Murray: I didn't play that well in New York

Andy Murray said smart, rather than scintillating tennis was the key to his maiden Grand Slam win at the US Open in September.

But Murray won the second set. Is that a smile?

By ESPNSTAR.com Staff

Murray prevailed over Novak Djokovic in five sets on a gusty night in New York to win his first major final and become Great Britain's first Grand Slam winner since Fred Perry won the same tournament in 1936.

The triumph brought an end to a golden summer for the Brit during which he reached the Wimbledon final and won the Olympic gold medal with a straight sets dismantling of Roger Federer in the final. 

After taking a well-deserved break from the game, Murray is now in Tokyo for the Ratuken Japan Open where he kicked things off with a hard-fought win over big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic. Speaking to the Independent after the match, the 25-year-old said: "I thought I played really well at the Olympics.

"At the US Open I didn't feel like I played that well. Obviously the conditions didn't help. But I played smart tennis. It wasn't always easy to serve well or to hit the ball cleanly from the back of the court, but I found a way to win the matches, even when I wasn't playing well. And that's something that was so important."

In the past, the Scot's temperament had been questioned frequently, leading many to believe he would remain the best player never to win a Grand Slam. However, Murray admitted his hard-fought wins over Feliciano Lopez and Marin Cilic, against whom he was a set and 5-1 down in the quarter-finals had played a big role in the final reckoning.

"Sometimes in the past when I've been playing well I would win a lot of matches and then when I wasn't playing well I would get down on myself and not figure out exactly how to win all of the time, especially in the Slams.

"I think I did a very good job of that at the US Open because I didn't feel like I played unbelievable tennis all the time, although the conditions didn't help. I played smart the whole time and was able to stay focused.

"I was using the time I had at the change of ends and the time between points better. I'd obviously managed to turn the match around against Cilic. That could easily have gone the other way. That was a big turning point."

So much so that he withstood a Djokovic rally in the third and fourth sets before running away with the fifth in dominating fashion.

"When the match finished I couldn't believe what had happened. I think I was just so in the zone that I wasn't thinking about everything that was going on the court, about the time-out [Djokovic took a medical time out when Murray was about to serve for the championship], about the crowd making a lot of noise, about the fact that I was serving to win my first Grand Slam. I wasn't really thinking about that at all," he revealed, ruminating on his emotions after the match.

Asked about how this win is going to change his mindset, Murray said:"I felt a little bit after the US Open that I should reset some goals.

"Because winning a Slam was so important to me I felt sometimes that I was focusing on the next Slam rather than on every tournament and every match. Now I feel I can hopefully concentrate better throughout the year and not take my eye off the ball at any tournaments - and take more responsibility for all my performances."



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