Grand Slam finals mean more now – Murray eyes Wimbledon title

Andy Murray

Men’s singles final: Andy Murray v Milos Raonic
Venue: All England Club Date: Sunday, 10 July
Coverage: Live from 13:00 BST on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website (final at 14:00). Click for more details

Britain’s Andy Murray says reaching Grand Slam finals mean more to him now than they did earlier in his career.

Murray, 29, will compete in his 11th major final when he plays Milos Raonic in the men’s Wimbledon final on Sunday.

The second seed, who has won two of his 10 finals, said: “Maybe I’m now more excited than when I was younger.

“The tournaments start to mean more to you the older you get and you start to appreciate the history of the events probably more as you get older.”

Grand Slam finals are never normal – Murray

It is the first time Murray, who first contested a Slam final at the US Open in 2008, will compete for a major title without either 17-time major champion Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, the world number one, on the other side of the net.

It is sixth seed Raonic’s first Slam final and 2013 champion Murray, in his third Wimbledon final, hopes to take advantage of the Canadian’s inexperience.

Andu Murray

“It never feels normal,” said Murray. “I never take it for granted. I know how difficult it is to make the finals of these events and how hard they are to win.

“You never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressure of a Slam final. So I’ll just have to go out there and concentrate on my side, do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.

“When I played my first one, it all came round really quickly for me. Again, these tournaments are why I’m still playing and why I’m training hard and trying to win these events. That’s what really motivates me.

“But Milos is a very tough opponent. He’s played very well on the grass this year and has earned his right to be in the final by beating one of the best – if not the best player – ever at this event. So he deserves to be there.”

Lendl v McEnroe

Raonic, who overcame seven-time champion Federer in five sets on Friday, has added three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe to his coaching team this year, while Murray reunited with Ivan Lendl before the start of the grass-court season.

The pair split in March 2014, but it was with Lendl by his side that Murray won his two Grand Slam titles – the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 – and Murray said the 56-year-old, a winner of eight Slams between 1984 and 1990, offers important experience of major events.

Andy Murray (left) with Ivan Lendl

“In these situations it can make a difference,” he said of Lendl’s presence.

“I don’t think he’d be doing this job if he didn’t believe in me and believe that I could win these events, because he doesn’t need to.

“Also the information I get from him, the psychological help that I get from having him around, being able to chat to him at these events, before the big matches, makes a difference.”

Raonic said McEnroe had helped make him more vocal on court, and encouraged him to “leave it all out there”.

The presence of McEnroe in the commentary box rather than in the players’ box during Raonic matches at Wimbledon has been criticised by some, but the Canadian said it did not make a difference.

“He’s been a positive influence. I’ve dealt with that. That’s the way it is, it’s the terms we came to. From the beginning, we had a clear understanding,” he said.

Lendl said Sunday’s final was not about him and McEnroe: “I understand it does (add spice) for everyone else but me. It’s not about John and I, it’s about Andy trying to win.”

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“Ivan knows more about winning majors than 95% of people involved in tennis. They had a great run together and are now having another great run. Ivan can be the ‘X’ Factor.”

Murray the ‘premier workaholic’

Murray is on a five-match winning run against Raonic, having last beaten him in the Queen’s final last month after coming back from a set and a break down.

Raonic said his thrilling five-set victory over Federer had not taken too much out of him before he prepared to meet a player with whom he has a 6-3 head-to-head deficit.

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“I think you disregard that very quickly,” said Raonic. “It’s a Slam final. A lot of adrenaline, all this stuff takes over and you keep fighting through. I have a great opportunity on Sunday.

“Andy is one of the premier workaholics. He tries to sort of get you doing a lot of different things. He’ll try to throw you off, give you some slower balls, some harder balls, all these kinds of things. I guess my goal is to keep him away from that, play it on my terms, be aggressive, not hesitate.”

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