the final on Sunday, a win will see Andy overtake Roger Federer and become the world number two for the first time since 2009.
Andy has reached the semi finals of the Sony Open in Miami after confident win of Marin Cilic.
In match that saw frequent breaks of serve, it was Andy who took advantage when he needed to decisively break at 4-4 and then close out the set 6-4..
Putting his opponent under further pressure Andy broke again in the first game of the second set to ensure his opponent was all but chasing him for the rest of the match as Andy confident sealed the second, breaking his opponent once more to take the set 6-3.
Speaking after the match Andy said “I think it was a very good match after the first few games, from my side. Obviously I had 0-40 in the first game, didn’t get it and went a break behind but every time I got broken, I think I broke straight back. I came back well from the setbacks and used good variation to keep him off-balance.” Andy continued “It was a tough match, it was hot and we had some long points, long games, and I’m glad I came through in two sets.”
Andy will face the winner of the quarter final between Richard Gasquet and Thomas Berdych.
Andy has stormed into the quarter finals of the Miami Open with a confident straight sets win over his Italian opponent Andreas Seppi.
Andy wasted no time getting out of the starting blocks securing the early break to lead 3-1. Andy looked comfortable from the outset and the early break proved to be crucial as Andy made very few mistakes to close out the first set, securing it comfortably 6-2. The second set followed the same trend however was slightly more competitive but Andy serving decisively, and clinically closing the match out on serve 6-4.
Speaking after the match Andy said “It was a good match, and I started well, it was windy and it was swirling a little bit and he made a few unforced errors early, so he was struggling. He’s a good mover and solid from both wings, so it was great to get a win.” Andy admitted he’s also been enjoying his time in Miami saying “Its been a good few days, I’m happy, its a fun place to be and theres lots to do off the court and its also nice to sleep in your own bed”
Andy will face the winner of the match between Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Marin Cilic.
Andy has reached the fourth round of the Sony Open after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in a closely fought two sets in Miami.
In a close first set both players struggled with their serve in the first set, it was Dimitrov that looked likely to go a set ahead after charging to an early lead. However, Andy recovered exceptionally well from 5-2 down and saved two set points to force the set into a tie break. Despite some intense rallies early in the breaker, it was Andy that capitalised on the early mini break to take the tie break 7-3.
Andy wasted no time in the second set, and stormed into a 3-0 lead. Despite the early deficit, Dimitrov still came out with some gutsy tennis and both players often found themselves trading multiple strokes from the baseline, however Andy appeared confident in closing out the match and comfortably won the second set 6-3.
Andy will play in the fourth round tomorrow.
After a few hard weeks out in the desert of California it’s great to finally be back here in Miami. I got off to a good start in the Miami Open yesterday. Bernard can often be a difficult opponent to face, and he has beaten a lot of great players. I think yesterday my experience on the courts (they feel like a second home!) was a real benefit, which is what I think gave me the edge over Bernard on the day, I was just pleased to get the job done in straight sets.
I’ve been back in Miami nearly a week now, and its great to be able to get back into my usual training and also do a few things that I like to do to unwind. I recently played a pro am charity event on the green clay of Key Biscayne with my brother Jamie, it was great event to play and set against a sunset/palmtree back drop, not too bad to look at either and of course it was great to see my brother as always!
Its no secret than when I’m in Miami one of my favorite things to do is go and watch the Heat. They are currently on a record breaking run which has appropriately been dubbed the ‘heat wave’ considering the weather out here right now is really hot. The streak I think is the second longest in history, and they don’t appear to be slowing. Its great to see the team doing well and its especially great for a player like Lebron James who spent a long time trying to win his first major title, and now seems to be coming into his own as one of the all time greats of the game.
People often ask me what gives me inspiration in my own sport and if I’m honest there’s not one thing I can single out. Like any sports fan, I like seeing teams/players doing really well and playing the best they can even when the matches and conditions get tough. That’s the type of stuff that drives me to do the same and really push myself.
I’m looking forward to my next match with Grigor Dimitrov, we have played each other a few times, and they are always good matches. As long as I stick to my own game plan and continue to make my opponents work hard I’m confident I can put in a really solid performance at Crandon Park. Might see if I can jump in on the ‘heat wave!’
Andy has stormed into the third round of the Miami Open after defeating Bernard Tomic in straight sets.
Both players were slow to start breaking each other respectfully, however it was andy that seized the moment midway through the first and broke again winning the set 6-3. In a clear swing of momentum, Andy was simply to strong for the young Australian, who despite holding his first service game of the second set, eventually crumbled losing the second set 6-1.
Speaking after the match Andy admitted he hadn’t played his best tennis, saying “No matter how you start your match you need to make your opponent work hard. I didn’t hit it unbelievable today but I worked hard. Once I got the breakthrough he made mistakes. But it is unbelievably hot and windy. It’s tough to feel comfortable, I was maybe more than my opponent because I am used to the court and the wind and the humidity.”
Andy now faces Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.
Andy is the star of the new TV commercial for the Rado HyperChrome. Filmed in Miami, the 30 second film shows Andy on an unusual training session on his way to tennis practice. Pull-ups, boxing, skipping and a gym workout all feature as Andy tests the scratch-resistance of his watch.
To watch the video click below..
Andy has won the Laureus World Sport Award for World Breakthrough of the Year for 2012.
Speaking after the results were announced Andy said “It’s an honour to have won the Laureus World Sport Award for World Breakthrough of the Year for 2012. To come out on top amongst such a strong field of nominees really is the finishing touch on a great year for me. A big thank you to my team and all of you at home for your great support, it means a lot. Here’s to a great 2013 season! You can find the full list of winners and nominees on www.laureus.com, check it out!”
Andy survived a tough second round test against Russian Evgeny Donskoy in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Donskoy started strongly and raced to a 5-1 set lead, however Andy began to find his feet and managed to claw back four games to level the score at 5-5. The Russian then broke again to take the first set 7-5. Keen to get out the blocks quickly in the second Andy made no mistake in the second set and raced through with little errors, dominating the second set 6-2. The third set followed the same trend and Andy seemed keen to finish of his Russian opponent, and wasted no time, coming through the match in three sets, dominating the third set with again a 6-2 scoreline.
Speaking after the match Andy said “After going 5-1 down, I started to play pretty well. He came up with some big shots in that first set but I was happy with the way I played after, and I was hitting the ball well by the end of the match. Ive been playing well in practice over the last couple of weeks, but nothing quite beats getting back out and into matches”.
Andy next faces the world number seventy nine Yen Hsun Lu from Chinese Taipei in the third round.
Andy will face the Russian world number 83 Evgeny Donskoy on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. This is will be the first meeting between the two players.
