Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Andy Murray seeks major help from wise head

He has ruled the men's game for the last month but Andy Murray is still seeking ways to make the improvements he needs in order to achieve his ultimate goal of winning a first Grand Slam title.

Although the Scot's coaching team have just helped him to win three tournaments in succession, culminating in the successful defence of his Shanghai Rolex Masters title on Sunday night, Murray appreciates he still needs to find the edge that will help him claim the biggest prizes in the game.

While Dani Vallverdu, Murray's friend from their days together at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, has become the focal point of his coaching set-up following the departure of Alex Corretja, the Scot would like to be able to turn to a more experienced figure when it comes to the biggest occasions.

Darren Cahill, who used to coach Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt, has been helping Murray this year as a fellow member of the Adidas stable, but the Australian is not available to help during Grand Slam tournaments due to his broadcasting commitments.

Despite the lack of experience in his corner, Murray has still come desperately close to realising his dreams. He lost in the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic, the outstanding player of 2011, and to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the three other Grand Slam tournaments.

Nadal was world No 1 when they met at the French Open and Wimbledon and world No 2 by the time of the US Open, having been overtaken by Djokovic.

Murray, who took over from Roger Federer as world No 3 in yesterday's updated rankings list, said: “The year's been good, but there's always stuff you look to add or try and improve.

“I'm happy with all of the guys around me. The only thing I would look to add is maybe a wee bit more experience at the bigger tournaments.

“But it's worked well this year. It's not like it's been a disaster at the majors — I've played well. And I think that when I've lost some of the matches at the majors it hasn't been down to any of the guys, or not having enough information on my opponents. It's been down to me maybe not playing my best.

Murray would like to link up with a wise head — either a coach or a former player — who knows what it takes to cross the winning line at a Grand Slam tournament, but experienced coaches in particular are in short supply.

He would no doubt love to work with someone like Agassi, his boyhood idol, but many of the former top players in tennis are reluctant to jump back on to the touring treadmill.

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