20th August 2015 at 10:10am
After an exciting first round with Andy Murray, we launch our second volley of questions about his recent rise in form, bounce a few questions around how he enjoys his free time and find out what he’d like to ask his greatest sports hero, Muhammad Ali.
You are in sensational form at the moment. What do you put this down to?
My preparation this year has been the best it has ever been and was very well planned for the clay and grass matches. Also, it’s important that no matter how successful you are or have been, you should always look to improve every aspect of your game and this year we’ve left no stone unturned. If you know you have prepared in the right way you can go into tournaments with confidence and in the best frame of mind, which always helps.
Different people mature at different times throughout their careers. Is this you maturing in your game now?
I’m definitely feeling the most confident that I have for a long time and that’s probably as a result of all the hard work the team and I have put in over the years. I’ve been on the Tour for quite a few years now and I’ve always made sure that I learn from my successes and failures. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs which I have looked at and adjusted to make sure those downs don’t happen again. So I guess in that sense I probably have matured in my game – but don’t worry, I’m by no means the finished product!
What were your challenges and highs at Wimbledon?
The tournament is a big challenge. Grand Slams are very difficult to win and when you look at the Tour it’s probably harder than ever. There is little room for error and the competition is, in my view, the strongest it’s ever been. Despite the disappointing end, I was really pleased with how I performed and there were a lot of positives to take from all of my matches, including the semi-final. Defeating Ivo Karlovic was a particular high as he had been causing a lot of problems for other players. He was serving consistently and consistently very big, so to be able to stop him and break him was very encouraging.
Many people saw that your former coach (Ivan) Lendl was good for helping your mental strength but there was criticism when you partnered with Amelie Mauresmo. How do you feel the new team of Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman can help you?
I make decisions which I think are best for me and when I decided to work with Jonas and Amelie that was exactly what I was thinking. I sat down with both of them before appointing them, we got on really well and I liked what both had to offer. They were incredibly successful players with a lot of experience and knowledge that I can learn from and, hopefully, use to continue improving.
With everything that is going on when you are on tour, what do you do to relax?
We’re a pretty social team so when we aren’t on court we go out for dinner and watch sports together. If we’re not doing those things you’ll probably find me on my iPad, researching and tweaking my fantasy sports teams. There’s a group of us on the Tour who play fantasy sports and we all take it pretty seriously!
What other exciting things are going on in your life apart from your tennis? I’m quite entrepreneurially minded; I own a hotel (Cromlix House) and my own management company (77), both of which keep me busy away from the courts. I’m always looking out for anything new or innovative that I might be able to invest in. On a more personal level, it’s important to give something back. I’m passionate about wildlife conservation and it’s important to me that we look after the planet and its natural wildlife. I’m a global ambassador for the WWF and I’m heavily involved in their sniffer dog programme in Nepal which aims to prevent poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife parts.
There was a lot of positive feedback on your choice of dinner guests in our last piece. What are the three questions you would ask Muhammad Ali if you had him at your table?
What was his greatest ever fight? Over the years the sports pundits have thrown around countless fights that they think were his finest moments but I would love to know from Ali himself, and find out exactly why he thinks it was his best fight. I’m a details guy and gaining that kind of insight would be incredible.
Who was his hero? Ali is one of the greatest boxers ever and it would be interesting to know who he looked up to when he was starting out. I would also love to talk to him about his training regime. Boxers have some of the most intense regimes in sport and back then – when there wasn’t technology to rely on – they would have to improvise and I’d love to talk with him about that.
What do you think?