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Old 07-05-2009, 12:55 PM   #241
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http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis/And...-on.5429991.jp

Andy Murray: American dream on agenda

Published Date: 05 July 2009
By Moira Gordon


BY TOMORROW morning British sports fans will have moved on from Wimbledon, The Ashes and pre-season football occupying the minds and the media but they won't be the only ones. A certain Andy Murray is already packaging away memories from this year's Championships and looking forward.

Speaking after he had lost Friday's match, making it nine successive semi-final defeats for British men, he reminded those present why he is different from others who have gone before him. His loss did not signify the end, merely the beginning. This grand slam may have come and gone but to dwell on it would be lamentable. Especially when the future still promises so much.

"I'll move on very, very quickly," he said. "I'll go and work on my game and improve and come back stronger. It's a pathetic attitude to have, if you lose one match and you go away and let it ruin your year. I have had a good year so far and I'm very close to the top of the game and the US Open, I have always said it is my best surface, my best chance to win an slam and I will give it my best shot there."

Those comments came minutes, not hours, after the completion of his Wimbledon run, the sight and sound of the standing ovation he was granted as he exited Centre Court still vivid in his mind. But the measured response to questions about this tournament and the future were in keeping with a lad who knows where he wants to get to and has proved himself pretty astute in pinpointing the best way of venturing there thus far.

Still only 22, he has bided his time. In the past others compared him unfavourably to Rafa Nadal, who is only a year older, outlining a disparity in fitness and bulk. But that was back in 2005 and 2006 as he made his fledgling outings on the senior men's tour. It was also a result of smart thinking. Murray had his eye on the long-game.

Still growing, he knew his limitations. Overdoing it at that stage could have led to a flurry of joint problems in the future. So he waited until the time was right before putting himself through the kind of punishing training regimes which now allow him to see out gruelling five-setters and wake up the next day ready to do it all again. He showed patience and awareness then and he will do so again now.

"That's the one thing I have always been quite good at... being patient. Hopefully I am going to play seven or eight more Wimbledons and I had a good chance of making the final here and I didn't do it. But I have a lot more Slams and Wimbledons to play and hopefully I will have a better chance next year."

While winning Wimbledon would have been welcome, he was happy with steady improvement. Every year he has played at SW19 he has bettered his previous best, and in the grand scheme of thing he is delighted with his consistency in the major events.

"The way I played this year I was very, very close to getting to the final and if I keep giving myself these sort of opportunities and keep playing well," he said, assessing his Wimbledon run. "My consistency in the grand slams in the last year or so has been much, much better, a final, a semi, a quarter. I believe I can win a grand slam, whether it's Wimbledon or US Open or Australia or whatever, I'm going to give myself chances."

He now has five weeks before his next tournament, the Montreal Masters. Just as he did after last September's Davis Cup, when he returned from four weeks of solid training and dominated the indoor season. Some of the next few weeks will be spent as down time but then the work will begin again in earnest. The closer he gets to the top, to winning one of the four major tournaments, or moving up the world rankings (had Wimbledon results panned out differently he had the opportunity to leapfrog Roger Federer and move to No.2 ) the more it focuses his mind.

He has always been a man in control of his own destiny and has shown a ruthlessness when necessary. He was the one who opted to move to Spain as a teenager to further his talent, he was the person who signed up coaches he felt could take him that next step and then dispensed with them when he felt they had taken them as far as they could. So far all those decisions have proved correct and indicate he is as smart a tactician off the court as he is on it.

"When I win a grand slam it will be a huge weight off my shoulders and if it was here that would be great but I go into each grand slam regardless of whether it is here or the US Open I put the same pressure on myself to play well. If I win one it would probably make a difference how I perform in the next one. Wimbledon isn't the only tournament in the world, there are a lot of big ones and I will try to perform as well as I can in those."

When he talks about winning slams in the future, there is no reason to doubt him. And so far the evidence does add up to suggest Flushing Meadows could be the venue for the first of those successes. That was where he won the Junior title and also provided the backdrop for his first senior grand slam final appearance last year. Having succumbed to Nadal fairly meekly at Wimbledon a few months earlier, he got the better of him in New York before coming up against a Roger Federer who was just too good on the day in the final.

But the thing about Murray is that he does not scurry into shadows to lick his wounds, he uses those kind of defeats as incentive. He channels his emotions, trains harder, strengthens his weaknesses and he becomes even more determined.

"This year for me has been a very good one but I have probably had some of my toughest losses. I haven't felt I have played poorly in any of the slams and played well actually but just came up against guys who played great, great tennis.

"You have to learn to lose sometimes in sport and I have had to do that the hard way this year because a lot of my losses have come in the big tournaments against guys who have played great."

