Defeat should be spur for serial runner-up to reorganise team

Scot likes friends and family around him but working with a Grand Slam champion could bring victory he craves

Andy Murray grew up idolising Andre Agassi. As he now considers the implications of his third successive defeat in a Grand Slam final, the 23-year-old Scot could do far worse than recall how the American turned failure into success.

Agassi, too, lost his first three Grand Slam finals, but it did not stop him going on to become one of the great players of the modern era. He finished up with eight Grand Slam titles and is one of only seven men who have won all four of the game's biggest prizes.

Agassi is not alone. Ivan Lendl lost his first four major finals and also went on to win eight in total. Goran Ivanisevic lost his first three Grand Slam finals and won his fourth. Murray is only 23 and has always said that he did not expect to reach his peak until his mid-twenties.

Until now, the biggest problem facing the Scot has been the fact that he has played in an era dominated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, two of the greatest players of all time. However, the Swiss appears to be on the wane and the Spaniard, regularly troubled by injuries, may not have a long career.

Novak Djokovic and Murray, friends since their early days as juniors, have had to be patient, but if you take Federer and Nadal out of the equation, the two 23-year-olds, born within a week of one another, are quite clearly the game's two outstanding players. Of the next generation, only Juan Martin del Potro has proved he has what it takes to succeed at the very top and the Argentinian has hardly played for a year because of a wrist injury.

Murray's instinctive reaction to disappointment is nearly always the same: he says he needs to improve and to work harder.

Now, however, may be the time to do more than once again head for the gymnasium and the practice court. Instead, he could take the opportunity to stand back and take a broader view of his situation.

The world No 5 has never been afraid to take tough decisions. He has made himself unavailable for Davis Cup matches if he felt they did not fit in with his schedule; he has changed management companies; and he has sacked coaches, including Mark Petchey, Brad Gilbert and Miles Maclagan.

Since parting company with Maclagan last summer, Murray has persevered with an ad hoc coaching arrangement. Alex Corretja, a former world No 2, remains a part-time member of his coaching team but was not with him here.

His mother, Judy, a former Scottish champion, has helped to scout future opponents, while Dani Vallverdu, his best friend and a former fellow student at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, has overseen his practice sessions.

Murray is a sensitive soul who likes to have friends and family around him, but who is there to tell him harsh truths when criticism is needed? Who among his team knows what it takes to win a Grand Slam title, either as a player or a coach?

Murray said at the end of last year that he would continue with his present coaching arrangements for the time being, but now might be the time to reconsider.

Some of the best progress Murray made was during his 18 months with Gilbert. The fact their relationship eventually broke down on a personal level – with hindsight, the combination of a reserved young Scot and a fast-talking middle-aged American was always unlikely to last –may have put Murray off recruiting another high-profile coach, but even the very best players recognise the need for an experienced voice in their ear. Even Federer turned to Paul Annacone, the former coach of Pete Sampras and Tim Henman, after his disappointing summer last year.

Murray likes to have a large team around him, but might he also benefit from having a senior figure pulling the strings?

Djokovic tried working with two coaches when Todd Martin joined his team in 2009 but soon came to realise that the mixed messages were not working.

He parted company with the American, restored Marian Vajda to his position of sole authority and has never looked back.

In the immediate future Murray needs to decide when he will play next. After his experience last year, when he went into a decline that lasted the best part of five months following his defeat in the Australian Open final, he is wondering whether to take a six-week break before next month's Masters Series tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

The temptation to take a breather is understandable. It could give him time to sort out his coaching situation. Just as importantly, it might help to put the disappointment he has suffered here into perspective.

Since Fred Perry won the last of his Grand Slam titles in 1936, only three other British men – Bunny Austin, John Lloyd and Greg Rusedski – have played in Grand Slam singles finals. Each did so only once.

Murray, the best British player since Perry, has reached three already.

Time is still on his side.

Playing patience: longest waits for a first grand slam

Andy Murray has played 21 Grand Slam tournaments and has yet to win a major title. Seven other men have taken longer to win their first:

* Goran Ivanisevic 48 Grand Slams

* Petr Korda 34

* Andres Gomez 27

* Thomas Muster 27

* Albert Costa 26

* Thomas Johansson 25

* Richard Krajicek 22

Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and Goran Ivanisevic are the only three players in the Open era who went on to win Grand Slams after losing their first three finals (four in Lendl's case)



Ivan Lendl

* French Open 1981: lost to Borg in five sets

* US Open 1982: lost to Connors in four

* US Open 1983: lost to Connors in four

* Australian Open 1983: lost to Wilander in three

* French Open 1984: beat McEnroe in five



Andre Agassi

* French Open 1992: lost to Gomez in four

* US Open 1990: lost to Sampras in three

* French Open 1991: lost to Courier in five

* Wimbledon 1992: beat Ivanisevic in five



Goran Ivanisevic

* Wimbledon 1992: lost to Agassi in five

* Wimbledon 1994: lost to Sampras in three

* Wimbledon 1998: lost to Sampras in five

* Wimbledon 2001: beat Rafter in five

Paul Newman

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?