FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – If you think the New York press is brutal, just take a look at what the British contingent at the US Open asked their national hero Andy Murray after his match today.
Question 1: Pleased to get through that, considering you weren’t feeling your best?
Question 2: Was it the heat, as well? Did that get to you?
Question 3: Had you prepared any differently in terms of what you ate or drank before?
If you didn’t know any better you would think Murray would be going home, but he did in fact win his second round match against Chilean Philip Capdeville, he just dropped the second set, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
“I played three, you know, very good sets and one poor one,” Murray responded to the first question. “But you’re allowed to play a bad set sometimes. I came back well from it. You know, I don’t know, just felt a little bit lethargic, a little bit low on energy. You know, I don’t know why. But, you know, managed to pick it up at the end when I needed to.”
You see, Murray is used to this kind of treatment. Over in Great Brittan the Scottish superstar is Alex Rodriguez, Brad Pitt, and Paris Hilton all rolled into one. He is their great white hope for a Grand Slam champion, and even if it’s not Wimbledon this year, Murray is expected to at least repeat his final appearance of 2008.
That’s what makes it tough for the 22 year-old, who is ranked seeded second behind Roger Federer. For the English, he is the star, a young player who a .faded empire is pinning their hopes upon. Just look at the other top players out there. Most are European who proudly wear the colors of their flags on their sleeves.
Much like the way New York has a rivalry with Boston, Great Brittan has its feuds with every other country in the EU. So with every Federer win and Rafael Nadal victory, British pride takes a hit. Remember this was once an empire that controled most of the world. These days they can’t even win their own tournament.
That is until Murray came on the scene. Last Saturday, he said he doesn’t get followed home in New York like he did in England. In fact, he finds the city rather relaxing, although he is sleeping in a hotel.
“You know, Wimbledon for me is nice away from the court, because at the end of the day you get to go back and sleep in your own bed and be at home,” he said. “In some ways, that’s very, very relaxing, compared to having to stay in hotels and whatnot.
“I mean, I’ve always loved playing this tournament since I was young. I like the atmosphere here. I like New York as a city. You know, whether you get recognized or not to me doesn’t make a huge difference on how much I enjoy a place or not.”
Plus Flushing Meadows is the site of his best finish in a Grand Slam and most likely the place he will eventually win, if he can ever get by Federer.
“This is my best surface,” he said. “I mean, physically I think most of the players – well, for me anyway, you go into Australia probably feeling the best all around. Mentally fresh, you know, physically you’re going to be in good shape because you’ve just had the off-season. You can make sure you prepare properly.
“You know, here I’ve obviously played a lot of matches, so I feel match tight. But it’s a long year. Mentally I feel fresh just now, but it’s a little bit different to the start of the year.”
So maybe the British press should lay off of Murray a little bit. He has brought British pride back to tennis and is a classy player in a sport filled with good guys.
Remember, it’s okay to have a bad day, and today, he only had a bad set.