He recognises that is one of the downsides to being among the top three in the world. His scalping holds great kudos these days. "Regardless of what sport you are in the guys that aren't ranked as high will come for you whether that's in football or whatever. Rafa and Roger have been able to stay at the top for so long and perform so well in the grand slams and that's very special because guys do come out with less pressure and try and play great but the consistency they have shown has been incredible.

"So that is something I need to make sure of going into the slams; I need to bring my A-game."

Since that US Open defeat he has defeated Federer in every one of their subsequent meetings. Three semi-finals and their head-to-head in round robin format at the Masters Cup, and they were all on hard courts. So the Scot's optimism and self-belief can not only be excused but thoroughly explained.

Already this year he has reached the final in four of the six hard-court tournaments he has entered, winning three of them and beating every one of the players ranked in the top seven along the way. But there is no resting on laurels. With Team Murray's help he will build up to his next stint in Miami, working on every facet of his game, while also training in the heat, honing his strength, conditioning and durability.

Stickability is one thing Murray already has in abundance, in points and in matches. He takes things step by step and refuses to give up. On certain occasions he comes up against someone better on the day and mentally he has become much better at dealing with that, he says. But experience has already taught him that the longer he can hang in there, steadily going about his own business, the higher the likelihood that someone else will produce the errors he can capitalise on. It's his thinking in rallies and now his mantra in Grand Slams. Ally that to a brilliant tennis brain, great speed around the court, the best returning in the game, a varied arsenal of ground strokes and an increasingly reliable and dangerous serve and little wonder everyone is talking about his Wimbledon semi-final exit as nothing more than a postponement of the inevitable.

"He's going to break through and win one of these titles and probably numerous ones. He's too good not to," said Roddick, who knows just how much he has had to recommit and improve his game to produce the victory. "It's a matter of time. It's not if but when."
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Old 07-05-2009, 12:59 PM   #242
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle6638367.ece

From The Sunday Times
July 5, 2009


Andy Murray takes bank’s pay cut

WITH a new £5.6m Surrey mansion to pay for, Andy Murray may have budgeted to take away more than the £212,500 he won for reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals. But the British No 1 will not be taking any bonuses for his best performance to date in the Championships from his sponsorship deal with the beleaguered Royal Bank of Scotland.

True to his word, Murray and his financial advisers renegotiated his agreement with RBS several weeks before the tournament began. Just before the economic downturn forced the RBS into announcing 9,000 job cuts, the 22-year-old, who has now grossed more than £1.5m in prize money alone this year, revealed he would happily accept a pay cut to help the bank that has sponsored him since his junior days.

In 2008 RBS declared a loss of £24.1 billion, the largest ever in British corporate history, and MP John Mann, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, maintained the likes of Murray, Sir Jackie Stewart and Jack Nicklaus, who are all termed ‘Sporting Ambassadors’, had a moral obligation to review their agreements.

“Andy said he was prepared to help out and that has been the case,” said Simon Oliviera of 19 Entertainment, who have handled Murray’s business affairs since the beginning of the year. “We renegotiated a month or so ago and although we will not be announcing any figures, the difference was quite substantial. In addition there are no bonuses for doing well at Wimbledon, or any of the Grand Slams, written into the contract.”

Murray need not have too many financial concerns however. His clothing contract with Fred Perry expires at the end of the year and outfitting giants Nike, adidas and Reebok are all said to be interested with a potential £5.5m a year bidding war about to begin.
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Old 07-05-2009, 01:05 PM   #243
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle6637261.ece

From The Sunday Times
July 5, 2009

Barry Flatman


‘Andy Murray knows there are more important things than tennis’

WILL MURRAY is a tennis parent who does not crave public attention. While his ex-wife Judy is a frontline player in the phenomenon that is Murraymania, Will prefers to play a far more low-key role. Yet his philosophical nature helped his sons, Andy and Jamie, to come to terms with the let-down of losing Wimbledon semi-finals, one after the other, on Centre Court.

The words of Boris Becker, uttered in the year Andy was born, have always struck a chord with Will. They were paramount in his thinking as he proudly applauded both his offspring in defeat on Friday — Jamie after losing in the mixed doubles alongside Liezel Huber, and younger brother Andy, whose campaign to become the first British men’s singles champion since 1936 was ended by Andy Roddick.

Becker’s words? “I lost a tennis match, that was all,” he said after his attempt to win three successive Wimbledon titles was surprisingly ended by world No 70 Peter Doohan in 1987’s second round. “It was not a war; nobody died.”

Will is not a man who adopts such quotes as a mantra; he is far too down-to-earth. Yet, like any parent whose child was inside Dunblane primary school on that horrific March morning 13 years ago, he realises the importance of triumph or disaster on a tennis court is minuscule by comparison. Like everyone else in his family and so many from his home town, Will finds it difficult to speak of that dreadful day, but is prepared to elucidate on how he has brought up his sons.

