With Wimbledon only a week away Andy Murray said last night that he was confident he could cope with the hype that will surround his attempt to become the first British man to win at the All England Club for 73 years.
The Scot's victory at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club yesterday will no doubt add to the weight of expectation on his shoulders, but Murray insisted: "I'm going to live my normal life. I'm not going to start switching the TV off and not listening to the radio when I'm in the car. If there is a paper on the table, and I'm sitting around doing nothing, I'm not going to not look at it. What people write and say doesn't matter. It doesn't win me matches."
He added: "I'm not planning on getting caught up in the whole hype and the pressure, because I don't think that helps. I'm going to try and just concentrate on playing and winning matches. You can let the pressure affect you if you want to. You can let the expectation get to you if you really want to, but I'm just going to play tennis and not worry about the rest of the stuff."
Murray said it was "pretty special" to become the first Briton to win the Queen's title since 1938. "There have been some great grass-court players from Britain the last 70-odd years," he said. "Tim [Henman] and Greg [Rusedski] were both very good grass-court players. There are the names of a lot of great, great players on the trophy."
He said it had been "a very good week", though he added: "In terms of the tennis today, maybe it wasn't the best match of the week, but it's very difficult against James [Blake] because he doesn't let you into too much of a rhythm. I served well all week and moved well. It was a good transition from the clay to the grass."
Does Murray think he can win Wimbledon? "I don't think it's impossible. I go into every tournament with the mentality that I can win the event. If I only reach the quarter-finals or semi-finals of a Grand Slam I don't view it as being a terrible tournament, but I go in with the mentality that I'm going to win it.
"I'll have to play my best tennis ever to do it. It's so difficult to do. That's why no one in Britain's done it for such a long time. I think a lot of people don't understand how tough it is, especially right now with the guys that are in front of me in the rankings and even the ones that are just behind me. There are some great players out there."
Blake said Murray has "the ability to beat anyone in the world" but when asked for his tip for Wimbledon the American named Roger Federer. "He's proven to be the best grass-court player over the last six or seven years," Blake said. "And with the confidence after winning the French Open, I would think he's got to be feeling pretty good."Reuse content