Andy Murray hit back firmly at Roger Federer’s disparaging comments about the quality of the Scot’s three recent successive titles in Asia, so adding extra spice to the last minute build up at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals that get under way today.
Federer, who has a history of demeaning Murray’s achievements, questioned the magnitude of Murray’s titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai because both he and word no.1 Novak Djokovic opted not to play the events. “I’m not taking anything away from what Andy did, but was Asia the strongest this year?’ asked the 30 year-old who now stands below Murray in fourth place on the ATP world rankings. “I’m not sure. Novak (Djokovic) wasn’t there, I wasn’t there and in Shanghai Rafa (Nadal) lost early.”
Murray knows he must win through the initial round robin group phase and hope Federer does the same if he is to get the opportunity to extend his current 8-6 winning record over the defending champion of this year ending finale to the ATP touring year.
But if the 24 year-old from Dunblane must wait until next weekend to use his racket to exact revenge, he chose his words carefully to verbally answer Federer uncomplimentary views. “I don’t know if I am getting under Roger’s skin, maybe I am,” he said.
“But you can only beat what’s in front of you. Who is there fit to play and who isn’t is irrelevant. Winning three tournaments in three weeks is a difficult thing to do. I found it very tough and you have to look how many players have ever done that kind of thing.
“Plus in Tokyo I beat Rafa in the final and he’s world no.2. Before that it was David Ferrer in the semi and he’s world no.5. Earlier on I beat David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis and they are both good players who have reached Grand Slam finals. “
Federer made much celebration of winning the BNP Paribas Masters title at Paris’ Palais de Omnisports Bercy a week ago but Murray continued: “There Rafa didn’t play, Novak got injured and I was also hurt. Every week is different but with the depth of men’s tennis these days, you cannot expect to just turn up and win. Hopefully I can get the chance to play against Roger later this week and then we can let our tennis do the talking.”
Three and a half years ago in Dubai, Federer criticized Murray after losing to him in three sets. “He’s going to have to grind very hard for the next few years if he keeps playing this way,” said the Swiss. “He tends to wait a lot for the mistake of the opponent.
“I gave him the mistakes today but I think overall, over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than for an opponent to miss. But who knows, he might surprise us all and do it for 20 years. I don’t think he’s changed his game since I played him when he was very young.”
Then prior to the 2010 Australian Open final, Federer again belittled Murray in a patronizing manner when he said: “I know he’d like to win the first for British tennis since, what is it 150,000 years. The poor guy who has to go through those moments over and over again.”
“DAILY TENNIS NEWS WIRE”