“It just bothers me sometimes, especially with Andy and all the attention that is put on him,” he reflects. “All he is doing is playing a tennis match. There are more important things in his life and he knows that. It’s something I have always told both of them; that’s the way they have been brought up.”

The break-up of the Murray marriage was traumatic for the two boys. The common perception is that Judy has remained the driving force behind their development into Britain’s most high-profile sporting siblings. Their father now feels it is time to reveal his side of the story.

Will acknowledges that the tennis genes come from their mother’s side, but he was a committed amateur footballer who still feels the need to give vent to his competitive instincts on the golf course or squash court. He works as a regional manager for a chain of newsagents and convenience stores in eastern Scotland. He still lives in Dunblane with his new partner, Sam, who is mother to three daughters.

“Most people would get the impression that maybe I was an absent father, but that certainly was not, or is not, the case,” he says firmly. “I’m happy to stand back in the shadows so long as the facts are right. Hopefully people will come to realise that.

“The worst thing I have ever had to do to my sons was when I let them know their mum was leaving home. When you get married and you have a family, you want it to be a unit forever. Unfortunately it did not work out that way for us. It was terrible because I knew how upset they got. They were aged 11 and 10 and they were both distraught. Jamie and Andy are very different personalities but they took it much the same way: very, very upset.

“I can’t say any more than it really was the worst day of my life and it ripped me apart to have to hurt them by telling them what I did.”

Throughout all the accounts of Andy’s childhood, it has appeared that Judy was the dominant parent after the break-up but Will insists that was not the case. “I kept the family home and looked after them for the next four or five years,” he says. “A lot of people don’t realise that, because the story does not go out and it isn’t portrayed that way. That’s fine by me because the boys are the important ones and they know exactly what happened.

“Judy was still around. She stayed in Dunblane. She wasn’t drifting in and out of their lives. But I cooked the boys’ meals when they came home from school. I did the washing and ironing. When they came back from a clay-court tournament, that was the worst, because of all the muck you used to have to wash out of their clothes. Now, that was awful. I wouldn’t say I was a single parent but I was in the family home with the two boys.

“Since they have been in the public eye for the past couple of years, Judy has always been there with them. That’s just the way it has worked out but I am not the kind who runs in and demands publicity. To me, it’s just about Jamie and Andy. They are the people that count, and as long as they are happy, then that’s all that matters.”

Will remembers one story that epitomises the determination Andy has always possessed and why he will surely become the champion a nation craves. At 13 or 14, already a clear tennis talent, he was travelling to junior tournaments most weekends but yearned to keep contact with his school friends.

“Most Friday nights after school, if he was at home and didn’t have a tournament, he’d be getting telephone calls from his friends asking whether he was coming out. After one call I found him crying. He told me his friends wanted him to go out. I asked, ‘What’s wrong with that?’ because I saw it as a good thing. Then he said, ‘But dad, I know what they are doing’.

“To say no to your peer group is a big thing. He realised what they were up to: drinking and smoking. It was so strong of him to take that attitude at such an early age. He was upset because he wanted to be with his mates but he knew they were doing things he didn’t want to get involved in because it would affect what he wanted to achieve.”
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:55 PM   #244
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Some great articles--Thanks I just hope Andy makes good use of those 5 weeks off. I miss him being in Tournaments already
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:32 PM   #245
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i came across this article on the atp website and thought you sad case murray fans might find it interesting:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Ten...ounty-Cup.aspx
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:31 PM   #246
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle6728406.ece

From Times Online
July 26, 2009

The Net Post: life will never be the same again for Roger Federer and Andy Murray



Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

For the No.1 and No.3 players in the world, it has been a life-changing week as Roger Federer became the father of twin girls and Andy Murray ripped up his L-plates. The last time the Net Post counted them, there were more than 4,000 congratulatory messages on Federer's website immersing he and his wife Mirka in support; while the Scottish Sun reported that Murray had 'vowed to pass his driving test after "crashing out" of Wimbledon'. Couldn't they have come up with a less contrived (and more relevant) description?

While the six-time Wimbledon champion was out and about in Basle purchasing an additional booster seat so he could drive his girls Charlene and Myla home, Murray probably spent much of his flight to Miami on Friday flicking through the pages of What Car? magazine, deciding on which model to plump first. It was a moment to ponder which would have been the more fascinating to witness, Federer's attempt at changing two nappies at once or Murray's emergency stop?

