Wimbledon 2015: Murray is back to his best, says former trainer Mark Petchey

Joe Hall
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Murray and current trainer Amelie Mauresmo prepare for the Championships (Source: Getty)

After ending the 77-year wait for a British winner of Wimbledon two years ago, Andy Murray endured a torrid year in 2014, crashing out at the quarter-finals stage to Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov.

Read more: Murray ready to plot route to a second SW19 crown

In fact, Murray has yet to add to his grand slam haul since his triumph at the All England Club, yet former trainer Mark Petchey told City A.M. his former apprentice is ready to end the drought at this year's championships.

As demonstrated by his rapidly swelling wallet, Murray has fully recovered from a long-term back injury which required surgery, and spent over a year outside the world's top four. Back to number three in the world after a strong start to 2015, Petchey predicts a grand slam title is soon to follow for Murray.

"I think the back issue was far, far more serious than any of us gave it credence throughout 2014 and I think that we’ve seen this year greater mobility in his backhand down the line, his second serve on the clay was better and I think that’s all come from having a better back and feeling confident in those big moments," he said.
"In a game where millimetres flip wins, you need to feel unbelievably confident in everything that’s happening and if you feel any kind of trepidation in those moments then you’re going to trip up."
But he added that Murray is optimistic this year.
"This year Andy’s felt good in all those moments...and maybe one great point in Australia [Murray lost 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 to Novak Djokovic in the final] and he could have won the match and maybe got the title and one great backhand in the first game of the fifth against Novak in the French [Murray lost to the Serb again in the Roland Garros semi-final] could have turned the tide in that one as well. He’s been points away from winning a grand slam already this year.
"I think people forget that in reaching the summit of winning Wimbledon, the pinnacle for a British player, how you adapt to the change having achieved that particular goal is something you’ll have to get used to and it took a little bit longer than many people realised," he said.

Mark Petchey trained Andy Murray at his first Wimbledon in 2005 (Source: Getty)

Can Murray stop Djokovic?

Yet despite Murray's return to form, his familiar and foreboding foe, Novak Djokovic, has repeatedly stood in his way at the biggest tournaments. Murray has a wretched recent head-to-head record against the current world number one, losing eight matches in a row, but Petchey suggested the margins have been small: this year's Wimbledon could be the moment he finally breaks the jinx.

"You can’t run away from facts. Obviously their head-to-head in recent months hasn’t been great but I think there’s been a few mitigating circumstances with that in terms of back issues that he’s [Murray] sustained," he said.
"I think this year we’ve seen Murray's back to playing tennis that will win him grand slam titles. He was unbelievably good at Queens and I feel as though his belief in himself if the day comes when he does take on Novak - and there’s an awful lot of tennis to be played over the fortnight before they both get to that situation - is good enough to stop the rot."

Coping with the pressure

Finally, has the pressure got to Murray? Petchey suggested not.
"I think he’s much more comfortable with it now. Obviously when you start off in your career it’s new, it’s fresh, you can’t think that anything’s going to be better. Then you hit a few roadblocks on the way and things get a little tougher even though when you examine it in reality he was always a huge success even before he won Wimbledon.
"But the only pressure that really comes now is the pressure Andy wants to put on himself and that will always be there and always be the same. Whenever he steps between the lines he wants to win. But of course he’s much more able to deal with it all because he’s had a decade in the limelight now, he does handle himself fantastically well given the amount of media coverage he has to deal with.
"I think, he will go into this Wimbledon with experience and - more importantly - with confidence."
Mark Petchey was talking at the David Lloyd Leisure All Stars tennis pop-up at South Bank. If you'd like to get into tennis and for more information, go to: www.davidlloyd.co.uk

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