Corretja hopeful Murray will finally flourish on clay

With injuries disrupting his last two clay-court seasons, Andy Murray was determined to arrive here for this week's Masters Series tournament in the best possible shape. The British No 1 practised hard in Barcelona last week, training in the heat of the afternoon with the former French Open finalist, Alex Corretja, who has joined his coaching team.

Come yesterday afternoon Murray might have wondered whether he should have stayed at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, where he began practising earlier this month on clay courts that had just been cleared of snow. Play had barely got under way here when a chill wind and persistent rain brought a premature end to the opening day.

More of the same is expected today, though the weather is set to improve. Murray, who is scheduled to play his first match against Feliciano Lopez this afternoon, will be hoping for a similar upturn in his own fortunes. Although he enjoys playing on clay and had plenty of experience on it while training as a teenager in Barcelona, he has played just nine tour matches on the surface – of which he has won only two – in the last two years.

"It's obviously going to take a bit of time," Murray said yesterday. "I've never played well on clay in the past, so I feel like there's maybe less pressure because I've not played too many matches. I'm not expecting too much of myself, but I've practised hard and trained hard and want to try and play better than I have in the past. I think I can definitely do that. I've worked hard off the court and I believe my fitness isn't going to be a problem in matches any more. That's a huge bonus mentally."

Corretja said that he had turned down other coaching offers but took the chance to work with Murray because of the Scot's potential. "He can easily play on clay because he can play from the baseline," Corretja said. "He has some good things that the others don't. He has a very big serve. He can go to the net. He can mix it up very well, He can play aggressively and defensively. He can move well. He can play drop shots. It's difficult to improve things in a few days, but you tell him something and he gets it straight away."

Corretja is a good friend of Lopez, who practised with Murray in Spain last week. Murray beat Lopez in straight sets in their only meeting, but while the Spaniard is a serve-and-volley specialist who prefers quicker surfaces, he can compete with the very best. Lopez beat three top-10 players last month on his way to the final in Dubai and beat Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former French Open champion, on clay last year.

The winner will play Nicolas Mahut or Filippo Volandri. In his last match on clay, against Volandri in Rome 11 months ago, Murray retired hurt with the wrist injury that kept him out of the game for three months. If the Scot reaches the third round his likely opponent is Novak Djokovic, the world No 3 and the most successful player this year.

Roger Federer is in the same half of the draw and will be playing with renewed confidence after claiming his first title of the year yesterday. The world No 1, who had failed to reach the final in his four previous tournaments, won the Estoril Open on clay in Portugal after Nikolay Davydenko retired with a leg injury when trailing 7-6, 2-1.

Rafael Nadal, the No 2 seed here, has dominated clay-court tennis for the last three years, but believes his chances have not been helped by the scheduling of tournaments in a year disrupted by the Olympic Games. "The calendar is completely crazy," he said. "I think this is not fair for the European players or the clay-court players. Three Masters Series events in four weeks is too much."

The Spaniard was particularly angry that the Masters Series tournament in Miami stretched into April because of American television demands. "They put Indian Wells and Miami one week back because of college basketball," he said. "I understand that's important in the US, but we have the world tour calendar and my feeling is that we shouldn't base it around college basketball in America."

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself with remarkable success
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower