Sir Andy Murray has done it all – and no, he doesn’t plan to retire just yet. The tennis player, who probably has a reinforced mantelpiece to carry those Olympic gold medals, Sports Personality awards and grand slam titles, says he still has plenty of goals still to achieve, if his body will let him.
Andy is wearing The Drive Collection from his signature AMC range during this year’s US Open, created to deliver a new standard in tennis performance clothing.
How are you feeling [heading into the US Open]?
Mentally I feel pretty good, I’ve been playing quite well last week, which is positive. Healthwise, I actually feel OK but am having issues with cramping in the last three or four tournaments. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. Most athletes
have had it at some time and it can be down to getting the eating or hydration strategy wrong, or being more stressed than usual.
When it happened the first time, I made sure I was eating and drinking properly but it kept happening. Now we’re doing more testing and I’m doing sweat testing today.
My sports drink I have on court is made specifically based on my sweat testing so it is to see if anything has changed. Is there an underlying virus or anything, not too serious, in the background that could potentially have an impact?
You’ve suffered over the years with injury and pain, including your hip – does tennis still make you happy?
Yeah, it does. There were certainly times in my early twenties when I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have done – there are a lot of things that go into high-level sport.
When you are young you are thrust into the spotlight and some are better at handling it than others. I find it quite challenging.
How has your training routine changed?
Nowadays I’m a bit more specific about what I’m doing on the practice court or in the gym. When I was younger I could train a lot more. The specificity wasn’t as important, you could get more in.
I spend a little less time on the practice court or gym, so sessions need to be more targeted.
Is that to spend more time with your family?
I’m now taking maybe a few more days off these days to protect my body. I’m 35 and need to be a bit smarter. You need to not overload your body – that’s the nature of surgery and injury. I have to protect the metalwork in my hip as long as possible.
What is your go-to so you can switch off when you’re not training?
That’s changed a little bit now. When younger I would play golf or football, I used to play sports or also go and watch football. Whereas now I spend as much time with my children as possible.
I enjoy doing the school run, playing with the kids and looking after them. I’m not around as much as I’d like, so I try and make the most of my time off. When I’m on the road I am reading a bit more this year, whereas I used to travel with the
I’ve been reading stuff like – my wife laughs about it – factual books about leadership, winning and mindset and stuff like that.
A lot of people would think you should be writing books about winning?
[Laughs] Maybe one day. One of the books I’m reading just now is by Tim Grover, who used to work with Michael Jordan. I follow basketball and follow how they train.
Would you take up another sport after tennis?
It would be nice, but I wouldn’t be playing at a decent level at other sports. Golf is what I’ll spend most time playing though [outside of tennis].
What do you know now about health and fitness that you didn’t when you started out?
There are a lot of areas that I wish I’d known more about when I was younger. The thing with tennis is you are responsible for hiring the people you work with at 18, and the reality is you don’t know anything.
You don’t know who is good and who is qualified, understanding the body and requirements, you just go along with everything you are being told. I was not very well educated when younger so maybe I didn’t ask enough of the right questions in the gym.
Having been a pro for almost 20 years I have a much better understanding of what it takes to win the biggest events.
Do you think issues such as with your hip would have happened regardless?
I started having issues with my hip in my early twenties so probably would always have had issues. But my feeling is I could have prolonged it or delayed the need for surgery if I’d have trained a bit differently.
What else do you have to take into account apart from your mental and physical fitness?
There are loads of variables we consider – obvious things like nutrition, hydration, sleep, but also the equipment I use and the clothing I wear. My AMC range has
been developed to help me perform better on court.
We look at all the details, from how the garments fit and enable me to move around the court, to the performance of the fabrics that help keep me cool and dry when we’re competing in hot conditions.
You’ve sustained a peak fitness for many years. How can we keep sharp as we get older?
I think it’s different for me it’s a part of my job, I have to stay in good shape. I’ve
had this conversation a lot with my wife, and guys I work with. I think it is about achievable goals. I’ve heard people say in January I’m going to go to the gym every day, but that’s not sustainable.
Set yourself targets and going to the gym twice a week; don’t try to cut things out, try to reduce them instead, and stick with it for a long time. Overdoing it and not even enjoying it, and the yo-yo effect, means there is a big drop off at the end
Set something a bit kinder and achievable to yourself and see if you can do that for a few months and see if you can add on an extra gym session. Don’t try to gun it for a month.
What is your go-to nutrition that you take with you everywhere?
I don’t travel with anything in particular. I’m a huge sushi fan and eat a lot of sushi, so I always find the best sushi spot wherever I am. I probably eat too much and am often having it daily. I love it, and fruit. I’ve always been encouraged to eat it by the nutritionist. It’s pretty lean and there’s some carbs in there too.
Guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Probably ice cream. I like ice cream. When I’m on the road I don’t eat much of
it, but at home it’s always in the freezer. I like vanilla Häagen-Dazs and Feasts. Oh,
and Fruit Pastilles lollies.
What would you like to achieve before retirement?
I mean there are lots of small goals. I’ve won 46 tournaments as a pro and I’d like to get to 50. I’ve had 700-and-something career wins and I’d like to win 800. And
I’d like to be competing in the latter stages of the grand slams.