After the unforgettable day, the night he couldn’t remember. Andy Murray celebrated his second Wimbledon triumph at a nightclub that advertises itself as “a chaotic utopia of hedonism”. He is not sure what he was drinking, nor can he recall exactly what time he got home.
But lest you think our great sporting hero – and greatest teetotaller – has suddenly developing a worrying taste for booze, what with the defence of his Olympic title upcoming, he hasn’t. “Whatever I was drinking, it was horrible,” he said with a groan.
It should also be stated that at just gone 10am yesterday morning, his tournament bumfluff shaved off, he looked nothing less than champ. Maybe a tiny bit bleary-eyed but still radiating elite-athlete vitality, the afterglow of a famous Centre Court victory – and the happiness he yearned to feel.
Murray was determined to enjoy this Wimbledon more than the last one in 2013 when he felt under so much pressure to win for the country –and that began right after his straight-sets defeat of Canada’s Milos Raonic. He and his wife Kim attended the traditional closing ball at London’s Guildhall and with family, friends and support-team members they then hit Drama. Google this exclusive Park Lane nightspot and you’ll learn that members of the English Premier League-winning Leicester City couldn’t get past the doormen. They let our Andy in, though.
“It was a fun night,” he said. “Everyone was messaging me this morning saying they had a good time.” Too good in some cases, with the tired-and-emotional state of one tennis correspondent causing Murray to chuckle. He was asked if cutting a bit loose had made him feel like a normal person. “Yes, it was nice. You get a group of your friends, colleagues and family around, you can relax. You feel more comfortable. I very rarely get the chance to do that.”
When was the last time he’d had a bit of a bevvy? “Never – never in celebration, that’s for sure.” What had been his drink of choice? “I don’t even remember.” So did he now reckon alcohol wasn’t so bad after all? “No, it was brutal!” he said, screwing up his face. “I didn’t enjoy it that much!”
As the fork-lift trucks moved into the All England Club to dismantle the tournament paraphernalia, Murray returned to the scene of his triumph to talk a bit more about his third grand slam, how he hopes to take the trophy on another tour of Dunblane – “I love going home and don’t manage to get back as often as I’d like” – and how he now has his sights set on becoming world No 1.
“It’s definitely a goal,” he said. “Before when I won here I was sort of motivated really by the slams and I think my results for the rest of that year showed that. Now I feel a lot more motivated [to do well] at all of the events. It’s something I’ve spoken to my team about and to Ivan [Lendl, super-coach] too. I’d love to get to No 1 for sure, and the way to do that will be to show up every week and be focused on each event.”
Murray, 29, looked back to his very first appearance at Wimbledon as an 18-year-old and tried to remember what his ambitions had been. He didn’t think he’d end up as champion, that’s for sure. “The first year I played I was ranked 350 or something in the world. I was just happy to be playing at Wimbledon. After the tournament I think I kind of realised I could compete with the best players. My goal at the time was to try to reach the top 100. I don’t know exactly why but that’s always a target you’re judged on. I knew that I could play with the top men and so I changed my goals a bit. But I certainly didn’t ever think in those early years that I’d be winning the tournament.”
It wasn’t a serene procession to his first slam; his first final defeats hit him hard. “After I lost the first four finals, I was worried about the consequences. When I lost the Wimbledon final , it was a really hard loss for me. For a day or so afterwards I was really emotional. I sort of accepted I might not win one of these events but I was doing everything I could to give myself a chance. That was the time I started to accept that it’s OK to not achieve what you want, if you’re doing everything you possibly can.”
Raonic battered 147mph balls across the net on Sunday but couldn’t disturb the Murray masterclass, one of the finest performances of his career. What went through his mind facing that cannonball serve? “Nothing, really, because there’s probably less than half a second to react. It’s a case of pure instinct and trying to avoid getting hit because a lot of time Milos serves straight at you and you can be in a bit of pain.”
The winning feeling caused Murray to shed some tears and Lendy, the Ice Man of reputation, seemed quite emotional, too. Was Murray surprised by that? “He was telling everyone it was allergies, that he had hay fever, but I don’t believe it!”
Murray was asked what he’d like his legacy to be. That he will leave British tennis in a better state than when he started out, he said. But he is not finished yet. He wants to win more slams and is setting the target high.
“Rather than saying I’d like four and then I win five, I’d prefer to aim for 20 and end up winning six.” And then there are the Olympics. “I’m pumped for Rio. It’s a big, big goal of mine.”
Watch out for those Caipirinhas, though.