Murray plots aggressive path after Nadal defeat

When asked to identify the areas of his game that he needed to improve in the wake of his quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal here on Wednesday night Andy Murray was typically frank in his assessment.

"I think I need to make sure, when I'm playing against the top guys, that I dictate more of the rallies right at the start," he said. "When I make a big first serve, I really need to be aggressive from the first ball, rather than waiting a couple of shots. The top guys can make you do a lot of running if you're a bit passive at the start of the rallies."

The remarks sounded familiar, for this was what another player had said about the 21-year-old Scot four months ago: "He's going to have to grind very hard for the next few years if he's going to keep playing this way. He stands way back in the court. He has to do a lot of running and he tends to wait a lot for his opponent to make a mistake. I think that overall, over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than wait for the other guy to miss."

The latter verdict, remarkably similar to Murray's own, was delivered by Roger Federer after the world No 1 had lost to him in Dubai. When told of Federer's comments Murray was keen at the time to stress that it was important to have different strategies against different players. In particular he pointed out that he had adopted a much more aggressive approach when he had pushed Nadal all the way in a five-set thriller at the 2007 Australian Open.

Murray went into his meeting with the Spaniard here determined to do the same, only to find himself pegged back by the sheer weight of Nadal's shots. Attacking the world No 2 is much easier said than done, particularly when your own serve is faltering, but even when Murray did have the chance to take control of rallies he sometimes chose the more conservative option.

The British No 1 can beat the vast majority of players with the sheer variety of his shots, but against the very best he needs to find a way of upping his game. Although he beat Federer in Dubai (when the Swiss was recovering from glandular fever), Murray has not taken a set off Nadal or Novak Djokovic in the three matches he has played against each in the last 16 months.

However, not many players get the better of the world's top three, who have opened up a big gap with the rest, and Murray should look back on his 2008 Wimbledon with pride. Three emphatic wins were followed by a brilliant back-from-the-dead victory over Richard Gasquet and in reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final Murray gave every sign that he will be a major Wimbledon contender for years to come.

"I've got to try and be positive about the whole two weeks," Murray said. "I got further than my ranking and seeding suggested. I'm going to be back in the top 10 at the end of this week, which is something that I felt I was good enough to do, and now I've got to try and stay there."

Murray can be particularly pleased with the way he has handled the pressure as Britain's only world-class singles player. Not only has he stood up to the intense public scrutiny, but the way he pumped up the Centre Court crowd en route to victory over Gasquet also showed that he can use their support to his advantage.

"For me it's been the least stressful Wimbledon, the most enjoyable one that I've had," Murray said. "I got awesome support in all of my matches. Once the tournament started, everything to me was absolutely fine. It's just something you've got to deal with. I think the older you get, the better you learn to cope with everything. This was definitely the best Wimbledon I've had so far. I'm sure next year I'll be able to do even better."

Within a day or two Murray will be back on the practice courts in preparation for the Olympic Games and US Open. The American hard-court circuit is his favourite part of the year and he plans to play in Indianapolis, Toronto and Cincinnati before heading for New York.

"I do feel more comfortable playing on the American hard courts," he said. "It's still my favourite surface to play on. I've had some of my best results on those courts. I think I have a chance at winning Wimbledon, but the US Open's always been the one that I felt was best suited to my game."

Beyond New York, Murray will have his sights set on winning a place in the elite eight-man field for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. Qualification is based on performances through the calendar year and his Wimbledon points should take him into the top eight. The future looks bright.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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.

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition