Ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, What’s On speaks to the biggest name in the sport right now – World No 1 Andy Murray

Do you remember the first time you picked up a racket? I remember me and my brother playing a lot of games around the home that involved hitting things with various objects. We used to play a game where we had to hit a balloon across the room with biscuit tin lids. I think my parents soon realised me and Jamie had a pretty good eye for ball sports, and it wasn’t long before they started taking us down to the local tennis courts. I think we were probably three or four at that stage. It didn’t take us long to pick up the basics.

Are you addicted to playing tennis or could you give it up tomorrow? I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, but I love my job. I’m in a very fortunate position and I never like to take that for granted. I don’t think I’ll ever choose to give up tennis, I would love to play it for as long as my body will let me, which is hopefully for a quite a few years yet.

‘I’ve worked incredibly hard to become the best player in the world’

How does it feel to be No 1? It obviously means a lot. I’ve worked incredibly hard to become the best player in the world. The great thing I think that really helped was that because of the era of tennis I have played in, it was difficult for me to fixate on the No 1 spot. The consistency of  the top players was the best the game has ever seen. It was a lot easier for me to forget about the ranking. I  just had to make sure that I prepared myself as best I could for every tournament, and hope that eventually the results would follow. That’s exactly what has happened over the last eight to nine months and it’s a great feeling.

What are your main goals for this season? The French Open is a definite target this year. I just want to continue enjoying tennis, preparing as best I can for every tournament and to take it from there.

How does the Dubai tennis tournament differ to others around the world? The tournament itself is very convenient, the site is literally just around the corner from the airport and the tournament hotel is a stone’s throw from the courts, so everything is so easy to reach. They also treat the players unbelievably well, the players all have their very own dedicated concierge who are on hand to help us with anything we need, which you don’t get at tournaments. The courts are always in great condition, and always play really well. The sun is usually shining as well, which helps.

‘Players all have their very own dedicated concierge which you don’t get at tournaments’

Being a tennis player involves lots of travelling. Do you like it or is it a grind? I love travelling, but I think I would enjoy it a lot more if my family could travel with me more. It can be difficult being on the road a lot, especially if you have a young family, but like I said earlier, I definitely don’t take what I do for granted. My job has taken me to some the most incredible places.

Apart from your racquets, what’s the essential item you take on the road? My MacBook. I love my family and want to speak/see them as much as I can when I’m away, so we try to make sure we Skype as regularly as we can. I’m also a huge fantasy sports player so having my computer with me allows me to stay on top of all my teams.

February 19 to March 4

Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, Dhs75. Tel: (04) 4172415. Metro: GGICO. dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com