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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday February 7, 2024

Andy Murray

Andy Murray isn't worried about tarnishing his legacy, he's worried about winning matches.

Photo Source: Getty

It has been a brutal start to 2024 for Andy Murray. The Scot hasn’t just come up winless in his first four matches, he’s lost three of them in a deciding set.

Tennis Express

It’s a continuation of a run of bad luck that has now seen Murray lose nine of his last ten matches. Even worse, pundits have once again commenced calling for the end of Murray’s career. The logic? That Murray is tarnishing his legacy by continuing to play the sport he loves when he is clearly not the same player.

Murray took to social media to hit back against those claims last week, and this week, after a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Tomas Machac in the Czech Republic, the three-time GRand Slam champion and former World No.1 elaborated further.

“I don't think mad was the right word. I didn't read it and was like screaming at my phone. I was just a little bit disappointed,” Murray said of the experience of reading an article by the BBC’s Kheredine Idessane with the headline “Is the end nigh for three-time Grand Slam winner after latest loss?”

Murray says this stage of his career and the period when he thrived are categorically unrelated.

“People who obviously follow tennis and know my journey, I would hope understand how difficult it is to do what I'm doing with the issue that I have with my hip. It's not really been done in any other sports. I hope more players are able to play with an injury like this or a surgery like this, but it's also extremely difficult,’ he said.

“The easy thing for me to have done would have been to have stopped when I had the operation and said, ‘I'm not gonna play anymore.’ My feeling is that what I'm doing is I'm playing because I love the game. I still really enjoy the practicing and the training and the traveling. Right now the competing is difficult for sure.”

Murray says that he wants to be left to dictate the terms of his impending exit from the sport. And he still feels engaged with the challenge of learning to compete post hip surgery. He entered the week at No.49 in the world, and believes he has the game to re-enter the Top 20 and perhaps make the second week of a major at some point.

“I was just a little bit disappointed,” he stressed. “Like somehow how I'm playing right now or what I'm doing just now has affected my career – I’m in a totally different place than I was in 2016 and [nothing], not a couple of losses now will change what I achieve throughout my career.

“I was just disappointed when I read it because I’ve known [Kheredine] for a very long time. I just didn't agree that somehow by competing now it was affecting somehow what I achieved when I was fit and healthy and had two hips.”

Practice Good, Matches Bad

The 36-year-old relayed a funny story about his practice sessions in 2016, compared to today, saying that he could barely win a practice set during the fantastic season that saw him win his second Wimbledon title and finish the season at No.1.

“My coach, in 2016, when I finished number one in the world, he thinks I won maybe two or three practice sets in the whole year, and this year I've won almost every practice that I've played and I can't win a match on the court, so it doesn't always translate,” Murray said.

“Sport is all about – it's not the only thing – but you need to perform when you're competing in the matches and in the competitions. That's what that's what matters, not how well someone plays in practice, or how they feel so you need to get on the match court and try and find a way through it.”

At this point, desperate to find that winning feeling, Murray says he may have to make a trip down to the Challenger circuit, like he did last summer.

“Maybe dropping down a level, playing challengers to build confidence that way as well,” he said, adding: “The only way is to be on the match court and try and find ways to win some matches. You can try to do it on the practice court as well. Take time away and practice and work on your game and try and get some positive feelings again, but what happens on the practice court doesn't always translate into the matches.”

I Can Compete with the Guys

Murray still has 100 percent confidence in his capacities, and stresses that he just needs to find a way to close out some victories.

He scrubs over his recent past with regret, but also hope, because he’s been close to beating some of the tour’s toughest outs.

“Beijing, Paris, I lost two matches there against De Minaur, who is in the top 10 in the world, and I had match points. I served for the match in both of those matches, and this was in the last three months,” he said.

“I know I didn't win the matches but I think if I was in that position, you know the majority of the time when you are serving with match points, that happens a few times in your whole career where you might lose those matches. He's a top 10 player and I was very close to winning against him. Obviously, there's been matches like last week I lost to a guy outside the top 100 and I've had some difficult losses as well.

“I lost to Karatsev who is a very good player. I lost it in three sets. I lost to Etcheverry in three sets in Basel. Last year against Tsitsipas I lost in five sets, Taylor Fritz was a close three-set match.

“I can compete with the guys. My results have kind of shown that but I've not won the matches and when you lose a lot of them obviously you lose confidence as well. I never had that during my career. My whole career. I was used to winning, always lots of matches. And if I lost one week early, usually the next week it was semifinals, finals, winning, whereas now that's not been the case. I've lost lots of matches and quite a lot of close ones as well. It’s something I've not really experienced before.”


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