In response to criticism
At 20, he had beaten Murray to a Grand Slam title even though the 22-year-old Scot had risen to No 2 in the world.
Yet, even as the bunting fluttered in Argentina, Murray could hear alarm bells that resonated not from a fire engine, but from critics fearing he had surrendered ground that he might never regain.
‘It’s like, “Let’s start panicking”,’ said Murray. ‘Everyone was saying Del Potro has won a Grand Slam so early in his career. Yet, the truth is he’s barely 18 months younger than me, but everyone is saying I’m old.’
Murray shook his head in bewilderment, a man not yet in his prime, let alone one of pensionable age, as some claim. ‘I’ve always believed I’ll peak at 23 or 24,’ he said. ‘The next three or four years, beginning in 2010, is when I feel I’m going to play my best.’
When he was told that pundits on Sky TV, including Greg Rusedski and Peter Fleming, feared he would never win a Grand Slam unless he became more aggressive on court, Murray allowed himself a wry smile.
‘They are entitled to their opinion,’ he said. ‘But I think I know more about tennis than Greg or Peter. I work really hard with my coaches to come up with the right game plan for a specific match. I’m told a lot of times that, tactically, I’m very astute; I don’t think you can get to No 2 in the world at tennis, or anything, if you are one-dimensional.
‘If I played ultra-aggressive this week and lost all three matches in my section for the round-robin draw, everyone would ask, “What were you doing?” You can’t win in that situation. I just play my own game, and enjoy the way I play. I’m different to most of the
players — and I like that.
‘It hasn’t happened yet, but I think I’ll win one Grand Slam, maybe more than one. I’m working as hard as I can and, if I don’t win one, it won’t be through the lack of trying, it will be because I’m not good enough. This has been my best year, when I’ve won six titles, and played well at the first three Grand Slams, in Australia, Paris and Wimbledon. All I can do is give myself the best shot at winning one of them next year.’
On match with Federer
I enjoy playing indoors, and I think everyone is hoping the atmosphere will be rocking,’ said Murray. To win the event, which offers £1million if the winner is unbeaten through his three round-robin matches, Murray could have to play Federer twice.
‘It’s always special playing against Roger as, maybe, he is the best player of all time,’
said Murray, who has won six of their nine matches.
‘I understand to win against him I have to play my way, my game very, very well. It’s worked against him.’ Federer, for all his modesty, and charm, which identifies him as a great sportsman, as well as a phenomenal champion, with a record 15 Grand
Slam titles, stoked their rivalry this week by indicating that his matches with Murray were won, or lost, on his terms as he was the only one playing in aggressive