Andy Murray - Indian Wells 2023

Andy Murray labelled a ‘tactical genius’ and is backed for Indian Wells run

Andy Murray has been described as a ‘tactical genius’ by seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, who has backed the Brit to do well at the sunshine double.

Murray won his first round match in the desert against Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 6(5)-7 6-1 6-4, in a trademark three hour and 15 minute thriller.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has won all seven of his deciding sets in 2023, something that he says would not have happened last year, “I was talking to my team about it, just saying like the law of averages. This can’t keep going. Once I won one I did feel like I would start to feel more comfortable in those situations. Thankfully, that’s been the case.”

He continued, “Obviously, winning all seven, I’m aware that at some stage I’m going to lose one of them. I worked very hard in the off-season to put myself in a great position physically, and I feel very motivated.”

“Even when I’ve gotten behind in matches I’ve kept fighting, kept trying to find solutions. I won some matches that certainly if some of these matches were played last year I wouldn’t have won them.”

Murray reached the Indian Wells final in 2009, where he was convincingly beaten by Rafael Nadal, but Wilander believes he could find success at the event this year.

“Indian Wells and Miami are perfect tournaments for Murray because it’s not five sets, it’s three sets,” said Wilander.

Wilander continued, “He’s got a day off between most matches. Let’s say he gets to his semi-finals and he’s going to play the first few matches with a day off in between, that makes a huge difference for Andy.”

“And then I think you have to put the comfortable factor into the equation. He’s played Indian Wells and Miami so many times. They are very difficult places to play hard-court tennis, to me, because the conditions are extremely different from Indian Wells to Miami.”

Despite not winning the tournament before, Wilander believes the conditions in the desert will benefit Murray, “Indian Wells is very high, bouncy, it’s very slow. So there are certain opponents that you’re going to have a problem with, and there are certain opponents that you’re going to find easier to play on a court like that.”

“And Murray, being a tactical genius, I think he welcomes the challenge of playing in the desert air where it’s really cold at night and it’s very hot and fast during the daytime.”

Wilander added, “To Murray, I think these conditions and circumstances are perfect for him. So I believe this is where he can make his move higher up in the ranking.”

Wilander even suggested the possibility of Murray winning another major title,  “Because, again, we have to remember someone like Murray – if he’s going to win a Grand Slam tournament again – the first step is to be seeded, he needs to be seeded amongst the top so that he doesn’t run into Novak Djokovic in the third or fourth round.”

Murray is set to play 15th seed Pablo Carreno-Busta in the second round of Indian Wells, which is surprisingly a first time meeting despite being on the tour together since 2009.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.