Speaking ahead of the match, Andy explained “After Australia I went to Miami to train for three weeks, so physically I’m in good shape. I haven’t played particularly well here the last couple of years, I’ve struggled so I wanted to make sure I prepared as best I could for these two events in Indian Wells and Miami”
Andy will also pair up with his brother Jamie tonight in the doubles draw. The two brothers face a tough first round draw against the firth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Nenad ZImonjic.
After being nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award, Andy met with Laureus for a question and answer session about his memorable 2012 season.
Question: Congratulations on a wonderful year. That must have been the best year of your sporting life?
Andy Murray: 2012 was an amazing year and my most successful to date, my first Grand Slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country. I would have taken that at the start of the year, that’s for sure.
Question: Can you choose between the Olympics or the US Open as the best moment in the year, or for you was it something else?
Andy Murray: It’s a tough one. The Olympics was different to anything I had experienced before to be honest. I think I might have to take that after I lost in the Wimbledon final four weeks beforehand against Roger Federer. It was an incredibly tough moment for me that. And then to get the opportunity to play against him – it was literally four weeks to the day – on the same court and to win a gold medal for the country was something I’ll never forget.
Question: Did you approach the Federer final at Wimbledon differently than you approached the Olympic final?
Andy Murray: I think it was just good to have had that experience. When I played Roger in the Wimbledon final, I think that was maybe his ninth Wimbledon final, so I was coming in there with very little experience compared to him. So I think I learned a lot from that match, and went about the final of the Olympics the right way and obviously got the right result.
Question: Did you enjoy the home crowd or was it pressure?
Andy Murray: I really enjoyed it to be honest. It was a very different atmosphere at the Olympics to what you normally get during the Wimbledon championships. The British team had such a great Olympics and I watched loads of medals being won by the British athletes. I think I was motivated by that. The support the whole British team got during the Olympics was incredible.
Question: Did the gold medal at the Olympics give you the boost you needed for the US Open?
Andy Murray: I think it helped in some ways, but I know that before I played Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, it was the most nervous I’d been before a big match in my career. You know I was doubting myself a lot. You’re asking a lot of questions about whether you’re going to be able to do it, playing against the No 1 player in the world, someone that’s been so great on the hard courts the last few years. So I don’t think that the Olympics was the reason why I won the US Open, but winning events like that will obviously improve your confidence and hopefully you’ll gain experience from it.
Question: It was an outstanding year. What changed last year, or what made your game click last year?
Andy Murray: I don’t know exactly what changed, I think I learned a lot in the Australian Open last year. I had a great match with Djokovic in the semi-finals, it was 7-5 in the fifth set, that was five hours nearly, I lost but, I had chances and it came down to the last few points, and I think I gained a lot of belief from that match. I knew that I could last physically with him and also dictated long periods of the match and it was just nice to come off the court in a big match, not really having any regrets, and I think that changed a few things.
Question: What contribution has your coach Ivan Lendl made to your success?
Andy Murray: Not just to me, but to my whole team. We’ve been working together for a long time and to have someone like Ivan come along, who’s lost his first four Grand Slam finals, and I was in the same position as him. And just having someone like him to talk to and discus those feelings. There’s times when you doubt yourself and think that you’re a failure for losing matches like that, but you know he went on to win eight Grand Slams and to have someone with that experience in your corner has definitely helped.
Question: You have been nominated for the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award – how pleased would you be to win it?
Andy Murray: It’s a prestigious award and I’m up against plenty of other worthy and talented athletes, so it would be great to win it. Fingers crossed.
Question: Why is a Laureus Award so prestigious – is it because great champions have voted for you, like Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles?
Andy Murray: For precisely those reasons. All the people involved in the voting for the Award have been great champions themselves and they know what it takes, so it makes it even more special.
Question: Have there been times when you did not think you would win a Grand Slam?
Andy Murray: I think it’s only natural to have doubts and every time I’ve lost in a final it’s been incredibly tough. For me, the best way to deal with it is to get back on the tennis court and in the gym and work even harder. Experience is also vital and knowing how to win when you’re not necessarily playing your best tennis.
Question: You came very close to winning the Australian Open last month, what are your realistic targets for the rest of 2013?
Andy Murray: Preparation and consistency are key for me this year and I’m going into every tournament I play with the aim of winning it. I’m in a good place right now and I’m working hard with my team on every aspect of my game.
Question: You are up against swimmers, an athlete, a gymnast and a footballer this year for the Laureus Award; if you had to trade your sport for one of those, which would it be and why?
Andy Murray: A tough one, I think football would shade it as I spend so much time watching and talking about it. I used to play quite a bit as a kid, so I’d quite fancy a game anyway!
Question: What are your favourite sports to watch or play other than tennis?
Andy Murray: Boxing would have to be my No 1. I try and watch as many fights as possible. I love watching basketball and get to the Heat when I’m over in Miami. I also enjoy watching a lot of the Premier League, mainly just to check how my fantasy football team are doing. I’ll basically watch or play any sport!
Question: Other than your own achievements, what was your favourite sporting moment from 2012?
Andy Murray: London 2012 as a whole was very special, I was so proud to be part of that and be able to contribute. If I was picking a moment from that it would be the Saturday where Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford all won gold. That moment definitely helped me win a medal the next day!
For more information about Laureus and The World Sport Awards you can visit http://www.laureus.com
Andy will face either Evgeny Donskoy or Tatsuma Ito in the second round of The BNP Paribas Open after receiving a bye in his first round match.
After a solid training block in Miami for the last three weeks with Ivan and the team, I’ve finally arrived out in Indian Wells, it’s a great tournament and the weather isn’t too bad either!
It was good being back in Miami after a short break at home in the UK. In between training sessions I managed to sneak in a few Miami Heat games, it’s great to see them doing so well, they’re playing well and LeBron and Wade are on fire at the moment! I also got a chance to go and watch some Ice Hockey with Ivan, which was really interesting, as I’ve never really watched it before. It’s so fast, so you can’t really look away for a second. The guys that play are incredible athletes to watch, and they take some big hits.
However, it’s not all been American sports, I have still managed to keep up to date with the Premier League and the football back at home. I’ve managed to catch some of the big games and particularly the Champion’s League ties which have been great. I always like to keep up to date with the results just incase any changes are needed in my fantasy team and I’m pleased to say my team is ticking along nicely.
The BBC were also out with us in Miami doing some filming for a documentary that’s coming out just before Wimbledon which is pretty exciting, but more about that nearer the time.
Indian Wells is an amazing place and its great to be out here, despite being pretty much in the middle of the desert, it draws in some of the best crowds we see on the tour all year so its always got a great atmosphere. The courts are built right by the mountains, and any of you that like me on Facebook will have seen it provides some great back drops for photos!
