Murray on the seriousness of the Big 3: "I've never seen them joking during matches"

The Scottish champion is ready for a new adventure at the 2024 Australian Open and, in the pre-tournament press conference, he told an anecdote about the Big 3

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Murray on the seriousness of the Big 3: "I've never seen them joking during matches"
© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Scottish tennis player Andy Murray will be expected in the first round of the Australian Open 2024 by Argentine Etcheverry. The 3-time Slam champion and 5-time finalist in Melbourne spoke at a press conference on the eve of the tournament, focusing on some of the peculiar attitudes of the Big 3 Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Scottish champion underlined how he has never seen Nole, Rafa and Roger joking during the matches. A further confirmation of the professional seriousness of these champions.

Andy began the press conference by talking about the splendid matches that saw him as the protagonist several times in matches that ended after 1 am. The ATP and WTA have established a new plan to improve playing conditions and promote player wellbeing.

"I don't think starting on Sunday will change anything. I think on the Central Court there are two games in the day and two in the evening. I think this will not reduce the possibility of delaying matches into the night, because there has to be that interval where they have to clear the stadium and let in the fans from the night session.

I heard many players, and obviously the media, discussing it at length. Yes, it just makes sense. It's a very obvious thing that needs to change. I haven't heard anyone really disagree with this. It's good that there will be some changes. It will be good for everyone, I think. It will definitely help with recovery for the next day and things like that," Andy said.

The Fab 4
The Fab 4© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

The 5-time Australian Major finalist continued by analyzing his psycho-physical state: "I feel like I'm having more fun. I think part of it obviously comes down to the mental side. Tennis is a difficult game from this point of view. Yes, when you're struggling it can sometimes be difficult. Part of it is this.

Even the way you play. Solving some problems helped me feel better on the pitch. Yes, definitely some attention to the mental part. Reframing the way you look at things definitely helps. It's more about how you deal with frustration and disappointment and everything else when you play.

I don't see Novak laughing and joking while he plays his games. I've never seen him with Roger and Rafa. It's probably how you handle those moments and being a little kinder to yourself and the people around you, lowering some of your own expectations. Last year I was frustrated, I wasn't competing well in the important moments. That's something I hope to change this year."

The Scot focused on the first round against Etcheverry. "Most of my matches I did quite well physically last year. But yes, he has a game that can make matches very physical. We played in Basel, I don't know if for more than three hours, but it felt like it. At Indian Wells, another long match. Again, when you don't serve well, you end up participating in much longer rallies. Because of the way you respond, you can end up getting a lot of long points when that's the case. Yes, hopefully in a couple of days that won't be the case," he explained.

Djokovic main favorite in Melbourne. Nadal out for a new injury

The big favorite at the 2024 Australian Open, needless to say, will be Novak Djokovic. The Serbian, winner 10 times here in Australia, is suffering from some physical problems, suffered during the United Cup. The world number one has already shown in the past that he can overcome muscular problems, reaching the final goal. Djokovic will play in the evening session starting at 7pm in Melbourne on 14 January 2024, on the Rod Laver Arena. Djokovic will play his first round against the Croatian player from the qualifiers Dino Prizmic.

Djokovic© Kelly Defina / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Nadal's return to Australia has been very positive. In the three matches played, the Spaniard showed a high and encouraging level of play. Unfortunately, after the very tough battle against Jordan Thompson in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International, Rafa came out battered due to a physical problem that at first seemed to be related to the operated hip. The results of the tests carried out left a bad taste in the mouth. A micro tear to the muscle, fortunately not in the same area as the previous injury. For this reason the 37 year old has announced that he will not play the Australian Open.

In his splendid career, a rather particular fact is surprising, which amazed the Spaniard's fans themselves. Throughout his career as a professional tennis player, the Majorcan missed 16 Grand Slam tournaments due to injury (that would be 4 years without playing Major competitions).

Nadal© Chris Hyde / Stringer Getty Images Sport

A very high number of absences for the 37-year-old player in the most prestigious events of the season, despite him having won 22 titles overall. Indeed, the total would rise to 21 if withdrawals before or during a match that had already started were also counted. In a certain sense, the successes achieved acquire greater value: Rafa has in fact won one Slam out of three played, considering the average between triumphs and participations (32.3%).

Australian Open