Amelie Mauresmo has told Andy Murray to drink in the adulation of walking back into Wimbledon as defending champion – then “get down to business” to retain his crown.
Murray admitted he has no idea what to expect when Wimbledon starts on Monday, but is determined to enjoy his status as SW19 title holder.
The 27-year-old Scot picked new coach Mauresmo’s brains about how to handle the pressure of defending his Wimbledon title over dinner on Wednesday night.
Murray said former Wimbledon champion Mauresmo has already made her mark, after he dispatched Tommy Robredo in straight sets at the Hurlingham Club. “I chatted to her about it last night, we had dinner,” he said after his 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) victory in the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic yesterday.
“As well, though, it’s important at the beginning, when you go out and walk on to the court, to try to enjoy that feeling, because it’s something I’ve never experienced before. It will be a proud moment to come back as defending champion.
“But then, when you start playing the match, you need to treat it like any other tennis match, and get down to business and focus on the tactics and what you need to do to try to come through.
“It’s important to try to enjoy experiences like that, because they don’t happen often. I don’t know how it will feel, I have no idea, I’m sure I’ll be nervous and will feel some pressure, but I’ll try to enjoy it, it’s a new experience for me. It’s not often that happens now, there aren’t many situations I haven’t been in, after nine or ten years on the tour, so that will be nice.”
Murray became the first men’s grand slam winner to appoint a female coach, prompting mixed reactions from his peers.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Amelie so far,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being on the court with her.
“She understands the game well, obviously. She’s also been in the position before, coming back as defending champion at Wimbledon. She’s been very good so far and I’ve enjoyed it.
“Queen’s didn’t really count as a tournament that we spent together because she arrived on Tuesday afternoon and I played my first match on Wednesday, and we practised for 30 minutes. From her side, she’s just getting to know me, getting to know the guys that I work with, and how we operate. Then, these last few days, we’ve had time on the court, some peace and quiet to work on some things and to try to get ready for the start of the tournament.
“It’s important to enjoy practising and having fun on the court with your coach, and that’s been the case.”
Murray eased past Robredo with little issue at Hurlingham and admitted relief at approaching Wimbledon with no injury worries whatsoever – a rarity after fretting for so long about his back.
“The way I now feel after surgery, it gives me a lot of confidence, because my back was giving me a lot of trouble for a long time,” he said. “Now I’m just happy not to have to worry about it on a daily basis.
“It’s something I have to always monitor throughout my career and look after, but I’m not waking up in the morning worrying about how I’m going to feel. That was the case for a while before surgery.
“I feel pretty good, the last couple of days I’ve been moving well. I moved okay at Queen’s but I’ve started moving well over the last few days. I’ve practised with Tsonga, Dimitrov and then obviously it was good to get a good match here, so I’ve spent quite a lot of time on the courts and I’m feeling good.”