What Now for Andy Murray? Larry Stefanki Offers Some Advice
So now that we have all had time to dissect Wimbledon, many British fans will go back to their normal lives and forget that tennis even exists.
Andy Murray will float from the back pages, and everything will be forgotten for another year, until that time comes again for the strawberries to be picked, the articles to be written, the grass to be watered, and the expectations to be raised.
However, for many of us tennis-loving Brits, there is still a lot of tennis to be played, and there is still plenty of Andy Murray to see.
So what must Murray do now? Some would suggest that he needs to sort himself out with some head gear. Federer wears bandanas as does Nadal, Roddick wears a cap, and they all have won at least one Grand Slam.
Seriously though, Murray will take some time off to reflect on what areas of his game he needs to improve on. He will also need to think about how he is going to prepare for the US hard court season, and how to prepare for the US Open. Murray has always stated that the hard courts of the USA were his best surface, and his best chance right now at a Grand Slam.
So there are sure to be exciting times ahead for the remainder of the 2009 season.
It is believed that Murray will take five weeks off, and return to action at the Montreal Masters on the Aug. 10.
During his break, he has many things to think over. Not least were the comments made by Larry Stefanki, who is the tennis coach of Murray's Wimbledon conqueror Andy Roddick.
Stefanki was quoted as saying:
"He has to change his mentality of the way he wants to play this game at the very top level. He is stuck playing defensive tennis only, that was the big difference. I don't think he played enough offence."
I can certainly see where Stefanki is coming from here. I commented after the Wimbledon semifinal that Andy was too content to block Roddick's second serve back into play, and that he stayed back on balls that he should have been coming in on.
His defensive, behind-the-baseline tactic enabled Roddick to use his drop shot that much more effectively.
In his post-tournament press conference Murray admitted that knowing when to come into the net and attack balls is one area of his game that he needs to improve upon before the US Open.
Stefanki continued to say, "Murray has the potential to play a lot more aggressively because he has the foot speed, because he can move the ball very quickly, but he has just chosen not to do that."
Obviously Stefanki knows what he is talking about. Murray is one of the quickest players across the court in professional tennis today. More often than not, he utilizes this to the maximum, running down balls that not many players could not reach. If you have watched Murray's game over the past year, you would have seen just how better he has become at hitting that running forehand.
Stefanki continued, "I call it negative tennis and that's not going to win you Slams. You have to have some offensive threat. He has developed a big serve and can move the ball from A to B as well as anybody, he just does not know when to do it."
Interestingly, Stefanki had the chance to coach Andy Murray a couple of years ago, but turned down the opportunity because he did not believe that he could handle everything that came with it. I presume by this he meant the media attention that the British tabloids heap on Murray at Wimbledon.
Stefanki has an impressive resume. He coached John McEnroe as well as Marcelo Rios and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the last two achieving the world No. 1 ranking while under his tutelage.
So although Stefanki turned down the opportunity to coach Murray, it seems that he is willing to offer his advice and guidance on what Murray needs to work on, and I'm sure Murray is all too ready to listen.
So Murray will mull over these comments and advice from his current coaches and be back on our screens at the Montreal Masters on Aug. 10 where the pressure will be off and he will be able to enjoy his tennis.
One thing is for sure: Murray has to be considered one of the favorites for the US Open.
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