Murray: ‘I’m going to win Wimbledon again’

The world number one was seen limping while practising at Wimbledon over the weekend, but he is convinced he can make it through two weeks of the grass court Grand Slam.

Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion, will play the first match on Centre Court on Monday against Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik.   -  Getty Images

Andy Murray maintained that he is fit to start his Wimbledon title defence on Monday, despite his recent struggles with a hip injury. Murray had sparked concerns of a possible withdrawal from the championships after cancelling two scheduled exhibition matches this week due to a sore hip.

Q. According to Roger, you are very good in the first week, and you use it to get back in shape again. Will it be so simple?

No matches are easy. The last few days have been very good and practice has got a little better each day. It's been slightly stop-start preparations, but I've felt better each day.

But a little bit like at the French Open, where I didn't come in as well-prepared, I still found a way with each match to feel a bit better and built confidence each day. I'm hoping that's the case here.

Q. With the injury you had the last week or two, was there any stage where you feared you might not even be able to play here?

I haven't been in this sort of position too often, (that too) only a few days before a Slam. This hasn't really happened to me much.

This is an extremely important tournament, so you worry a little bit. It's a little bit stressful if you can't practice for a few days, you really want to be preparing and training as much as you can to get ready, especially when you hadn't had any matches.

I tried to make the best decisions along with my team to give myself the best chance to feel good on Monday. I feel like I've done that.

Q. This is not your first time you're going into a Grand Slam as the defending champion. How does that feel different as compared to when you are attacking a Grand Slam when you're not the defending champion?

I have a little bit more experience and (I'm) a bit older now. Hopefully I'm able to deal with things better this time round.

But, really once you get out there, I don't feel like I'm coming in trying to defend something. I'm going out there trying to win Wimbledon again. I want to try to win the competition.

(Being the defending champion) maybe adds a little bit extra pressure. Maybe a few more nerves especially at this Slam with the way the scheduling is, that you're the first one out there on Centre Court. You feel like you're opening up the tournament a little bit, and that adds a few more nerves. However, I feel okay. I've felt fairly calm the last few days, considering how I've been feeling.

Q. What was the problem with your hip? Was it something you suffered in training or was it just some pain that came on?

I've had hip problems since I was very young, it's not something new to me. It's just been very sore the last few weeks. It was giving me quite a lot of trouble moving to certain shots and getting into certain positions.

So that was why I needed to take the break, to try and give it a chance to settle down and calm down a bit. I spent a lot of time with my physio and doing some extra exercises in my warm-up, (some) strengthening exercises, a lot of stuff to try to loosen off that area. It's felt much better the last few days.

Q. There's four players, yourself and three others, who can finish this tournament at world No. 1. It's been quite a while since it's been this close. Does that add an extra element of pressure?

I think it certainly could do, maybe potentially more towards the end of the event, if there are quite a few players left in, and there's maybe match-ups that really influence it.

I'm not thinking about that right now. That's not what my focus is. But maybe if there's a match later in the tournament where you know if you win, for me I would stay at world No. 1, or if I lose, maybe I would lose the ranking to one of the other guys. But not right now.

Q. Will you be needing to take painkillers for the injury? Will you be starting the tournament if you knew you couldn't play and win seven matches?

No, I'll be fine to play the event and play seven matches. But as I am today, if I feel like I am today, I'd be delighted and have no issues getting through. If necessary, I can take some anti-inflammatories if my hip flares up. Hopefully that's not the case.

Q. If this was a regular ATP event, do you think you'd be playing?

As I feel today, I would play, for sure. Maybe the way that we looked at it might have changed because I missed three days of practice. Maybe I wouldn't have traveled somewhere on the Saturday or the Friday, not knowing how I was going to be feeling over the weekend.

Q. Your opponent tomorrow is a bit of a character. Off the court I'm wondering what you know about him, what you think for you will be the most important factor on the court tomorrow?

I haven't played against him, and I've not seen him play loads. I've heard a few things from some of the players. I chatted to him a little bit at Indian Wells earlier in the year. He's obviously a big personality, he's not a quiet guy.

From what I've heard, he's pretty entertaining on the court in terms of the way he plays and how he is. He is quite unorthodox. He plays a lot of unexpected shots, a lot of drop-shots, (he) mixes his game up a lot, takes chances and tries some more sort of shots that guys may play in exhibitions.

I'll try and watch a few videos this evening with my team, see what we can get hold of and take it from there. But, yeah, (it will) be an interesting match.

Q. Apart from last year, do you have any favorite moments or memories from Wimbledon, especially as you were growing up?

When I was growing up, I followed Tim Henman a lot. I remember the match he played against Ivanisevic. Not necessarily a good memory, but it was a match that a lot of people in Britain and British tennis remember very well. I was actually on the tour at the time.

But the match with Roger and Rafa in the final, the five-set final, I actually came to watch that as a fan.

Q. Has your coach, Ivan Lendl had any specific advice or maybe a change of approach to this tournament, just given the difficulty of the build-up you've had with the injury problems?

Not really. We made the decision on Tuesday that, after I hit for a little bit in the morning, I needed to take a few days' break if I was going to give myself the best chance to be ready. There was no use pushing for three or four days, making myself worse.

So we did that, we talked about it as a team. But a lot of it, when it comes to an injury or pain that you're getting in your body, everyone feels different things. Everyone has different pain thresholds. You need to be the one that makes those decisions.

But once you tell the coaches, that you're good to go, it's back over to them to get you doing the right things on the practice court.

Q. You have spoken before about how much time you think you've got left competing at the very top. Does that change your attitude, now you're not in the final stretch, but a limited amount of time you're going to appear here again?
You want to make the most of every tournament you play. I think you realize that a little bit more as you start to get older. I hope I'm still playing here for five, six, seven more years, if possible. But I don't know what's going to happen.

I think just because of what Federer's doing just now, which is incredibly rare, a lot of people think everyone is going to start doing that now. I'm not sure that's going to be the case. I want to make sure I make the most of all of these chances that I have left.

Q. From a practical point of view, you spend all year on the road. This is in some ways a local tournament to you, given that you have a house in Surrey. Does that change anything in your routine around the games? Do you treat it like any other tournament?

There's pressure on this event because it's one of the most important (one) we play during the whole year. If I wasn't nervous or didn't feel any pressure, then I'd be very worried by that. I'm not sure I'd be wanting to keep playing if that was the case.

I want to be nervous. I want to feel the pressure at these events. But the nice thing about it is at the end of the days, when I leave the courts, I can get away from it maybe a little bit more than at some of the other tournaments just because I'm at home with my family in my own house. That's nice.

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