Andy Murray: Climb every mountain.
In men's professional tennis these days, it seems that talent is no longer enough, an attitude which is epitomised perhaps by nobody more than Andrew Murray. The 21 year old world number four from Scotland has re-engineered the term "off-season."
Traditionally, the ridiculously short December break at the end of a gruelling, almost 11 month season has been used by tennis players to recharge their batteries on the beach. Or live more like a normal human being, away from the literal daily treadmill of airlines, gym, practice court, match court, press conference, courtesy car, restaurant, and hotel room.
In Andy Murray's case however December was not a time for relaxing from the grind of the professional tour. Instead Murray, a great student of professional tennis has possibly been inspired by Roger Federer's past rise to greatness.
In an uncanny parallel, Federer said in 2004: "I always knew that I was talented. I had potential but early in my career I couldn’t win masters series events, couldn't win the Slams and was struggling to win other titles. I used to feel pressure when I was young and people were saying this guy's got some talent but he can't get his mind right, he's not fit enough, this stuff hurt me back then.
"I needed a change of attitude towards the game. I was at a junction. It was a case of which road do I want to take - the talented road or the hard-working road? I chose the hard-working road and I did it so well that it has paid off incredibly.”
Could it be then that emulating possibly the greatest tennis player that ever lived is what has consumed Murray, to such an extent that instead of enjoying a traditional Christmas and a relaxed Hogmanay, he committed to a tortuous training regime that many would compare to being consumed by the flames of Dante's inferno.
In the intense heat of Miami a month of training including such gems as 100kg bench presses, and chin ups with 50kg strapped to his legs, or if that's too easy, supplementing the strength work with cardio workouts. Why not emulating his 12 consecutive 200metre sprints at full pace with only 60 seconds rest period in between.
The fitness work is strictly administered by "Team Murray" his specialist entourage of coaches, fitness trainers, and physios. The nutrition also sounds like it is in some ways a more gruelling undertaking than even the fitness. Consuming a massive daily average of 5800 calories mainly in the form of sushi cannot be easy for the average human being.
But it seems that Murray rather than being average, is in many ways an extraordinary individual and time will tell if he too can reach the pinnacle through the hard working route.
Perhaps Murray should remember the example set by one of his heroes Andre Agassi who famously spent every Christmas day running up and down a particularly vicious hill in the Nevada desert until he was sick both literally and figuratively. John McEnroe has stated many times that Murray can be world number one, and with his extreme determination, like Federer and Agassi before him, is uniquely positioned to climb every mountain.