MADRID, April 27, 2016
Ahead of the start of the Mutua Madrid Open next week, Andy Murray, the tournament’s reigning champion, spoke to the event’s official media in an interview which looked back at his victory last year and his career in general.
“I remember serving especially well during that week, at that stage in my career it was one of the best serving performances to date,” Murray told about his memories of 2015, when he captured his first ATP Masters 1000 title on clay.
“I was playing Giles Simon, who was playing incredibly well and I remember having to fight really hard, particularly in the second set to close the match out. It was big moment for me as I became the first British player in the open era to win four titles in a calendar year, and the first to win two masters in a year.”
Murray defeated Rafael Nadal in the title match.
“Winning a clay court tournament was something that I found incredibly hard to do for a very long time, so to get the breakthrough in 2015 was a very special moment for me. Rafa is the greatest clay court player who’s ever lived so to be able to capture my first Masters title against one of the greatest on that surface was a very proud moment,” the world number two explained and added about his key to success:
“My preparation last year was probably the best it’s ever been for the clay. I spent two weeks in Barcelona training on clay, which enabled me to really work on my tactics and movement. I also won my first tournament in Munich the week before, so I had a lot of confidence going into Madrid.”
Munich might have been the best possible choice to play ahead of Madrid. Both cities are located at high altitude.
“One of the key differences with Madrid is the altitude that you play at. The Caja Mágica is probably one of the highest venues in terms of being above sea level that we play at on the tour, so you have to ensure you arrive prepared for that, the ball can move a little bit differently if the air is a bit thinner and it can take some getting used too.
“Madrid is a more traditional Spanish city compared to the likes of Barcelona and Valencia. It has a lot of history, I always enjoy going to have a look around, whether it’s checking out the football stadiums or wandering round the main square there’s lots you can do. The food is also pretty special, with Iberico ham on offer round every corner it’s easy to eat out at every opportunity. If you love tapas, you’ll love Madrid,” Murray is looking forward to his return.
Murray’s personal life has changed since he has become a father.
“It’s natural that priorities change as circumstances in life change. Since Sophia has arrived, tennis is no longer the number one priority for me. Obviously when I’m on the court I’m completely focused on my tennis, but when I’m off the court I have to learn how to balance doing what I do alongside being a father. It will take time to get used to the change, but so far I’m absolutely loving fatherhood and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Nonetheless, there is still time for Murray to focus on his tennis skills.
“I still have a good few years ahead of me in my career, and I believe that my best years are still ahead. It would be easy for me to say that I want to win more grand slams, but the reality is that they are very difficult to win. I will just continue to prepare the best I can for every tournament I enter, so that I can compete as hard as I can for every title.”