As the Net Post offers its sincere felicitations to them both, the mind wandered back to tennis, that which makes them both rather special. Federer had spent the ten days before Mirka gave birth, practising vigorously for the American hard court season, though no definitive decision has yet been made as to when or where he will return to the courts. One presumes that he will want to bond for as long as he can with his children, the prospect of five weeks away at a stretch with two tots to care for is hardly an edifying one.

Federer could enter the US Open without any competitive tennis beforehand and still give an excellent account of himself. Last year, remember, he was beaten in the second round of the Canadian Open and the third round of Cincinnati - the sum total of one win from three matches - and went on to lift the Open for the fifth year in succession. Though he would surely prefer a bit of match-play, it is by no means essential.

Murray, meanwhile, is now esconsed in Florida, basing himself at the University of Miami, a place that has become to him what Dubai is to Federer, where he can work assiduously on that both the physical and technical elements of his game without the world peering over the fence. The Net Post understands that Alex Corretja, the Spanish former world No.3 who worked with Murray during the clay court season - where the British No.1 achieved his best result by reaching the quarter finals of the French Open - is travelling to America to assist Miles Maclagan, his coach through the hard court campaign.

Murray could not have left these shores in a better mood. Not only had he burned Royal Wimbledon apart earlier this week showing a worryingly telling prowess for golf but, the day before his road test, he had disembarked at Eastbourne for an afternoon of tennis with his North of Scotland colleagues as Group One of the AEGON Summer County Cup was suddenly blessed with the level of player it had not witnessed for many years.

On Tuesday night, at the Grand Hotel, where the participating teams stay, there had been a couple of whispers that the North might have a Murray in their ranks the next day but most thought it was Jamie, who had lost in the doubles in an ATP Challenger event the previous day and was hot-footing it back from Poznan in Poland. No-one really thought it probable that Andy would turn up but, on the dot of 11, both he and Jamie clambered from the rear of a rather small vehicle, threw racket bags across their shoulders and threaded their way between courts as the hubbub intensified.

The Net Post, as is its wont, was on the spot, indulging in a day at Devonshire Park for what has long been one of the high points of its year. We thought we had a bit of a scoop but the A22 was soon nose-to-tail with photographers, tipped off that Murray had arrived and tumbling over each other for the best vantage point by the side of the courts. The player did not want to make a fuss though the importance of his presence to those who annually engage in a debate about the championships' worth, could not be understated.

This was the 115th running of the County Cup and though it costs an awful lot to stage at seven centres across the country, its value is incalculable. Most importantly, it keeps a spark alive in the counties - the lifeblood of the sport - because so many players and coaches stay in the game for the opportunity to compete in it. The more players stay in the game, the more they will encourage younger players to sustain their development; the more younger players believe in tennis, the better the chance the nation has of producing players like Murray. Ian Conway, the North of Scotland president, made a point of saying how discouraged he had been by the number of younger players in Scotland who turned their noses up at county tennis and how their attitudes would be re-shaped by the Murray's appearance.

Remarkably, having lost their first three rounds of matches - even with Andy in the ranks on Wednesday, the North succumbed to Hertfordshire 5-4 - the swelling of pride in Scottish ranks helped them bounce back and defeat Dorset on Thursday and Yorkshire on Friday, to secure their Group One status, at the same as helping relegate the two beaten counties.

Hertfordshire, who defeated defending champions Lancashire 7-2 on the final day, regained the title they last won in 2005 (which only just made up for the fact that their ladies side was relegated). One of the Herts mens' number, Nick Lester who often joins the Net Post in the commentary boxes of the world, was playing in his 11th edition of the event, and summed up the effect that Murray's appearance had on the championship. “I don’t think it will get much better than that," he said. "We were chatting at dinner that night and a lot of the guys said how respectful he was of the Cup, he didn’t look down on it at all and he came to compete hard. It was a pleasure sharing the court with him."

And it may not be the last we see of Andy or Jamie in their North of Scotland gear. The Net Post hears that they enjoyed the experience so much - Andy was texting Conway for the next two days to keep up to date with the team's progress - they may well return in 2010 when, if they could be persuaded to stay for more than the occasional day, the Net Post might be inclined to stake a few humble pence on a Scottish victory.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:35 PM   #247
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Default Re: Andy, Articles and news

Cheers for Andy articles. Missing him!!
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:20 AM   #248
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Montreal is his return tournament yes? Looking forward to it!
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:27 AM   #249
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Yep - his training block in Miami is well underway, sounds hideously exhausting to a couch potato like me.

Fingers crossed for an excellent hardcourt summer - he has quite a lot to defend!
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:13 PM   #250
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http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis/Mur...-up.5536966.jp

Murray primed to turn up heat on Nadal and Federer

Published Date: 09 August 2009
By Alix Ramsay


WHILE THE rest of the country has been waiting for the arrival of the long-promised "barbecue summer", Andy Murray has been broiling gently in the heat and humidity of Miami.

