March 27, 2014
Andy Murray needs to start winning some mind games… and fast
If he isn’t going to rush into appointing a new coach, he had better consider working with a new sports psychologist – because his head, quite frankly, is all over the place.
We want Andy Murray back to his best form in time for Wimbledon. And it isn’t his back that’s causing Murray problems right now…or a twinge in his hip, which apparently troubled him earlier in the week… It’s all in his mind right now.
The defending champion is out of Miami
First, the facts. Andy Murray lost 5-7, 3-6 to Novak Djokovic.
At 5-6 in the first, Novak’s racquet crossed the net as he put away a point that he would have won anyway if he’d waited. Sure, Djokovic was a little naughty, he should have ‘fessed up – but he didn’t and the umpire was found wanting. Murray moaned as though his entire world had caved in, then he threw away the game, the set and ultimately the match.
Andy was a break up in the second set but every time his athleticism and talent drove him into a winning position, his mind let him down.
Why the lack of mental strength?
We all have our theories.
What are the psychological issues at play here? Some people say Murray has climbed his Everest by winning the US, the Olympics and Wimbledon. He has done it all and herefore he lacks hunger.
The fundamental issue is not hunger; the issue is self-esteem. Great champions in sport carry on winning beyond their breakthrough years because they know they deserve to be there, right at the top. Andy Murray doesn’t seem to believe that he deserves a regular place at the top table. He acts like someone who achieved what he did by punching above his weight, an impostor who pulled off a smash-and-grab raid and stole a hat-trick of honours in a relatively short space of time, then made off into the night.
That mindset has to change in order for him to continue to succeed. Murray is better than that.
Sure, Andy has had problems: the back operation, the recent split with his coach (though Ivan Lendl was there to see him fall in Miami). No one has ever suggested it is easy to stay at the top once you reach the summit, or simple climb back up to the highest peak after you take a tumble,but you’ve got to feel that you belong at the top. You’ve slipped down to number 8 in the world for a variety of reasons, physical and mental.
Andy Murray didn’t become US, Olympic and Wimbledon champion because of an outrageous period of good luck. You did it because that’s where you belong and what you deserve.