Laid-back Murray confident of swift rankings recovery
Tuesday 08 April 2008
Even for a player who has never been afraid to show his emotions, Andy Murray was shocked by a video nasty featuring Mikhail Youzhny, who drew blood after repeatedly hitting his forehead with his racket on court in Miami last week.
"I saw it on YouTube," Murray said. "The first time I watched it I thought he was hitting his head with his strings. Then I slowed it down a few times and it was right on the inside of the frame of the racket. I can see that it's easy to get frustrated, but those frames are pretty hard. He looked dizzy after he did it. He was bent over. It was awful."
While Murray can still be hard on himself on court – "The worst thing I've done is punch the strings," he said – he is as laid-back as ever off it. Speaking yesterday at David Lloyd Leisure in Raynes Park in south-west London, where he met some of the 15,000 children who have joined his "Tennis AllStars" programme, the Scot brushed aside a suggestion that he might be concerned about falling outside the world's top 20 for the first time since August 2006.
Although he dropped nine places to No 22 in yesterday's updated list, Murray has only 15 of his 1,305 rankings points to defend between now and the US Open in late August, having missed so much of last summer with injury. A few wins will see him rise quickly again.
"I said a couple of months ago that my ranking would be going up and down a lot for the first few months of this year purely because I made a great start last year but then hardly played for a few months," he said. "My ranking's going to go up, that's for sure, in the next few months. Hopefully after Wimbledon I'll be back in the top 15 or maybe top 10."
He added: "Getting into the top 10 had been my goal since I started playing tennis, but once I got there I stopped thinking about ranking points and just started thinking about my game, how I'm going to get better and how I'm going to give myself a chance of winning Grand Slams. It's the last thing on my mind when I'm playing."
Murray begins his clay-court season in Valencia next week and is looking forward to playing on a surface he became familiar with when learning the game in Barcelona, even if he won only two matches in the seven tournaments he played on clay in 2006 and 2007. Alex Corretja, a clay-court specialist and former French Open finalist, will join his coaching team for the next two months.
"It's certainly a surface I can play well on and my game style should be perfect for it," Murray said. "There are long rallies and there's a bit more variation in the shots you can play. You can come to the net, play drop shots, stay at the back, play defensive or offensive."
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