• Bollettieri offers to work with coachless Murray

    9/19/10 1:49 PM | Johan Lindahl
    Bollettieri offers to work with coachless Murray With Andy Murray currently pondering his choice for a new coach, American uber-mentor Nick Bollettieri has offered to work with the Scot in hope of helping Murray break through for a Grand Slam title.

    Florida-based Bollettieri revealed his scheme to British media, counting on his past work with Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Jim Courier to make sure his reputation precedes him. Murray, fourth in the world, has come up short in two Grand Slam title matches, losing both to Roger Federer, including January's Australian Open.

    "At this stage of my career there are very few players I would like to take on, but Andy is one of them", the 78-year-old Bollettieri told London's Daily Mail. "I really like him as a person and he has got all the tools. It would be fascinating to coach him."

    Murray has taken knocks for a sour personality short on positive emotion during matches. The effervescent Bollettieri would look to change all of that.

    "Andy’s a special individual, like Boris and Andre, and maybe the coach needs to be a character, too," said the Italian-American. "My feeling is that he needs to favour his forehand more and use it as a hammer."

    "I’m not sure you can win a Grand Slam now playing from too far behind the baseline - it gives your opponent too much time." Murray split with fellow Scot Miles MacLagan in July after another disappointing effort at Wimbledon.

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Very positive comments from Bollettieri. Short term might be just the job. Surely Andy would respect him. And, unlike Cahill, cheryl ;) , Mr B actually likes Andy.

deuce , 9/19/10 2:17 PM

"My feeling is that he needs to favour his forehand more and use it as a hammer"

like gonzo??? interesting though...his backhand is one of the best too imo...but he can add some more fire to his forehand surely.

vrael , 9/19/10 2:27 PM

nobody likes A. Muzza more than Cheryl. Certainly not Bolletieri.

RickyDimon , 9/19/10 4:30 PM

i've read somewhere his mum is very respectable coach, is this true?

rfzr , 9/19/10 4:44 PM

yes she is...iv heard commentators pointing that out many a times

vrael , 9/19/10 4:49 PM

probably better than Bolletieri

RickyDimon , 9/19/10 4:52 PM

now you are just making things up RICKY..:P

vrael , 9/19/10 5:08 PM

Before Bollettieri mentioned it, I think most of us already know that there is something not quite right about Murray's forehand. Bollettieri is pointing out the obvious, though I don't know whether that is obvious to Murray himself.

I hope Murray does consider engaging Bollettieri as his coach and be humble enough to listen to him. Like what Bollettieri mentioned (and again most of us already know), Murray has all the tools in his box, its a matter of how to and when to make the right use of them.

To me, there is some similarities between Fed and Murray. Before Fed become TMF, I believe he also faced the same problems as Murray, in that he had all the tools in the box, but did not know when to use the right one at the right time. It took him quite a while to figure out and master that. I think Murray is in a similar stage of his career as Fed was then; though I think Fed is a different type of player in that he has an attacking mindset whilst Murray's is a defensive one. I think once Murray figure that out, he will become a scarily good player (he is already a very good player right now).

It will be interesting to see how things go from here for men's tennis, with Rafa at the top of his game(and scarily he is still improving), with Nole finding back his game and is also improving; and if Murray finally overcome his problems and make good use of his full arsenal of shots; and if Delpo is back on the tours and getting back to his original level.

PS. Mr Fed, Davy, Sod and Berdych, Tsonga and hopefully Cilic and Verdasco, should in the mix and I think come 2011, men's tennis should be getting more interesting.

luckystar , 9/19/10 5:38 PM

Sorry that I've missed out a few names, Roddick and Nalby being two of them. I would also like to see players like Ferrer,Llodra and Gasquet continue to do well and carry on with their good momentum of 2010 into 2011.

I hope Murray does better in the slams of 2011 and avoid being booted out early of any slams.

luckystar , 9/19/10 5:46 PM

Ricky@4.30. Please explain or were u winding cheryl up?
luckystar: was njoying your post till you mentioned the world and his wife! Please, this is meant to be about Andy, can we just keep to him?

deuce , 9/19/10 5:49 PM

Yes deuce, of course, but we need the competition to make things interesting.

So, what do you think about Murray with Bollettieri, do you think Murray will engage him as his coach? I think there are not many choice coaches left, Murray better take him. I ever thought about Peter Langren (spelling?) but he was taken by Stan, and we see the improvement in Stan's game - he become more aggressive in his play, definitely attacking more now. May be Bollettieri can do the same for Murray?

luckystar , 9/19/10 6:13 PM

deuce - what? contrary to popular belief, Cheryl loves Muzza.

RickyDimon , 9/19/10 6:17 PM

Ricky: no, I refer to "nobody likes Muzza more than cheryl" remark. I know cheryl likes Andy, but more than everyone else? Unlikely.
luckystar: Andy needs someone who'll 1) channel the negativity 2) protect Andy from the world 3) help him with strategies to win, even when he's not playing so good 4) give him back his "brattish" attitude 5) help him with his low self esteem and then and then...fix that serve. Can Mr B do all that?? I dunno but Agassi was a difficult guy who "hated" tennis and he worked successfully with him. Andy would be mad to turn him down, if he's really offered, but then as we all know our Andy's a bit of a head case. I actually fancy Pat Cash for the job, but he hasn't offered!

deuce , 9/19/10 7:18 PM

Say yes quickly, andy, you won't get a better offer.

alex , 9/19/10 10:19 PM

Murray has some serious technical problems with his forehand swing. Until Murray develops a Forehand that can do serious damage (which is unlikely at this stage of his career - his Forward Swing on that shot is technically weak), big hitters with big offense off the ground will always derail Murray in a Best of 5 Sets match.

tj600 , 9/20/10 1:05 AM

Murray has serious technical problems on his forehand swing? hahahahaha.

His backswing is tailor-made to middle the ball every time he hits it, his racquet face doesn't change one bit throughout. The problem with Murray is that he doesn't swing fast enough, and that has everything to do with his mindset.

He can do serious damage with his forehand, if you don't believe me watch AO 2007 v Nadal, USO 2008 v Nadal etc etc...

samprallica , 9/20/10 1:13 AM

Does anyone else think this is a weird match up?

smr , 9/20/10 3:19 AM

Talking about AO 2007 and USO 2008, it's too far back. Back then Rafa was not the Rafa now. Why don't we compare Murray against Rafa at Wimbledon this year instead? Also do you think Murray can threaten the Rafa of USO 2010 now? Rafa has improved by leaps and bounds since 07,08- not physically but technically and also tactically and strategically. Compared to 2008, has Murray improved that much? This is a genuine question from me, not a dig at Murray. Maybe his loyal fans can answer that. To me he seems to be playing better back in 2008, only his performance at AO this year, or maybe also Toronto this year can match his second half of 2008 to first half of 2009.

luckystar , 9/20/10 4:09 AM

I agree with luckystar. It's not like Rafa's game has just stayed stagnant and he is the same player that he was back in 2007 and 2008. Just what kind of serious damage did Murray's forehand do to Rafa in this year's Wimbledon?

I can't believe that someone would seriously bring up the Rafa of two to three years ago as a reference point to bolster an argument that Murray could now beat him the same way. If people watched Rafa at the USO, they would see how he has evolved as a hardcourt player. He is so much more aggressive, taking the ball early with his backhand and moving into the court to close out points quickly. He is standing much closer to the baseline. He has a big serve now that can get him out of tough spots in matches. He has a truly superb game at net.

They whole dynamic and approach of Rafa's game has changed. He is no longer the player who used to stand way back behind the baseline to return serve. He is no longer the player who was content to try to beat his opponent from the baseline, staying in endlessly long rallies to win a point. Rafa has had to adapt to be competitive on hardcourt and also to save his knees.

I think Murray is struggling at this point. When he is confronted by an opponent who shows him something different, as Wawa did in their third round match, Murray doesn't seem able to adjust. This is critical, especially in the early rounds of a slam tournament when a lesser ranked player can play brilliant tennis and try to take out a top ranked player. Rafa is always thinking and problem solving on the court. He is a genius at making mid-match adjustments. I think this is something that Murray must learn to do. Instead he gets frustrated and angry, letting his emotions take over and not allowing him to think through what needs to be done.

It's more than just Murray's game. It's his mental strength, his ability to think and make changes in the midst of a match and have the will to prevail. If he wants to win his first slam, this is what he must try to do. It's not just a matter of the technical aspects of his game.

Nativenewyorker , 9/20/10 6:20 AM

sampracilla- Murray does have technical problems with his forehand. It's because he has two separate motions on his Forehand that hurt him enormously. Just look at the forehand techniques of Del Potro or Berdych.(and federer's technique is better than all these) They all start with the racquet pointing upward on the take-back for a Forehand, and then follow through in one continuous motion, coming down with the racquet below the ball and then make contact, following through to the opposite shoulder. It's one motion from start to finish, and the power comes from the core: the body is turning in tandem with the racquet.

Murray far too often breaks the motion into 2 parts. His racquet is pointing up on the take-back, but then he brings it down parallel to the ground while it's still behind him, and stops the movement - its just hanging there waiting for the ball to come to him. THEN he swings forward, from this parallel position. This causes him to use mostly Shoulder on his Forehand instead of Core - that's why his Forehand is weaker than so many other men on the tour,and that is why he will continue to be derailed by big hitters in the best of 5. Look at Murrays losses at the slams. The players he lost to at the AO,FO and Wimbledon all share one thing in common: a big/lethal forehand. THe USO loss was just a flop. He shouldnt have lost that match to Wawawrinka.

tj600 , 9/20/10 7:09 AM

tj: very interesting analysis. However, discounting clay where he doesn't seem to move as well as he can, and loss to Cilic last year, when he had a wrist injury, he's lost to Fed and Rafa. Hmm. I think it's a popular myth he loses to "big hitters" his h2h against them is v. good. In fact like Fed he uses their pace.
I also think all Andy's forehand needs is more accuracy as in Toronto.
Yes, I agree with luckystar, when Andy was a "brat" and all except his loyal fans, hated him, he played with fire in his belly. Now he's been airbrushed an essential part of his game has gone. Bring back Brad!

deuce , 9/20/10 8:11 AM

Oh sorry, yes Stan this year, fire in belly gone...??

