Andy Murray has claimed he still gets frustrated and wants to improve after all his injury woes because his brain is “wired slightly differently”. And the Scot claimed his lack of “perspective” has helped his return to the top 50 – and explains why he is still battling away on tour.
Five years ago he former world No.1 gave an emotional press conference before the Australian Open where he feared his career was over because of a chronic hip condition. Now 36, he is back in Melbourne Park for his 16th tournament here with a metal hip and four kids back home.
Murray has started the New Year with a new attitude as he seeks to “enjoy” his tennis more although he added: “I won’t be out there giggling on the court.”
And the three-time Grand Slam winner and double Olympic champion admitted he will never lose the “constant drive” to get better because that is the way he is built.
Before facing No.30 seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in his tough first round, the world No.44 said: “I think most people that get to the very, very top of anything that they do are sort of wired slightly differently. They’re not exactly the same. It’s hard to describe and hard for maybe others to understand.
“My physio (Shane Annun) will say to me: ‘It’s amazing what you’re doing with the metal hip. Nobody thought you’d be able to do this. I didn’t think that this was going to be doable’.
“From his medical perspective, he’s like: ‘What you’re doing is incredible’. And the thing that’s hard – and one of the reasons for probably why I’ve been able to get back to the level that I’ve got to – is because my brain works probably differently to most people.
“Because I see things a bit differently and I’m like: ‘Well no, I am going to be able to do this. I can compete with the best players in the world so can I get a little bit more flexible? Can I get a little bit faster? Can I still improve my serve at 36 years old? Having that constant drive to get better and to improve every little thing is what allows me probably to still be able to compete at that level.
“So it’s been a positive and allowed me to keep going and push myself to where I want to get to. But then the downside of that is that because there is always a drive to do better, and feel like you could be doing more, is that sometimes during matches or after matches, it’s tough to keep that perspective because I always feel they can be doing better.
“I will find that frustrating. I’m not doing as well as what I think I could be doing. Whereas the big picture, when you are able to take a step back and talk to my physio and team about those sorts of things and they are like: ‘No. It’s amazing that you’re able to do this.
“If it were my physio who had the metal hip, he might be seeing it very differently. Just be like: ‘Oh, you know, I’m just happy I’m not in pain’. That is one perspective to see it from but I think if you’re just going out there to have a laugh and enjoy what you’re doing. I see things slightly differently. And it is why I’m so hard on myself and why I wouldn’t tell my kids to be like that. I’m just saying that is how I am for whatever reason and it helps me in some ways and hinders me and others and makes it difficult at times.”