NOTTINGHAM – Andy Murray says a text message from his wife ensured he did not worry too much about Novak Djokovic winning another grand slam on the same day he picked up the Surbiton Trophy.
Djokovic, 36, became the oldest French Open champion in history on Sunday, while Murray, who is just a week younger, won his first grass-court title in seven years at a Challenger event in south-west London.
The Serb picked up a cheque of just over £2m after beating Casper Ruud in straight sets while the Scot was awarded less than £12,000 for his win over world No 134 Jurij Rodionov.
But Murray says he is on “his own journey” and says his wife of eight years, Kim, with whom he has four children, told him she was proud of him for “grinding” out victories at any level.
“She said, ‘I’m just watching Novak on the news, seeing that he won in Paris and I’m so proud that you’re still grinding it out in Challengers and still working as hard as you know you ever have done.’ That means a lot to me,” Murray said after winning his first-round match in Nottingham, beating Belgian qualifier Joris De Loore 6-3, 6-4.
“You can’t always be comparing yourself to other people, and people that are more successful than you. I probably learned that more as I got older.
“So whether I win another grand slam or winning Challengers is the peak for me now, I’m okay with that because I’m doing what I love to do.
“I think when I was in my mid 20s, I would always get asked, ‘When are you going to do this? These guys around you are always winning these things.’
“And I always wanted what they had but I think once I started to accept that I shouldn’t be comparing myself against other people, and I should just focus on my own journey and working as hard as I possibly can to achieve the goals that I want to, that’s all you can do. And I’m still doing that now.
“But I was I was happy for Novak on Sunday. And what he’s achieved is incredible. And I think when I look back the fact that I was winning my slams and the Olympics and those events against those players is brilliant, and I’ll be very proud of that.”
Murray has not played a tournament in Nottingham since 2006 when, as a 19-year-old, he knocked out the No 5 seed Dmitry Tursunov but also lost in the quarter-finals to Italy’s Andreas Seppi.
He was initially planning to play the ATP event in Stuttgart, where he reached the final last year, but says he chose to play Nottingham instead because the conditions are more like the second week of Wimbledon, his main goal for 2023.
“As [Wimbledon] goes on, it gets firmer and firmer,” added Murray, whose late addition to the entry list has boosted attendances at the event, which has sold out Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“These courts here like are very hard under foot, the court feels quite dry and it’s bouncing up quite a lot but it’s shooting through. First week of Wimbledon is not so much like that.
“All grass-court matches are really good, but I think it’s important to play in conditions that are as similar as you can get.”