MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 14 – Andy Murray said there was no need to call him “Sir” on Saturday as he took a relaxed approach to his new status as a knight of the realm and world number one at the Australian Open.
The laconic Scot said just being called “Andy” was fine despite a decision by Australia’s Channel Seven to refer to him as “Sir Andy Murray” at the tournament.
“I’m more than happy just being Andy. That’s enough for me,” he said. “Yeah, if they call me ‘Andy’, that’s cool. I’d be happy with that.”
Murray is entering his first Grand Slam since being knighted in Britain’s New Year Honours, and his first as world number one after he displaced Novak Djokovic late last season.
He appears to have taken both titles in his stride, insisting he didn’t feel anyone was treating him differently since he was crowned the world’s top player.
“I haven’t really noticed it. It kind of happened for me right at the end of the year, so I haven’t been on the tour much as the number one player,” he said.
“So I haven’t noticed it yet. I don’t know if that will come over time, if I’m able to stay there or not.”
More importantly, Murray is pondering how to win his first Australian Open title after being an unsuccessful finalist five times.
Last year’s appearance was torrid for Murray, as his wife Kim Sears was heavily pregnant with their first child and his father-in-law collapsed while watching a match.
“It was a tough tournament,” said Murray, who seriously considered pulling out and bolted for the airport after losing the final to Djokovic in straight sets.
“It was like, I want to be at home for the birth, but then I’m not just going to leave whilst my father-in-law is also in hospital,” he added.
“Yeah, it was tough, and certainly not a position I would want to put myself in again, or my wife, or any of my family really.”
– Final hurdle –
This time around, Murray is in a far happier position and he will approach his opening match against Ukraine’s Ilya Marchenko in a relaxed frame of mind.
As well as becoming a father, he won his second Wimbledon title and successfully defended his Olympic singles gold medal, before reaching world number one for the first time.
“I obviously feel pretty confident after the way that last season finished,” he said.
“I do love it here. I love the conditions. I have played really well here over the years, and just haven’t managed to obviously get over the final hurdle.
“But I think I’m in a decent position to do it. I think I have a chance to win here. Obviously nothing’s guaranteed. But, yeah, why not?”
He said he was also glad to have Ivan Lendl as his coach as he sets about trying to defend his ranking, chiefly from Djokovic who is showing signs of a resurgence.
“I think it could be quite easy that once you get to number one that you think, ‘Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I doing’,” he said.
“The reality is, in sport, that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better, I’ll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve.
“And also Novak and Roger (Federer) and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there.
“So that’s why having someone like Ivan on my team who has been in that position before and knows what that’s like has been important.
“I need to continue to improve,” he added. “Any weaknesses that are in my game, to try to get rid of them.”
Murray also said he was disappointed Michael Downey quit as British tennis chief and called for more stability at the top to ensure the sport can grow.
Downey, the Lawn Tennis Association’s chief executive, announced he was leaving last week after three years in the role to return to his native Canada.
“It’s disappointing really, because it’s just another change for British tennis. Someone new will come in with a different direction for another three, four years, then it will change again,” said the world number one.
“So I really hope the next appointment is something long-term.”