The British weathermen may have got their predictions wrong, but Murray knew exactly what he was letting himself in for and exactly what is to come as the next couple of months unfold.

Scotland's finest allowed himself a few days off after his Wimbledon exertions and then headed straight back to work on the practice courts and training track to get ready for his favourite part of the year – the US hard-court season. The last two weeks of his preparations have been spent at the University of Miami, where he has been straining in temperatures in the mid-30s and in the sort of steamy environment that makes merely blinking an exhausting exercise.

Still, these are the conditions Murray will face this week in Montreal – where he will play either Yen-hsun Lu or Jeremy Chardy in the second round – and next week in Cincinnati. The two Masters events lead into the US Open, the final grand slam tournament of the season, and the site of the highlight of his career to date: reaching the final in Flushing Meadows last summer.

Last summer, Murray was still on his way up through the ranks. Reaching the final of one of the big four tournaments was a new experience, while winning a Masters title was a novelty. Since then Murray has cemented himself into the world No3 spot, won three Masters series trophies and has announced himself ready to win a grand slam. And Murray is now one of the scalps that everyone wants to claim as the weeks tick by before the US Open.

By the time he reaches New York at the end of the month, Murray could find himself as the No2 seed and the second best player on the planet. As they settled into their hotel in Montreal, Murray was sitting just 1,025 ranking points behind Rafael Nadal, the next man above him in the pecking order. He has 2,860 points to defend between now and the end of the US Open, while Nadal has 3,150 to replace. To make Nadal's life even harder, 800 of those points cannot be defended as he won them at the Beijing Olympics; when they come off his overall points tally on 17 August, they will disappear.

This week in Canada will be the first real test for the US Open contenders. As a Masters event, all the top players are required to turn up for duty but quite what state they will be in remains to be seen.

Roger Federer, newly restored to his position as the world No1, has had little time to concentrate on his tennis of late. Not only has he rewritten history by winning his 15th grand slam title at Wimbledon – he is now so good that he is beating his own records whenever he wins – but he became a father for the first time just under three weeks ago. Leaving his wife, Mirka, and twin daughters, Myla and Charlene, behind in Switzerland while he traipses across the hard courts of North America may not be easy. Then again, he may just be desperate for a decent night's sleep.

Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, has been champing at the bit to get back to work after he finally gave in to chronic tendonitis in both his knees more than two months ago. Forced to take doctors' advice and rest during Wimbledon, he has been pushing himself as hard as his injuries will let him and has been training for up to five hours a day at home in Majorca. But while he arrived in Canada in good time to settle in and adapt to the conditions, his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, warned he is not yet at his best.

Nadal won the Canadian title last year and so has 1,000 points to defend in the coming week, but the hard courts present the biggest obstacle to the Spaniard as the unforgiving cement surface jolts and jars his ailing knees. The sound of Murray breathing down his neck will do little to help his recovery, either.

Murray, though, is primed and ready for the fray. He has been wolfing down 5,500 calories a day – most of it coming from giant helpings of sushi – to fuel him on his eye-watering training schedule. Only the daily thunderstorms drove him off court but even then there was no rest for the ambitious Scot and when he was not flexing his muscles in the gym, he was forcing himself through ten laps on the 400m running track. His practice sessions have been supervised by both Miles Maclagan and Alex Corretja. For a little light relief he has been playing practice sets with Nicolas Lapentti and Jesse Levine.

The barbecue summer may have failed to materialise but, even so, Federer and Nadal are looking a little fried. Murray, by contrast, is fresh and fit just in time to turn up the heat.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:41 PM   #251
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...Davis-Cup.html

Quote:
Andy Murray keen to feature in Davis Cup

Andy Murray has pledged his commitment to Great Britain's Davis Cup team ahead of next month's crucial tie against Poland.

By Telegraph staff and agencies
Published: 12:25PM BST 23 Aug 2009




Committed: Andy Murray will play for GB against Poland in Davis Cup Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Should Britain lose the match at Liverpool's Echo Arena, they will be relegated to Group II of the Euro/Africa Zone, which includes the likes of Monaco, Egypt, Lithuania and Ireland.

That is a horrifying prospect for Britain, who were condemned to the play-off against Poland after being thrashed 4-1 by Ukraine in Glasgow but have aspirations of reaching the elite World Group.

Murray withdrew from the Ukraine match with a virus, and previously his commitment to Davis Cup has been questioned, which the Scot has described as "unfair".

Without Murray, captain John Lloyd has accepted Britain will continue to struggle, but Murray intends to be in Liverpool for the three-day match which starts on Sept 18.

Murray said: "I always want to play Davis Cup if it's possible and if I feel fresh and 100 per cent fit I will be there and try to help the team because we are not in the best position right now."

