Pressure? Murray & Rashford Explain There Is A Difference Between Tennis & Football

Learn more about Murray and Rashford's recent conversation

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford excel at tennis and football, respectively, and both men compete on the world’s biggest stages. But according to the two stars, the pressure they face isn’t quite the same.

“One of the nice things about an individual sport is that the outcome of the match is solely reliant on you, so if you go out and have a great performance, the chances are that you win,” Murray told Rashford. “In a team sport, you might play badly and the rest of your team plays great, and you still win. That’s where I feel like in the individual sport it puts quite a lot of pressure on. You put quite a lot of pressure on yourself to perform. But I guess in a team sport as well, you don’t want to let your fans down, you don’t want to let your teammates down as well.”

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Growing up, Murray greatly enjoyed playing team sports, including football. The Scot enjoyed the camaraderie of competing with his friends, and he remains a massive football fan. 

“I did love that and I still just love the team competitions in tennis a lot, but it is quite different because the losses as well that you have are maybe tougher because you don’t have really a group of people around you that are dealing with the same thing,” Murray said. “There are pros and cons I think to both, but 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.”

With that said, there are moments for Rashford on the pitch when all the pressure falls squarely on him, or another individual on the club.

“I think the moment of a penalty is the one time where a footballer’s mindset is in the similar mindset to what you just spoke about,” Rashford said. “It’s just you against the keeper, and if you take a good penalty, you’re going to score and ultimately win the game for your team.

“With tennis, you’re doing that all the time against one opponent. I’d probably say you’re in more of a rhythm of doing that, so I’d probably say the penalty is more difficult, purely because there aren’t that many of them that come about in games.”

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Murray is used to the pressure of trying to serve out a match, or save break points. But when a football player has to take a crucial penalty, it is a completely different pace compared to the rest of the match.

“I think as well [that is] one of the things that I would imagine… is unbelievably difficult. Because if you got a penalty at the end of a Champions League final, there would be a good few minutes before you’d actually take it,” Murray said. “There’s a really big build up to it, like the suspense to it which is probably a lot of what creates that pressure and drama. If someone got fouled and immediately ten seconds later you just went up and took the penalty, it would probably be a lot easier. But you have a lot of time to think as well when you have the penalties and that’s one of the things that must be very tough.”

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