With little tennis happening during December I have a lot of time on my hands. I am up to date with all my admin for the site and service. You can usually tell when I am a little bored as i start playing around with blog colours and layout and also the header images!
I have been reading a few tennis related sites and a lot of people seem to be writing Murray off.
I have seen comments along the lines of, ” so he had back surgery but he has been awful since he came back!”, or , “…he should sack Mauresmo, she is wrecking his career”.
The effects of back surgery should not be underestimated. It was billed as minor surgery to sort out a disc problem.
Recovering from such surgery isn’t just about the body healing. A huge issue and especially so for athletes is to regain confidence in their body. If they have in the past tried to make some normal movement on court and the back has let them down, usually resulting in a lot of pain, that memory stays with them until long after the doctors tell them they have healed. The result is that their mind needs extra healing time on top of the physical recovery.
The three months that he was away from the tour gave him a fresh appreciation of his life as a tennis player.
In March he split with his coach Ivan Lendl. In my opinion this was a bigger blow to Murray than the back surgery. For many years Murray had the game to reach the top of the sport but time and time again it was his mental strength that buckled under pressure. Having his Mum heavily involved in his training was something that shouldn’t have continued for as long as it did. Who takes their Mum to work for God’s sake? The WTA did the Murray camp a huge favour by asking Judy Murray to take control of the Fed Cup team and she does fantastic work up and down the country encouraging young players to take up the game. She has little to offer as part of the coaching staff of a top 5 ATP player. While she was around Murray continued to be a Mummy’s boy and his trademark grimaces and clutching various parts of his anatomy when things weren’t going his way were I suspect linked to Judy being around.
Once Lendl came on board things changed. Lendl was so tough as a player (and one of my all time favourites) and you just know he wouldn’t stand for Murray’s negative habits. When Lendl was in Murray’s box the player rarely vented his anger in that direction. His coach’s mental toughness started to brush off on Murray. The result? Two Grandslams and he was established in the top 3 players in the world.
With Lendl out of the picture the ex Mummy’s boy went for………..a female coach. Now before you get the idea that I am saying a female coach has no place with a top ATP player let me point out that this is not what I am saying. What I AM saying is that Murray needs a strong male coach. Lendl was perfect. Whatever Murray was trying to achieve, Lendl had already done it. Murray is no doubt a strong character himself but he almost needs to be bullied by his coach to suppress the whining little boy inside him. What he does NOT need is someone stroking his hair, patting his hand while saying, “Aww you did your best honey”.
So who should he go for? I think it has to be an ex player. A TOP ex player. MacEnroe has gone soft since he moved into the commentator’s box. I don’t know if Andy Roddick has any dreams of coaching but he certainly has the personality to get the best from Murray. Plus he hasn’t been retired very long and would certainly have Murray’s respect.
What i do know is that no matter how good a coach Mauresmo is she isn’t the right man for the job. Ok she isn’t a man at all. Close but no cigar 😉
IF Murray can find the right coach there is no doubt he has the game and commitment to get back to the top 3 again. The longer he waits with Ms Mauresmo in the role the more he reduces his chances of making it back there in 2015.