Wimbledon 2013: Less pressure for Andy Murray since breaking grand slam duck

Scot ended a 76-year wait for a British male grand slam singles champion at the US Open in New York last September

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andy Murray plays his opening match at Wimbledon today feeling a weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

While Fred Perry remains the last British man to win the singles title at the All England Club, there will always be huge pressure on Murray, but the biggest hurdle in his career has already been overcome.

The Scot ended a 76-year wait for a British male grand slam singles champion at the US Open in New York last September, proving to himself and all his doubters that he could win one of the sport's biggest prizes.

One of the first things coach Ivan Lendl told Murray after he lost last year's Wimbledon final to Roger Federer was that he would never again play a match under so much pressure.

The world number two begins his campaign to go one better against Germany's Benjamin Becker on Centre Court, and he told Press Association Sport: "There's definitely less pressure.

"I'd lost a few tough grand slam finals and it's nice to know I'll never have to worry about answering that question again. Of course there's always pressure but I put less on myself now.

"I'd love to win Wimbledon but so would every single player. Just because I'm from the UK it's still incredibly tough.

"I've got no more right than anyone else to win it but I've given myself the best preparation I can. Last year I played the best grass-court tennis of my career at Wimbledon.

"Every year it becomes a little bit more important for me. I've had some of my toughest losses here and some of my best wins."

Last year's Wimbledon final was the first instalment in a life-changing summer that also saw Murray win Olympic gold with victory over Federer on Centre Court.

And, although the Wimbledon match was the most high profile, it was the final in New York against Novak Djokovic that had Murray most anxious.

"I was definitely most nervous before the US Open final for whatever reason, but having had the experience of playing in a Wimbledon final definitely helped me for the Olympics," he said.

"The Olympics was different as well because if you lose the final you get a silver medal and people are happy with that, it's seen as an achievement. Whereas if you lose a grand slam final it's viewed that you've failed."

Murray has always been a man more prone to dwell on failure than success, but when tough moments arrive at SW19 this fortnight he will allow his mind to wander back to his golden summer.

"I don't think about it too much but it is important to know that you managed to achieve that," he said.

"If you're struggling in matches you need to remember, and I think other players do maybe find it tougher closing out matches against you."

Murray is one of seven British players in action on day one along with James Ward, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Johanna Konta and, making their debuts, Kyle Edmund and Samantha Murray.

Follow game-by-game coverage of Andy Murray's first match of Wimbledon 2013 against Benjamin Becker