deuce , 9/20/10 8:14 AM

As an AndyM admirer, next to Rafa and Nole of course, I have nothing but good wishes for him. If hiring Bollettieri helps him overcome whatever it is that's keeping him from achieving his full potential, then I hope he will hire him.

phoenix , 9/20/10 8:32 AM

Murray needs a psychologist, is MR B known for mentally working with players in this manner. My theory is that you can give Murray or any other player more weapons but unless they are in the head space to be able to use them effectively, then it only ends up frustrating the player,who trains and trains and is perfect physically, with a heap or arsenal, but crumbles mentally when it means most.

isabeau77 , 9/20/10 9:02 AM

isabeau, I agree.
I've listened to all the laboured debates over muzz's game ad nauseum ... lack of forehand ... no killer punch ... inconsistent service game ... now a 'slow arm motion' ...
While I agree with NB and others that he has needed to use the f/h more, his f/h has arguably been his most improved stroke and dominant weapon (even moreso than his backhand at times) in this year's USO series (- including against rafa).
The weapons are all there. On his game, he doesn't need anything more to beat anyone.
You're right, isabeau, it's all about 'up top' now. A psychologist might help, maybe, but the positivity level might also be raised by a past proven coach-of-winners like Boll'i.

alex , 9/20/10 11:36 AM

alex: agree fitness and forehand much improved.
disagree re serve. Gotta get more reliable, takes pressure off rest of game eg Rafa at USOpen , his serve v Nole's is why he won.
agree re feeling positive and channelling negativity. Why I think he needs real break to reflect (ouch, I know, buzz word everywhere).

deuce , 9/20/10 11:59 AM

@ deuce,

"Gotta get more reliable, takes pressure off rest of game eg Rafa at USOpen , his serve v Nole's is why he won."

I agree, in part. Thats was not only the reason why Rafa won. Overall, he played a great match!

Monalysa , 9/20/10 10:40 PM

I have to say that it amazes me when people feel the need to make these vanity posts in which they supposedly display their superior knowledge of the technical aspects of a player's game. The tennis channel regularly provides tips and information regarding using the correct technique when serving or using the forehand.

Technique is not Murray's problem. He has the talent and the game, now he just needs to know how to use it to best advantage. A player needs to know when and how to use his shots. Murray seemed clueless when it was confronted by a revitalized Wawrinka who was blasting heavy shots at him and serving brilliantly. Murray was out of sorts and could not make the necessary adjustments. I still think his problem is mostly mental.

If Bollettieri can help Murray work through some of his issues, then I say go for it. He definitely needs some kind of guidance from a coach who can help him to realize his considerable potential. Murray cannot do it on his own.

Nativenewyorker , 9/20/10 11:15 PM

maybe for a few days when Murray is down in Florida. No way Bollettieri is going to do anything full time with one player.

RickyDimon , 9/21/10 6:52 AM

Maybe Bollettieri might be able to recommend someone for Murray, if he isn't able to work full time with him. The guy needs help. He has the talent and just needs some guidance on how to use it.

Nativenewyorker , 9/21/10 7:19 AM

NNY: gr8 posts. Thanks :)
Ricky: guess u r right. Mr B is 78, hardly gonna want to travel ;)

deuce , 9/21/10 8:06 AM

I just had a thought. Maybe there isn't actually anything wrong with Murray. He is human, has his good and bad days and maybe he has been just unlucky. I mean, out of the last 27 Grand Slams, 2 have been won by a player, not named Federer or Nadal.

So, Murray hasn't won a Grand Slam. So what, neither has anybody else other than Del Potro and Djokovic, who have only won one themselves.

Murray's problem is that everybody is creating Murray problems, where I dont believe they need to exist like they are.
Murrays main problem is handling peoples expectations, the media, the fans everyone. If he was just let be and allowed to enjoy his tennis, knowing full well that won day he will win a slam or two then maybe he would win won.

Now the way things are the longer it goes without him winning a slam, the more stress he feels, the less likely he is to not win won and worse still deteriorate as a player.

Murray needs to be left alone and the sooner he is the quicker he will distress and then and only then will results come

isabeau77 , 9/21/10 8:17 AM

I just think the British media are trying to bounce Andy into appointing Bollettieri, they must have approached him and asked him the question, and if he had said anything other than yes, that would have been another headline. As Ricky pointed out, logistically, it would be very very difficult for Bollettieri to be a full time coach to Andy, so from that point of view, I doubt he would have voluntarily come up with the suggestion.

Andy says he wants to take his time to find a coach, they have now put him on the spot to find a reason why he wouldn't appoint Bollettieri; I just think they should stop trying to run his life for him, he's got his Mum who is on hand to help him find a coach, he doesn't need the whole of the British media on his back.

nadline , 9/21/10 10:55 AM

If Bollettieri wants to offer his services to Murray he will approach him direct, he wouldn't go and tell the media first.

nadline , 9/21/10 12:29 PM

isabeau - i agree

except that i never thought there was anything wrong with Murray in the first place

RickyDimon , 9/21/10 2:36 PM

I don't know about Murray's technical problems; most players could be better at this and that, probably Murray has room for improvement, too. He's only 23. But he definitely has mental issues. He played poorly in the AO final, but what's worse is that it pretty much destroyed him for a couple of months afterwards. He came out of that tailspin and was playing excellent tennis at Wimbly until he ran into Rafa and lost the first two very close sets. Now losing a close match to Rafa at Wimbly is no disgrace but Murray turned around and fired his long-term coach shortly before the USO. Why, one wonders? The guy was playing very well.

