Andy Murray tells the Times Magazine (of London) that giving himself a pep talk during a toilet break in the 2012 U.S. Open final keyed his win over Novak Djokovic.
Murray, who had failed to win a major in his first four attempts, won the first two sets and then dropped the next two before he went to the bathroom and won the fifth set.
“It had got to me,” Murray said. “I had played four Grand Slam finals before playing Novak in New York and had only won one set. Wherever I walked, I walked with hunched shoulders and with my head down. I think in my own mind I had bought the idea that I was not a real winner until I had won a Grand Slam. I was very negative in my own mind at the end of the fourth set at the U.S. Open. My self-belief was pretty low.”
Murray said that he walked into a small restroom close to the players’ entrance at Arthur Ashe stadium and gave himself a talking to.
“I was thinking: ‘Why do I keep losing these finals? Do I lack something? How on earth did I squander a two-set lead?’, he said. “I could not go back onto the court feeling like that. I would have lost the deciding set before the first ball was hit. I never talk to myself, not out loud. Isn’t that supposed to be the first sign of madness? That is why that toilet break was so unusual. I stood in front of the mirror with sweat dripping down my face and I knew I had to change what was going on inside. So I started talking. Out loud. ‘You are not losing this match,’ I said to myself. ‘You are not losing this match.’ I started out a little tentative but my voice got louder. ‘You are not going to let this one slip. This is your time.’ At first, I felt a bit weird, but I felt something change inside me. I was surprised by my response. I knew I could win.”