Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Dossier: How Murray turned his serve into a bomb

Exclusive briefing from the man who has coached players from Agassi to Sharapova and the Williams sisters

It wasn't all that long ago that Andy Murray could impress for a while in a tournament and then falter. And now? Through consistent improvement to all areas of his body and his game, he has just a bit too much in his locker for the vast majority of opponents.

On Saturday night, as the clouds gathered over Centre Court (and over Viktor Troicki's hopes in particular), it was Murray's serve that drew gasps of admiration. The stats say 88 per cent of Murray's first-service points were won, and that got as high 94 per cent in the third and final set. But what the stats don't tell you is the power, placement and variety of the serves.

Andy now has the Bomb, the Slider and the Kicker in his service tool kit and he's mixing them up wonderfully. The Bomb is the pure power serve, the Slider does what it says on the tin and the Kicker is more prevalent on second serve, which is generally excellent. Andy is leaving opponents with very few options on his serve. He hit 17 aces on Saturday and the only sensible reaction to most of them was a whistle.

The variety in his game is illustrated by the stats. Among 37 winners, there were aces, service winners, three volleyed winners, two smashes, an approach winner, a passing winner, three drops and seven drives.

Physically and mentally the street fighter is starting to settle into a winning rhythm, and quite frankly he's making the other guys and their coaches afraid of facing him. At the same time, he's coping tremendously well with the pressure of being the British favourite. He's so cool, it's impressive.

Stanislas Wawrinka is friendly with Andy but I don't think this will have any bearing on the match. Wawrinka's strengths are his fantastic groundstrokes, his backhand, his power and his big serve. His weakness, in my opinion, is between the ears, and that's not a good place for any professional sportsman to be susceptible.

He can get emotional when things are not going his way. He has never made the quarters of a Grand Slam and being the outsider against a Brit at Wimbledon isn't going to help his case. I don't hold too much store on their head-to-head record. At 4-3 to Murray it suggests a closeness that doesn't reflect reality. Murray has the more important and more recent wins on surfaces he favours.

Things get tougher for Andy from here on, though, so don't expect a walkover. Pressure is building every day.

Tale of the tape: Andy Murray v Stanislas Wawrinka

Andy Murray vs. Stanislas Wawrinka

British Nationality Swiss

22 Age 24

Dunblane Place of birth Lausanne

Surrey Residence St Barthelemy

2005 Turned pro 2002

Right-handed Plays Right-handed

6ft 3in Height 6ft

84kg Weight 78kg

No 3 World ranking No 18

No 3 Wimbledon seeding No 19

12 Career titles 1

£3.6m Career prize-money £1.5m

W12 L3 Wimbledon record W8 L4

QF (2008) Wimbledon best 4R (2008, 09)

1-14 Odds 8-1

Head-to-head: Murray leads 4-3

Bollettieri's prediction: Murray in no more than four

Win a week in Florida at my tennis academy

*Want a week's tennis holiday at my academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition, accommodation in our poolside clubhouse, and all meals. The winner arranges the travel. All you have to do is email to tell me who will win today's big match. I want a specific score line and, as a tie-breaker, a one-sentence summary of the manner in which your pick will win. At the end of the tournament, all the daily winners will go into a hat, and one overall winner will be chosen. Friday's winner was Gary Goodger, and Saturday's was Ido (who gave no surname). Both go into the hat. Email me at: n.bollettieri@independent.co.uk

I look forward to meeting the winner.

Coaching report

My boy Tommy Haas chewed up Cilic

People have said that Tommy Haas, now 31, has had trouble at times closing out big matches. I'd agree that he should probably have won against Roger Federer in the fourth round at the French Open from two sets up, and should have won earlier in the match against Marin Cilic in the third round here. He had two match points in the fourth set and let them go. Yet in an exciting showdown on Saturday, Tommy, who lives at my academy, dug deep to get through 10-8 in the fifth.

But holy cow! He sure made his fiancée suffer. Sara Foster was chewing and playing with her gum so nervously it looked like she had it all over her nose and ears! Tommy's run indicates to me he's got a couple of good years left. He'll need variety of play today against Igor Andreev.

Ivanovic at a crossroads

Ana Ivanovic has an opportunity today – a daunting one – to get back into the ball game in terms of restating her claim to be a serious contender on the biggest stages. She faces Venus Williams and this could be a huge day for her. If she won, she'd stop the talk that she's a good player whose one Slam win to date (Paris, 2008) gave her a greatness that she hasn't and cannot sustain. But Venus looks so comfortable on the grass that I have to make her my tip, in a maximum of three sets, two if she can eradicate forehand errors.

Venus is the better server, has the better movement, she's stronger and she comes to the net more. In the other Williams match, Serena plays Daniela Hantuchova, who needs self-belief in heaps to give her a chance.

I'm happy for Bollettieri big hitters

I'm delighted that two other players with Bollettieri connections – Sabine Lisicki and Ivo Karlovic – are through to today's fourth round. Sabine lives and trains at the academy and her play is based wholly on that huge serve (it's as big as any in the game) and her huge shots. That's her game, and it shook Svetlana Kuznetsova. Sabine also takes the ball very early and that knocked Kuznetsova off balance.

I have two concerns for Sabine as she faces Caroline Wozniacki. Will she handle the emotional side of the occasion? I hope so. And will she serve big and keep the points short? The longer that the ball's in play, the more that will favour Wozniacki. Today is all about Sabine's serve working.

Karlovic is a great guy, who trained with us for a month recently. Fernando Verdasco will face a bombardment of aces, and touches of variety. Good luck, Ivo.

Improve your game: Backhand down the line

*For all players out there, I invite you to email me your tennis problems and I'll try to help. Today's question comes from Chris, who asks: "Which stance would you recommend for hitting a backhand down the line?" My answer, Chris, would depend on what kind of player you are, but I'd most often advise the neutral stance for starters. (The four hitting stances are neutral, open, semi-open and closed). It's all in Bollettieri's Tennis Handbook, or Google "neutral stance" and Bollettieri together).

Snapshots from 53 years as a top tennis coach

*M is for Music, as in making sweet music by combining individual talents. It's what happens in a symphony orchestra and in a great jazz band, and working in harmony makes sweet sporting music in tennis too. Andy Murray has evidently hired himself a roadshow of people that perform unbelievably well together to help him win. On a real musical note, Andre Agassi got his manager, Bill Shelton, to sing Nat King Cole tunes to him in the locker room. My own tastes include Barry White, Barry Gibb, Saturday Night Fever and a bunch of things from the 1970s.



*N is for New York, the city of my birth, in 1931, and a place dear to my heart, not least because of the US Open, which along with Wimbledon, still gives me the biggest buzzes. N is also for Nicholas James Bollettieri (that's me), son of James (Jim) and Mary. They raised me in our Italian neighbourhood of north Pelham, NYC, with the right values, that people should pull together. Teamwork and support are vital whether you're in an office, writing for a newspaper, or if you're a tennis player.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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.

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?