My first match of the tournament is coming this weekend so I’ll be taking it a little easier this week, just fine tuning and putting into practice the stuff I’ve worked on over the last few weeks. As always, I’ve prepared well so now it’s a case of getting out on the court and playing my tennis, can’t wait.
It was confirmed today that Andy has acquired Cromlix House Hotel, close to Dunblane. His plans to transform the elegant Victorian mansion into a 15-room five star destination will create up to 40 new jobs for the local community and generate significant custom for other businesses nearby.
Following extensive refurbishment, the Perthshire hotel is scheduled to re-open next spring, ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup, which is being staged a short drive away at Gleneagles.
Commenting on his new venture, Andy said: “I am pleased to have acquired Cromlix House and look forward to securing its future as a successful business. By re-establishing Cromlix as a leading luxury hotel at the heart of the Dunblane community we will be able to attract new visitors to the area, create a number of new jobs and focus on supporting other local businesses. I’m pleased to be able to give something back to the community I grew up in.”
Situated in beautiful countryside less than five miles from Dunblane, the refurbished Cromlix House will boast a Chez Roux restaurant offering fine dining, but with a reasonably-priced menu, using locally sourced produce. The venue is also a popular wedding location, Andy’s brother Jamie married his Colombian wife Alejandra Gutierrez there in 2010.
The AEGON Championships is to host ‘Rally Against Cancer’ – an all-star doubles exhibition on finals day to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, which supports The Royal Marsden, the world-leading cancer centre treating British tennis player Ross Hutchins who was diagnosed with Hodkins Lymphoma in December.
Andy and Tim Henman will both be part of the line-up on Sunday 16th June, with other big-name tennis players and celebrities also making appearances.
“It is an unbelievable place that helps thousands of people in situations similar to mine. I’d had the idea of running a tennis event, and was approached about doing something after the final of the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club. I thought it was a great idea. So I asked Andy, and straight away he said he was up for it, and he would love to play for charity.”
Andy said: “As soon as Ross starting talking about the idea, I knew I wanted to get involved. We want to make it a day to remember, so we are talking to a few celebrities, who love their tennis, about coming down and getting involved on the day. I’m looking forward to helping raise as much money and awareness as possible so the charity can continue the amazing work it does, which I’ve heard all about through Ross.”
An additional £10 will be collected for each finals day ticket purchased and this will go directly to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. The Lawn Tennis Association, which owns the AEGON Championships, will contribute £10 for every ace hit during the tournament. There will also be an auction set up to raise further money, and donations can be made directly and at any time by going to: http://www.justgiving.com/RallyAgainstCancer2013
The Royal Marsden is a world-leading cancer centre specialising in diagnosis, treatment, care, education and research. The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity raises money to help The Royal Marsden provide world-class care for cancer patients, to support the hospital’s pioneering work in cancer research.
The Aegon Championships takes place 10th-16th June. For more information, please go to http://www.aegonchampionships.com
Andy’s first ever Grand Slam victory, at the US Open, plus an Olympic gold and silver medal in the singles and mixed doubles in London have made him a nominee for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award – The Laureus World Sports Awards recognise sporting achievement during the year.
The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony staged in Rio de Janeiro on March 11.
Along with Andy, the exceptional performances at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London by British athletes have produced four other Nominations for the 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards. Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, David Weir and Bradley Wiggins have all been shortlisted following a ballot by the world’s media.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports more than 140 community sports projects around the world. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €60 million for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The full list of Nominees for Andy’s category (Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year) at the 2013 Awards is:
Andy Murray (United Kingdom) Tennis
Yannick Agnel (France) Swimming
Gabby Douglas (United States) Gymnastics
Kirani James (Grenada) Athletics
Neymar (Brazil) Football
Ye Shiwen (China) Swimming
More information on all the categories and the nominees can be found on Laureus.com
Australia was great for me, both in Brisbane and Melbourne. I was disappointed not to be able to take the title but there are a lot of positives I have taken away from the tournament.
I spent a week or so in London after Australia, just to relax as it was quite an intense month or so. It was great see all my hard work from the Christmas period come together and I felt good on the court. I always love going out to Australia but it was great to finally come home to the UK for a few days rest (and see my dogs).
Last week, I was at Queens Club for a media event. Its always great going back to the place, where for me, my ATP career really began because it was where I won my first ATP world tour match. The tournament is always so well run, and everyone involved is always so friendly and helpful. I’ll always have great memories of the club and tournament, and I can’t wait to get back out on the grass in June and see if I can win the title for a third time.
To prepare myself for my next training block, I spent a few days just doing some light training off court, going on runs, some gentle yoga and pilates and generally just preparing my body. I’m now back out in Miami and ready for my next block, which hopefully should put me in good shape for Indian Wells and Miami in the US, and the upcoming clay season in Europe.
I’m looking forward to playing the clay this year, it’s not usually my favoured surface but it is still a very important time of the season for me. It takes a long time for me to get used to it, but I believe I have every chance of winning the French Open and like I do with every tournament I play…. I will make sure that my body is ready for it.
It’s no secret that I love Miami, and its great to be back out here preparing. It also gives me a chance to catch a Miami Heat game or two. I’m sure I’ll definitely be playing around with my fantasy football team as well, to make sure I stay top of the league come the end of the football season!
Press Release – Queens Club (4/2/13)
Andy will arrive at the Aegon Championships in June as a Grand Slam champion for the first time, and targeting a third title on his return to The Queen’s Club – the scene of his first ATP World Tour match victory.
Eight years on from that first win against Santiago Ventura of Spain in 2005, Andy returns having won the Aegon Championships twice, a gold medal at the London Olympics, and having reached six Grand Slam singles finals. Last September, at the US Open, he became the first British man to win a singles title at a Grand Slam tournament since Fred Perry 76 years earlier.
AndyThe 2013 Aegon Championships is one of four ATP & WTA grass court tournaments staged and run by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in the run up to The Champion- ships, Wimbledon, and will be the next opportunity for fans to see in action on British soil. He is already looking forward to it.
“I’ll never forget winning the first ATP match of my career at Queen’s Club almost 8 years ago,” said Andy. “I was only 18 at the time and then went on to have a great match with Thomas Johansson, who was in the Top 20 at the time, a couple of rounds later. They get big crowds who know their tennis and Tournament Director Chris Kermode and the organisers do a great job. The grass courts are as good as anywhere in the world, which is perfect coming a week before Wimbledon. I’ve won the title twice before and I’d love to win it again this year.”
After lifting the Aegon Championships trophy without dropping a set in 2009, Murray triumphed again in spectacular fashion two years later, winning a thrilling, rain-delayed Monday final against Jo Wilfried Tsonga. The last British player to win three titles at The Queen’s Club was FG Lowe, who lifted the trophy for a third and final time in 1925.
