Why Andy Murray Will Never Be Number 1
In this article I will share my assessment of his performance and 5 key things he should start doing now.
I am watching the Australian open and there is an epic battle raging between Novac Djokovic and Andy Murray. They are 2 of the strongest and fittest players of all time and they are both at the peak of their careers. Each point is a real slog; physically draining.
Murray is a British hero; the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936 and millions follow his journey with equal measures of excitement and dread.
I am one of those, I love watching him play. It is always a drama and has me on the edge of my seat. I always want him to win.
I remember seeing him win Wimbledon, an amazing feat. Like the rest of Britain, I was elated and proud and yet I remember thinking 2 things:
- His opponent made a lot of errors
- Now that his lifelong dream and the hopes of millions has been satisfied, I doubt he can keep up the momentum and keep winning titles now that a huge driver is gone.
When he is on it, he is powerful and his shots ring true, but when he isn’t it can look like he has given up.
He also doesn’t seem to feel good being too far ahead, in the game today, he has been up a couple of games and then conceded many points and dropped behind, making mistakes and then berating himself.
Without knowing him personally I can only go on what I see and what I see is him being his worst critic. He screams at himself during the game when he makes a bad error. He has a strong look of anguish on his face; he looks like he is in pain.
He looks at his girlfriend, shouts at the crowd. When his focus should only be on the court and his next point, he is dispersing it and wasting his energy. His energy drains out of him and then victory for his opponent becomes inevitable.
One of the commentators said that he needs to rev himself up to get going, but it is a double edged sword; there is a very fine line between shouting at himself to get focused and shouting at himself for making an error. The difference can be as little as his level of tiredness in the moment, but that way of revving up can easily take him into a downward spiral, which is exactly what happened in the third set today and put him behind.
The passion he has is a wonderful thing and has got him to the very top of the tennis world that he plays in now, but it is now holding him back. His inability to channel that fire when the pressure is at it’s greatest is what will keep him lagging behind someone like Djokovic.
In the forth set right now Murray is 5 games to nil down and is at match point and yet it never should have come to this.
Murray has the ability, he has the stamina, and if he wants to be the player to beat, he has to develop his mental game so that he is unshakeable.
He has just lost the match.
As it stands, Murray will never be number 1, he will keep getting beaten by his friends and will keep being the guy who came close to being the best. He will always be in the shadow of Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer and he will start to get knocked down the rankings by the up and coming players. Great Britain will be looking for their next Hero.
It doesn’t have to end like that for him. He has 98% of the game that he needs, but that last 2% is the toughest to own.
From a distance there are 5 basic things that he could do right now:
- Detach from positive outcome. Stop being so excited when he wins a point. He punches the air and grits his teeth when he gets a good one. Instead, focus on being ready for the next point. Any time a player lingers on any point, they are living in the past and risk losing the next one.
- Accept his screw ups. If he makes a mistake, no matter how critical to the match, stop wasting time shouting at himself and instead let it go and refocus. Accept that screw ups are a natural part of every match and move on.
- Focus attention on opponent and the match, nothing else. Block out the crowd, his girlfriend and his coach throughout the entire match. From the moment he steps on the court, his full focus should only be on where he is and what he is doing. Every time his eyes meet another it is a distraction.
- Develop a consistent trigger for performance. He already has many habits that probably help him, but if he had a consistent one for every point, it wouldn’t matter if he was winning or losing, every time he repeats the trigger he would be ready to go. The trigger could be as simple as the place he looks in the courts or a sound he makes as he breaths out.
- Stop Apologising. When he loses he tends to apologise, not always in his words but in his demeaner. Screw that! Own it! Own your failure because then you can really own your successes and propel yourself to the top.
There is a lot more he could do but if he starts living through these 5 things, he will develop that high level consistency when it really matters against anyone and would give himself a real chance to be number 1.
I am not connected to Murray’s camp, but I hope someone there reads it and uses it because I know it could make 2015 the year he gives the world a shock and becomes the man to beat.
If by the 6 degrees of separation, you know Andy Murray and want to talk about how to implement these with him and what else could make the biggest difference, you can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?