Andy Murray is in a good position. That's what it looks like from where I'm sitting so it's going to be an interesting couple of weeks, especially with your British No 1 coming into the tournament in such good form.
He's had a good clay-court season – his best – and he's looked more and more confident over the last couple of weeks. That has prompted favourable comments from Tim Henman and more positive ones from Andre Agassi. It's looking good but the whole future of Andy Murray – starting with this tournament – is not how he plays. He's got the game to win a Grand Slam; his forehand's become bigger, he's improved his serve, he returns well, the backhand's always there. There's not too much that needs improving. Instead, the biggest obstacle is upstairs. He has to take one match at a time – it's an old line, but it's just so true in this case. Focus on this match, Andy.
He doesn't need to worry about technique – at this stage it's pretty damn late to be changing things anyway. When we used to send Boris Becker out to play in the Slams the trick was to not fill his mind, certainly not bombard him with a mass of technical information, do this, do that, serve this, return that – no way. We just gave him one or two steers and out he went. It was the same with Agassi.
Watch Murray right now and you can see he is not blaming other people – he's accepting what happens out there on the court and turning it into positives.
Last year I did a clinic in Long Island before the US Open with Andre and the point he kept making was a simple one, but one that is so important. Here it is: the next point is the most important in the match. It sounds obvious but what it means is that the guy out there on the court has to clear his mind after every point. You must only look forward. The biggest obstacle for Murray to clear is that he does not erase previous points. Look at Rafa Nadal – he does it brilliantly. So does Roger Federer. Andy is really maturing but this is the missing ingredient for him right now.
Maybe when he was growing up he didn't deal with things the best way, but I would still let Andy do 99 per cent of the talking – don't tell him too many things, free his mind. He's got it, he's a good athlete, he moves brilliantly. The more you try and fill his head, the more complicated it becomes. Let the animal instinct of Andy Murray do most of the talking. He has the instinct to win it.
Murray has had a good run leading into Wimbledon – but remember, Andy, anybody can beat you on their day. In this era there are six, eight, even 10 players who can do a lot of damage. I don't mean win a Slam. What I mean is they can go out and beat anyone in one match. The top guys who played in the 1980s and 1990s, they had it much better as then there were maybe only two or three of these dangermen around.
But still, form matters. When you're in a positive flow you can execute shots, serves, the whole package without thinking. If not, your mind wanders... is it my serve? It's my forehand, isn't it?
The better players have it upstairs, that's the big difference. Accept your own faults – that's what Murray has to do and he looks to have matured enough to do exactly that.
There is one area Murray needs to watch. He mustn't stand too far beyond the baseline. There are times when he goes eight, even 12ft back and that is where his reputation as a counter-puncher comes from. You can't win Wimbledon like that. Novak Djokovic used to have that sort of reputation but he's improved all round. Murray has the foundation to do that.
You can't – hey, you mustn't – look any further than this match. Today against Daniel Gimeno-Traver. Third on Centre Court. That's all that matters. With Agassi and Becker, we never looked ahead. But if Andy can't look at the draw, we can... Marian Cilic looks likely for the third round. He's no easy target and he's beaten Murray before. Then maybe Richard Gasquet, he's dangerous – look out for his one-handed backhand – or Stanislas Wawrinka. He's beaten Murray before as well and can be explosive.
But how do you get your player not to dream ahead to week two? Every player has their own way of getting it together. For some it's superstition, eating on the same table in the restaurant every meal, using the same practice court (there are a lot of wackos out there!) to keep the focus on the immediate.
Murray is not the type of guy to lead his own parade. He can let others plot routes to the last four and beyond. If I was in his team I would tell him not to read the papers, keep his mouth shut and stick to playing the match. Don't spend two weeks looking ahead.
So what do you want from a first-round match? A good feel of the grass sets up a base camp for the week. And it's important to take advantage of every opportunity from serve one, point one. Make every break point count – zone in. But above all, get through. A win is a win, no matter what the performance has been like.
Today's big match: Andy Murray v Daniel Gimeno-Traver
HOW THEY MATCH UP
British Nationality Spanish
24 Age 25
London, UK Residence Nules, Spain
2005 Turned pro 2004
Right-handed Plays Right-handed
6ft 3in Height 6ft 1in
4 World ranking 56
17 Career titles 0
$16m Career prize-money $1.27m
W19 L5 Wimbledon record W1 L2
Semi-final (2) Wimbledon best 2R
W1 L0 Head-to-head W0 L1
1-40 Odds 33-1
Bollettieri's prediction Murray in four
Why I love Wimbledon: Behind tournament's serene sense of tradition is a precisely drilled operation
Wimbledon. holy cow, there's no-where like it. I mean, where else does it take five months to become a ballboy or girl? It's like training to become a US Navy Seal. Only tougher.
No other Grand Slam considers everything with such precision. It's all about tradition and that's a big thing. England has something that no other Slam has.
It doesn't have the noise of the French and US Open, or the pizzazz of Flushing Meadows or the carry-on of Roland Garros. It's totally different because it's based on tradition, and that works. It's what makes Wimbledon Wimbledon.
Pick a winner for the women's singles?
Boy, no thanks. Even Houdini couldn't escape with that one. It's a tough guess because it's wide open.
You say Williams? I say "which one?" It's not beyond all possibility that Venus could come through and win it. It would be a tough call, but it's far from impossible because that's what these sisters are like. Venus has won it five times and that matters when the big games come along. And of course Serena can't be overlooked because she's Serena and has won the event the last two years (making it four in all). There's every chance of a three-peat.
Maria Sharapova is playing well again – she certainly has the game to win it for the first time since 2004. Can Caroline Wozniacki add a Slam to her world No 1 ranking? She can, but she has a tough path, with Sharapova a possible opponent in the quarter-finals. Don't overlook Marion Bartoli either – she's as tough as nails.
And that's all for the good. This tournament will be worth watching.
NB's A-Z of SW19
A. There can be only one... Andre Agassi. It was here that he won his first Grand Slam in 1992. That wait for a first Slam – Andre went through it and Andre came through it.
B.is for Brits and the wait for a winner. When you have a home Grand Slam you like to talk about one of your own and it's been a while... although the US would love a player as good as Andy Murray right now.
Nick Bollettieri is the world's greatest tennis coach with Agassi, the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova and Heather Watson among those he has helped at his academy in Florida.Reuse content