Thomas Johansson, who won their 2005 clash 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 7-5, knew that he was up against a star of the future. “I had practiced with Andy before, so I knew what he was capable of. In that match, he showed that, even at 18, he was for sure a Top 20 player of the future, but he was still a young man. Now he has matured and become one of the fittest guys out there. He is a brilliant player and he will win many more Grand Slam tournaments in the future.”
The public ballot for tickets to The AEGON Championships is still open, more details can be found on the official website
Andy is looking only at the positives after his Australian Open defeat to Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic has retained his Australian Open title edging a courageous Andy in a close fought 4 sets.
There was little to separate the two players in the first set, with both players serving with phenomenal consistency, the match went on serve to a tie break. Andy took advantage of an early mini break to secure the first set, winning the tie break 7-2.
The second set continued in the same a fashion, both players continuing to serve with pin point accuracy to again take the set to a tie break. Taking advantage of an early mini break, Djokovic came out on top of some long rallies to edge the tie break, 7-3.
During the change over Andy received treatment on some nasty blisters, but appeared unaffected after holding serve again early in the third. However despite some gutsy tennis from Andy, numerous 20 shot plus rallies and after over 110 minutes of unbroken serving it was Djokovic that broke on his way to winning the third set 6-3.
Djokovic came out swinging in the fourth set eventually securing the title taking the set 6-2.
After becoming only the second player in the open era to reach back to back grand slam finals after winning their maiden title Andy was gracious in defeat paying tribute to his opponent saying “Congratulations to Novak, his record here is incredible and there is very few people who have managed to do what he has done here, a very well deserved champion, so well done again”. After playing a fantastic tournament Andy also paid tribute to his team, “I’d like to thank my team, not much else to say there, they have done a great job and they help me all the time”.
After thanking the tournament director for putting on yet another fantastic Australian Open Andy finished on an upbeat note, cheerfully saying “Ill see you guys next year”.
Column taken from The Australian 27/1/13
AS there is only a few hours now until my Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic, I thought I’d share a few insights into my preparation for the match and what I learnt from my two big matches against him last year, the first in a semi-final in Melbourne and the other one, obviously, in New York.
But first a memory from the US Open final last September that might give some of you a bit of a laugh. It’s something only the eagle-eyed might have noticed and when I look back now, I still shake my head but given the result, all is well that ends well.
When I was serving for the US title against Novak and leading 30-0, I was deep in the zone, thinking about where to put my first serve, hoping I’d get a free point out of Novak, that’s something that doesn’t happen very often. Decision made, I walked up to the baseline, bounced the ball and … realised I was about to serve to the wrong side of the court, this at the biggest moment of my career. You’d think I’d have known better after 20 years or so of playing! It actually had nothing to do with nerves, even though I was serving for my first grand slam title. As I said at the time, because I had built it up so much in my head, thought so much about being in the position to win a slam, I didn’t actually feel that nervous!
I just think it is all to do with being so much in the zone and while I haven’t done it too much, I watch a lot of matches and it does happen to other players. I was watching Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his match against Roger a few nights before our semi-final and he went to walk to the chair when it was only 2-all. It’s very weird!
Now to what I hope will be a good omen for tonight’s final against Novak. If any of you watched either the US Open final or my semi-final against Roger the other night, you may have noticed a familiar face in the stands. A few actors, like Will Ferrell, are really big tennis fans and it turns out that Kevin Spacey is another. He must be, given this Tweet from the other night – “Congrats @Andy_Murray for his win! Can’t wait for Sunday night – Flew to Melbourne to watch. Awesome game!”. Kevin starred in one of my favourite films of all time, The Usual Suspects, where he played the criminal mastermind Keyser Soze.
Now to the final. Since my win over Roger on Friday night, I have focused all my energy on preparing for the final. It was great to beat Roger for the first time in a grand slam but knowing the job wasn’t complete, I headed straight to an ice bath before completing my media obligations. I didn’t leave Melbourne Park till about 2am, so it was a late night.
The plan yesterday was to sleep for as long as possible before going about further recovery. On waking up, I had a full breakfast, toast, a fruit platter, some yoghurt and then headed to the pool for a swim and a massage to loosen up the body. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, after a match like the one I had with Roger, you are going to wake up a little sore. But that’s why I’ve got my great team here.
Lunch was dinner and rice then a little more stretching and massage, but mostly I tried not to expend too much energy. I had a very light practice, only about 30 minutes or so, later in the day before dinner and then to stay up as long as I could last night. Because the final is played at night, you don’t want to go to bed early otherwise your body clock will be slowing down right at key moments in the final. Before going to the courts today, I’ll have another proper breakfast and lunch to keep the body fuelled, with my last meal about 90 minutes before we go on to the court.
I’m really looking forward to the final. My results over the last year show I’ve played my best tennis in the big matches, the slam finals and the Olympics. It doesn’t mean you are going to win every time but there is not much more you can do than that.
The thing that changes from winning big matches is that you have that extra bit of belief when you go out on the court. I think the thing with Roger and Rafa and then Novak over the past five or six years is that they have kept setting the bar at new levels and it has been up to the rest to catch up and I think I have done a good job with that.
Last year, when I played Novak here in a semi-final, that match was important for the rest of my career because it proved to me how close I was to breaking through if I improved a few small things.
It is obviously going to be tough and this might sound strange, but I hope am feeling in pain late on Sunday because that will mean I am right in the final. With our game styles, we play a lot of long points and have long rallies and we both return very well, so it is very tough to get free points.
Every time we played last year, it was incredibly close and very, very long matches. I wouldn’t expect anything different tonight but I’m aiming to come out on top!
Andy has reached the final of the Australian Open after a close fought five set match with Roger Federer, which saw both players produce some phenomenal tennis.
A close encounter from the offset, there were very few opportunities to break, however when the moment came Andy capitalised on a weak Federer second serve to break midway through the first set. Andy then held his serve confidently, to see out the first set, taking it 6-4. The second set was a much closer affair, both players holding serve which led to a tie break. A brief lapse in concentration from Andy led to Federer stealing the second set. However despite losing the second set tie break, Andy appeared unaffected and fresh and flew out of the blocks storming the third set 6-3.
The fourth set arguably produced some of the best tennis of the match from both players, Andy, after slipping down a break a serve, broke back and then forced another break, allowing himself to serve for the match. Federer however produced some unbelievable returns of serve to level the score at 6-6 and eventually taking the tie break. Again undeterred after being edged out again by a tie break, Andy raised his game to a new level and became arguably the sharpest he has been throughout the fortnight. Some sublime tennis saw him charge to a commanding 3-0 lead, to which point it became damage limitation for a noticeably worn Roger Federer. Receiving serve at match point Andy slammed a huge back hand cross court, leaving Federer out of position, allowing Andy to watch Federer’s forehand sail long of the baseline, handing him the final set 6-2.
