Wimbledon 2013: Key factors that have taken Andy Murray to the brink of glory (again)

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ivan Lendl

Appointing Lendl as his coach 18 months ago was a master stroke. Lendl had been out of the game for several years and had never worked with a top player, but the eight-times Grand Slam champion brought a knowledge of what it takes to win at the highest level, particularly after disappointments. Lendl has helped Murray to focus on his tennis rather than expend mental and emotional energy when faced by adversity. When Lendl is around Murray rarely does his Mr Angry impersonation.


Murray has always been a hard worker, but under Lendl he has become even more committed to the principle that time in the gym and on the running track and practice court brings its reward. As well as his annual off-season "boot camp" in Miami, Murray spent extra time in Florida this spring, between the Australian Open and Indian Wells. Murray's fitness is evident and his record excellent in five-setters, as shown by his quarter-final comeback against Fernando Verdasco.

Winning a set in last year's Wimbledon final

Murray lost his first three Grand Slam finals in straight sets. Winning a set against Roger Federer in last year's Wimbledon final helped to reinforce the belief that if he kept putting himself in the frame success would come. In terms of his public image, Murray's tearful post-match interview after losing to Federer showed a human side that many people had not seen before.

Winning Olympic gold

Four weeks after losing the Wimbledon final Murray beat the same opponent on the same court in emphatic fashion to win Olympic gold. The Scot looked like a man on a mission from the start of the tournament. Beating Federer in a match of such importance showed him that he had what it takes to beat the very best on the very biggest stages.

Making his Grand Slam breakthrough

No victory has changed Murray as much as his triumph at last year's US Open. Until that moment he said he had felt pressure every time he went on court. A Slam victory lifted a great weight from his shoulders, enabling him to play with more freedom. The tentative Murray still surfaces – as in the first two sets against Verdasco – but for the most part he is looking to win points rather than not lose them.

Planning a careful schedule

Choosing not to play in the French Open because of his back injury was a big call, but Murray knows not to take risks. His Davis Cup absences have disappointed British fans, but managing his schedule has been crucial. Missing Paris meant his back would be OK, and gave him time to practise on grass.

Kim Sears

Last month's BBC documentary gave a rare insight into Murray's relationship with his girlfriend, Kim Sears, who has successfully trod the fine line between being supportive in public and keeping a low profile. Her support has been a major factor in Murray's recovery from some major disappointments.