Wimbledon 2015: In-form Murray admits to career worries

Andy Murray admits there were moments when he thought his top-level career might have been over last year.

In stark contrast, the British number one arrived at Wimbledon this week in confident mood, after a career best run on clay – taking Novak Djokovic to five sets in the semi-final of the French Open – and a fourth victory at Queen’s Club.

Twelve months ago he was the defending champion at All England Club but his much-chronicled back problems conspired against him, losing tamely in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. The next few months saw his ranking plummet and the year ended with a humiliating 6-0, 6-1 defeat to Roger Federer at the ATP Tour Finals in London.

However, Murray believes the impact of coach Amelie Mauresmo has helped turn around his fortunes and revitalise his game.

“I realised at the end of last year that I didn’t know if I’ll ever get the chance to play at the top level again,” said Murray. “I realised I needed to do everything possible that I could to really dedicate myself 100 percent to the time I have left.

“The last 12 months that I’ve been with Amelie, I feel like I’ve come through some difficult moments. I had an extremely tough loss at the end of last year and she was one of the people that really stuck by me and supported me.

“I’m glad that I’ve been able to kind of repay her faith in me with some good tennis this year. Obviously she’s a very different character to some of the coaches that I’ve had in the past and I’ve really enjoyed working with her.”

Murray’s decision to appoint Mauresmo attracted much attention in the build-up to last year’s Wimbledon, though no-one is questioning the merits of the decision now. However, she will take a break from coaching duties after the championship as she prepares to give birth to her first child, Jonas Bjorkman stepping into the role.

“I think there’s a lot of things that go into self‑confidence or self‑esteem,” added Murray. “Amelie has obviously clearly had an influence on that and winning tennis matches always, always helps.

“This year I’ve won a lot of matches ‑ more than I ever have in my career to this point in a season. It’s been a good start this year and I hope I can keep it up.”

Murray faces Mikhail Kukushkin in his first round match on Tuesday with possible clashes to come against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on his side of the draw.

Win all those and top seed and defending champion Djokovic could await in the final. The Serb has claimed their last eight encounters but Murray has won their last matches on grass, on route to Olympic gold at London 2012 and in the Wimbledon final two years ago.

“I feel like I’m coming in to the event as best prepared as I can be,” he added.

“I enjoy playing in the high-pressure situations, that’s really what I play for now. I enjoy these events and I prepare extremely hard for them.

“It’s very easy to get carried away and look ahead, think, I’m playing great tennis, everything’s going to be fine.

“But the reality is it doesn’t really matter what’s happened the rest of the year or in the build-up to the event as I think Stan Wawrinka proved at the French Open.

“I’m certainly not getting carried away. I know how difficult these events are to win. I’ll just concentrate on the first match and try my best to get through that one.”

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