Contrast Nadal's attitude. Losing makes him work harder and smarter, not go into a fit of sulks. Rafa sets reasonable, attainable goals. This year's goal was quite simple: play well, stay healthy, be competitive at the top level. Murray's goal is to be #1 and win, well, everything. That's just not realistic. He needs someone to help with goal-setting and, well, taking pleasure in what he achieves, and realizing that sometimes you lose. I guess that describes a sports psychologist or a really good coach. As Toni Nadal says, "in this life, hitting a tennis ball outside the court is not a very big problem."

Ramara , 9/21/10 2:43 PM

Andy Murray reveals: I'm no nearer appointing a new coach

By Sportsmail Reporter
Last updated at 1:14 PM on 21st September 2010

Andy Murray admits he is no closer to appointing a new coach ahead of his return to ATP World Tour action next month.
Fitness worries: Andy Murray during his US Open defeat to Wawrinka

Fitness worries: Andy Murray during his US Open defeat to Wawrinka

The world No4 had hoped to find a successor to Miles Maclagan, who he sacked in July after two and a half years together, before the China Open in Beijing, which begins on October 4.

Murray said: 'The situation is the same as it was before the US Open. I'm still looking into it and trying to find the best person that can help me.

'I'm going to have to be patient with it, take my time a little bit and I'm sure I'll find someone that will help me.

'I haven't spoken to anybody yet but I've spoken to the guys that I work with and I've spoken to my mum about the people that I might like to work with.

'I've got to try and find out the availability, how many weeks people are willing to do and make the decision based on all the information.'

Maclagan oversaw Murray's rise to the top of the game after linking up with the Scot in 2007 but a difference of opinion over the direction the 23-year-old should take and the role of part-time coaching consultant Alex Corretja led to the split.

Murray began life without a full-time coach in stunning style, beating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to retain his Masters title in Canada, fuelling belief he could break his grand slam duck at the US Open.

But, after sailing through the first two rounds, the British No1 was beaten in four sets by Stanislas Wawrinka in round three.

Murray struggled physically against the Swiss and he has vowed to address those issues as he continues his quest to win one of the sport's major titles.

He added: 'I don't (know what happened), I've been in very good shape and I haven't felt like that for a very long time and I'll make sure it never happens again.

'It was a disappointing end to the American stretch. I obviously had a good start to it and didn't finish particularly well. Physically I wasn't great and that's what I was most disappointed with.'

Murray's troubles were in stark contrast to Rafael Nadal, who cemented his status as the best player in the world by winning a third consecutive grand slam title.

'It's a great achievement,' said Murray, whose schedule next month also includes being best man at his brother Jamie's wedding. 'He's one of the greatest players ever.

'I've got four or five months before the next slam. I need to get physically stronger, improve my game and then I'll give myself the chance to beat him.'

Read more: veals-Im-nearer-appointing-new-coach.html#ixzz10AcqnUEi

nadline , 9/21/10 3:32 PM

Andy, who played the US Open without a full-time coach in his corner after sacking Miles Maclagan in July, disclosed he would love to work with former great players such as Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl, but that is unlikely. He has received a number of interesting offers, though he was not about to name names. What Murray would say, as he sat on the balcony of a tennis club in Chiswick, was that the man he appoints to be his next coach will be a tennis heavyweight who either played at the top of the sport, or who coached someone who was; someone with more experience than Maclagan, who as a player was never involved at the business-end of the majors.

It?s going to take time to find the right person so I?m going to be patient. I want to get the right person, not someone who could only help me for six months. I want someone who could help me for five or six years, so I don?t want to rush into a decision that might only work for a few months, and then I could stop learning and the relationship could break down,? said Murray, who has talked this through with his team and with his mother, Judy. Andy-Murray-searching-for-best-man-as-coach.html

nadline , 9/21/10 3:54 PM

re: tj600 on Murray's forehand.

Comparing Murray's forehand technique to that of Del Potro or Berdych is pointless as they're not trying to do the same thing with it.

Del Potro and Berdych are hitting the ball most of the time for flat power, Murray is aiming for a lot of top spin. Murray's forehand motion doesn't stop, the 2 part motion is an illusion because just before Murray hits the ball he massively accelerates the racquet head speed - this essential and common practice for generating massive top spin, if you're hitting flat a la Berdych or Del Potro you'd be going for pure acceleration as you're aiming to hit purely through the ball for power and not up the back for spin.

Murray's racquet doesn't tend to wrap around his shoulder either, not because of bad technique, because of different technique, he mostly uses the so-called "windshield wiper" motion - again as it encourages spin over power.

Next, look at Murray's feet when he hits the ball, coming right off the ground and following the racquet round during the followthrough, indication that the shot is coming right from the legs - not the arm.

So, not bad technique, just different.

