Murray stamina: confidence in his body and the best tennis under pressure
DOHA – Andy Murray continues with the perfume left over from the Australian Open: he smells of victory after long battles with players much younger than him.
In his debut at the ATP 250 in Doha he defeated Italian Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), and such performance added to the trend, so typical of his career, that he highlighted in Melbourne with his epics against Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Matches that went to the deciding set and in which he had earlier taken match points off his opponent, or came back from a break down.
And what is it like for Murray, a guy who has played almost 950 matches, to be in situations where there is no margin for error? What does one of the great champions of the era feel when he faces the electricity of five-all in the final set?
Stress levels rise considerably and for many tennis players, that pressure consumes them, eats away at them, shortens their arms and makes them make mistakes. The Scottish, with that lineage of top player, deeply analyzes how moments like that are his nourishment, his source of better tennis.
“I focus better, I find it easier to concentrate in decisive moments. It has helped me a lot in my career. I find a strength of my own in those moments, and because I reach such a high degree of concentration that my decision making on the court improves,” he told reporters in Doha: “One of my biggest strengths is my tactical awareness in matches.”
And he explained that it is at the start of matches, or with the score still looking flat, that he finds it hardest to focus: “Sometimes the score doesn’t help, but as it goes on and the pressure builds, I get stronger mentally and my tennis improves.” That’s why she feels he has performed so well at Wimbledon, an event where the attention on his figure grows and the pressure is totally on.
The Melbourne paycheck
The impressive matches the former number one won in Australia were special: “I gained a lot of confidence. More confidence than ever before in my career from a physical point of view because of what I was able to do there. It made me believe in my physical ability, something that in the last four or five years I didn’t have. I never really believed in my body like I did in my twenties. So, it’s a very positive thing for me.”
It’s obvious that physically Murray is not the same. At the age of the opponents he dispatched in Australia, he moved better and faster on the court. He trained at one hundred percent, today he has to save himself for the matches. After duels as demanding as those on Monday in Doha, or those in Melbourne, the following day his 35-year-old body is sore, but he does feel capable of competing to the fullest when he returns to the court for the next round.
Two or three years ago, in the difficult return after the surgeries and with an iron hip, until the end of 2022, he had his confidence misplaced. Unexpected moments in Melbourne gave it back to him, and Murray today is not afraid of his body in the long-distance races.
PHOTO: Qatar Tennis Federation