Speaking after the match Andy gave credit to his opponent saying “Its always tough when you play against Roger, slams are always where he plays his best tennis, its been like that his whole career. Even when his back was against the wall he came out with some unbelievable shots, but I just had to keep fighting and he missed a couple of shots early on in the fifth set and I just stuck in”. Moving onto Sundays final against Novak Djokovic, Andy said “Im going to have to play an unbelievable match, every time we play its always a very physical match with long rallies, he’s a great mover. I’ll need to be ready for the pain and I hope its a painful match because that means it’ll be a good one”
This is Andy’s third Australian Open final and he will play Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
Column taken from The Australian 25/1/13
NO Chance! Don’t worry, I’m not talking about tonight’s semi-final against Roger Federer. I’m feeling confident in my form and ready to go for the semi-final. Instead I’m talking about jumping into the boxing ring for a second career when my fighting days on the court are over.
A fan asked me whether I could ever see myself doing something like Andrew Flintoff, the former English cricket captain, has done. “Freddie” won his first fight a month a go but I read recently that he hurt his shoulder while training, so I’m not sure whether he will lace up the gloves again. There is no way I would ever consider doing something like that on a professional basis, but when it comes to jumping into the ring against a couple of my team, that is a different matter.
When I first went to Barcelona to train as a 14-year-old, one of the things I still remember about life of the court was the fighting that went on in the corridors of the dormitory I was staying in. It seems I was not the only tennis player with a liking for boxing. A few of the guys in my corridor owned gloves and a helmet, so it was not unusual to see tennis hopefuls from around the world sparring with each other. Some nights there would be a few fights and it was good fun but it could get pretty messy, which is not surprising. A couple of the guys had braces, but they had no gum shields (mouth guards) and they would be there for a minute throwing punches and by the end their mouths would be cut open – it wasn’t a good look.
That hasn’t stopped Dani Vallverdu, a mate from back then and my hitting partner now, talking about who would win if we stepped into a ring. That’s something I’m keen to settle when my days as a tennis player are complete but there is one man I want to take down even more, one of my trainers, Matt Little.
Matt thinks that if it was no-holds barred fight, he would win but in the boxing ring, I’m certain I would take him out and with good reason.
I know from watching guys train, from speaking to boxers, that the worst thing you can do in the ring is to see the red mist and get angry.
It is easier said than done but obviously I am in better shape than Matt, my trainer, and I know he’d be exhausted after two minutes. He would see red almost immediately, start throwing wild punches and I’d just move out of the way and defend myself for a couple of minutes and wait until he tired. That wouldn’t take long. Then I would end him. Matt is not with me on this trip to Australia but I hope he is reading the column _ I can already imagine that red mist getting to him!
But back to the tennis. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen some great matches like Novak beating Stan Wawrinka, Roger’s win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a couple of days ago and Sloane Stephens pulling the big upset on Serena, the star substitute in my five-a-side football dream team.
Those are the type of matches that make grand slam tournaments so memorable. Another fan asked me whether there were any matches that I would love to have seen live when I was growing up and while there are heaps, I’ll just mention a couple.
I was a massive fan of Andre Agassi when I was young and it’s great to hear that he’ll be in Melbourne over the next few days.
My favourite match was his game against Pete Sampras in the 2001 US Open final. It was as incredible match and neither player lost serve, with Pete eventually winning 6–7(7), 7–6(2), 7–6(2), 7–6(5). As you can imagine, the US crowd was going bonkers and that would have been a cool one to see. I’d better mention my coach, Ivan Lendl, as well. I have seen some of his matches on YouTube and I would have loved to have watched him. I would have liked to have seen him win his first grand slam title against John McEnroe in Paris.
On to my preparations for tonight’s semi-final. I feel like I really stepped up my game against Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday but Roger is obviously playing good tennis as well. After I’d beaten Jeremy, I headed straight back to the practice court to get some practice in under lights as Roger was playing Jo and I did the same thing again last night during Novak’s match with David Ferrer. Given it is a night match, I tried to stay up a little longer last night so I was sleep later today. Roger and I have played some great matches over the years and I can’t wait for this one!
Andy is through to the Australian Open semifinal, dropping just seven games whilst storming to a ruthless quarter final victory against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
The Frenchman struggled to get off the mark in the first set, which saw Andy win the first four games. However it appeared Chardy was beginning to find his feet winning the next three games in a row. Undeterred by the comeback, Andy showed how clinical he can be, comfortable closing out the first set 6-4. Showing no mercy, Andy wasted no time in collecting the second set either. Chardy initially held serve, although it appeared in vain, as Andy then went on to take six games in a row to close out the second set 6-1. The third continued in a similar fashion with a vastly improved Andy from previous rounds dominating the court. Despite some minor resistance, Andy comfortably closed out the match, securing match point with a booming return of serve which in turn was ballooned long by his french opponent.
After reaching his twelfth grand slam final Andy said “Today was the best I’ve played, I’d struggled in the last few rounds a little bit, so I needed to come out sharp and get off to a good start. I moved well today, the breeze was quite strong so I had to do a lot of defending, but thats why we do the work in the off season so I can chase down as many balls as possible”
Andy will face Jo-Wilfred Tsonga or Roger Federer in Fridays semifinal.
Column taken from The Australian (23/1/13)
RAFA in the midfield. Jo-Wilfried up front. Kei Nishikori flying down the right wing. David Ferrer getting up and down the pitch. And Serena as the ultimate substitute. That’d be my five-a-side dream football team!
Now I know it might sound a little unusual to be talking about football when I’ve a grand slam quarter-final coming up later today in Melbourne, but you might remember from my column on the weekend that I’d asked fans to send in some quirky questions. I just didn’t realise how quirky some would be – but thanks for sending them in.
One of the questions that interested me was the one about my dream team and which players ranked inside the top 20 I’d have on my side.
Rafa is an obvious choice, he’s a big Real Madrid fan. One of his uncles was a famous player in Spain and it is pretty clear Rafa would have been good as well had he chosen football instead of tennis, it might have made it a bit easier for a few of us to win a few more grand slams too!
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is not bad either. You can imagine he would be pretty hard to man up on, he’s so tall and powerful. Nishikori is a surprisingly good player and unsurprisingly Ferrer has a really good engine and that is important in five-a-side football. He would definitely work hard for the team. As for the substitute, I was asked which woman I would bring off the bench to replace me. It was a pretty simple answer. Serena. She is an awesome athlete and physically the strongest player.
Another good question was one about whether I try to disguise my game plan or tactics when I’m practicing against some of the other guys. The fan in question used the examples of Don Budge, an American player who used to hide a little bit when training, and Muhammad Ali. I have watched a lot of Ali’s fights, and the thing that was weird with his famous ‘rope a dope’ strategy he used against George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle is that his corner said they had no idea that he was going to do it. They said he hadn’t been doing it in training, so after the first couple of rounds they were shouting out to him to get off the ropes, asking him what he was doing. He claims that was his game plan but I don’t know whether he had been training for it or not because his corner didn’t seem to think it was the best way to go about it.
