Andy Murray stomped on Roger Federer Sunday to win the gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics in London. Calling it the biggest win of his career, here’s what Murray said afterward:
Q. We saw after your winning you ran over to your girlfriend and gave her a kiss. What does it mean to have her in the stands while you compete and what did that kiss feel like?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, all the players will tell you in a sport like tennis, it’s very individual. So the people that you have around you become extremely important parts of your life. Kim understands tennis very well. Her dad’s a tennis coach. Having her around after the Wimbledon final, which was obviously a very tough loss for me, was great. She helps pick me up. She was the only person really I saw for about four days after the final. Yeah, having her around helps. You know, the people that were in my box, they see everything. When people watch on the TV, they see the matches, they see your interviews before and afterwards. They don’t see the hours on the practice court or everything you do in the gym. The guys that are up there are the people that see that. That’s where all the work’s done. I’ve had a lot of tough losses in my career. So being able to go up to them after a match like today is great.
Q. I don’t think I can top the first question, but the manner of the victory, as much as the significance of it, astonishingly one-sided match looking at the scoreline.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, in a lot of ways the scoreline is irrelevant. But, you know, when I look back on the match, it will be one that I’ll look at as the biggest win of my career for sure. It’s definitely one of the best matches I played. I dealt with all the situations that were in front of me well. There were some important moments in the match, right at the start of the match, important not to underestimate how the first few games are where I saved some breakpoints, then also the 2-Love game in the third set. We had some really long games in the Wimbledon final, as well, in the third set, and he got them. Also in the Wimbledon final, I had chances in the second set to break and didn’t get them. Today I converted those chances, and that gave me the momentum for the rest of the match. You know, if those games or those points had gone the other way, it could have been a different match. But I took my chances today. I think I deserved to win.
Q. How much was sort of the responsibility you felt to Team GB was part of this triumph? Were you a bit surprised how you appeared to be swept along by the whole patriotic fervor surrounding this?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I watched the athletics last night. Yeah, it was unbelievable. I said in my interview with Sue Barker afterwards, watching Mo Farrah after 9,600 meters, run a 400 meters in 53 seconds, when I’m completely fresh, I can only run one in 57 seconds is, you know, amazing. Just amazing endurance. Incredible, incredible to watch. I don’t know. It just gave me, yeah, I don’t know, motivation to try to win that gold medal. You see how much it means to all of the athletes when they do it, how much work goes into it. I just obviously wanted to try and be part of that if I could. Yeah, the atmosphere in all of the stadiums, when everyone’s won gold medals in all of the sports, everyone’s just been so happy 5 August 2012 and pumped. I’m just glad I’ve been able to contribute to that.
Q. You talked about the tough losses that you’ve had. How much sweeter do those make this moment?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it helps for sure. You know, yeah, I have lost some tough matches. Yeah, I’ve had a lot of questions asked about me many times. I’m just glad that today I managed to put on a performance, I don’t know, that I’ve been waiting for I guess. It was obviously a huge match for me. It was a big match for Roger, as well. I’m sure it was something that he would have wanted to win the gold. It’s one of the few things in tennis he hasn’t done in his singles career. So it was a big match for both of us. Yeah, just to win today, in the way that I did, makes those losses a little bit easier to take. Just to keep coming back from them, as well, because it has been tough at times. But that’s why getting to spend that moment after victory with the people around you that have seen all of those losses and how tough it’s been makes it special.
Q. At the end of the match, immediately after you won, you almost appeared to be in a little bit of a daze until you went up to the player box, then you ran onto the court afterwards. Was it hard to take in?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was quite a strange feeling because after the Wimbledon final, I was really so overly emotional, you know, not only after I left the court, but for the next couple of days. Here, after the match, I felt surprisingly calm. Yeah, I don’t know if it was because we had the mixed doubles coming up or not, if I was just still really focused or not. I don’t know exactly what it was, or if it just hasn’t sunk in yet. But I know when I get the chance to sit down with all of the guys and celebrate with my family tonight, I’m sure I’ll get emotional again because it’s been the best week in my tennis career by a mile.
Q. You seem to have made a very big fan out of a very small boy, the little lad who came up and hugged you afterwards. How important is it for you as an Olympic gold medalist to inspire young people to get interested in the sport?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I was just saying out there that I think, you know, that’s one of the reasons why the Olympics is so great. Everybody gets into it. Everybody gets into sports that they maybe never have watched before, never seen. You know, I’m no different. There’s a lot of sports that I haven’t really watched much of, but I get right into it. Actually I thought that the boy, because he was in Roger Federer’s box, and he asked me for the hug, and I didn’t quite know how to react. I thought that maybe he was from Roger’s team. But, yeah, if we can get more kids playing sport, you know, the more chance there is of getting great champions and Olympic medalists. For tennis to get more kids playing, we’ll get more champions because of that. For a country of our size, we’ve done amazingly well I think so far in this Olympics. You know, if we could just get 5%, 10% more people playing any sports, we might be able to compete one day with the big, big countries, like the U.S. and China especially. We’re not that far off.
