February 27, 2021

Murray: Everyone in same boat when season resumes

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Raz Mirza

Comment & Analysis @RazMirza

Murray talks about strange anomaly of not winning many practice sets. He also says: “I can guarantee you will never see me growing a moustache out of choice” after a bet during a game of golf

Last Updated: 29/07/20 2:23pm

Andy Murray believes practice is nothing compared to playing on a match court where the stakes are high

Andy Murray believes practice is nothing compared to playing on a match court where the stakes are high

Andy Murray says you “just can’t replicate matches in practice” and expects there to be “upsets for sure” once the tennis season resumes after a five-month shutdown.

The enforced shutdown of the tennis season due to the coronavirus pandemic has seen players resort to many hours of practice, which two-time Wimbledon winner Murray says may not be beneficial to everybody.

Murray expects more than a few upsets once competitive action resumes at the Cincinnati tournament in New York before the start of the US Open.

The former world No 1 is intending to travel to the United States to compete at next month’s US Open, along with a warm-up event in the week before the Grand Slam.

I’ve always been a very poor practice player. I don’t win many practice sets. It doesn’t matter who I am playing against, I have just never been particularly good.

Andy Murray

“You just can’t replicate matches in practice, It just isn’t the same. It is different on the body, on the mind,” said Murray after he was beaten in the mixed doubles alongside Jodie Burrage at the Battle of the Brits tournament.

“The pressure is just different and no matter how hard you try to make your practices as challenging and difficult as matches, they just aren’t.

“For me, I’ve always been a very poor practice player. I don’t win many practice sets. It doesn’t matter who I am playing against, I have just never been particularly good. My coach said that the year I finished No 1, he thought that I won 15 to 20 per cent of my practice sets that year but I only lost nine matches and won about 80-90 per cent of sets during competition. It’s just not the same and it will be very different for all of the players.

“Some players who have had injury lay-offs will probably be a little bit more experienced in terms of coming back after a long period, but it’s an opportunity for players. There will be upsets for sure. Going into the US Open with potentially only one or two matches in the Cincinnati event in New York, it will make for some interesting results, that’s for sure. It will be interesting for the viewers on TV.”

Murray admits losing practice sets to Anton Matusevich

Murray admits losing practice sets to Anton Matusevich

On the body, I’ve done so many hard training blocks in preparation. I would then go out and play my first match and it doesn’t really matter what the score is or how difficult it is, I always wake up the next morning with the body hurting, my glutes are sore and my back hurts. You just don’t get that in practice.

Andy Murray

Murray went on to speak about the strange anomaly of losing practice sets to a lot of lower-ranked players, including “a bunch” of sets to fellow Brit Anton Matusevich, who is ranked 564 in the world.

“I don’t know if he would be the lowest ranked player I would have lost a set to but that is fairly recent. I have lost tonnes of practice sets. It’s just one of those weird things. Put me on a match court and it is just different. It’s not the same,” Murray insisted.

“There are lots of players who play extremely well in practice but it doesn’t translate well onto the match court. It is one of those weird things, very hard to explain.

“On the body, I’ve done so many hard training blocks in preparation. I would then go out and play my first match and it doesn’t really matter what the score is or how difficult it is, I always wake up the next morning with the body hurting, my glutes are sore and my back hurts. You just don’t get that in practice. I don’t know if it’s because of the adrenaline, which allows you to push your body a little bit further and stretch for balls a little bit more, and once that wears off you feel it a bit more. It’s interesting.”

Dan Evans' moustache has been the talk of the Battle of the Brits tournament

Dan Evans’ moustache has been the talk of the Battle of the Brits tournament

I would never go with the moustache. I am so lazy with shaving and stuff, I can’t be bothered. But I can guarantee you will never see me growing a moustache out of choice.

Andy Murray

Dan Evans’ new look has also caused a stir at the event in Roehampton. The British No 1 has been growing a moustache after Murray won a bet on the golf course.

“He was kind of growing one and I was rinsing him for that because in my opinion it’s a poor look,” smiled Murray. “It’s not one that I would go for myself and then we were playing golf the following day. The losers had to grow a moustache for this event this week, so he and his coach Mark Hilton got smoked on the golf course. They have both got pretty poor moustaches just now.”

He added: “I would never go with the moustache. I am so lazy with shaving and stuff, I can’t be bothered. But I can guarantee you will never see me growing a moustache out of choice. I may lose a forfeit at some stage but I won’t be going for one out of choice.”

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