Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Dossier: Believe, attack and think on your feet: how you beat Rafael Nadal

One of the world's greatest tennis coaches, Nick has guided many players to the top including Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova


Andy Murray (GB) v Rafael Nadal (Sp), Centre Court

Andy Murray, today is all about you, boy. I don't just mean in the sense that the whole of Britain will be watching the biggest match of your life. I mean it needs to be all about you in your own head. About what you can do. About your strengths. Not about the other guy. We don't need to dwell on him just yet, and if I were your coach we wouldn't dwell on him at all. In my final pre-match pep talk I would not even mention his name.

He is getting enough of the hoodoo on players without anyone reminding you. Before they face him they arrive on court with a head full of poop and a one-set mental deficit at least. But he's just another opponent. Forget for a moment that you know anything about him at all. He is not of interest to us at this time. From Portugal isn't he? Small, blond right-hander?

I'm not you're coach, of course, although I have met you a few times. You have used the facilities at my academy on occasion and trained there. You've had assistance from top-level physical conditioners in our gym, also known as the International Performance Institute, where some of the biggest stars of the NFL and NBA come to get in shape.

I liked what I saw of your personality back then, and increasingly like what I see of your play, also how you are developing – and your game with it. When your mind is totally focused, that is. When you are not letting any crap bother you. When you are fully fit. And I think you're fine in all those departments right now.

Not being your coach, I can advise you to speak to your team, let them each tell you what they think about today. Absorb it – and then make up your own mind about how to play Rafael Nadal. You're the captain, you're in charge. I'm guessing that you're not into conventional game-plans because you're not a conventional young man. I support that, and I'll explain why.

In yesterday's paper, after you had beaten Richard Gasquet on Monday night, I wrote that your stated belief that you could beat Nadal – crucially different from being merely hopeful – was an attitude I liked. You think you're a winner, kid. So most important of all is to say, that's right. You can win this. See how easy it is to start believing when you're told. Most importantly, you've told yourself.

How do you win? You move as well as anyone on the Tour these days, when you're in the zone. Your serve is getting better – and needs to be better than against Gasquet. You've got great hands, believe in them.

You return serve superbly. One of Nadal's inherent left-handed advantages is the slice serve that curves low out wide. But we know that your gangling limbs can reach balls in Row A these days.

You need to be offensive. You need to attack from the start. Go in there pumped up and tap into that crowd support. They like Nadal for sure. But he's not theirs and you are, and since that tie-break on Monday you have them behind you, not on your back. Use them. Channel their energy. That could even start to get inside the Spaniard's head at some point, as surely as it got to Gasquet.

Start fast and hard and sure. Try to catch Nadal cold. Pressure his backhand side with deep forehands and then, if you can upset his rhythm just a little bit, that would be the right time to try one of your fancy drop-shot gems. Just do not expect them to work all the time against such a ferocious competitor. And if they don't, then mix it up and try to stamp your authority in a different way.

I'm not your coach so I'm saying this more for the benefit of The Independent's readers. If I was your coach, I would actually avoid any specific game-plan at all. Why? Because, boy, you're an instinctive player and instinct players fly by the seat of their pants. You do your thing.

We don't need to complicate it with instructions. Andre Agassi was the same. When he won Wimbledon in 1992 with me in his coaching box, he won because that was the year he let all his preconceptions about hating grass fall away. He just came to play ball, man, and he ended up winning.

I've called you a street fighter. You're also a fighter pilot. Those guys make adjustments that until they have to make them in a dogfight they didn't even realise they were going to have to make. You'll have to do the same today. You're in for a tough ride.

Nadal is a monster of a competitor. His forte is getting the ball over the net one more time than you. His experience will be in his favour. He's deservedly strong favourite. But today is about you, Andy. You.

HOW THEY MATCH UP...

British NATIONALITY Spanish

21 AGE 22

Dunblane PLACE OF BIRTH Mallorca

Dunblane RESIDENCE Mallorca

2005 TURNED PRO 2001

Right-handed PLAYS Left-handed

6ft 3in HEIGHT 6ft 1in

79kg WEIGHT 85kg

No 11 WORLD RANKING No 2

No 12 SEEDING No 2

5 CAREER TITLES 28

£1.2m PRIZE MONEY £9m

W9 L2 WIMBLEDON RECORD W19 L4

Q-F (2008) WIMBLEDON BEST R-U (2006-7)

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Three previous meetings. Nadal leads 3-0.

ODDS: Murray 4-1, Nadal 2-9.

Bollettieri predicts: Murray to make a fight of it but Nadal's big-stage experience to edge it.

Win a week at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy

You still have four chances to enter my easy competition to win a week's stay at my Florida academy. Travel to America and train in the footsteps of Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and other top players. Just email to tell me who is going to win today's big match. I'm looking for a scoreline and a short forecast of how your pick will win. Each day, I'll select a daily winner, with the overall winner drawn from all those at the end of the tournament.

Thanks for your many entries so far, and I truly appreciate all your comments on the column! Yesterday's winner for Radwanska-Serena was Ben Fergie, who got the closest scoreline and described Serena's no-nonsense approach.

The competition is open to all ages. Your trip will be tailored to your requirements, junior or adult. I'll cover tuition, accommodation and meals. You buy the air ticket. Read all about the trip of last year's winner, Rachel O'Reilly, on this newspaper's website. To enter today, email me at n.bollettieri@independent.co.uk

Nick's tips to improve your game

Tip No8: Use fresh junk

Whether you're a recreational player at your local club or a pro on the elite tours, the chances are you'll come up against the same bunch of opponents time and again, either your tennis friends or your ATP/WTA rivals. Get an edge by doing something they're not expecting. That might be serve-volley; it might be more spin; it might be using a different base-court position; it might be drop shots or lobs. Mix it up. Amateurs should also remember to chase every last ball. Every single one, whether you initially think it's gettable or not. It helps your fitness and in time you'll end up getting balls you never thought possible.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
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.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower