Fresh off winning Gold Medals at the recent 2012 Olympic Games in London, Great Britain's Andy Murray and American Serena Williams spoke at their pre-tournament press conferences about how they feel physically and mentally entering the U.S. Open. Murray begins action Monday at Arthur Ashe Stadium against Russian Alex Bogolomov Jr. Serena, a finalist for the women's singles title in Flushing Meadows in 2011, will look to avenge her loss will face fellow American Coco Vandeweghe on Tuesday.
Do you feel reaching the finals at Wimbledon and winning the Olympics has lifted some sort of burden for you?
Murray: I mean, I don't know. Obviously winning the Olympics was the biggest win of my career, that's for sure. It meant a lot to me. The Wimbledon final, I mean, that's the first time I have been there. I was happy with the way I played. It was obviously disappointing, a tough one to take for a few days afterwards, but I don't know. I mean, I feel confident in myself just now. That's what's important.
Do you feel more confident coming into this than you ever have before?
Murray: I get asked that before every Slam. Am I more confident? You never know what's going to happen when you get out there on the court. I prepared well. I trained hard the last five, six days, so I'm ready to go.
How does the elation of winning something as big as a Gold Medal manifest itself three or four weeks after the event? Do you still wake up in the morning and think, "Whoa, I'm an Olympic champion?" Or do you stow it away and start on with the next one?
Murray: It was definitely like that for a good week, 10 days afterwards. After Wimbledon, like four days after Wimbledon I dreamt I won Wimbledon, and I woke up in the morning and I was just starting to feel better. That didn't help. Then a few days after the Olympics, I dreamt that I lost in the final of the Olympics. Obviously waking up remembering that I had won was nice. That was when I was in Toronto. So I mean, yeah, you think about it a lot. But the thing with tennis I think especially is of course we have tournaments and things to look forward to in the not too distant future. Once you start getting on the match court again, you start to you never forget about it, but that feeling is a bit different. You're nervous going into matches and preparing for events. That takes your mind off what happened a few weeks ago.
A lot was made of the Olympics about your joyous celebration. Do you think the media made too much about it and we might see some choreography here in Queens the next two weeks?
Serena: I don't know. I read zero press. That was been my policy since I was 17. I don't know what was made too much or whether it was too little. I think winning the Olympics was awesome for me and for the USA. I'm still kind of in the Olympic moment. I love the Olympics. You know, I was just so proud of the final tally of gold medals that I contributed to. It was really awesome.
Your sister, Venus, mentioned not being able to imagine competing on the tour without you playing, as well. Is that something you have thought about, possibly her retiring?
Serena: Yeah, I would have to go on if she decided to retire tomorrow, but that's not going to happen. I'd be devastated because she's like I can't get a better doubles partner than this. But, no, we are I don't know. If it was that soon I would have to go on, but if it was a little later, maybe it will be together.
Coming out of Cincinnati, you talked a little bit about the long summer, a little bit tired. I am wondering, do you feel like you got the rest you needed the last few days? What have you been doing to sort of recharge?
Serena: I definitely took a couple of days off after Cincinnati. I think that helped me to like get myself together mentally and get ready for the U.S. Open, biggest tournament in the United States. I also think that what did I do? I kind of came to New York really early and relaxed and karaoked, and that was about it.