Grand Slam Or Challenger Grind, Murray As Motivated As Ever

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2023

Grand Slam Or Challenger Grind, Murray As Motivated As Ever

The 36-year-old has claimed two ATP Challenger Tour titles this season

While Novak Djokovic was enjoying his historic 23rd major title Sunday, one of the Serbian’s career rivals, Andy Murray, was lifting the trophy at the ATP Challenger Tour 125 event in Surbiton.

Despite the different paths for the 36-year-olds who have met 36 times in their ATP Head2Head series [Djokovic leads 25-11], you won’t catch Murray comparing himself to other Grand Slam champions. The World No. 44 is enjoying his own unique journey and working hard in his 18th year on tour.

A few hours after the Scot won his second Challenger title of the season (Aix-en-Provence) Sunday, he was off to another Challenger event, this week’s Rothesay Open in Nottingham. While making the trip, Murray got a meaningful message from his wife, Kim.

“I got a message from my wife on Sunday evening when I was driving here [to Nottingham] and she said, ‘I just was watching Novak on the news and that he won in Paris. I’m so proud that you’re still grinding out in Challengers and still working as hard as you’ve ever [done],’” Murray said Tuesday at a press conference in Nottingham. “That means a lot to me.”

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Murray has claimed three major titles of his own and been as high as World No. 1. At age 36, he is still enjoying being on court, whether it’s on a big stage or an intimate setting on the Challenger Tour.

“I would love to be competing for Grand Slams and be in that position. I’m also aware that what [Novak has] done is incredible and what he’s still doing at his age is brilliant,” Murray said. “But we have completely different journeys, what happened with my hip while I was at the peak of my career was really unfortunate.

“You can’t always be comparing yourself to other people when they are more successful than you. I’ve probably learned that more as I’ve gotten older. When I was in my mid-twenties, a lot of the questions would get asked like, ‘When are you going to do this? These guys around you are always winning.’

“And I always wanted what they had, but I think once I started to accept that I should not be comparing myself to other people and just focus on my own journey and work as hard as I possibly can to achieve the goals I want to, that’s all you can do and I’m still doing that now.

“Whether I win another Grand Slam or winning Challengers is the peak for me now, I’m okay with that because I’m doing what I love to do.”

Last week in Surbiton, Murray became the oldest grass-court champion in Challenger history (since 1978) and just the sixth player to win Challenger titles on both clay and grass in the same season. The Glasgow native will aim to continue his strong run this week in Nottingham, where he defeated Belgian qualifier Joris De Loore 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round. Murray will next face Hugo Grenier on Thursday.

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