Andy Murray believes the fact the No1 ranking is up for grabs by four different players this Wimbledon could add an extra element of pressure or excitement this fortnight at the All England Club.
Murray could possibly lose his No1 ranking to one of three players – Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic – by the end of the tournament and must reach the final to keep his position at the top.
The defending champion, who said he was ready to compete despite a lingering hip problem, begins his campaign against Russian-born Kazakh lucky loser Alexander ‘Sasha’ Bublik on Monday.
Murray hasn’t won a match on grass in the build-up to this year’s Wimbledon, having lost his opening round to Jordan Thompson at the Queen’s Club.
Asked if the battle brewing for the No1 ranking could play a factor this fortnight, Murray said: “I think it certainly could do, maybe potentially more towards the end of the event, if there was quite a few players left in, and there’s maybe match-ups that really influence it.
“I don’t think loads of the guys – for me, I’m not thinking about that right now. That’s not what my focus is. But maybe if, you know, there’s a match later in the tournament where you know if you win, for me I would stay at world No1, or if I lose, maybe I would lose the ranking to one of the other guys. But not right now.”
Murray had to pull out of his two exhibition matches at Hurlingham Club due to a sore hip and it interrupted his preparations for Wimbledon.
“I’ve had hip problems since I was very young. It’s not something new to me. It’s just been very sore the last few weeks. It was giving me quite a lot of trouble moving to certain shots and getting into certain positions,” he explained.
“So that was why I needed to take the break, to try and give it a chance to settle down, calm down a bit. You know, spent a lot of time with my physio and doing some extra exercises in my warmup, strengthening exercises, a lot of stuff to try to loosen off that area. It’s felt much better the last few days.”
The Scot seemed upbeat about his current condition and feels confident he could get through seven matches in 14 days if he does end up reaching the final.
“I’ll be fine to play the event and play seven matches. I mean, providing things can happen obviously when you’re playing. I mean, players have got injured during tournaments,” said the 30-year-old, who confirmed on Sunday that he’s expecting a second child with his wife Kim.
“But as I am today, if I feel like I am today, I’d be delighted and have no issues getting through. You know, if necessary, I can take some anti-inflammatories if my hip flares up. Hopefully that’s not the case.”
Murray, who turned 30 in May, and will soon be a father of two, is aware of the fact that he is closer to the end of his career than he is to the start of it and he plans on savouring every opportunity until the day he retires.
It seems winning Slams at 35, like Roger Federer has done this year, is not necessarily something he plans on doing.
“You want to make the most of every tournament you play. I think you realise that a little bit more as you start to get older. I hope I’m still playing here for five, six, seven more years, if possible. But I don’t know obviously what’s going to happen,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion.
“I think just because of what Federer’s doing just now, which is incredibly rare, a lot of people think everyone is going to start doing that now. I’m not sure that’s going to be the case. I want to make sure I make the most of all of these chances that I have left.”