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Toilet soul-searching inspired US Open win, Andy Murray reveals

‘I stood in front of the mirror with sweat dripping down my face and I knew I had to change what was going on inside.’

Image: pa images

ANDY MURRAY HAS revealed that a self-administered pep-talk in a courtside toilet helped him to end his long wait for Grand Slam success at last year’s US Open.

Murray had lost his first four Grand Slam finals and appeared set for more heartache after squandering a two-set lead against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows in September last year. However, he says a timely toilet break between the fourth and fifth sets enabled him to get his challenge for the trophy back on track.

“It had got to me,” Murray said. “I had played four Grand Slam finals before playing Novak in New York and had only won one set.

“Wherever I walked, I walked with hunched shoulders and with my head down. I think in my own mind I had bought the idea that I was not a real winner until I had won a Grand Glam. I was very negative in my own mind at the end of the fourth set at the US Open. My self-belief was pretty low.”

It was at that point that Murray took a time-out and found himself in a restroom close to the players’ entrance at Arthur Ashe stadium.

“When you walk out of the stadium there is a cubicle on the right-hand side,” Murray told The Times Magazine. “It is small, not much more than a toilet, a sink and a mirror. I was thinking: ‘Why do I keep losing these finals? Do I lack something? How on earth did I squander a two-set lead?’

“I could not go back onto the court feeling like that. I would have lost the deciding set before the first ball was hit. I never talk to myself, not out loud. Isn’t that supposed to be the first sign of madness?

“That is why that toilet break was so unusual. I stood in front of the mirror with sweat dripping down my face and I knew I had to change what was going on inside.

“So I started talking. Out loud. ‘You are not losing this match,’ I said to myself. ‘You are not losing this match.’ I started out a little tentative but my voice got louder. ‘You are not going to let this one slip. This is your time.’

“At first, I felt a bit weird, but I felt something change inside me. I was surprised by my response. I knew I could win.”

After breaking Djokovic’s serve in the opening game of the deciding set, Murray went on to take the set 6-2 to claim his maiden Grand Slam title. The Scot will face Spain’s David Ferrer in the Miami Masters final on Sunday, when victory would lift him above Roger Federer to second place in the ATP world ranking.

© AFP, 2013

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