Q. There were a lot of cynics out there who feel that the Olympics is or should be more about the smaller sports that don’t often get the recognition, yet you saved the performance of your life for today. Does that in a way give a lie to that argument vis-à-vis the inspiration? Roger was asked whether your performance would give you confidence in the slams. I know you always get asked this questions. He said, No, because he’s a damn good player anyway. I wonder whether you thought it would inspire you when you have these big matches again in the future?
ANDY MURRAY: It will help I think with the way I go into the matches probably. You know, Ivan told me after the Wimbledon final that he was really happy with the way I played the whole tournament. He’s never been around a British player during Wimbledon, so he maybe didn’t quite know what it was like. He was saying, I’ll never play in a match under that much pressure again in my life. So that’s good news. I did feel much more relaxed going into today’s match than I did going into the Wimbledon final. I think now that I managed to win today… I said, after I lost in the Olympics in Beijing, I knew how much that meant to me, how much that hurt me. I mean, I think that it belongs. I think the way the crowds were this week, you know, for all the matches. You know, you take a mixed doubles match in the first round of a Grand Slam, there will be very few people watching. You get a mixed doubles match in the Olympics, you were looking at packed crowds throughout. People love to see all sports. Just anybody from their country doing well. I think tennis belongs in the Olympics. I think this week, the way that the crowd have been in all the matches, proves that.
Q. You have to have mental strength. You only dropped one point on your serve?
ANDY MURRAY: Did you say I only dropped one point?
ANDY MURRAY: I had no idea.
Q. You looked like Superman out there in terms of mental strength today.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I think because of all the experiences that I’ve had in those matches, I know, for example, after something like the Wimbledon final, I knew that even when I had chances at the beginning of the second set, that the match is such a long way from being over, that I’m starting to find a way of treating every single point exactly the same throughout the whole match. When you do that, you tend to play better for longer in the match. If you don’t lose your concentration for any point really, you know, you can play a consistent match like I did today, play well from start to finish. I think just a combination of learning from all of those defeats, you know, the Wimbledon final especially, will have gone into today’s match. I hope this experience will make me a better player, as well.
Q. This Olympic gold medal, does it mean more to you than a Wimbledon title because you have a chance next year to go for it again? Would you swap it for the Wimbledon title or not?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I got asked the question a lot of times before, in the three months before Wimbledon, almost every press conference I did, I got asked about that. Yeah, I got asked about it quite a few times this week, as well. I would love to win Wimbledon, for sure. But this felt good. I wouldn’t change this for anything right now, that’s for sure.
Q. In one sense do you feel you’ve avenged the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer with this victory, and the way you played today, to get this gold medal, or do you keep them two entirely separate results?
ANDY MURRAY: For me, two separate results. But good to know that after that match, which, you know, you guys saw afterwards was a tough one for me to take, that I was still able to learn from it and not just look at it as, you know, I’d blown it in a Grand Slam final when I had my chances. You know, I’ve actually used it in the right way to become a better player. I hope that that showed today. You know, having someone like Ivan around after that Wimbledon final was very important, as well, someone to talk to about the emotion, how it feels. He understands all of that. I spoke to him before today’s match about the tactics, going over a little bit what happened at Wimbledon, used it in the right way instead of negatively, which in the past I’ve certainly done after a few of the Grand Slam finals.
Q. When next June you will read again that no Brit has won Wimbledon in 76 years, will you start laughing, which you don’t do much normally, or will you take it seriously? Second question is, do you expect every player going to Rio, even if Rio doesn’t have the same appeal as a magic place like Wimbledon in four years?
ANDY MURRAY: I think all the players will go to Rio, for sure. And, yeah, I mean, with the first question, I don’t think we’ve ever won a gold medal in tennis they said in over a hundred years. When it comes to Wimbledon, I’ll know that it’s obviously possible to win something that hasn’t been done for a long time. It’s a long, long ways away. A lot of tennis to be played before then. I hope I come into Wimbledon next year fit and healthy and give it another shot.