In one of my earlier columns, I wrote that I’d been practicing a bit with Ricardas Berankis since arriving in Australia for the Brisbane International, so it was a bit of a shock to draw him in the third round here. The truth is that you disguise things in your game a little bit when you’re hitting balls with the best.
Since I have been on the tour, I have practiced with Roger only twice, maybe, and it would be about four years since I’ve done so. Rafa I practice with a lot and Novak I have practiced with a fair bit but you obviously don’t want to give too much away and before slams, now that I have played those guys a lot, you don’t want them to get a feel for the ball you are hitting or certain shots you have been working on.
Even sometimes you can overhear certain things in practice, you know what your coach is saying to you and you probably don’t want them to know that. I’ll try and answer a few more questions in the next column.
Now to my opponent Jeremy Chardy. We’re about the same age, so we used to play against each other a lot in practice. He has obviously been playing really well for the past year or so and some of you may know that he actually beat me in Cincinnati last August, it was my only loss between winning the gold in London and the US Open. The thing is, that match aside, I’ve always played well against Jeremy and I hope I do so again today. I’ll have to be on my game but I feel like my best tennis is not too far away.
Andy stormed into the quarter finals of the Australian Open with a dominant display over Gilles Simon.
Both players started slowly, breaking each others serve in the first two games. However Andy eventually found his form, winning three games in a row and comfortably winning the first set 6-3. Andy then wasted no time storming into a two set lead, taking just over twenty five minutes to take the second set 6-1. Despite some gutsy tennis from an exhausted Simon in the third, Andy’s superior fitness and energy was more than enough to comfortably subdue the Frenchman, defeating him in the third 6-3.
Simon was noticeably weary after his five set epic just forty eight hours before and speaking after the match Andy said “I just had to focus on my side of the court, he’s one of the best movers on the tour and he was clearly struggling with his movement today, it was tough but thats what grand slams tennis is, the games are so physical nowadays, its tough”
Andy will play the Jeremy Chardy of France in the quarter finals on Wednesday.
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.
Andy has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open for the fifth time in a row after defeating Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
Andy started the match quickly, racing to a one set lead after taking the first set 6-3. Berankis however came out fighting in the second, breaking Andy midway through the second set. Undeterred, at 2-4 down Andy won 4 games on the bounce to recover the second set and take it 6-4. The third set continued to provide some lively tennis, with both players breaking each others serve, however Andy’s experience showed as he convincingly closed out the set when it mattered, winning the third 7-5.
Speaking after the match Andy admitted he hadn’t played his best tennis and was made to work hard by the Lithuanian saying “He hits the ball very flat and hits it very early. Playing on these fast courts, it is very tough. I need to strike the ball better. My timing was off and I was leaving a lot of balls very short and allowing him to dictate some of the points.”
Andy will face the winner of the all french clash between Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils in the last sixteen.
Column taken from the Australian (19/01/13)
IT took a few days but a factor that makes the Australian Open the tough grand slam that it is finally arrived on Thursday, the blazing sun and heat.
The temperature on Thursday at Melbourne Park peaked at 41C and understandably a lot of players were feeling hot and bothered. I’m told there were players cramping on court and I heard one player even needed intense treatment following his match. It can be a brutal sport at times.
I actually did not find it too bad though. Sure, when the sun came out, it was pretty uncomfortable but because there was some cloud cover through the day, it did not really worry me. Plus, I played well enough against Joao Sousa to get through to the third round without spending too much time on court. Playing shorter matches early in a grand slam can often be a key to doing well later in the tournament. The fresher the better. Well, I hope so anyway.
One thing about playing in Melbourne is that while it can get really hot at times, it does not have the humidity of some of the other tournaments, it is the sweaty conditions that can really test you. New York can be really taxing if you get a warm and sweaty day.
The worst conditions I’ve ever played in came during my junior days when I was pitted against a mate who is still a great friend to this day, Dani Vallverdu, who travels with me as a hitting partner. In the early part of the year there is a series of strong junior tournaments through South America, and when I was 14 or 15 , I travelled there to play, around the time I moved to Spain to train on the clay courts there. The most famous event is the Banana Bowl in Brazil and while I skipped that one, I played tournaments in Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru, it was a pretty amazing trip for a teenager. The match against Dani in Paraguay stands out though. Not only was it 44C, the humidity was over 90 per cent. It was hard. Really hard. I remember feeling terrible at different times during the match and the score line, 6-2 0-6 6-4 my way shows that. But at least I got one up on Dani and I don’t let him forget that!
The important thing when you know there is going to be testing conditions is making sure you’re prepared. When it is 39 to 40C here, I go to great lengths to keep hydrated properly and to eat properly. From 40 hours before the match, I am doing everything I can to make sure I am at my peak when I step on to the court. Part of that preparation, of course, dates back to the off-season which I spend in Miami. But you shouldn’t think that all I do when I’m not playing is train, if you don’t have other interests outside the court or a break from training, you can get pretty stale. Every week I have a couple of days off, or at least a day and a half rest, just to make sure I am refreshed for each session that I do.
When I’m in Miami, I’ll go and watch the basketball quite a lot. It’s probably topical given the weather in Melbourne on Thursday, but the Heat were on fire in the NBA last year. Not that you’ll ever see me on a basketball court. I’m horrible! We tend to head to the malls there and do some shopping if needs be or head to the beach and try to relax. Otherwise I keep myself busy trying to come up with a winning combination for my fantasy football team. I’m sure I’ve written about that in the past and although I’m yet to touch on it in a column on this trip, I’m happy to report I’m on top. It gives me bragging rights over my friends at home.
My match today is against Ricardas Berankis, a guy I hit with quite a lot. I actually practiced with him here before he started the qualifying tournament last week and he is a really hard worker. Ricardas is obviously playing some good tennis because he has already won five matches here and he hits the ball pretty big from the back of the court, so I’ll have to be on my game. It is good to see him doing well because he’s a nice guy but I’ll be putting our friendship on hold today.
Finally, given I’m aiming to write columns all the way through the fortnight as that will mean I’m still in the tournament, I thought I might ask my readers if they have any questions they would like answered. The quirkier, the better! I can’t write about the heat all the time, after all.
If anyone would like to write, please do so through email@example.com
Andy has reached the third round of the Australian Open after another confident display, defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal. From the outset the world number three wasted no time, ploughing through the first two sets 6-2 6-2 and eventually winning through a marginally longer third set 6-4. With temperatures on court reaching the high thirties, a cool Andy recorded his second straight sets victory of his 2013 Australian Open campaign without dropping service once.
