Andy Murray column: I only get really wound up on court

Andy Murray
ATP World Tour Finals
Venue: O2, London Dates: 15-22 Nov Sessions: 14:00 and 20:00 GMT
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The only place I ever get really frustrated and wound up is on the tennis court.

I think a lot of that is the result of all the time and effort that I've put into it over so many years. I've been a full-time tennis player for pretty much half my life and the frustration can come through when I'm not winning or playing as well as I would like, given the amount of effort.

Pressure also plays a part but that's something you have to deal with every day, learning to manage those expectations from yourself and from everyone else. There is no denying that at different times of the year it can be tough, and during Wimbledon I do find that stressful, but most of the year it's not too bad.

My team help a lot in dealing with all of that, both in the build-up to matches and at the side of the court when I'm playing. Having said that, I have played tournaments before when I've only had one person with me and I don't mind it too much.

It's not necessarily a negative if I feel like what's happening in the box is distracting me or taking away from what's happening on the court, which can happen, but at tough moments especially it can be a bit of a comfort blanket to look over at people you know when you're in front of a huge audience.

Having people on the side of the court who care about you can really help.

Shane Annun, physiotherapist, Andy Murray, Matt Little, fitness trainer, and coach Jonas Bjorkman
Physiotherapist Shane Annun, fitness trainer Matt Little and coach Jonas Bjorkman are key figures in Murray's support team

'I still enjoy just hitting a tennis ball'

My team would probably be the best ones to say for sure, but I'm pretty sure that in 10 or 11 years as a professional, I haven't cancelled or failed to show up for a single practice session.

I still get a lot of enjoyment out of just hitting a tennis ball most days.

I'm not denying that there are moments out on court when I might be gasping for breath, after four or five extremely physical rallies, and think, 'I need to try and shorten this point'. But actually waking up and not wanting to hit tennis balls? No, I enjoy it too much.

If there are days that are tougher to get going for then they tend to be in training rather than tournaments. I think as you get older it's the competition that really gets you excited.

Some days the training and practice can be quite repetitive and maybe a bit boring, but that's what you have to do if you want to stay at the top of the game. Knowing that is one of the benefits of experience.

But the competing side, that's never a problem. When I get the chance to take on the best players in the world at huge events like the ATP World Tour Finals, the Grand Slams or the Davis Cup, I can't imagine ever thinking I don't really want to do that.

Andy Murray
Despite occasional frustrations, Murray still relishes playing the game

'I will cope OK with life at home'

It might be the eighth time I've qualified for the ATP Finals but I'm still one of the younger players here, and I hope to be back for many years to come.

Whether I am or not will probably come down to health in the end, as that's why most players have to stop.

Everyone's body is different but if you lose a couple of steps in speed, you are in trouble, and that normally happens when you pick up an injury with your knee or hip or back.

I've spoken about this to players who have finished or are coming to the end, like Lleyton Hewitt, who's retiring after the Australian Open in January. He said that physically he just can't do it anymore and that's why he has to give it up.

Hopefully I will stay fit for a while yet, as I would like to play for as long as I can compete at a high level.

When the time does come to call it a day, I think I will cope OK with life at home. It's not like every time I'm back for two weeks, I'm desperate to get out of there. When I had back surgery two years ago I was at home for a long period of time and I enjoyed that as well. I do love spending time with my friends and family and the dogs.

I am lucky that I don't get really homesick and I haven't got fed up with travelling, as it's such a big part of what we do. I know some players talk about that when they get older, and for a lot of the coaches when they come back on tour, it's being away so much that's tough.

Fortunately, it's never been a problem for me. I like travelling and visiting different parts of the world, and hopefully there will be plenty more to come.

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport's Piers Newbery.

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