I would agree that Murray does need to learn to flatten out his shots and go for more winners, I cringe every time I see him hit that top spinner down the line which the opponent manages to retrieve when it would've been a pure winner if hit flat.

That's my analysis.

freedomsstain , 9/21/10 4:41 PM

Murray doesn't break his forehand into parts; its a motion that has his racquet face unchanged during nearly the entire swing. What Murray needs to do for more power is reduce acceleration upwards and bring his racquet out forwards a lot more on the follow through.

Because Andy uses one sweeping motion the amount of potential energy he can convert into acceleration is a lot less than Federer or say, Djokovic. But the chances of him mishitting the ball are astronomically less.

I also agree with Freedomsstain about Murray legs, they play a huge part in his forehand; he is almost always in motion when he hits the shot and this provides much needed momentum into the shot.

samprallica , 9/21/10 4:53 PM

Now that we have heard from the so-called "experts" here regarding a detailed analysis of Murray's forehand, maybe they should e-mail Murray their thoughts! This is just pure nonsense. Murray needs an experienced coach, as he said " a tennis heavyweight". What he does NOT need are amateurs who think they know what is good and bad about his forehand shot.

Once again, I will make the point that this is not about the technical aspects of Murray's game. I agree with much of what isabeau has said, although I do think it is more than merely high expectations and pressure from the media. That hasn't helped, but I do think Murray needs to learn to think like a champion and be able to deal with the challenges that may present themselves in the early rounds of a slam event.

Murray sounds as though he is aware of some of the things he must work on if he is to win his first slam. It's not a tragedy that he hasn't won a slam yet and it is worth remembering that there have been two great champions who have dominated the sport for the last five years.

I don't think anyone here has pointed out anything particularly illuminating about Murray's forehand. Once he finds the right coach, then they can work together to tweak and finesse the elements of his game. I am glad that Murray is taking a common sense approach to his search for a coach, and not rushing into any decision. Good for him!

Murray's biggest asset is the fact that he is such a naturally gifted player. I am sure that finding the right coach for him will be the last piece of the puzzle and will enable him to achieve success.

Nativenewyorker , 9/21/10 8:50 PM

Bollettieri is an old geezer who got involved in tennis because he couldn't cut it doing anything else. He learned a few things from books and saw he could make a lot of money pretending to be a coach - and he did. Even students from that academy of his called him a "hustler". Any amateur player with knowledge of the fundamentals can tell very talented students like Agassi and Haas what they want to hear. Murray should not go with Bollettieri, because the latter is nothing but a prune-faced scammer. Andy's mother could do a much better job - at least she competed on the national circuit, unlike wrinkly, who never played one competitive match in his life.

samdaman , 9/21/10 9:18 PM

"What he does NOT need are amateurs who think they know what is good and bad about his forehand shot".

Good point NNY, but perhaps there are some of us who know about technical and bio-mechanical aspects of the game perhaps because we have actually studied them. You have tennis fans who regurtitate whatever is fed to them on TV, and then you get those who've actually played and understood the game for real.

If you want to understand what change Murray needs to bring to his forehand, look at Djokovic and compare his forehand from 2009 and the USO 2010. He was obviously doing something differently on the follow-through and that's exactly what Murray needs to do to generate more speed on his shot.

The point is; this isnt even a problem with Andy's technique, because anyone who has ever held a racquet and actually knows how to hit a forehand also knows its a small adjustment that he needs to make. However, reminding yourself to do it time and again when the opportunity arises, and doing it sufficiently to make it lodge in your muscle memory takes a different mental approach and practice.

Then again, any work that Murray may do might not be sufficient to win him a slam. He's talented, but not as much as the top 3 in my book.

samprallica , 9/21/10 10:18 PM

Actually, I think Federer should retire and become Andy's coach. Lol

nadline , 9/21/10 10:41 PM

People listen very carefully-

There is nothing wrong with Murray shots!
He is technically way better than Rafa, but technique doesn't win you anything, heart, will, composer, game intelligence and mental strength does.

Rafa would not have won a thing, based on technique alone. He is the proof to this!

isabeau77 , 9/22/10 1:27 AM

nadline-that would work out perfectly,afterall they have such a good relationship..-.-

tj600 , 9/22/10 1:27 AM

@ Isabeau, the days when you could explicitly say that one players technique is way better than the other's etc.. are long past us. With the racquets and strings nowadays, different techniques can be used and the best one for a player is generally a function of his physique, hitting patterns etc....

Rafa's techique alone would have won him quite a lot in fact, 11 titles in 2005 is testament to this. The fact that he hits the ball with so much spin is what has won him so many matches against Federer; it gives him more safety and yet gives Federer more problems than he would usually enounter. Purists may call this a lousy technique, but had Nadal possessed Murray's technique, his hitting patterns of 2005-07 suggest that Federer would have had a winning record against him.

The top players rarely have technical flaws, and Andy Murray most certainly doesn't have one on his forehand. The key to his follow through is his mindset, and we have seen this before - USO 2008 when he was virtually annihilating Rafa from the back of the court.

samprallica , 9/22/10 2:01 AM

Without realizing it you have proven my point regarding technique v's mentality.
Federer technically is better than Rafa, he is, for his longevity, for everything. Rafa, the man himself believes this too, hence why he doesnt go to the tennis court practice but rather to learn and this is why Rafa attributes his success to his character and mental attitude.

