Andy Murray ready for next stage as Wimbledon approaches

 

Winning Wimbledon was not the beginning of the end, insists Andy Murray, but the end of the beginning.

When the 27-year-old strides out on Centre Court a week on Monday to begin his 2014 campaign he will be bidding to become the first British man to win the singles title for a whole 12 months.

Seventy-seven years, Fred Perry, a source of national embarrassment and international amusement, all consigned to history with a netted Novak Djokovic backhand.

It was a career-defining moment, and will continue to be so whatever Murray goes on to achieve.

The sporting high to end all sporting highs, but also a potential problem. How on earth could he follow that?

Marion Bartoli realised she could not and retired a month after her surprise triumph.

For a while Murray struggled, too.

"I spoke to Ivan (Lendl) a little bit about it," the Scot told Press Association Sport.

"Maybe because everyone was saying, 'It's completely normal to have that feeling', I in a way accepted, ' Okay, that's how I'm feeling'. I don't think I genuinely really felt that way."

Murray's inner competitive fire has compelled him to go through gruelling training camps, to try to wring every last drop out of his talent.

As he wrote in his recent book - called Seventy Seven, naturally: "There is a relentlessness that goes with being me. I have a sense that what I do is never good enough."

Murray chose to wipe the slate clean by giving himself another challenge, recovering from back surgery.

"It wasn't until I decided to have the surgery - I didn't have to have surgery, I could have just carried on with the problem with my back - that was when I really decided that I needed to get it better and move on with the rest of my career," he said.

"Wimbledon's done for now and I can enjoy that when I've finished playing. The day after the surgery it was, 'Okay, I need to get better. How am I going to do that?' I wasn't thinking, 'Oh, I won Wimbledon, I don't need to do all the proper rehab'.

"I really made sure I did everything properly and tried to come back as quickly as I could."

It has been a year of change for Murray.

But while the back surgery was his choice, splitting from coach Ivan Lendl was not.

After just over two years, one Olympic gold medal and two grand slam titles, Lendl decided he no longer wanted to dedicate the necessary time to continue their partnership.

Murray had hoped to finish his career with Lendl and his initial reaction was somewhat akin to that of a jilted lover.

But the Scot, who has teamed up with Amelie Mauresmo for the grass-court season, continued his theme of moving on.

"That's just part of it," he said. "It was almost fitting in a way that it was the last tournament we won together.

"Both of us, when we first agreed to work together, if someone had said, these are the tournaments you're going to win, I'm sure both of us would have been very happy with that. It's just time to move on now."

Murray has never watched the three hours and nine minutes that it took for him to defeat Djokovic on that glorious summer afternoon.

He has seen the mammoth last game a couple of times but mostly the fortnight is rendered a blur by that which came after.

"The only day really of the tournament that I remember is the final," he said.

"When I think back, that's the match that I would go back to. I do spend quite a lot of time at Wimbledon so each time I go back there you have those memories.

"I remember how I was feeling on the morning, the nerves and stuff. I remember the immediate aftermath of the match and the match point, which is strange because when somebody asked me about it for about a week afterwards I couldn't really remember anything until I watched it on TV a few times. Now those are the two things I remember."

For two weeks Wimbledon is the place where Murray is under the full glare of a nation's attention, but for the rest of the year it is the opposite.

Somewhere he goes to sit and take a breath, to step off the tennis treadmill for an hour or two and soak up the peace and quiet of tennis' cathedral.

Centre Court holds special memories, of course, and for the past year a permanent reminder of his greatest day.

Up on the scoreboard have stayed the names of Murray and Djokovic and the numbers he will never forget - 6-4 7-5 6-4. Well, sort of.

Murray, never a man to let a good story get in the way of the facts, said: "It's a plastic sheet, it's not the actual scoreboard.

"It's nice to see but the best thing is when you walk to the court they have all of the winners from years and years ago, and to be on that wall with those players, that's special."

Wimbledon is a place where the past is very much present, but for Andy Murray, it is about the future.

PA

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker