Sunday, 21 November 2010

Andy Murray interview

• Outside chance: Andy Murray hit with Prime Minister David Cameron at Ten Downing Street before today's start of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Photograph: Getty

When the teenage Andy Murray packed his bags and headed for pain and life as a professional tennis player, he knew his career path would take him from some incredible highs to some miserable lows via an eye-watering level of commitment and hard work. But nobody warned him that his life would also include the bizarre and the downright surreal.

But so it was that Murray went from driving around his home town of Dunblane and reminiscing about his lost youth (which is not a bad effort for a 23-year-old) to playing tennis with the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street while the top seven players in the world looked on.

"I was scared, to be honest," Murray said of his impromptu hit with David Cameron. "I didn't want to break anything. Honestly, he was hitting the ball really, really hard at me and I'd no idea if everything in there is really expensive or what. You know, it's very old; old-fashioned stuff. There was a chandelier above where the table would normally be and a few of the balls were dangerously close to that. I was more scared than embarrassed, I think."

Murray, along with the others, had been invited to meet Cameron last Thursday as part of the promotional drive before the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Murray is part of the eight-man field along with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Andy Roddick and David Ferrer and will start his campaign for the title this afternoon against Soderling at London's O2 Arena.

It was Murray's second trip to No.10 - he and David Beckham met Gordon Brown last year - but it was the first time he had been asked to show off his skills.

"Playing tennis in Downing Street is something that I don't think anyone would think they'd ever be doing," Murray said. "This is the stuff that is still obviously a bit strange to me. I don't think anyone really expects it until you start doing it for a few years. It was like when I played Wimbledon for the first time - it was obviously a huge, huge shock to me. Now I kind of understand what comes with the job, but I feel like I'm still the same. I still like just messing around with my friends and doing all the things I used to enjoy doing and this is something that is, obviously, part of the job and you become more used to it. But it is a bit surreal."

Then again, trying not bump into the furniture has become part of life for Murray of late.

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