Tag Archives: Roger Federer

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win the US OPEN (15th and final game)

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you all. I can’t believe that this has ended in such a thrilling style, with so many decisive moments, nerve tingling decisions, and life changing choices.

Fergy was an incredible opponent this afternoon, but I agree with her when she says the best woman won (i.e. me).

So, congratulations to her for putting up such a spirited fight, and congratulations to me for pulling out all the stops and astounding everyone.

While now is not the time to crow, it is worth remembering those who fell at an early stage during the competition and for the valuable contribution blah… blah… blah… they have made to the upper echelons of the tennis fraternity.

Holding the trophy aloft will stay in my memory for the rest of my life and I would like to finally thank you all, my supporters, my coach, my advocates and my enemies for the encouragement you have given me or the motivation which has spurred me on to prove you all wrong. This year’s US OPEN has proven to me that anything is possible, with the right attitude, guts, determination, and fertile imagination.

My club, my tennis, my world, will never be the same again.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (10th game)

Could it be magic? (8-2)

Sue Barker called it Magic Monday and I have to say she’s not wrong.

As far as I’m concerned, as long as it’s followed up with a thaumaturgic Tuesday, another weird Wednesday, an unearthly Thursday and a freakish Friday, then I don’t mind as my chances of appearing in the final are inexplicably shortening day by wondrous day.

So, this is what they mean by the enchantment of Wimbledon!

Tennis players young and old, amateur and professional, skilled or incompetent alike all in thrall to the superstitions, the voodoo and the hiatus that the tournament brings around every year.

I am, as the 13-year olds in our neck of the woods say, having it large.

Not least because I have just trounced Serena Williams, the lady’s number one seed over 3 scintillating sets. She was aghast, I was astonished, Sue Barker for once was speechless.

Magic Monday indeed!

Watch out Roger and Noli: nothing can stop me now. See you both in the final!

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (9th game).

The draw, the superstition and Quantum Physics (7-2)

The phone has been ringing constantly on this supposedly quiet Wimbledon Sunday. Many club members (woman chairman excepted – surprise, surprise), have been offering their support in the unlikeliest of ways. Some have offered to carry my racket; others have offered to stitch their logo into my t-shirt. One wise crack offered me a day’s intensive training.

Me and training! Imagine that!

But they’re all asking the same question: What do you rate your chances in the 4th round?

And they then proceed to tell me the potential matches I could be facing should I, by the wildest stretch of their imaginations, be successful tomorrow when play resumes.

They talk in hushed tones of finals with either Rafa or Noli. They summon up huge successful lottery applications for the club itself. They imagine fending off the press on a daily basis. They even rashly devise plans to improve our own grass courts. It’s at this point I know we have entered a quantum universe where nothing is what it appears to be.

I then tell them in no uncertain terms that every player has their own superstitions to get through a tournament and mine is a simple one – don’t look at the draw, don’t plan to play anyone in particular, but just turn up on court at the right time and see who turns up. The habit I have developed is based on Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle of the more I know, the less likely I am likely to win. Conversely, the more ignorant I remain, the greater the likelihood of my success.

This strikes many of the committee as being a bit foolhardy but in comparison with other Wimbledon superstitions – shoelace colours, number of steps from court side chair to the baseline, jumping up and down in front of your opponent when the umpire’s tossing his coin – not knowing the draw is as logical as any of them.

And let’s face it, if any tennis player believes their little acts of superstition and habit can influence a result for the positive, then my superstition is no better or worse than theirs. One thing it does prove is that the tennis universe is no longer Newtonian. We’re into parallel universes, relativity theory and time-space continuum warps complete with Einstein-Rosen bridges, Black Holes and String Theory to boot. It’s no accident that quantum theory describes so accurately what it’s like to play on grass.

Not knowing the draw allows for the random and the unexpected, and one thing I do know, is that I’m going to need plenty of quark, strangeness and charm to progress through the second week at Wimbledon this year.

So, to all you committee members and followers out there: please keep me in the dark about the supposed logic of the draw and allow for a little bit of relativity theory to make its mark on proceedings this week.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (8th game).

Ukrainian magic is no match for English guile (6-2)

I have to admit to some unease about Andy (M)’s result and my unseemly response on his doorstep yesterday.

He didn’t need to hear that from me, and I should have been back in the laager (as the guys call SW19) hitting my balls against the BBGs instead of berating his dogs and declining career.

But I wasn’t and I wasn’t. Instead, I paced around the outside courts, trying to comprehend what happened during that fateful ‘Wimble-weird’ Wednesday.