The tie follows the US Open in New York, which begins on Aug 31 and is the tournament where Murray made his grand slam breakthrough 12 months ago, reaching the final.

This year he hopes to go one better and win his first major, having again gone close at Wimbledon where he reached the semi-finals.

"That's my goal - to win a grand slam and try my best to do it," Murray said.

"But it's a very tough thing to do. Winning tournaments is the most important. I am feeling more and more confident."

Roger Federer beat Murray in the Flushing Meadows final last year - and after losing four straight matches to Murray since that triumph, Federer defeated the British No 1 in the Cincinnati Masters semi-finals yesterday.

Murray believes he has a grasp on what it takes to win one of his sport's top prizes.

"I needed to get better to win a slam," he said. "I got to the final and I was not good enough."

By climbing to second place in the world rankings, Murray has raised his profile and in turn expectations of him have also shot up.

He is thrilled to have overtaken Rafael Nadal, with only Federer now in front of him.

"I think it's a very, very good achievement with the quality of players around just now," Murray said.

"I believe that Federer and Nadal are the two best players ever so to be in front of one of them is great."
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:04 PM   #252
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...ffset=0&page=1

Quote:
August 28, 2009
Matt Dickinson


‘You’ll never see me smile on the court. It’s a serious business’, says Andy Murray

Matt Dickinson listens to some fighting talk from the British No 1 before next week’s US Open



Murray gets ready to punch above his weight in US Open title fight

Sooner or later it is going to happen. Andy Murray is going to win a grand-slam title. And the sense that just about everything is in place is palpable even down a long-distance line from the United States as he completes his fine-tuning for the US Open that begins on Monday.

Admittedly there is the significant obstacle of Roger Federer, champion at Flushing Meadows for the past five years, including the defeat of Murray in the final 12 months ago. Oh, and Rafael Nadal is back after the knee injury that ruled him out of Wimbledon.

But perhaps the most encouraging sign from Murray, 22, is that he is not hanging on for those men to falter or willing their downfall. He is ready to meet them head-on, like he did in beating Nadal in the Big Apple last year.

“For me, when I do play Federer and Nadal, I know I’m gonna have to play great so it gets the nerves, the adrenalin going and the last few times I’ve played both of them I’ve played some of my best tennis,” he says.

“What hasn’t been a problem for me is believing I can win. You can’t go in thinking, ‘I’m just going to give it my best shot and see what happens.’ That’s not enough, an attitude where you just go for it and don’t worry about the result. When I go against them I worry a lot about the result because it’s a huge match for me.”

Murray’s bullish mood has solid foundations. There is the upward, straight-line graph of his performances in grand-slam tournaments this year: the last 16 in Australia (equalling his best), the quarter-finals in Paris (his best by two rounds) and a new frontier of the semi-finals at SW19. On that trajectory, the sky is the limit.

There is the ranking of second in the world, which may owe something to Nadal’s injury but also to five tournament victories in 2009, including the Montreal Masters less than a fortnight ago.

And there is his love of New York, not just because of the hard courts that suit his game or because he won the junior title here in 2004 but also the night games, the rowdy crowds and the energy.

That is Murray’s sort of atmosphere, just like the five-set epic against Stanislas Wawrinka at Wimbledon that finished as pubs were preparing to call last orders; an occasion when English tennis cloaked itself with a roof but threw off its reserve and stuffiness.

“It was a great atmosphere for that match,” Murray says. “Obviously in tennis there can be a tendency to hold back. It’s the etiquette, like in golf when they don’t get that fired up and excited when they hit a great shot. It is just not the done thing.

“But that was probably the best atmosphere I’ve played tennis in and I’d like it to be like that as much as possible.

“I don’t think there’s a problem in sport with fans giving the opposition stick. They are paying the money. I don’t have a problem with that. It should be part of the sport. Sometimes it boils over if there’s alcohol available. At the cricket people are drinking for eight, nine hours. At Wimbledon they just have to be careful it doesn’t get out of hand but there are rarely problems in tennis.”

Murray’s run to the last four at Wimbledon overcame some of the reservations about him among the British public but still there was the accusation that he did not smile enough, that he was too sulky. He remains not everyone’s cup of Lipton’s.

If Murray is still a little taciturn, he says that it is hardly surprising given that he was burnt by the ridiculous, over-the-top reaction to his jokey comment about supporting anyone but England, a furore that rankles to this day.

“Pathetic,” he says.

But he also asks what else people expect. “I don’t go out of my way to ask the general public if they like me or not,” he says. “That’s not really No 1 in my priorities.” He is there to win matches, not to grin.

