Andy Murray and Marcus Rashford talk tennis, football and attitudes


Andy Murray and Marcus Rashford talk team sports versus an individual sport, changes in lifestyle and the attitudes to the women's and men's versions of their respective games.

During this lockdown period, the duo have been linking together via their own social media channels and the ATP's.

After an amusing quiz and a fan Q&A, they have connected again for a more detailed discussion.

With Rashford being used to a team environment, having come through the ranks at Manchester United, he was eager to find out about Murray's mentality as a largely solo performer.

"One of the nice things about an individual sport that the outcome of the match is solely reliant on you," the two-time Wimbledon champion shared.

"If you go out and have a great performance, the chances are that you win. Whereas in a team sport you might play badly, and the rest of your team plays great and you still win.

"In the individual sport that does put quite a lot of pressure on, you put quite a lot of pressure on yourself to perform."

"When I played team sports at school growing up like playing football with my friends, I did love that. I still love the team competitions in tennis," Murray added.

"It is quite different [as an individual] because the losses that you have are maybe tougher as you don't have really a group of people around you that are dealing with the same thing.

"Sometimes tennis can feel a little bit lonely, you're travelling, and you might be playing in Australia and all your family is back home.

I love the fact that in tennis, if you put in the work yourself, you solely can influence the outcome of the match. You don't need to rely on other players as well.....Andy Murray.

So, it's not like when you lose a tough match, you then come in with your family or anything."

For both sportsmen, major turning points in their sporting lives arrived during their late teens. In Murray's case that was playing at the Wimbledon Championships for the first time.

For Rashford, it was his first-team debut for Manchester United and the now 23-year-old, shared how another side of elite sport crept up on him.

"I can't say I've ever really enjoyed the attention off the pitch.

That's one thing growing up as a footballer that you never think about," he said.

"You always think about playing in the first team and scoring goals for United or at Old Trafford or any stadium, but you forget how your life can change overnight.

"Things that you can do with your friends, things that you can do with your family, the places you can go, it all changes.

I probably wasn't as prepared for that bit as I was the actual going on the pitch and playing."

"You're just not used to or expecting that at all," Murray added, totally agreeing with Rashford.

"I found that really quite stressful. It's such a huge change in your life and nobody had sort of explained to me that's what to expect, that's what's going to happen."

With Rashford having teammates around him, and Murray experiencing tennis largely as an individual sportsman, the 32-year-old was keen to know if others at United supported the young Red?

"Once I started opening up to them [my team-mates] a little bit more and having conversations with them not only about what happens on the pitch [the support was there]," Rashford said.

Rashford scored 14 league goals in 22 appearances for United before a double stress fracture to his back saw him sidelined in January.

"At the beginning it's just football, football, football and you rarely speak to your team-mates a lot. Usually it's about winning the next game or what we're doing in training.

"But, when you settle into the team you get to speak about other stuff that. They've lived it and know how to deal with, so I definitely used to ask questions about what to do next.

"What I should have done in that situation and it definitely helps me because now when I see the young players coming through, I can sort of tell them the dos and don'ts.

Of course, make your own decisions but you know that's what I would advise, and I think that's what helped me to mature and grow up a lot."

Alongside both working on their respective programmes to return to full fitness, both Murray and Rashford have been doing what they can to support others and raise funds for charitable causes.

The Scot donated his virtual Mutua Madrid Open prize money evenly between the NHS and the tennis player relief fund and Rashford has been working with FareShare, with over £20m being raised.

"It's helping over 2.8m people per week now, so it's definitely had a massive response. It sheds a bit of light on the situation and it just shows the type of people we have around the world," Rashford said.

"You know, people out there have lost their jobs and yet they still have time to donate and try and help others."

Both elite sportsmen clearly think about more than just staying within their own sphere and Murray has always made his feelings clear about women's tennis and the question of sporting equality.

Rashford himself, has a great deal of appreciation for women's football too.

"Growing up I used to play a lot of street football, there used to be 15/20 of us that would go, and other than me, the other best player was a girl called Jodie," he said.

"She used to play every type of street football that we used to do so I've always been interested in watching that and trying to follow people's journeys.

I think it's important that it [women's football] keeps trying to rise and more people should watch it."

"I think that in tennis we're pretty lucky," Murray said on the subject of the women's game.

"Men and women are competing in the same venues all of the time and at the biggest events. I think that's one of the things that makes us unique and special as a sport.

"We've got the men and women competing on the same courts, at the same tournaments, for the same prize money and I think that's quite attractive for fans of tennis.

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