The only Scottish independence Andy Murray is interested in this week is his own and, unshackled from extraneous distractions, he is doing an excellent job of rediscovering the focus that went missing in the early stages of the French Open last month.
He would not be drawn on the sensitive issue of another referendum in his homeland after taking care of business against Lu Yen-hsun in the second round on Thursday; nor will he be diverted from his task against the Australian John Millman on Saturday.
However, he did pause to sympathise with Heather Watson, who was troubled again by Twitter trolls after losing on Thursday. “I delete Twitter from my phone normally over the big competitions,” he said. “I don’t have my phone. If there is something I want to read about on Twitter then I just Google it, so I don’t read anything about myself because you know, what is the point really?
“Obviously there are a lot of people who give you support, but Twitter is not always the most pleasant place to hang out. So you try to ignore it as much as you can. The thing that is important at times like that, after a tough loss like Heather’s or a disappointing defeat, is being around the people you like, your family. They are the ones who are hurting with you and who really care about the result and make you feel better.
“It is tempting [to go on] because that is the kind of world we live in now. Social media, everyone is on it. It is huge. But there is a time and a place for it. I think when you have lost a difficult match it is best to stay away.
“I don’t read [notifications] any time I am around major competitions. I have only been on Twitter, I think, once in the last three months, and that was after Marcus Willis’s match, because it was just such a great story and amazing to see that.”
The interaction he does enjoy is with other athletes – and Wimbledon will be crawling with elite practitioners from all sports on Saturday, as is the tradition. “It is nice,” he says. “Any of my family who have been in [the crowd with other athletes], they have enjoyed it.” Two years ago, the former world boxing champion Johnny Nelson took a seat in Murray’s player box. “And on the Saturday, any time other athletes come into watch your sport, I like that.
“Not everyone, but most sportsmen and women like watching other sports as well, watching the biggest competitions and learning, getting to chat to some of them.” Murray spared time during the US Open last year to support Rory McIlroy in a golf tournament and they both went to the basketball at Madison Square Garden that night.
“Who would I like to come and watch me the most? I don’t know – it is difficult, I don’t really know – but any time any of the big names come along to watch it is nice and I have got to meet a few of them over the years.”
As for a non-tennis event he would like to attend, boxing is the obvious choice for one of the sport’s biggest fans. He says: “I’d like to go and watch a fight in Vegas, like a world title fight. It would be nice to watch another British athlete fighting over there. I actually had a chance, the day I won the Olympics here, I had tickets for the 100m final. But, because I finished late I couldn’t make it. I would like to see a World Cup final live. So, yeah, there are a few sports I would like to see.”
As an innocent distraction from his third-round match against Millman, the conversation served pretty well in the end.
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