LONDON— Andy Murray believes his third Queen’s Club title will act as the perfect foundation to launch his latest bid to win Wimbledon.
Murray hardly had time to finish celebrating Sunday’s 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic in the final of the pre-Wimbledon warm-up event before thoughts turned to his prospects of ending Britain’s 75-year wait for a male winner of the singles’ title at the All England Club.
The 26-year-old arrived at Queen’s last week dogged by fears over his fitness after a lower back injury forced him to miss the French Open.
But Murray coped well with the gruelling demands of a rain-affected schedule, enjoying two gritty come from behind wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Cilic and even surviving a nasty fall in the final which briefly left him clutching his groin in pain.
All in all it was an extremely satisfying seven days for the world number two with Wimbledon just a week away.
“I feel good. I’m a bit tired just now. It’s been a long five days,” Murray said.
“The last couple of days were tough matches against two top grass court players. Because of the way that the weather worked out, it’s been mentally a quite draining week. I’m happy I managed to finish it with a win.”
“So I’ll go away and probably take a day off tomorrow and then start hitting on Tuesday and work on a couple of things in the build-up to Wimbledon.”
“The most important thing in the next week or so is just to make sure I keep improving the strength of my back and make sure there’s no setbacks. And then when Wimbledon comes round it’s all about how you play.”
“Anything can happen. You can lose a bit of confidence; you can gain confidence. You can pick up a niggle; you can feel 110 percent. You never know. But I’m in a good place and I just need to keep working hard the next week.”
Since losing to Nicolas Mahut in the second round at Queen’s last year, Murray has been in dominant form on grass.
He reached his first Wimbledon final, losing to Roger Federer, and then returned to the All England Club a few weeks later to avenge that loss by thrashing the Swiss great for Olympic gold.
Murray finally won his first Grand Slam on the back of that run, lifting the US Open title on the hard courts of New York in September.
“All of the Slams or the big events that I play in now, I would hope that I’d have a little bit more confidence in myself and a bit more belief,” he said.
“Just because I won the US Open it doesn’t mean I’m going to do great there or because I played well on the grass last year. There’s no guarantees at all in sport.”
“You’ve got to go in there, work hard, and be prepared to go through some tough moments and find a way to deal with them.”
“Hopefully I can do that at Wimbledon.”
For years, it seemed the weight of expectations on British players at Wimbledon was a crushing burden that made it impossible for them to succeed.
But Murray thrives on the pressure and is experienced enough not to let the media whirlwind blow him off course.
“With each year that passes, you kind of know what sort of stuff you can and can’t do, and what’s going to get you in the best mindset for the tournament and physically get myself in the best shape possible,” he said.
“I’m experienced enough to deal with it and go into Wimbledon with no issues.”