ANDY Murray hopes his Wimbledon victory on Sunday will mark the start of a new phase of his career, not its culmination.
Murray beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become the first British man in 77 years to win the Wimbledon singles title, and he has also won the Olympic and US Open titles in the past 12 months. But he insisted that such successes should only spur him on, not encourage him to rest on his laurels.
“I hope I don’t lose hunger,” the 26-year-old from Dunblane said yesterday as he faced the press again after barely an hour and a half’s sleep. “I think I should be able to use this as motivation.
“I know what it’s like losing in a Wimbledon final and I know what it’s like winning one. It’s a lot better winning, so the hard work is worth it. I just need to make sure I don’t get sidetracked by anything, and that after the next few days.... Yeah, enjoy and celebrate and stuff. Go away, rest up and get ready for the US Open.
“I’ve never had to defend a grand slam before. That’ll be a new experience for me and I look forward to that.”
With the US hardcourt season coming up, Murray is unlikely to allow himself any more than a few days off before returning to his arduous training schedule. He would like to visit his home town, but is unsure when he could fit in even a brief visit.
“I do want to got back. I’m not sure exactly when that will happen. I haven’t had that much time to think or co-ordinate things. I want to go away on holiday and try to get rest, because the last few weeks have been tough. Pretty stressful for me. Try and get a bit of time on holiday. Then I need to get back into training for the US stretch.”
Although he knows how much his victory meant to the people of Dunblane, Murray said he was unaware what significance it had for the people of Britain as as whole. Over the years, one of the ways in which he has dealt with the weight of expectation on him is by shutting himself off from as much media comment as possible, which makes it difficult to come to any serious sociological conclusion even if he were inclined to attempt one.
“I don’t know exactly what it means to everyone,” he admitted. “I do really try my best to avoid everything that goes on with playing at Wimbledon, with the media coverage and the TV stuff. I try to avoid it, because it could be a distraction.
“I know how long it’s been [since Britain had a men’s singles champion]. It’s been a long time. Close calls.
“Tim obviously got close a few times,” he continued, referring to Tim Henman, his friend and former Davis Cup team-mate who reached four Wimbledon semi-finals and lost every one. “And I got close a few times.
“So finally done it. I think it’ll be nice as a nation we don’t have to look at Wimbledon as a negative. View it as a positive. And I just hope it’s not another 70-odd years gap.”