Thursday, April 7, 2011

This and That

by Savannah


Andy Murray features large in the tennis press these days. Talk has gone from Ivan Lendl being poised to join team Murray to articles about why Murray doesn't need a coach at all.

Simon Reed thinks Murray is too intelligent for a mere mortal to try and coach him.
Andy Murray is one of the most intelligent sportsmen I've ever come across, and he is not far off being a great player. He does not need a coach.

There has been a lot of talk recently about who Murray should have in his corner, but when you are as switched on as he is, it is pretty academic.

The key thing for Murray is to be enjoying his tennis, relishing his work off the court and generally flourishing with the people around him.

There is no need for someone else to be telling him what to do tactically, because he is incredibly astute and he thinks on his feet.

Murray is not one of the many players on Tour who need a coach to be spoon feeding them ahead of each match or motivating them to get on the practice court each day.

The Brit is a very intelligent man, and he does most of his thinking for himself.

Murray works things out very well, and he analyses his opponents and knows when to attack, and when to defend on the most part.

However, he does seem to have a proficiency to endure rather long droughts and that makes people describe him as rudderless without a coach.

As if that isn't, well, interesting, there is this article from ESPN UK written by their staff, that says almost the the same thing.
Andy Murray has changed his approach to his recruitment for a new coach and is no longer on the hunt for a high-profile name.

The British No. 1 has been without a full-time trainer since last summer, and is on the lookout for a new coach after splitting with part-time consultant Alex Corretja last week.

Murray revealed on Wednesday that he will work with Andre Agassi's former trainer Darren Cahill and Sven Groeneveld, who has worked with Ana Ivanovic and Greg Rusedski, in his build-up to the French Open.

He had been linked with former world No. 1 Ivan Lendl, but after spending time at heavyweight David Haye's gym in Florida, Murray has now hinted that he feels a big-name coach may not be the best solution.

Murray feels the dynamic between him and a coach both on and off-court is more important than coaching credentials.
What do I think? I think his mother Judy Murray looms large in the shadows. I think that Mrs. Murray wants desperately for her son to stay part of the conversation but knows that while male coaches dominate women's tennis Jimmy Connors late mother, Gloria, is the only woman who had coaching cred in the ATP.

I also wonder what whammy the Adidas team works on players. And how soon is it before someone calls Darren Cahill on his growing conflict of interest. He's being paid by ESPN to be a commentator and at the same time he's involved in coaching several players on the main tour. Every other pro sport that I'm aware of makes sure their on air personalities are not involved in their sport anymore. From retired coaches to retired jocks on air talent is no longer active in any way with their former sport. Except for tennis. Brad Gilbert works with Kei Nishikori. Cahill works with Ana Ivanovic, Fernando Verdasco and now Andy Murray. I've talked so much about Mary Joe Fernandez I'm sick of writing about it. Patrick McEnroe is head of player development for the USTA. Keep that in mind when you're watching some up and coming American instead of the match between two top ten players. Add to this incestuous brew the seeming inability of the tennis "press" to write critically and you've got a steaming hot mess.

What should Murray do? In the end that is for Murray to decide. If he feels he's strong enough to go without a formal coach so be it. He should come out and say that so that his fans know where he's coming from and not rely on friendly press to explain his thought processes. It's situations like this that make the lack of a true tennis press disheartening to put it mildly.

Speaking of Fernando Verdasco I'm still not sure why his beef with the Barcelona officials had to be aired in El Pais. Sure the paper seems to have an on the ball sport staff and tennis is big in Spain but should Fernando have aired his dirty laundry in the press? I guess his tantrum shows that we as fans have an image of a player, one that is cultivated by the sport and an individual player's publicity arm but that the real man or woman is not put on public display. So far Estoril tournament officials have not said that Verdasco will be playing there. I also wonder if it's wise for Verdasco to hit out at Albert Costa, Spain's Davis Cup captain. Costa has said that Fernando is still welcome to participate at Barcelona.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The European clay court season kicks off next week with the Masters 1000 event at Monte Carlo. Every year I wax poetic about the beauties of this tennis club and I'm doing the same thing this year. You could not ask for a more beautiful setting. It's not glitzy and human being's latest big thing. It's designed to fit in with the natural location and does so beautifully.

It's not only Monte Carlo's beauty that makes me swoon. It's the fact that real tennis, tennis that demands a player be at peak physical and mental condition, will take center stage. For the next few weeks players will have dirty socks and sneakers, red dirt in their nostrils and on their clothing, and put patience, shot creation and thinking on court center stage. Monster serves will not rule and if you don't come to play don't come.

The pendulum will swing back to concrete courts soon enough. For now I get to enjoy the sights and sounds of clay court tennis, the best tennis in the world.

End Note

I said above that the real men and women of tennis are hidden behind layers of security and image making. There are times that the players are shown as real people that don't involve temper tantrums. I'll end with this video of Dominika Cibulkova making her red carpet debut as interviewer. Enjoy.


jazzster said...

Fer needs to take a chill pill. He's still pissed off about losing to Raonic 2x in a row.

tim said...

Boris and Martina have suggested that Judy back off so Andy can grow up. He's hard to get along with and many probably won't work with him.

I agree Savannah, clay is the best!

jazzster said...

Whether Murray's intelligence is one of the greatest in sports is very questionable. His so called cerebral attributes do not appear to be FUNCTIONAL as evident in the finals of the USO 09, AO 10 & AO 11.