Speaking after the match Andy said “It doesn’t matter how much you training do its always tough to get used to these conditions, its extremely hot when the sun comes through the clouds, so it was good to get in it done in three sets because physically its very demanding.”
Andy will play Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania in round three.
Column taken from The Australian (17/1/13):
SHADOW boxing with Lennox Lewis? Standing on the starting blocks with the Thorpedo a lane over? Telling a one-liner that cracks Will Ferrell up?
As a mad sporting fan, something I’ve always done is imagine what it might be like to go up against the best of the best, to wonder what it is that makes them so special or what sort of sacrifices they made to top the world.
From my columns over the past few years, you’ll know how into boxing I am. I’ve YouTubed clips of old Muhammad Ali fights and try to take in as much live boxing as I can. A couple of Australian Opens ago, I even had the pleasure of having Ricky Hatton courtside in my box as I fought my way through to the final. One of the highlights of the off-season was meeting Lennox Lewis, an undisputed heavyweight champion during his time in the ring, for the British Sportsperson of the Year Awards night. It actually created a bit of a stir, which I’ll touch on first. Because I was training in Miami through December, I wasn’t able to make it back to London for the night, but knowing that I love my boxing, the BBC arranged to fly Lennox to Florida from Jamaica to present an award to me, there was a video link back to ceremony in London. The problem is, only I could hear what was happening back in England as Lennox didn’t have an earpiece, so when it came time for him to hand me the trophy, he stood there frozen. That’s something that never happened in the ring! It left me to jokingly present the trophy to myself and it probably looked a little awkward, I’m told there was a fair bit of reaction on Twitter but Lennox was great about it and even cracked jokes about missing his cue. I’d hate to be standing next to him if he got punchy, after all.
For me, though, the chance to meet Lennox was brilliant and it is the inspiration for this column. I was able to ask him about his time at the top, how he was able to motivate himself when he had defend his titles, what it took the “pugilist specialist”, as he was known, to stay at the top.
As a tennis player, I’ve been fortunate to meet famous actresses and actors, politicians and people from all walks of life, it can be a bit weird sometimes because quite often it isn’t planned and you have to think on your feet. Will Ferrell, who loves his tennis, is an example. I met Will during the US Open last year as he attends the tennis nearly every day. In that type of situation you can get a bit nervous, particularly as Will is one of my favourite actors, I spared him any of my jokes! But, I love meeting people that have made it to the top because I’ve always been fascinated in what makes them tick. I tend to ask a lot of questions of them and the great thing about those conversations is that you don’t have to hold back because both of you have a common understanding about professionalism and hard work and dedication needed to reach the top.
All sports are different in the way you have to train, of course, but if you want to get to the top in any sport, you need to be incredibly dedicated and work hard. That is why it was great to meet Ian Thorpe the other day. I obviously knew what a great swimmer he was and during last year’s Olympics he was on TV a lot in London commentating.
As every Australian would know, Ian retired at a pretty young age when he was the best swimmer in the world before trying to make a comeback. I found that interesting because you see it happen occasionally with some of the women on tour. Players like Martina Hingis achieved great success at a young age but were retired in their mid-20s. With Ian I asked him why he wanted to come back and how long it took him, as an elite swimmer, to get himself back into world-class shape. It is a long road for any athlete to get back to where they were after taking a few years off, but he said that if you want it enough and you are talented enough, it is possible.
Don’t worry though. I’ve no plans to quit yet, I’ve still got plenty of unfinished business on the court.
Today I play Joao Sousa from Portugal and as always, I’ll need to be on my game, particularly given it’s going to be a hot one in Melbourne. It is on days like today, when it’s predicted to reach 39C that I hope all the work I’ve done in Miami will pay off, because it is really challenging playing in that heat. The key is to make sure you’re rested. Yesterday I had a slightly lighter hit than usual and made sure I kept myself cool and relaxed and well hydrated. Hopefully it pays dividends today.
Brad Drewett, will sadly be entering a transition period as ATP Executive Chairman and President after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Drewett has been part of the ATP for more than 35 years, as a player, ATP Player Council member, ATP Player Board member, as CEO of the International Region, Tournament Director of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, and most recently as the ATP Executive Chairman and President for the last 12 months.
In a statement released yesterday by The ATP Drewett said “It has been a privilege to serve as Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, an organization that I’ve been a part of for more than 35 years since I became a professional tennis player. I hold the ATP very close to my heart, and it’s with sadness that I make the decision to enter this transition period due to my ill-health.”
A shocked Andy, speaking after his first round clash with Haase, spoke of his fondness for Drewett saying “It’s obviously very shocking news. Very sad. He’s done a very good job for the tour and he’s done a great job of bringing the tournaments together and arranging the meetings we had with the slams. He’s definitely had an impact in the time he’s been working there so it’s a big shame to hear. My heart goes out to him and his family, I hope he’s ok”.
I’ll be playing at Queen’s Club June 10th-16th and the ticket ballot for the tournament opens next week. You need to be on the mailing list by Friday of this week to be able to enter the ballot. Details are below.
Good luck and hope to see you at Queen’s in June when the sun is shining!
Click here for tickets
Andy opened his Australian Open account with a confident win over Dutchman Robin Haase.
The world number three wasted no time getting to work, winning five straight games in the first set and eventually taking the set 6-3. Despite the searing temperatures on court his dominance showed no signs of slowing as he powered through the second set 6-1 and the third 6-3 respectively.
Speaking after the match Andy said “It was a good start, it was the hottest day we have had for a while, so it took a little while to get used to as the court was playing much quicker because of it, but im glad to get through in straight sets”
Andy plays Joao Sousa from Portugal on Thursday in the second round.
Column taken from The Australian:
SINCE winning the US Open in September, there has barely been an interview where I have not been asked if it is a life changing experience.
Before the start of a grand slam, some of the higher ranked players are asked to do press conferences for the world’s media. Most are pretty standard but Saturday’s came with a twist, one I reckon will see it go viral on YouTube.
If you can remember some of my columns for The Australian during last year’s Open, I mentioned that my coach Ivan Lendl had a wicked (and slightly strange) sense of humour. You may also recall that he was a beast on the court when playing against John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, he did everything in his power to win, which is one of the main reasons I decided to join forces with him at the start of 2012. But when you combine that competitive streak with his sense of humour, well, let’s just say it led to a grown man, a proud man, a great mate embarrassing himself on the world stage.
We bought a new piece of training equipment, a VersaClimber, around the time of the US Open and my fitness coach Jez Green made a bet with Lendl that he would never be able to match him on it. This is a tough machine that makes you feel like you are climbing up a mountain.