Q. You talked about how this might help your preparation going into the US Open. How determined are you, now that you’ve beaten Roger in a five-setter in one of the biggest tournaments that there is? Secondly, about inspiring a nation, in terms of tennis itself, it’s only a two-week sport in this country for a lot of people, but suddenly you have thousands of fans waiting outside, signing autographs, going crazy in the crowd. What you and Laura have done this week, do you feel you’ve raised the profile of tennis in this country, as well?
ANDY MURRAY: I hope it does. I think it shows when there is major competitions, you know, that helps get people into the sport. So, you know, we have, over that Wimbledon period, visit our archives at asapsports.com A. Murray – 05.08.12 4 Queen’s obviously, and Wimbledon get good coverage. Maybe if we could get a couple more big events, the O2 has been attended unbelievably well, I think it’s been a great event. I mean, we’re starting to do a lot better. We had four girls, women, sorry, in the top 100. You know, the doubles we’ve done very, very well. I think we got maybe six or seven guys in the top 100s in the doubles. We are getting there. But, you know, if we can just, yeah, make tennis a bit more accessible to kids, that’s something that people talk about all the time, I don’t know how easy it is to do that, but the more kids playing tennis, the more chance we’ve got of having great depth and this becoming an even better sport.
Q. And the US Open?
ANDY MURRAY: I think the US Open, it’s probably not the best preparation for next week. But I think come US Open time, you know, I hope that this will have given me the confidence to go in there and believe in myself a bit more than I have in the past, you know, give myself a shot at winning there. I played very well at the US Open in the past. It’s a surface I like playing on. I always enjoy playing on Arthur Ashe court. Yeah, I hope I can have a good run there. I have to be careful of the next two weeks not to do too much, you know, make sure I pace myself going in there because it’s been a long couple of months already.
Q. Just looking at the mixed doubles, Laura mentioned she was quite disappointed with the result. Can you tell us a bit about what it’s like playing with her, what she’s like, the dynamic on court? Because she’s quite young, do you have to take the lead? What sort of relationship do you have on and off court?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I think for both of us it is disappointing. Yeah, I was a bit gutted at the end. It would have been so nice to win the gold. I think because we had so many close matches, as well, and the final came down to just a couple of points, I think it would have been great. I think she handled, you know, the crowd and everything, for someone of her age, she is still young, and I think she dealt with everything really, really well. She played very well again today. When we’re playing the matches, I mean, for me, I’m more experienced than her, so I will try at times to maybe slow her down. But she’s a very sort of — she knows how to play tennis. She’s a natural ball-striker. She knows what to do when she’s out there. You just got to let her play. A lot of people say you should be trying to sort of, I don’t know, make the girl laugh or calm them down or whatever, but I didn’t really need to do that at all. Just a couple of times tried to slow her down a little bit. But apart from that, she played great and dealt with all the different situations really well.
Q. As soon as you won, you appeared to put your two index fingers in the air, your eyes heaven-wards. Were you having a quiet word with the big man up there or was there someone in particular that was in your mind?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I mean, I was doing the same thing during Wimbledon. It’s just something that I’m sure I’ll end up doing for a while now. But, yeah, there is a meaning behind it. But like I said during Wimbledon, it’s for me and the guys around me. They know why I do it, and that’s it.
Q. Roger, loads of Spaniards, Roddick have pulled out of Toronto next week. Are you still going? Secondly, you were talking about chatting with Ivan on the phone this morning. Did you formulate a game plan with him or did you do it with Danny or did you just do it in your own head yourself?
ANDY MURRAY: Basically I spoke to him a week after the Wimbledon final. We talked a little bit about the match then, things I did well, things I didn’t — things I did well, and things maybe I got away from a little bit towards the end of the match. Today, I spoke to him on the phone for about three, four minutes. You know, a bit about the mindset, really the sort of way I was going into the match, how I was going to approach it, a couple of small tactical things. Then him and Danny spoke to each other. They spoke last night and then they spoke again this morning. Danny went over the tactics with me about an hour before I went on the court.
ANDY MURRAY: Toronto, the plan is to go there and play. I was meant to be leaving tomorrow afternoon. It’s looking like I’ll probably leave on Tuesday now. And then the first match would be on Wednesday. So, like I say, it’s not ideal. But tennis has its rules. I’ll be there, for sure. Whether I play or not, I’ll have to see how my body feels on Tuesday.
Q. Who had the honor of looking after your gold medal during your doubles match? Are you someone who cherishes your trophies or will you just throw it in a drawer?
ANDY MURRAY: Danny actually wore it during the doubles. I just didn’t want to leave it in the locker room, so he wore it. No, I keep my medals, my trophies, in one room in my house. Yeah, this will go in front of all of them, that’s for sure.
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