By Greg Stutchbury
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – World number two Andy Murray has repeated, emphatically, that he will abandon the pursuit of his first Australian Open title if his wife goes into labour early.
The men’s final of the year’s opening grand slam is scheduled for Jan. 31 and with his wife Kim expecting their first child in mid-February it should give him time to return home to Britain for the birth.
The Scot, who said late last year that he would abandon the tournament if his wife went into labour during it, was asked on Saturday whether he had changed his mind.
“The same thing would happen,” the 28-year-old Briton told reporters. “For me, my child is more important to me, and my wife is more important to me than a tennis match.”
Murray insisted he was still focussed on achieving one of his primary goals for 2016 and winning his first Melbourne Park title after losing four previous finals, though the impending arrival of his first child was proving a welcome distraction.
“I think most days I think about that. Just now it’s a big change coming. It’s very, very exciting,” he said.
“I’ve never been in this position, so it’s something new for me to deal with and handle, which is good.
“New experiences are always good, something to learn from.
“When I’m on the practice court and stuff, I’m very focused there. Just obviously after your practices and when you’re away from the court, it’s a bit different.”
Murray’s off-season was shortened after leading Britain to their first Davis Cup title in 79 years by beating Belgium in the final in November.
The twice grand slam champion then spent a significant amount of time practicing with coach Amelie Mauresmo, who returned to his support team after she had her first child last August.
“I went over to Dubai and then came over here earlier than I had ever done before …(and) we got to spend the time in Dubai, which was good,” he said.
“We have a good relationship. Obviously when you do spend like four, five months away from anyone that you’re working with, it takes a little bit of time to get back into things.
“It’s good that we got to spend quite a lot of time together, close to a month of practicing, preparation.
“After I’m finished here, I’m going to be at home for four or five weeks. I’ll take some time to rest and recover after I’m finished here.”
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)