As Andy Murray heads into his last Wimbledon campaign before his 30th birthday, he has pledged to keep playing – and winning – for his baby daughter.
Sophia was born on 7 February, and her proud father would like to keep playing until she is old enough to understand what the old man does for a living.
“It would be nice, I think, so she knows what it is that you’ve done or is maybe old enough to understand what it is that you do,” he said. “So maybe as I start to get older that might be more of a motivation to keep going and training and working hard to stay at the top.”
Roger Federer, the father of two sets of twins, made the same promise when his daughters arrived in 2009.
Since then, he has won two grand slam titles, including his 2012 victory over Murray. Towards the end of that match, Charlene and Myla appeared on Centre Court to cheer daddy to victory.
Murray would like Sophia to share a moment like that. But even though he is now 29, Murray does not feel as if he is approaching the final phase of his career. Novak Djokovic, also a proud dad and only a week younger than the Scot, is in his prime, so Murray sees no reason to think of slowing down.
That said, age has brought a greater appreciation of the opportunities in front of him.
“As you start to get older, I think you want to make sure that you make the most of every event that you play,” Murray said.
“But I would imagine that you start to think more in those terms when you feel like you’re starting to drop off a little bit, or physically you’re not quite the same, and your results and ranking are starting to drop. Whereas right now I don’t feel that way at all.
“And obviously me and Novak are one week apart as well. And he also seems to be doing fine and showing no signs of slowing down either. So I think because the guys are playing longer now it’s not something that I’ve been thinking about yet. But I’m aware that I need to make the most of every opportunity I get.”
Murray’s rivalry with Djokovic means that their every match could be a part of history: Djokovic is chasing the record books and Murray is doing everything in power to stop him. If ever Murray needed extra motivation, this is it.
“When I got into my mid-20s,” he said, “I started to realise how good an opportunity it was, just to play in those events, but then obviously to be in the latter stages of them a lot of the time. You do appreciate it more than when we’re young.
“When you’re playing there for the first time – at least as far as I was concerned – when I was 18 or 19 I wasn’t thinking about winning those events. It was just amazing to be playing in them.
“Whereas when you start to get older you realise and understand the history and the traditions a bit more and how when you look back on your career that they are the events you will be remembered for.”