I became wracked with guilt as the super-moon assumed ghost like proportions and memories of my early days on the club’s mini courts surrounded by traffic cones and bean bags overwhelmed me. I felt possessed. A tennis legend in his own lunch time but out of his depth. Owls flew out of the nearby poplar trees. I saw skulls of dead tennis players turn to look at me accusingly as I stalked the pathways around Court 2.

Before I know it, I’m faced with an awesome sight: not the expected lanky Bosnian, Djelko Djelkovich pacing around the court, but the Ukrainian, Sergiy Stakhovsky who just the day before was responsible for Andy (M)’s premature ejaculation from the tournament.

How could this be possible?  Matches at Wimbledon couldn’t just disappear, could they?  It was all beginning to feel like a crazy dream.

If Sergiy was hoping to keep a low profile after his jaw-dropping victory over Andy, you certainly wouldn’t know it. He had draped a huge banner over the railings which featured a Ukrainian flag and the message: “WELL DONE SERGIY – THE MAGIC WORKED”.

So that’s what’s going on I said to myself as we warmed up. The Ukrainian summoned up the spirits of Kiev and this is what had done for Andy (M). This fellow from the Urals and his magic potions was now loudly proclaiming to a nearby camera crew:

“The night before I played Andy, the kids left a pot of chocolate spread in front of the door to our room with a sticker on it saying, ‘magic recipe for Sergiy’. I had a little bit of it in the morning, so the kids were happy, and it worked. That’s why I said it was magic and now I’m taking it every day because they believe in it.”

I was determined that whilst he might have dispatched one of the (alleged) tennis giants of all time and fiddled with the fixtures to boot, there was no way that his hocus pocus was going to derail my ambition.

I promptly set about dismantling Stakhovsky’s service and all-round game. Before too long I had won the match 3 sets to 1 (6-2, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3) and Sergiy was dispatched back East with his magic potions slung over his back and his tennis racket wrapped around a lamp post in a nearby cul-de-sac: a sobering reminder of the rapid rise and even quicker fall of one of the giant killers of our tennis times.

I was on my way to the fourth round: not knowing who was next on my list but determined to make up for my part in avenging Andy (M)’s downfall.  Ukrainian chocolate magic my arse.

Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player: 2nd set, how to win at Wimbledon (7th game)

Dashed dreams and future horizons (5-2)

I was dismayed last night to find out after I’d been hanging out with Roger (F)) and Rafa (N) that Andy (M) had fallen at the second hurdle of the prestigious event that is the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament.

As one who had earlier that afternoon successfully progressed to the third round, I felt for Andy and his dashed dreams. My immediate reaction was that I jump on a bus and get straight down to his penthouse suite in Putney and console him. Rafa (N) advised me against it though. He had tried such an approach a couple of years ago only for Andy (M) to set his American Pit Bull Terriers loose on him the moment he rang the doorbell.

It is difficult for someone so old to fail at such an early stage in this international competition – and to fail so badly, truth be told – but I am sure he will take it on his substantial Scottish chin and recover in the fullness of time. I sent him a text message to tell him as much and urged him not to give up.

Think positive!” I texted him – “but don’t give up the day job either”, I joshed with a funny little emoticon at the end of my one-hundred-and-sixty-character message. He hasn’t replied yet, but I expect he’s going through some tough soul searching at the moment, up there in his penthouse suite in Putney. No doubt his yappy dogs are keeping him company.

That’s the trouble with being so old on the tennis circuit these days and trying to live off your past glories. You go into a game with your head in entirely the wrong place.  You think you’re it. You think you’re invincible. You think the world owes you a living. You think you’re God’s gift to tennis. Just because you’ve got a nice penthouse suite in Putney and a family of yapping American Pitt bull terriers.

But the fact is, you’re over the hill, you’re long gone Daddy-oh, and there ain’t no turnin’ back the hands of time ‘cos you gotta make way for a new generation of up and coming stars – all us tennis players who’ve been waiting in the wings for years and who may not have the penthouse suite in Putney, or the barking mad American Pit Bulls, but by God we have English spirit and English blood and are on the path to reclaim the ‘King Of All Tennis Tournament Trophies’: the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Trophy.

So, when Andy (M) surfaces from his black dog depression and is ready to talk to me, I shall benignly place my hand on his shoulder, steer him gently in the direction of YouTube videos on how to play tennis and offer him a couple of ring side seats at my next match – which by the way, is my third-round tie tomorrow.

At Wimbledon.

The place where he just got eliminated from.