Without the mental attitude to play the points well, to be ruthless and stubborn Rafa would not have beaten Federer on technique alone, no way.
Do you think technique won Rafa the Wimbledon final against Federer or the AUstralian Open 09 when Rafa had no right to even be his mind did!

You can have all the technique in the world, but if you dont have the mentality to boot you cant succeed. End of story.

I repeat, there is nothing wrong with Murray

isabeau77 , 9/22/10 5:23 AM

Andy annihilating Rafa at the back of the court in USO 2008? That match was close and Rafa was clearly not as fresh as we wanted him to and he still won a set against Murray. If you substitute Nole or even Fed for Murray, I'm sure they could beat Rafa too at that time. Not taking away anything from Murray's win, he still needed montrous effort to beat Rafa, I see no annihilation but a Rafa that was clearly out of breath(he bent his knees, closed his eyes to catch his breath).

Talking abt technique, I agree with the person who mentioned that nowadays it's no longer about technique alone, it's more abt the whole package. Fed may have the best technique but he can't beat his nemesis 2/3 of the times they meet, and his nemesis doesn't even have the so called right technique. Imagine of they both are of the same age, Rafa would have a head start against Fed and when both are at age 24, Rafa would have deprived Fed of many slams already.

So whether Murray has the right technique or not, I think the determining factor for his success is still his mindset. I think he is busy focusing on beating Fed and Rafa that he overlooked the fact that he has to first beat at least five of the rest of the players before he can get there to face Fed or Rafa. Keep working on both your game and your mindset change, Murray, and you'll get there one day.

luckystar , 9/22/10 5:55 AM


I think we are fighting a losing battle here. You cited some of Rafa's great wins in which the intangibles, as I like to call them, are what gave him the wins over Fed. Sometimes it's not about technical prowess, UE's, the best serve, the purest groundstrokes, the most aesthetically pleasing game.

Sometimes it's just about heart and guts, the sheer refusal to lose. How else can one explain Rafa's win over Fed at the 2009 AO? Looking at the potential final matchup on paper, there is no way Rafa wins that match! Yes, one can say that his backhand did a lot of damage in that match. Those wickedly fast and accurate crosscourt shots and the down the line backhands were quite something to behold. Also, Rafa exposed Fed's weakness on his backhand side. He attacked it relentlessly throughout the match.

However, when all is said and done, it wasn't his shots that gave Rafa the win. It was his ability to dig deep inside him and find a way to make his body do what it couldn't. He had one day to come back from a record long five set battle with Verdasco. Does anyone in their right mind think he walked out on the court to meet Fed feeling as fit as a fiddle? His mind willed his body to do what it was unable to do. It was one of the most courageous and gutsy things I have seen and I have seen a lot of tennis in my lifetime!

Tennis is so much a mental game. Anyone can improve their game and Murray is no exception. The danger is that one can get lost in these technical dissections of a player's serve, groundstrokes, moves, net play, mechanics, etc. That is not Murray's problem right now. Changing the motion on his forehand wasn't going to help him win against Wawa. Having the ability to think on his feet and strategize and make adjustments during a tough match is what Murray must do if he wants to win a slam.

You and I can see through all this inane discussion and analysis of Murray's forehand. How many times have we heard that he's too defensive, not aggressive enough or it's the forehand or his service percentage? He needs to have a much stronger mentality when he is competing in slams.

Nativenewyorker , 9/22/10 5:59 AM

"Actually, I think Federer should retire and become Andy's coach. Lol" - nadline , 9/21/10 10:41 PM

This is a gem. I agree! :-)

phoenix , 9/22/10 7:53 AM

Thank you thank you thank you, for so accurately expressing what I fail to in my frustrations.
To all else,

I would also like to add, that there is also nothing wrong with Federer's form other than his mental attitude, which cause him to take naps on court and his stubbornness to change, which costs him, coach or no coach.

Ironic isn't it that the one mental aspect, stubbornness, which has led to so many of Rafas amazing wins, can be the same aspect that takes down the great, Fed.

It is proof that it is not what you have, but rather how you use it. Mentally, physically and technically.

isabeau77 , 9/22/10 8:23 AM

nadline , 9/21/10 10:41 PM Hilarious. Do you think up these gems while you are taking your bath?

ed251137 , 9/22/10 8:27 AM

Good idea nadline! I believe Fed could certainly help Murray, given Fed's champion mentality, and with Fed's credentials, Murray would definitely want to listen to him. Murray would have to wait a few more years for that to happen, as Fed is not retiring anytime soon! Ha Ha!! I'm starting to imagine now what Fed will tell Murray during the coaching!

luckystar , 9/22/10 8:44 AM

Nadline and ed251137-

Fed retiring and coaching Murray may not work. This is how their conversations would go.

Murray: "So tactically how would you suggest I beat a fit Rafa in 5?".
Federer: "God its killing me, I have no idea."

isabeau77 , 9/22/10 8:50 AM

Murray: "So tactically how would you suggest I beat a fit Rafa in 5?".
Federer: "God its killing me, I have no idea."

isa, I almost hit the floor laughing haha.

