I wanted to pick Andy Murray as my first AMS Player Focus as I have personal experience of him as a man and the incredible family he is part of, including of course his Grand Slam winning brother Jamie Murray and the one and only Judy Murray our Great Britain Fed Cup Captain, or “Gaffa” as I like to call her!
As they say, behind every successful man, there is a strong, wise and hard working woman, behind any top ATP player; there is always a good parent or two! For any senior professional player, it all starts when they are very small children, in Andy’s case as a very young child of 5 years old. At this young age it’s very important that the parents make solid decisions when deciding the tennis experience for their children. I write extensively about this area in the programme, as I see so many parents making huge mistakes that can cost their children the chance of becoming tennis champions of the futures. And of course the other end of the spectrum are parents who get it very right and lay the foundations for their children to become Grand Slam Champions, or in Judy Murry’s case both her sons!
Coming from a coaching background I recognise that it is no coincidence that Andy has great movement and agility skills and of course both he and Jamie possess great touch and feel. Judy invested a lot of time making sure that her two boys had a very broad base physical experience when they were younger, ensuring that their junior skills were developing in all the right athletic areas. All the games that they dreamed up at home using ordinary house hold items are now being used to support the future of British tennis through the “Tennis On The Road” programme that Judy takes around Britain with her assistant coach Kris Soutar, check it out, it’s fantastic http://www.tennisontheroad.com I had the privilege recently of spending the day with Judy and Kris.
It’s important that parents take note, results don’t lie! The first experience for children in tennis must be broad, full of excitement and enjoyment, as it was for Andy, and then of course this changes and evolves into more structured, serious and specific training programmes, but there is a process, Judy got this right and both Andy and his brother Jamie built on the foundations they experienced as children, the rest of course is tennis history.
So, let’s just take a look at Andy’s incredible CV:
- He moved to the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Spain when he was 15 years old.
- From this development base he went on to win the Junior US Open title in 2004.
- The status of British number one followed on the 27th February 2006, and just a year and a bit later, on the 16th April 2007 he found himself surrounded by the best players in the world within the ATP top 10 rankings.
- Andy has now established himself as one of the most consistent players on the tour, except for one blip at the “2015 US Open he has reached at the very least the quarter finals of all four Grand Slams the Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon and The US Open.
- Andy is currently the reigning Olympic Champion, an incredible achievement as the last British success at this tournament was over 100 years ago. This was backed up by the incredible win at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, making Andy Murray the first British player to win Wimbledon since the great Fred Perry in 1936!
- It’s key to point out that Andy is the only player to possess an Olympic gold medal and hold the US Open title in the same calendar year, this is truly tennis history!
- And of course there is just the little matter of 35 ATP titles!
So how has Andy achieved this meteoric tennis legend status? Of course we need to appreciate his world class tennis skills which so many of us across the world have enjoyed watching on some of the biggest tennis stages in the world.
He’s invested heavily in both his forehand and backhand development and possesses big weapons off both sides, but the backhand is the stronger and he has the ability to create heavy spin, angles or flatten out for aggressive exposing and winning shots. His slice is a dream and he has the rare ability to go heavy and mix this up with the softer slice, this change of pace cause’s big problems for players and Andy employs it really well. Another very valuable instinct that Andy has developed into his game is coming in behind the aggressive exposing ball, something I wish I would see more in the junior game, so, take note junior players! Of course the slice is a big weapon when defending and again Andy has learnt his lessons well in this department. If Andy gets the opportunity to come to the net, he has a solid volley, as many players could testify to, forehand being stronger than the backhand. And this leads us finally to the serve, which I think we can safely say is World Class, again, any junior player would do well to study Andy’s mechanics and the simply beautiful fluidity of the serving action.
As a performance programme manager, I know only too well that the tennis technical skills are only part of the story. Yes, to be a great tennis player is imperative we must have great tennis skill, but to be a great athlete is also as important. The modern game of tennis requires the player to be a supreme athlete as well as a supreme tennis player, Andy clearly takes his off court programme as seriously as he does his on court programme, I think the images below clearly demonstrate this! I, as many others, look forward to watching Andy using his tennis and athletic skills across the world, and I have no doubt that many more Grand Slam and ATP titles will be his.
Full AMS Programme www.amssportuk.com