It may just get him in the right state of mind for his next Grand Slam tournament.

Confessions of an ageing tennis player: I AM Andy Murray and have beaten Roger Federer (albeit vicariously)

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The crowds gather early to get the best seating.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you all. I can’t believe that this afternoon has ended in such a thrilling style, with so many decisive moments, nerve tingling decisions, and life changing choices.

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Novak Djokovic thinking he’s got this one sorted.

Novi was an incredible opponent this afternoon, but I agree with him when he says the best man won (i.e. me).

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The disgraceful state of Wimbledon grass led to many early exits.

So, congratulations to him for putting up such a spirited fight, and congratulations to me for pulling out all the stops and astounding everyone.

While now is not the time to crow, it is worth remembering those who fell at an early stage during the competition and for the valuable contribution blah… blah… blah… they have made to the upper echelons of the tennis fraternity.

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Rafa Nadal still hasn’t come to terms with what hit him this year.

So, here we can remember the likes of Rafa (N), the Pole, Maria Sharapova and of course my mentor, leader and nemesis, Roger (F) – all as you can see at the peak of their physical prowess.

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Maria Shaparova is still smarting from the injury caused to her by the courts.

But holding the trophy aloft will stay in my memory for the rest of my life and I would like to finally thank you all, my supporters, my coach, my advocates and my enemies for the encouragement you have given me or the motivation which has spurred me on to prove you all wrong. This year’s Wimbledon has proven to me that anything is possible, with the right attitude, guts, determination, and fertile imagination.

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Victory is sweet: holding the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Championship trophy aloft.

My club, my tennis, my world, will never be the same again!

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Next year’s Wimbledon already beckons.

 

(You might like to know that you can follow Andy Murray’s journey to fame and infamy in the recently published, ‘Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player’ on Amazon.  You can see it here. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an ageing tennis player: the Real Andy Murray Story.

Prologue: one day I will play Roger Federer and beat Him.

When I was younger I used to watch the tennis on the TV and especially the guys like McEnroe, Borg and Nastase. Round about Wimbledon time, my brother Alex and I would play a kind of tennis out on our grandfather’s lawn. I would take on the role of John McEnroe and he would enact Jimmy Connors. I would invariably win as I was fourteen and he was eleven. It was all to do with our ages and nothing to do with the fact that I had a proper tennis racket and he had a wobbly piece of cardboard.

All the players we watched were whatever age they were, Alex was the age he was and I was the age I was. Back then, tennis proficiency was all about age. I thought that the pros were pros because they were just a bit older than me, but I could see a time when I would be a bit older and be able to play them at Wimbledon.

As I’ve gotten older, that vision hasn’t faded. I still watch tennis, see these young athletes play their hearts out and still think, one day when I’m older I shall be playing them at Wimbledon and probably beating them. Trouble is, whilst I seem to have gotten older during that time, the tennis players have gotten younger. At this rate I shall be 80 and still aiming to play the young bucks who will become the Federers of their generation.

However, as I’ve gotten older, it’s become clearer that proficiency in tennis is not all about age. It’s clear that one’s tennis prowess isn’t what it might be and that for all the manuals, online tutorials and shouty motivational websites there is nothing available for the tennis player of a certain age that can help propel them and their game into a different league and help bring their dreams to fruition.

This book aims to address that gap.

Part one offers you a veritable cornucopia of playing tips and tricks which will help you deal with all sorts of opponents of all sorts of sizes and shapes, playing all kind of strange shots in the oddest of circumstances.

Part two shows you how to apply those skills and strategies to go on and win a major international tennis tournament. And I should know, because that’s exactly what I did at Wimbledon in July 2013.

Impressed? You will be.

Part three offers excellent advice on how to deal with the media interest and the furore around becoming an international tennis superstar and Sports Personality of the Year to boot. This is not for the faint hearted.

My book though is not just for aspirant tennis players of a certain or any age: it is for everyone who has suffered at the hands of pomposity or institutional inertia and feels that the traditional English values of fair play, a stiff upper lip and self-deprecation are lacking in many areas of our public life. With this in mind, part four offers some hard fought wisdom about how to deal with the Machiavellian politics of the sports club – and by extension our Great British society as a whole. But having said that, sat where I am these days, dear reader, Britain is not as ‘Great’ as it might like to think it is. But all will be revealed as you read on.

In the meantime, let us follow the tradition of tennis clubs around the world and start our adventure together with these immortal words: Play On! Love All!

(Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player is now available on Amazon here and is available in both an e-book and paperback formats.)