“I’m never going to smile on the court,” he says. “I don’t see the other top guys smiling and joking when they are playing. It is a serious business. It’s the same in other sports. Before or after you might joke around — I spend most of my time joking around. But when you step on the court it is business. I’ve got three hours to concentrate so that’s what I do.

“I don’t think I do anything to offend people. Sometimes with the way I am on the court, people might not like it — I don’t like it sometimes — but when you are competing you get frustrated. I am sure sometimes you have a bad day at work and are in a bad mood for whatever reason. The difference is that when I show my emotions it is on TV.

“It is all dependent on whether you are winning or not. Look at someone like Federer — he obviously loves the sport and has been right at the top of the game for the last eight years. He always looked like he was really enjoying himself on court. But at the start of this year, when he was struggling a bit and wasn’t winning as much, he broke a racket and was getting angry.

“When the tournaments come, that is when you earn your living and respect from the other players so I don’t feel it is the time to be messing around on court. We love winning.”

Physically, Murray feels in great shape to challenge in New York. He had a month off after Wimbledon to train in Miami, taking time to mix business with pleasure by working out in a boxing gym.

Hence the photographs you see, which were taken by Howard Bingham, the photographer best known as the biographer and friend of Muhammad Ali.

Murray’s passion for boxing was ignited when, as a 14-year-old, he watched Audley Harrison stop Piotr Jurczyk at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. “I don’t know exactly what it was, maybe the big adrenalin rush from watching it up so close,” he says. “I guess that’s what sports people like, and you miss it when you are not competing.”

Murray’s admiration is split between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, who may fight each other next year. “I’d love to see that,” he says.

He is an observer of boxers, how they prepare, and he sees some similarities. “Watch Pacquiao on his way to the ring; it is a perfect example of what I was saying about joking around,” he says. “Manny laughs, jokes on his way to the ring but as soon as he puts his foot through the ropes, he is dead serious. He prays in the corner, gets his game-face on and gets ready to fight.”

To see the two sides of Murray, go to his website and the pictures of him at a driving range and baseball batting cage in New York this week. He is laughing his head off. But the game-face will be back on for Monday.
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Old 08-29-2009, 01:10 PM   #253
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http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...e-1778916.html

Quote:
Murray happy in his second home

Scot keen to step on court in New York where fans will give him warmest welcome

By Paul Newman in New York
Saturday, 29 August 2009




Andy Murray's winning performances and his uncompromising approach to play
has gained him many admirers across the Atlantic


There are fiercely competitive qualifying matches being played on courts all around Flushing Meadows, but the biggest crowd is in Louis Armstrong Stadium, where two men are practising in readiness for the start of the US Open on Monday.

James Blake, who was born up the road in Yonkers, is one attraction, but the player on the other side of the net is just as big a draw. Long after the end of the practice session, Andy Murray's entourage are still waiting patiently as the 22-year-old Scot signs autographs for the hordes of children who have descended on the court.

If sections of the British public needed time to take Murray to their hearts – and there are some who still seem unwilling to show him a fraction of the affection in which they held Tim Henman – Americans have had no such doubts. Murray's uncompromising approach and focus on his task may not go down well with some of the strawberries-and-Pimm's set, but on this side of the Atlantic everyone loves an out-and-out winner.

The affection is mutual. Just like Fred Perry, the last British man to win a Grand Slam title, 73 years ago, Murray feels at ease on this side of the Atlantic. America is where he won his only Grand Slam junior title (in 2004), his first senior tournament (at San Jose in 2006) and his first Masters Series crown (in Cincinnati last summer). It is also where he reached his first – and hitherto only – Grand Slam final (losing to Roger Federer last year) and became world No 2 (after overtaking Rafael Nadal last week).

Twenty minutes after his practice session, Murray settles into a chair in the players' garden and reflects on his favourite Grand Slam event and his achievements on these courts last year. "I always love coming to New York but it feels like quite a long time," Murray said. "I guess a lot's happened in the last year. It's been quite a busy year, with not too many stops."

What were his best memories from last year's tournament? "Playing my first night match was special. I'm not taking anything away from making the final, but I'd always wanted to play a night match since I came here the first time as a junior. That was one of the nicest parts of last year for me: getting the chance to play in that sort of atmosphere."

Having arrived here last weekend, Murray's planned day of relaxation on Monday did not get off to the best of starts when a drug tester woke him at his hotel. "It annoyed me because it was the first time I'd had a day off for quite a while and I wanted to have a lie-in," Murray said. "When you get woken up at 7.15 on the day after a tournament finishes it's a bit of a drag."

While the top players acknowledge the need for drug-testing – "No one wants cheats in the sport," Murray stressed – several have expressed their annoyance with the "whereabouts" programme, which requires them to detail where they will be available for testing for one hour every day of the year. They can also be subject to "out-of-hours" tests, as Murray experienced when a tester called at his home three days before the start of Wimbledon.