Raindrops , 9/22/10 9:33 AM

LOL! God, Isabeau, you're killing me!

Ramara , 9/22/10 9:57 AM


That one was priceless! You may say that I express what you are thinking in better words, but you've got the wit and humor, hands down! :)


You started all this hilarious fun with your suggestion that Fed should become Murray's coach when he retires. That gave isabeau the inspiration for the best response ever! :)

Nativenewyorker , 9/22/10 10:21 AM

Well Murraay's job description for his coach is a heavyweight who either played at the top of the sport of coached someone who did, and no one fits that better than Federer. Since Murray's mission in life is to beat Federer and Nadal, with Federer becoming his coach, he will only have Nadal to worry about - job done - after all Federer has actually beaten Nadal SEVEN out of TWENTY ONE times, and that I think is more than any other player can boast of.

Quiz: Who is the most technically challenged player who has conquered the world of tennis, just through sheer guts?

A. Rafael Nadal

I might even take up tennis, because I have a lot of guts, even though I have hardly ever made contact with the ball.

Priceless! Just makes me wonder if Rafa was good technically what he would have achieved. He would probably have as many slams and Masters titles as he has played.

On a serious note, the reason Rafa is where he is is because he accepts that his game is not perfect that there is always room for improvement. If Murray believes that there is notheing wrong with his game, then he is on a hiding to nothing, because I don't elieve that anyone is that perfect in whatever field they are in. That must make it even more frustrating if you have the perfect game and not winning the big ones.

nadline , 9/22/10 10:31 AM

Guys, you are creasing me up. I can just imagine Murray giving Federer the lip from the court when things begin to go pear shaped, as he does.

nadline , 9/22/10 10:35 AM

You guys are really bad, making fun of Fed and Murray!

On a more serious note, I do agree that whether you are Fed, Rafa or Murray, improvement can be made to your game. We see Fed trying to improve his game after taking in a new coach. He is more aggressive and coming to the net more often, trying to take the ball earlier, finishing the point earlier rather than staying at the baseline and get involved in long rallies. Rafa, of course, is improving all the time. Some one at another website said something like this: Fed is busy choosing which tool to use from his tool box; Rafa is busy constructing his tools. So you see, at this stage of Rafa's career, where he regain the no.1 position, he is still constructing and adding on new tools to his arsenal. Scary thoughts for all the other players, imagine Rafa with his complete set of tools once he finished constructing them, and can pick and choose whichever he wants to use?

Nole is something like Rafa too, I feel, for Nole still can add in new tools to his game, especially his volleying skills. Murray, like Fed, already has or almost already has a complete set of tools, its a matter of picking and choosing the right one to use, so that requires experience and the right mindset. Once he can master that, I think, he will start winning the big ones. Hopefully that will come soon for Murray.

luckystar , 9/22/10 11:16 AM

You guys are really bad, making fun of Fed and Murray! - luckystar , 9/22/10 11:16 AM

No, i was making fun of only one, I'm an admirer of the other. :-)

phoenix , 9/22/10 12:12 PM

To be honest, I think Murray should take ownership of his triumphs and disasters, the way he berates his coach in public when things are not going well is enough to put any one off coaching him. He tends to blame them, but as U. Toni says it's only Rafa's fault when he loses, because he is the one who is on court playing, it's no use blaming anyone else. I've often felt that coaches take too much of the credit and too much of the blame.

Once Murray accepts that it is up to the man he sees in the mirror, and that other people can only do so much, it will be his first step to achieving his goals. His Mum says he's told her not to look glum if things aren't going well, because that makes him play even worse, so she has to mind her Ps and Qs when he is playing. I think he also tends to lose concentration on court, because so often he has yelled at himself to concentrate.

nadline , 9/22/10 4:21 PM

I don't know how you guys can discount the fact that Rafa's technique of shot and the fact that he is left-handed has contributed significantly to his success. A few 100 rpms less on the ball and say if he was right-handed; you'd have to think Federer would have beaten him a lot more.

This is not taking away from the mental aspect of the game; but you can fight for every point doggedly and lose ten times out of ten to a guy like Federer if something in your game doesn't give you an upper-hand.

samprallica , 9/22/10 4:50 PM

Exactly, sampralica, just take Ferrer, for instance, he couldn't be more determined, but that alone is not enough. To say that Rafa wins because of guts and not talent, is..........well, words fail me.

nadline , 9/22/10 5:23 PM

Hmm, prob with Fed being Andy's coach is...I don't think they like each other too much...;)

deuce , 9/22/10 7:15 PM

The biggest problem with Murray is that he is British
He would have won multiple slams by now if he was from some other country

The poor guy has to deal with so much pressure.I believe that is what leads him to underperform in the slams, when he always does well in the lead up.

atul1985 , 9/22/10 7:51 PM

Well, perhaps Murray should try to change his nationality!!!

Monalysa , 9/22/10 10:01 PM

Let's not get carried away and misinterpret what people have said here about Rafa. Many talk about his guts, grit, fighting spirit, mental toughness and will to win, because they are all great qualities that he exhibits when he is playing. It's a part of who he is as a tennis player.

