Monday 23 October 2017

Tennis: Andy Murray to take break until 'mind is right' after morale-sapping defeat to Federer

ANDY Murray will take a short break from tennis as he attempts to get over the shattering defeat by Roger Federer that saw his Wimbledon title dreams end in tears.

The Scot was aiming to become the first home player to win the men's singles title for 76 years but could not quite match the brilliance of Federer, who triumphed 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to collect his seventh Wimbledon crown.

Murray broke down in tears several times in an emotional on-court interview, and he admitted it will be a little while before he picks up a racquet again to begin his preparations for the Olympics later this month.

The 25-year-old may head off on holiday for a few days, and he said: "I won't practice until my mind is right.

"There's no point in going on the court until I'm ready to go out there and learn and work hard and do the right things in the gym and in practice.

"So I'll wait and see how my body recovers after the next few days. I fell a lot of times this tournament. I've got a lot of bruises all over my body.

"So I need to take a few days off, let everything heal, recover, and then see. But I won't be on the court this week, that's for sure."

Murray's pain at losing a fourth grand slam final, and first on home soil, was clear for all to see, and his former coach Miles Maclagan believes it will be a tough defeat for Murray to get over.

Maclagan coached Murray to his first two slam finals at the US Open in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2012, and he told The Tennis Space: "It's going to be very difficult for Andy over the next few days.

"I'm pretty sure he needs some time to emotionally and physically recharge. He did everything he could but he needs time. Only time can heal what he feels. He needs to emotionally deflate. And then to get up again."

Murray's run to the final generated a huge amount of interest, with a peak of 16.9million viewers watching yesterday's final on the BBC, while thousands of people queued overnight in the rain to watch on the All England Club's big screen.

The 25-year-old said: "It's been a great, great couple of weeks. I think everyone has handled it very well. From what I've been told, the reaction of all of the press and all of the people that have been watching has been unbelievably supportive and positive.

"So it's been a great tournament, I think, for tennis, and I'm glad that I'm part of that."

Murray was given a huge amount of support by the Centre Court crowd, who roared their appreciation for his efforts as he struggled with his emotions after the match.

He added: "A lot of the stuff that is said over this period about there being so much pressure and stuff, it makes such a difference when you're on the court and you have the support behind you and know that all of the people that are in there are wishing you well and wanting you to win.

"It's been amazing. They're certainly not the ones that make it hard to play. They make it much, much easier. When you have a crowd like that behind you, it's a lot easier to play.

"I want to say thanks for the dedication. I'm sorry I couldn't do it for them."

Once Murray has cleared his head he will turn his attentions to the Olympic tournament, which begins at Wimbledon on July 28, and is swiftly followed by the US Open.

The world number four is taking confidence from his near miss at Wimbledon and the progress he has made under coach Ivan Lendl since the pair linked up at the end of last year.

Murray wrote in his BBC column: "I have played well this year. If I can take the positives and combine them with the lessons we'll learn from Sunday, I'm extremely confident I'll do well at the Olympics, the US Open and beyond.

"Another plus has been the contribution of Ivan Lendl since taking over as my coach in January. He is a massive help, especially when it comes to keeping cool, dealing with high-pressure situations and managing tough moments during important matches.

"He's made a big difference in the way I prepare for the majors, which is something I felt I needed or was maybe missing. Things are going in the right direction, but there's much more to come.

"Hopefully we'll start to see that when I come back to Wimbledon for the Olympics. Sunday was painful, but the prospect of attempting to win a gold medal is already spurring me on."

Federer was full of praise for Murray and hopes that he does not suffer a slump in form, as he did following his defeat to the Swiss in the 2010 Australian Open final.

He told Sky Sports News: "It's nerve-wracking and tough, it was always going to finish in tears for someone.

"I think he is improving and what is most important right now for him is to not stop believing.

"(He needs to) take these experiences and take positives out of them and not have a letdown, the way he had a letdown in 2010 a little bit after he lost against me in Australia. He was a bit down after that it seemed and he had some shock early losses. It is the mindset that counts for him now."

Federer believes the proximity of the London 2012 Olympics gives Murray an early opportunity to refocus.

"He has right away a chance to forget about the loss and move on and create something extraordinary for the country," he added.

"It's a big moment in his career and I think he is only going up from here, and not down, which is a good thing for him."

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