"It was after nine o'clock and I'd just finished dinner," he said. "I'd just gone to the toilet and you're not going to force yourself to drink, say, two litres of water just so that you can go to the toilet. You want the guy out of your house at that time. The guy's just sitting there and you're just waiting to go to the toilet."

Murray also recalled an encounter with a tester after losing his Wimbledon semi-final to Andy Roddick. "Within two minutes of getting off the court the guy is right there, standing next to you. I just very politely said to him: 'Can you give me a little bit of space please? I'd like to be on my own for five minutes'. He said: 'Yeah, sure'. He took one step back.

"When he did that, I said: 'Right, I'm going to go and do my test right now'. I went downstairs, did my urine sample and was then told I had to go and do a blood test as well. I said: 'That's fine, let's do it'. They said: 'Sorry, you can't do the blood test now. You've got to wait until 45 minutes, an hour after your match before you do it'. There are so many rules and things that if you do everything right, they still keep you waiting."

Murray has also been in demand here with the local media. He was a guest on NBC's Today programme, a sure indication of his growing popularity in these parts, and spent much of Tuesday doing a series of interviews. He will be one of the major attractions at today's Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, where he will partner the comedian and actor Will Ferrell in a celebrity doubles match against Roddick and Will Arnett, another star from the silver screen.

Thereafter the serious work begins. If Murray were to reach the final again he might face the same opponents as last year in his last four matches – Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals, Nadal in the semi-finals and Federer in the final.

Just as he did 12 months ago, Murray has arrived fresh from a good run in the summer's two hard-court Masters Series events, having won in Montreal and reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati. Between Wimbledon and Montreal he spent a fortnight training in the heat and humidity of Miami, which proved good preparation given that all nine of his subsequent matches were played in the middle of the day rather than at night. "Not that many of the players have had to deal with that," he said. "It's good to come through physically and it will make me in better shape for the US Open."

The key difference between now and last year is the experience Murray has gained in the intervening 12 months. In that time he has won seven tournaments, climbed from No 6 to No 2 in the world rankings, matched his best performance at the Australian Open in reaching the fourth round and improved on his previous bests at the French Open and Wimbledon, where he made the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

Does he sense that people are looking at him as an even stronger contender here this year? "I don't know, to be honest," Murray said. "I get asked those sort of questions all the time. It's impossible for me to answer. I feel like I'm a better player than I was last year. I feel fitter and stronger."
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:55 PM   #254
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Default Re: Andy, Articles and news

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Old 09-15-2009, 03:36 PM   #255
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http://sport.scotsman.com/tennis/And...vis.5648411.jp

Quote:
Andy Murray fit for Davis Cup tie

Published Date: 15 September 2009

ANDY Murray has declared himself fit for this weekend's crucial Davis Cup relegation play-off against Poland in Liverpool.

The Scot had been carrying a wrist injury from the US Open but is confident he will be able to lead Great Britain in their bid to remain in Group 1 of the Europe-Africa Zone for the next year.

"I practised yesterday for the first time since the US Open so I should be okay for the weekend," said Murray, who today slipped a place to world number three after his surprise fourth-round exit to Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows last week.

That defeat still rankles with Murray, especially after he made the US Open final last year only to lose to Roger Federer and then had to watch as Juan Martin del Potro shocked the Swiss last night to claim his first Grand Slam title.

However, he is trying to focus on the Davis Cup and has not yet taken time out to reflect on the Cilic match.

"I've had a good season and I think I'll come back better from the US Open, I'll learn from it," he said.

"I played a bad match but I haven't sat down with my coach and discussed what I have to work on."

Murray knows he has a key part to play in this weekend's encounter against Poland.

"It is a massive match for us because we have to try to move back up through the groups," added Murray, who together with his Davis Cup team-mates paid a visit to Everton's Finch Farm training ground this afternoon and enjoyed a game of football tennis with manager David Moyes and midfielders Tim Cahill and Leon Osman.

"In singles we should be the favourites but they have got a very good doubles team (they have a world top-10 ranked doubles pair of Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenberg) and we will have to play well in the doubles.

"We also have to get the crowd into it as much as possible."

GB coach David Lloyd is delighted to have a player of Murray's quality on board after the Scot missed the defeat to Ukraine in March.

"Andy said he was going to play earlier on and we are pleased to have him," said Lloyd, who has named a six-man squad which includes James Ward, Josh Goodall, Dan Evans, Ross Hutchins and Merseysider Ken Skupsi.

"When you have someone who is as good as Andy it is a learning process for the rest of the team.

"It is a good experience for them to watch someone as good as Andy train and play and they will all learn from it."
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