McEnroe offers to develop Murray

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The Independent Online

John McEnroe wants to help Andrew Murray, Britain's 17-year-old US Open junior champion, to negotiate the difficult transition to the mainstream professional tour.

The 45-year-old New Yorker has taken a wild card for the inaugural Tennis Champions Masters, presented by Cunard, at the Royal Albert Hall next week. The last time McEnroe was in London he overwhelmed Murray, 6-1, in the Superset event at Wembley Arena.

McEnroe, who has a part-time job with the Lawn Tennis Association, said: "I've been a figurehead, working with little kids to raise awareness. The next step for me would be to work with a prospect like Andrew Murray. That doesn't mean to say that someone already working there can't take those steps as well. I haven't had enough conversations with David Felgate [the LTA's director of performance] to know what's already in place."

Murray's predominantly baseline style is honed on clay courts at the Emilio Sanchez-Sergio Casal Tennis Academy in Barcelona. McEnroe believes he can sharpen Murray's net play, which may be a key factor on the Wimbledon grass.

"I think it's important," McEnroe said, "but, then, David Nalbandian got to the final of Wimbledon a couple of years ago and Lleyton Hewitt won it. While I believe it favours a serve-volleyer on grass, I still think guys can succeed on the baseline. But it would certainly make life easier in my opinion if Murray had a more well-rounded game.

"Things happen faster at that level. When someone who has some experience puts some pressure on you on a court that plays pretty quickly it can expose some weaknesses. He's also a kid, so those weaknesses can be worked upon. I would be more than happy to work with him on those." Whether that happens remains to be seen.