Andy Murray has laughed off the idea that this summer’s British sporting hopes rest solely on his shoulders after England crashed out of the World Cup early.
The Wimbledon hero said the World Cup gives him “something to do in the evenings”, and said it takes the attention off him playing at the famous London tennis tournament.
The 27-year-old Scot will step out on Centre Court today against Belgium’s David Goffin to begin the defence of his Wimbledon title.
Murray is hoping to land another title in SW19 following his historic victory last summer against Novak Djokovic.
Having ended the wait for a British male singles champion at Wimbledon after 77 years, Murray will try to emulate Fred Perry once more by retaining the title.
With the World Cup taking place in Brazil, tennis is not the only sport in town this summer – but England is now out of the competition.
Asked how he felt about having the hopes of the UK on his shoulders going into the 2014 Championships, the Scot laughed and said: “Wow. To be honest, I don’t feel too much different than I did a few days ago. I’m here to try and win the tournament. That’s it. My focus is solely on the first match, preparing properly for that.
“I trained hard the last ten days or so. Preparation’s gone well. So it’s now down to me to try and perform on the court. That’s what I need to do.”
Murray was asked about what he thought of England’s performance in Brazil.
He said: “I don’t think they played too badly, to be honest. I think the first match against Italy was probably better than Uruguay. But, yeah, I like football. I watch a lot of football. I enjoy it when the World Cup is on. It gives me something to do in the evenings.
“I don’t have to listen to people talking about me playing at Wimbledon. I can just watch the football. Don’t need to worry about any of that stuff.”
Murray said he is feeling “nervous” going into Wimbledon, adding: “When you come back to a Grand Slam, there’s always nerves and pressure there before you start the event. I feel fairly similar to last year.”
Murray also spoke about his appointment of female coach Amelie Mauresmo. In response to 1977 champion Virginia Wade’s recent claim that she did not understand the partnership, he said: “She’s done it a few times before with me. It doesn’t surprise me.”
The Frenchwoman’s appointment has made him the highest-profile man in the sport to appoint a female coach.
Speaking about Mauresmo, Murray said: “You can talk about her accomplishments on the tennis court. She won a lot. She was No. 1 in the world. She won multiple Grand Slams. She got to latter stages of slams very often.”
He added: “And in terms of what she’s like, her game style, she had quite a creative game style. She used a lot of spins, slices, she came to the net, good variety in her game. That’s something that I’ve always tried to use during my career. So I think she can help with that.
“And then in terms of what she’s like as a person, she’s a very, very nice person. She’s very easy to speak to. She’s very easy to communicate with. She listens well. She’s firm, as well.
“So there are the reasons why I wanted to give it a shot, and hopefully it will work out well.”
He later added: “It’s possible it doesn’t work. It has nothing to do with whether she’s a woman or not.”