British tennis star says his demeanour in front of camera is to not draw any attention to himself.
World number two Andy Murray admits that his media appearances are rarely thrilling affairs, but he says his dour demeanour is a deliberate tactic to avoid creating unwanted headlines.
The Scot is renowned for his gruff responses to journalists’ questions, but he says he learnt his lesson after making unguarded comments to the press earlier in his career.
In an interview published in British magazine GQ on Thursday, he said: “As an athlete, all I do is try my best to be as good as I can be as a tennis player.
“Whether people like you or not should be irrelevant. But, to be honest, over the years I have found it difficult to open up and be a bundle of laughs in press conferences or interviews.
“I always try to give honest answers, but they are fairly boring so I don’t have to deal with the aftermath of any scandals.”
Murray’s admission chimes with an accusation from Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis that the big four of men’s tennis — Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — are “boring”.
In an interview published in French sports daily L’Equipe prior to Gulbis’ second-round loss to Gael Monfils at the French Open on Wednesday, the 24-year-old complained: “Modern tennis is sorely lacking in character.
“I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak and Murray, but, for me, all four players are boring. Their interviews are boring. Honestly, they are boring.”
Gulbis said Federer was the worst culprit.
“I often go on YouTube to watch interviews. I quickly stopped watching tennis interviews. It’s a joke,” said the Latvian.
“It was Federer who started this trend. He has a superb image as a perfect Swiss gentleman. I repeat that, I respect Federer, but I don’t like the way that young players try to imitate him.”
Federer admitted that he was rarely a source of sensational stories, but he blamed it on the high number of media commitments that the players on the men’s tour are obliged to honour.
“I understand it — our interviews are not always the most exciting. But that’s not just our fault, that’s the machine. After each match, we have to give press conferences,” he told the Swiss press.
“But also, you cannot say anything you do not like about something to someone without being totally criticised by many people. Therefore, everyone is very careful. On the other hand, I also think it’s nice that we treat each other with respect.”
Despite his public persona, Murray says he is a different person away from the glare of the media spotlight.
“I would say that I am different from what a lot of people think I am like,” said the Scot, who pulled out of the French Open last week due to a back injury.
“What would bother me is if the people around me started telling me that I had begun changing, being an arse, or something. That’s when you take it seriously.
“You don’t get to see what people are really like from in front of the TV. It is very easy to be false and fake in front of the camera.
“But to tell jokes and be fun all the time, that’s not actually very hard to do. If you are going to be truthful and tell things like they are, that is much harder.”