At Queen’s Club on June 23, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez won the men’s doubles tournament, this on Murray’s return to competitive tennis after five months of enforced absence during which time he underwent a hip-resurfacing procedure.
He talked after the victory about how his competitive instincts had kicked in the longer he and his partner had stayed in the competition. When all was said and done, he managed to manage the pressure. Rather unlike his performance on the golf course shortly before his tennis return.
Speaking on the eve of Queen’s, Murray spoke about his display in the club championship at the Wentworth Club the weekend beforehand. “Scoring triple digits I don’t think is normally considered good news when you are on the golf course,” he said. “Jamie [his brother] and I scored 101 each, which was not pleasant but it was good – a humbling experience. It was off the back tees. I don’t know what happened. It all got away from me quickly. I hadn’t shanked ball for the 12 or 13 rounds I had played [previously this year] and I had three on the first hole. I was so nervous.”
I wrote a blog here earlier this year referencing how Murray had declared that he wouldn’t start playing golf again until he had retired from competitive tennis. Given he’s just won that tournament and he’s talking about playing in the singles at the US Open later this summer, I guess the sticks might soon be going back into the cupboard.
But just reflect on his words about that day at Wentworth. This is a man who has won three Grand Slam titles, including Wimbledon twice. He has won the singles gold medal at the last two Olympic Games. And how did first-tee nerves affect him? “I was so nervous.” One perhaps requires the mind of a top-class sportsman to consider that “a humbling experience” might be a good thing but we have all been humbled by the game in our time; it’s merely a matter of frequency. And “it all got away from me quickly” – who among us has not been there? And, God bless him, he even shanks it! Putting it another way, I suppose, if one of Britain’s pre-eminent sports people can on occasion find that golf is a game too difficult to deal with, maybe we should be gentler with ourselves on those days when it all goes wrong for us.
Murray will be in action at Wimbledon this week, this time playing in the men’s doubles with his French partner, Pierre Hugues-Herbert. He is likely to be on court on Wednesday and he may also play in the mixed doubles. Whatever, let’s hope that when he does eventually decide to retire from tournament tennis he will be injury-free and enjoying himself. Then he can get back to playing a proper ball sport again.
You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com plus you can read more by him on golf at robertgreengolf.com