However, I don't see anyone here questioning Rafa's technical prowess. Of course you need the shots to make it all happen. That goes without saying. Talent alone will NOT get it done, though. Just look at Gulbis as a perfect example. This kid has loads of natural talent, but what has he done so far in this sport? He is also mentally weak, unwilling to make a commitment to the work ethic and long practice sessions required if you want to be among the best in tennis. He comes from a rich family, so money will not motivate him. There have been too many players who came along with incredible natural talent, but who have been consigned to obscurity. It takes talent, technique, great shotmaking and a will to win.

Rafa is the complete package, as far as I am concerned. He has it all.

Nativenewyorker , 9/23/10 3:03 AM

Well said NNY. Rafa is the complete package.

luckystar , 9/23/10 3:21 AM

As much as I like Rafa, the same things were being said about Federer; "complete package" etc etc.... I'd rather keep tennis players human - Rafa will meet his adversary at some point, such is the beauty of the sport.

samprallica , 9/23/10 4:18 AM

Rafa will meet his adversary when he is on his physical decline, I think that will be when he is 27/28. I expect him to hit his peak in the next two years. I hope he and his team plan his schedule well and I hope no more injury issues for Rafa.

luckystar , 9/23/10 4:52 AM

love how in any discussion of great tennis players, Gulbis is used as the example of the antithesis.

RickyDimon , 9/23/10 6:48 AM

isabeau77, 9/22/10 8:50 AM
That definitely qualifies for the Best Comment of the Year!

Monalysa, 9/22/10 10:01 PM
'The biggest problem with Murray is that he is British
He would have won multiple slams by now if he was from some other country'

He could just revert to being Scottish. That would have the effect of reducing the burden of expectation from the rest of the nation by about 55 million people.

A couple of years ago the crack was often made: 'when he is winning he is British but if he is losing he is Scottish.' But the joke wore thin and is now rarely used.

However where I live the commentators still have a real problem making up their minds what nationality to call him. They switch between the two in mid-sentence, or one will be referring to him as the 'Ecossais' while his co-presenter will be calling him the 'Britannique' - which is highly confusing for the French because most of them don't understand the fine distinction in the first place.

ed251137 , 9/23/10 6:58 AM

Nativenewyorker, 9/22/10 5:59 AM
'Having the ability to think on his feet and strategize and make adjustments during a tough match is what Murray must do if he wants to win a slam.'

You are absolutely spot on with this comment. But it is ironical to be saying this now because Andy was once famous for his good tennis brain and lucidity under pressure!

ed251137 , 9/23/10 7:15 AM

Well, perhaps Murray should try to change his nationality!!!

Monalysa , 9/22/10 10:01 PM

Well, Murray could always swap with Djokovic and become a Serbian, and Djokovic will become British complete with a GS title, leaving Murray free of the pressure to win his very own as a Serbian.

nadline , 9/23/10 9:54 AM

People listen very carefully-

There is nothing wrong with Murray shots!
He is technically way better than Rafa, but technique doesn't win you anything, heart, will, composer, game intelligence and mental strength does.

Rafa would not have won a thing, based on technique alone. He is the proof to this!

isabeau77 , 9/22/10 1:27 AM

I counted to 10 and slept on it to restrain myself from replying to this post, because I don't want to appear to be attacking Andy, but -

Isa, on what do you base your assertion that Murray is technically superior to Rafa? How many records has Murray set being a year younger than Rafa? I checked Wiki, and couldn't find any, and if I printed Rafa's records here, it would take up too much space. Do you really believe that Rafa has defended GS and Masters titles 5, 6 times in a row, due more to his guts than technique?

Isn't your post a prime example of how Rafa is put down against other players with no evidence whatsoever? Surely if Murray had half Rafa's talents, he would have made more of an impact by now, guts or no guts.

Let's not wipe Rafa's achievements away with comments that are completely without foundation.

Sorry, Andy's fans, but this could not go unchallenged.

nadline , 9/23/10 11:16 AM

nadline: can see steam coming out of your ears from here! But probably discussion of Rafa's technique could go on Rafa thread? BTW isabeau 77 is a mighty Rafa fan and doesn't like Andy so I personally don't believe her comments were meant to put Rafa down.
Lots and lots of interesting views about Andy. Meanwhile our lad has been spotted at London Fashion Week with.......Serena, so at least he's having some fun time!

deuce , 9/23/10 3:41 PM

freedomsstain@ 4.41: Andy's forehand was not always like this. Most Andy fans would finger Corretja as being responsible for the topspin, as he's trying to improve Andy's clay court chances. At Toronto, much more like the forehand of a year or so ago.

deuce , 9/23/10 3:49 PM

deuce, Isabeau's comment was made on this thread, hence my response. I really didn't want to bother responding, because it's not Andy's fault or his fans that people come out with this sort of thing, but I just couldn't let it go.

nadline , 9/23/10 4:02 PM

nadline: it's OK:)
BTW am very glad our Andy was spotted at Burberry Men's show...:)

deuce , 9/23/10 4:53 PM

deuce, so am I, Andy also had Serena on his arm - the new improved Serena, what on earth has she been having done to her face??

nadline , 9/23/10 5:37 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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