Try to imagine this. Basically, you have your two arms outstretched above you and your feet locked in at the bottom and then you start climbing. Adjust it one way and it kills your quadriceps, the other way and your arms are aching at the end. Before the challenge, they were going back and forth at each other with banter and while Ivan hadn’t trained that much, he was a little overweight when we started working with each other, he hates losing. Hence what occurred on Saturday, for the loser, Jez, had to read out a piece written for him by Ivan.
If you have a few spare minutes, go on to YouTube and check it out but just in case you do not, here are a couple of the lines Jez had to read out.
“Ivan is a far superior physical specimen than myself, all this despite a near 13-year age gap. I apologise for my performance. I feel very bad about myself.”
Funny stuff, though it will be a while before any of us, and particularly Jez, challenge Ivan. Though it is is not the first time I’ve had a press conference crashed, with Alex Ferguson and Sean Connery coming into say hello midway through one in New York last summer, that certainly lived up proceedings, especially as they’d had a couple of glasses of wine each – more on that in another column though.
After the press conference finished, I had several other media obligations to complete, a couple of radio interviews and around eight television interviews. I must confess, I was a little distracted through them though as I was trying to keep track of my mate Jamie Baker as he attempted to qualify for the Australian Open. Jamie is a good mate, I’ve known him for years and recently he worked with me in Miami during the off-season. The thing about Jamie, and why he upstaged me on Saturday, with his story in all the British papers yesterday, is that a couple of years ago he almost died with a freak blood disease. He has done a great job to fight back and that’s why I was so excited to see him make the main draw, even if it surprised the woman interviewing when I pumped my fist and roared “yes”.
Now, to answer the question I started with. Obviously it feels great to have won a grand slam and the Olympic gold medal and I feel less pressure now that I’ve done this. Don’t think, though, that I won’t be doing everything I can to win more majors. That is the great thing about Ivan and Jez and the rest of the team, they haven’t allowed me to slacken off at all and, if anything, I worked harder than ever before in Miami in the off-season.
I begin my Open campaign against Robin Haase on Tuesday. He’s a talented player and tends to save his best for the big courts, so it is not the easiest of starts. I had to work hard to beat him a couple of years ago in a grand slam but I feel like I’m in good form and certainly played well enough to win the Brisbane International a week ago. With a bit of luck and some good play, I’ll be able to write some columns through the whole fortnight and hopefully give you more of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes, until then…
The VersaClimber is a great machine to have in any gym, one that Andy and his team have used frequently over the past few months. So when Jez Green decided to make a flippant remark towards Ivan regarding his performance on the machine, little did he expect the challenge that would follow.
Ivan, at the age of 52, seemed undeterred by the remarks as he challenged the 40-year-old strength and conditioning coach to a ‘climb off’ style competition. The date of the challenge was set and the training began. Igniting his competitive nature, Ivan spent countless hours on the VersaClimber both in the gym and at his home, determined to show that age was no barrier to strength and physical condition.
Revealing the outcome of the challenge at Andy’s most recent press conference, Jez, standing in front of the worlds media in Melbourne, began to read a letter. Jez revealed, “I stand before you today, not only to inform you that I lost, but also to acknowledge that Ivan is a far superior physical specimen than myself, all this despite a near 13 year age gap”. Further apologising for his performance despite laughter from the press, he admitted “I feel very bad on myself, I’ll make sure I try harder, honestly.”
Despite his clear disappointment, Jez promised to regain his pride saying “I will re-challenge him about something, but I’m not sure when.”
The full video of the press conference apology can be viewed here:
View the VersaClimber here:
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his first round match with Robin Haase, Andy admitted he’s learnt a lot since last years semi final with Novak Djokovic. Reflecting on last season, Andy expressed there was much to take from both his victories and his defeats.
Andy, ahead of the Australian Open has expressed his desire to go one better than in previous years. Speaking exclusively Andy said ”I’ve performed consistently here and made the final three times, but I’m aiming to go one better this year.”
Reflecting on his most recent triumph at the Brisbane International Andy was thrilled to have started the season off with a win, truthfully expressing, “The win in Brisbane was a great start to the year. I didn’t always play my best tennis, but I found a way to win and I was pleased with how I performed on the big points.”
Andy also admitted he loves the Australian Open atmosphere “I always love coming out to Australia, it’s a great slam and all the players love it, it has a laid back atmosphere, and it definitely beats the weather back home!” despite his joy and avoiding the harsh British winter Andy admitted “Having said that, it can hit 40 degrees during the day, so fitness and recovery definitely play a big part.” Undeterred, Andy seemed confident that the heat wouldn’t prove problematic, paying dues to his preparation he said “I’ve put myself in the best position I can to win a match, I’ve left no stone unturned, my preparation over the last few months has gone really well.”
Despite the intense training and preparation, Andy reassured everyone there was still time for fun in the run up to a slam, referring to a recent bet between his trainer Jez Green and coach Ivan Lendl, leaving little to speculate Andy said “Look out next week for a guest appearance from Jez at one of my press conferences, I’m saying no more.”
Andy will face Dutchman Robin Haase in the first round and the Australian Open can be watched live on Eurosport.
Andy will face Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the first round of the Australian Open. Andy has faced the Dutchman, also aged 25, only twice in his professional career, once in Rotterdam in 2008, and then at the 2011 US Open in a 5 set epic which saw Andy recover from two sets to love down, to take the match.
Speaking shortly after the draw Andy confirmed that despite a potential semi final with Roger Federer on the cards, he remains focused on the task at hand. Paying tribute to the ever increasing standard of the men’s tour he said “It sounds cliché but I don’t really look beyond the first round of the draws. The strength of the men’s game right now means it’s dangerous to look too far ahead.”
With the schedule to be confirmed you can find the full details of all the draws at:
Andy made sure his 2013 season got off to a flying start by retaining his Brisbane International crown beating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, 7-6 6-4.
After a strong start from Dimitrov, Andy was forced to work in the first, however he made no mistakes when the time came to take the set, winning the tie break 7-0. After a close fought second set Andy won 3 games in a row to make sure the Brisbane International crown remained his for a second consecutive year.
This is Andy’s 25th career singles title.
Andy reached the final of the Brisbane International after Japan’s Kei Nishikori was forced to pull out with knee trouble. After winning 5 games in a row to take the first set 6-4, and raising the intensity further, Andy jumped into a 2-0 lead in the second which proved too much for Nishikori’s injured knee, forcing him to retire.
Andy faces Bulgarian Grigor Dimitriov in tomorrows final.
Andy comfortably won his quarter final match up with Uzbekistans Denis Istomin, streaming through the first set, and then eventually winning 7 of the last 8 points of the tie break to take the match in just over an hour and a half 6-4 7-6.
Andy’s victory sets up a semi final with the fifth seed, Japans Kei Nishikori on Saturday.