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'Wimbledon victory brought relief rather than joy'

August 25, 2013 16:48 IST

'Wimbledon victory brought relief rather than joy'

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Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray strolled into the US National Tennis Center on Saturday without a care in the world, brimming with confidence and self-belief as he prepares to defend his US Open title.

Signing autographs and joking with the media, the Scotsman's relaxed demeanour could not have been any different than when he arrived at Flushing Meadows a year ago.

And this time he plans to do something he forgot to last year. He wants to enjoy himself.


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

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Memories rekindled

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In 2012, Murray arrived in New York still searching for his first Grand Slam title. He had won the Olympic gold medal but the Grand Slams had eluded him and he continued to be pestered about why he had not broken through.

Murray expressed that while winning Wimbledon too, it was not the same as the crowd was expecting it to be because he had been involved in a bitter final last year.

That all changed under the bright lights of New York when he defeated world No 1 Novak Djokovic in a nerve-tingling five-setter, to end his own drought and become the first British man in 76 years to win the US Open.

Returning this year as the defending champion has rekindled those memories though he confessed his emotions last year were somewhat stifled.


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Murray knew winning the US Open was never going to release the expectation

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The champion player said that he feels a lot more confident than before but as the tournament rolls on, he would start to get nervous, adding that it was different since it was the first time he was playing in a Grand Slam as defending champion.

"I was so relieved that night that maybe I didn't have the chance to maybe enjoy it maybe as much as Wimbledon or the Olympics, for example," he said.

"There was so much relief last year that I wasn't necessarily enjoying it as much as I should have.

"So when I came back and practiced on the Arthur Ashe court, you know, the memories came back, and that was nice."

Despite his breakthrough, Murray knew winning the US Open was never going to release the full expectation on him from the British public.


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

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'There was pressure on me for a lot of years to win a Grand Slam'

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That only came when he won Wimbledon in July, a moment etched in British sporting history but one that was a blur to him.

With the weight of expectation lifted from shoulders, Murray holds no fears about trying to defend his title at Flushing Meadows, the most raucous and intimidating venues of the four grand slams.

"I think there is less pressure. I think before the first match - and probably anything before the first match there will be nerves there - I expect to be pretty nervous because it's a new experience and it's different," he said.

"But I think once the tournament gets going, I don't think it changes. I don't think it changes too much.

"There was a lot of pressure on me for a lot of years to win a Grand Slam, and then same sort of thing at Wimbledon. I wouldn't imagine it would be the same here."


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

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