Be positive and ignore back, John McEnroe tells Andy Murray
JOHN McEnroe has told Andy Murray to forget his back problems and present a more positive image to opponents if he wants to break his grand slam duck.
The world No 4’s French Open came to an end in the quarter-finals on Wednesday when he was beaten in four sets by David Ferrer and he headed back to London to practise on grass.
It was an eventful fortnight for the Scot, who came into the tournament with a nagging back problem and almost went out in the second round when he was hit by back spasms.
But Murray was at his best in the fourth round against home favourite Richard Gasquet, revelling in the hostile atomosphere to battle into the last eight.
But, 48 hours later against Ferrer, he again cut a frustrated figure, frequently clutching at his back after losing points.
McEnroe has been critical of Murray in the past for being negative on court and shouting at his support team, something the 25-year-old has tried to address – particularly since appointing Ivan Lendl as his coach last year.
McEnroe said: “With Lendl, I’m sure he didn’t get hired to get berated like the other coaches were. So Murray doesn’t quite know how to answer this because he used to seemingly fire coaches while the match was going on.
“He’s worked exceptionally hard but it hasn’t really paid off in the way people expected. So that’s got to be frustrating. People are saying the gap is getting bigger, not smaller. Time is becoming of the essence.”
Meanwhile, Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey believes the Scot is edging closer to a first grand slam and would have already won one in another era.
The 25-year-old has twice reached the final of the Australian Open and was runner-up at the 2008 US Open.
The loss to Ferrer was Murray’s earliest grand slam exit for almost two years but Petchey said: “I don’t think he needs to tweak a lot. He has been pretty unlucky in terms of the era he is playing in with three guys [Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic] that will not just get into the Hall of Fame but own it, probably. It is almost unprecedented what is going on.
“He clearly works physically hard enough. He is so close to being able to pick one of these titles up and it may come in the next few.”
• Scotland’s Jamie Baker, along with fellow Britons Oliver Golding and Liam Broady have been handed wild card places for next week’s AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club.
World No 206 Baker, 25, has enjoyed success on the Futures Tour this year, winning in Mexico, and has fought back impressively to resume his tour career after contracting a life-threatening virus four years ago.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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