‘Bloody good’ Andy Murray urged to resist any retirement temptations
British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith has told Andy Murray he has plenty of positives to focus on despite the Scotsman’s cutting assessment of his own game of late.
Murray somehow managed to lose to Alex de Minaur at the Paris Masters despite being 5-2 up in the deciding set.
It prompted some frank self-assessment from the former world number one, who admitted he was not enjoying his tennis and required ‘a lot of work’ to get himself back up to standard.
Smith, who is expected to rely on Murray at the Davis Cup finals in the absence of the injured Dan Evans, does not see much wrong at all with the Scotsman’s game, though. He did, however, see an obvious crisis of confidence.
Asked about Murray’s comments following his defeat to Alex de Minaur in Paris, Smith said: “I think it’s normal.
“He’s a bloody good tennis player and he’s trying to find that way because he’s not been far away in some matches,” said the Scot in a recent interview.
“Like, yesterday would have been a really good win. What is ‘Demon’, like 13 in the world? It’s a bloody good win and he’s so close to it and he is getting hacked off on the court because he knows he can do better still. I think it must be difficult.
“The [Stefanos] Tsitsipas match [at Wimbledon] and there’s been moments this year where he could’ve changed things quite a lot by getting over the line in a couple of them and I know he hasn’t and that will really frustrate him.
“I think if you win a bit less, it’s just normal. Where do you get your confidence from? It’s winning isn’t it? I hope he reflects on yesterday because I thought he played some really, really good tennis. From a set and 4-3 down he sort of clicked up a gear.
“He was playing well in the first set, I mean he should have won the first set really as well. But I thought it was what he was doing with the stuff he’s been working on in practice, I thought that was the best – from what I have seen as well – as best as he’s hit the ball and what he was doing with it.
“I thought he was dominating on his forehand from the centre of the court really, really well. I thought he played better when he came forwards at the net than previous. So for me, those two elements were really good. Very aggressive on second serve, returning it.”
What next for Andy Murray?
As Leon Smith says, a lot of reflection. Andy Murray has always been brutally honest with the press and often that has been sensationalised. The best example came from the 2019 Australian Open, when he tearfully suggested it would be his last tournament and was sufficiently convincing that the tournament rounded up tennis stars to produce a farewell video which was played after his first round defeat.
Murray was bemused, pointing out that he had never mentioned retirement. This could just be another such example, with him blowing off steam in the heat of the moment. We won’t know his longer term plans until later this year.
In the meantime, though, he will be hoping to be joining Smith at the Davis Cup finals when Great Britain take on Novak Djokovic and Serbia in November.
“I’ve always loved playing Davis Cup and any event where you’re competing for your country,” Murray said last month. “We have a great group of guys, I love being part of this team, we’ve got great staff as well. Everyone gets on extremely well.
“I do genuinely believe the team can win the event. That’s huge motivation to be a part of it. I want to help the team in any way I can, whether that’s on the court or off. We’ll see what happens.”
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