Wimbledon 2015: Andy Murray's quarter final opponent has a secret weapon...but what is in Vasek Pospisil's mysterious little blue book?

The scribblings have inspired the Canadian to a series of fine comebacks

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The Independent Online

When Andy Murray steps onto Centre Court to face Vasek Pospisil in his quarter final match at Wimbledon, he will not just be facing a formidable opponent with a track record of beating British players. He will be facing a little blue book.

The 25-year-old Canadian has staged a series of remarkable comebacks at the Championships this year, with his success at the tournament partly being ascribed to the scribblings contained in a mysterious notebook which he consults between games.

The contents of Pospisil’s little blue book are secret, but they have already helped him defeat a Briton at Wimbledon. Finding himself two sets to one down against James Ward on Saturday, he was seen reading it at a changeover – and promptly went on to win by five sets to four. 

In his next match against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki on Monday, Pospisil was again spotted consulting his secret weapon in between games, with the same effect. Trailing by two sets, he suddenly found his form and won the next three 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

 

Following his remarkable match the Canadian was asked what he had been reading – but refused to shed much light on the subject. “Secret,” he replied with a smile, before adding: “I have been looking at the same page for the matches, but the book is getting filled up a little bit.”

Some have speculated that the pad might contain a series of motivational slogans which Pospisil uses to gee himself up in between important games, but he insisted there is “nothing crazy” in it. “Just reminders and pointers, things I should be looking at during the match, so that will change a little bit match to match,” he added.

On-court coaching has come under the spotlight at Wimbledon this year, with Novak Djokovic facing questions over whether Boris Becker has been sending him signals from the player’s box. But Wimbledon’s rules allow players to carry pre-match instructions on court with them.

An All England Club spokesman said: “Pospisil is allowed to take the notebook on-court at the start of the match, but he would not be allowed to accept it during the match. There is no limit to the size [of the notebook] and they do not have to show it to the officials.”

Murray is known to have written his own motivational notes ahead of important games in the past – although not with as much success as Pospisil. After the Scot’s quarter final defeat to Gilles Simon at the Rotterdam Open earlier this year, an A4 sheet of paper was discovered on which he had written ten pieces of tactical advice.

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Vasek Pospisil celebrates his third round win over Britain's James Ward (Getty)

The tips included “Be good to yourself”, “Try your best”, “Be intense with your legs” and “Focus on each point and the process”. They were written on the back of a letter sent to Murray by one of his fans.

Pospisil has also revealed that on the morning of his matches, he spends half an hour doing “some things that I have been working on” immediately after waking up. Asked to reveal what this 8am routine involved, he replied: “No, it’s a secret,” before adding that it involved improving his mental toughness at the “big moments” in matches.

Murray has said he “selfishly” hopes that Pospisil will be tired after his series of epic five-set matches, which included a painful defeat in the doubles competition to Murray’s brother Jamie and his partner John Peers. But he will also be hoping that the Canadian leaves his notebook in the locker room.

On-court tactics

Call the physio: Both Andy Murray and his Italian opponent Andreas Seppi called for a medical time-out during their third round match at Wimbledon. In both cases, they used the time to regroup and won six games in a row.

Take an age in between points: Rafael Nadal is notorious for taking long breaks in between points to compose himself – but opponents often find the delays frustrating. At Grand Slam competitions players are supposed to take no longer than 20 seconds.

Go for a comfort break: Defending Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova took an eight-minute “comfort break” during the deciding set of her match against Jelena Jankovic on Saturday, even changing some of her clothes. It didn’t work – she still lost.

Make a tactical challenge: The Hawk-Eye line calling system is supposed to end disputes, but wily players can also use it to put opponents off their stride by challenging even obvious decisions, interrupting their rhythm.

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