Statistically Andy Murray is looking promising. He is getting the majority of his first serves in, winning the lion’s share of points at the net and keeping his unforced errors to a minimum. If you were to compare his route through the rounds this year to his winning form in 2013, they are looking remarkably similar so far – if you ignore Murray’s dropped set due to a shoulder complaint in the third round. His emphatic return to quash Andreas Seppi 6-1 in the fourth set perhaps also shows Murray’s new-found confidence in his winning ability. So far, Murray has looked supreme throughout the rounds; he has been more effective than in 2013 at keeping his opponents’s game tallies low. The next test comes in the form of Ivo Karlovic, a player who Murray has never lost to. And what of the challenge posed by the rest of the ‘Big Four’? Rafael Nadal, of course, is already out, losing to Dustin Brown in the second round. Novak Djokovic is faring better with straight set victories, but is said to be shaken after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open this year. This leaves Roger Federer. Yeah, he’s looking good…
Despite his concerning shoulder scare in the third set against Seppi on Saturday, Murray’s looking fitter than he has done in a long time. He has dismissed his poor performance against Federer last November by admitting that his body wasn’t up to the task following surgery on his back the previous year. This summer is a different story. Such were the problems he was suffering with his back in 2014, Murray had to adapt his ball toss for his serve, losing the power of his former style. This led to him floundering with a predictable and more pedestrian second serve, leaving him prey to aggressive returns. No so this year; the serve is back to its best and Murray’s movement around the court has been reenergised. He’s using the net and has improved his drop shot. Coach Amelie Mauresmo has been credited with bringing more variety to Murray’s game – a development he seems very comfortable with.
Yes, do not adjust your sets. The man you are now watching smiling away in post-match interviews is in fact the formerly dour faced Andy Murray. I know, it is weird. He still takes his sport seriously but Murray seems to have found a renewed delight in the whole experience. This could be put down to his recent marriage to long term girlfriend, and stalwart supporter Kim Sears. The pair seem blissfully happy following their recent nuptials, even posing for photo ops at the Wimbledon Museum earlier this week. Murray’s coaches, Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman, have clearly been having a positive effect too. Photos are frequently released of the group smiling and chatting on the warm-up courts, a stark contrast to the grim faced exchanges often captured between Murray and former coach Ivan Lendl. Last year’s over blown controversy that a top player like Murray should choose a female coach is a thing of the past and Murray’s team have proven, with his record-breaking form this year, that the partnership is working. Psychologically, Murray appears to be in the best frame of mind he has ever been in during this Grand Slam, which could prove to be a key factor in his success this year.
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