Friday 23 February 2018

Champion Murray celebrates in style with all-night party

Andy Murray celebrates with the Men's Singles trophy Photo: Steve Paston/PA Wire
Andy Murray celebrates with the Men's Singles trophy Photo: Steve Paston/PA Wire

Simon Briggs

On the flight back from his maiden grand slam victory in New York, Andy Murray drank a single glass of champagne and became so intoxicated that he used shaving foam to brush his teeth. This is a man whose weakness is chocolate bars, not late-night ones.

But Murray likes to keep an open mind on life. So after the Wimbledon Champions Dinner on Sunday night, he and his team hopped in a courtesy car to a Mayfair nightclub for some proper drinking and revelry. It was an unprecedented move for the man who has a second home in Miami but avoids the fleshpots of South Beach as if they were a war zone.

On returning to the All England Club yesterday morning for another photocall, Murray was asked when he had last gone out for that sort of party. "Never," he replied. "Never in celebration, that's for sure." Even now, he is no keener on the taste of alcohol than he was when he first tried it, as a 16-year-old in Spain, and was promptly sick on his shoes.

"It was brutal," said Murray with a grin, when asked about the actual boozing part. "I didn't enjoy the taste that much. I don't even remember [what he was drinking]. It was good fun. Everyone messaging me this morning seemed to say they had a good time."

So was it a good feeling to leave the cocoon of total tennis commitment for one night, at least? "It was nice. When you get a good group of your friends, work colleagues, family around you can relax. You feel a lot more comfortable in those surroundings. The nice thing about winning here is that everyone is around. Like Mark Bender, who comes to a lot of tournaments, he wasn't here as my physio but he was able to join us. A bunch of my family were there. It is nice. I don't often get the chance to do that.

"Tonight will be a bit calmer. It will just be nice to be around the team - probably chat more about last night than the match, I would have thought. There were some amusing scenes."

Murray wanted to make sure he enjoyed this moment to the maximum, because he never managed to do that after winning Wimbledon the first time. In 2013, a one-two punch of shock and relief hit him so hard that, as he said in the equivalent morning-after chat back then: "I came off the court and within 45 minutes I was spent. I couldn't move, I was so tired." This has been a less seismic victory, in the context of British sporting history, but no less satisfying for that. And once Murray has caught up on his missed sleep, the quest to build on his three grand slam titles will go on.

Asked yesterday if he had set himself a target number of majors that would satisfy him, he demurred. "I haven't got a number. After I won the first one, I was thinking that now I want to win a second one. It just went on like that. Now obviously I'd like to try to win a fourth but I've never put a number on it.

"If I were to put a number on it, I'd rather fail by setting the bar high. Rather than saying, 'I'd like to win four' and then I win five, I'd prefer to aim for 20 and end up winning six. It's better to set the bar high and miss your target."

And what about the pursuit of the world No 1 ranking? Novak Djokovic might still stand well out in front with 15,040 points to Murray's 10,195 (Roger Federer is a distant third with 5,945), but this year's "race to London" is much closer, with only 815 points - fewer than you earn for a Masters series title - separating the two rivals.

"It's definitely a goal," Murray said. "I think before when I won here I was motivated solely by the slams. My results for the rest of the year showed that.

"Maybe when I was in Cincinnati a couple of weeks before the US Open my mind would already be in New York. Whereas now I feel a lot more motivated throughout the whole year and at all of the events. It's something I spoke to my team about, something I chatted to Ivan [Lendl] about."

Irish Independent

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