Sunday 17 December 2017

Tennis: Murray ready to go on offensive

Paul Newman

Andy Murray will go into this week's US Open aiming to play the attacking style of tennis that a fortnight ago brought him his first title for nine months.

If the going gets tough, however, he will be quite happy to follow the philosophy of Brad Gilbert, one of his former coaches, and "win ugly".

Murray, who is without a coach after parting company with Miles Maclagan, starts the final Grand Slam of the year as one of the favourites after his victory in the Toronto Masters, where he beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament for the first time in his career.

The 23-year-old Scot won his 15th title by playing his best tennis since the start of the year, but knows that any player's form can fluctuate over the course of a Slam.

"It's tough to play your best tennis right at the start and continue it," Murray said. "If you're playing your best at the start that's not necessarily a great thing, but you just want to win. The other tournaments are preparation, really, to play your best tennis in the Grand Slams.

"Once you get there it's only about winning. If you have to play ugly tennis to win it, it doesn't really matter. I'll try to play aggressive and play like I was playing in Toronto, but if it's not working I'll change and just try to play and win."

Murray knows that adopting a more attacking style could help him conserve energy. "It's a bit easier on the body because you don't have to do as much running, especially in the conditions here when it gets hot. It's important to play your game, but also, when you can, get some free points and shorten the points a little bit."

Alex Corretja, a part-time member of Murray's coaching team, is with him in New York. The world No 4 has had several approaches from coaches interested in working with him but says he will wait until after the US Open before making a decision.


"If you want to get a full-time coach, someone who's with you 30, 40 weeks a year, it's a big decision," Murray said. "You've got to think about it and make sure you get the right person because you don't want to make mistakes. I might try someone out for a few weeks or see how it goes until the end of the year," he added.

"I have Alex Corretja with me this week and then I will decide what I'm going to do after the tournament is finished.

"I don't speak to him about tactics and what I'm going to do. I guess the game style you play comes down to how you're feeling on the court. But I will definitely speak to him about it (my matches), otherwise it wouldn't be much use in him being here." Murray's mother, Judy, has been helping him over the last month, but has not been coaching him.

"I haven't been on a practice court with my mum for years," he said. "She's helped with tactics in some matches and that's something she's good at."

Federer has hired Paul Annacone as his new coach after the pair hit it off during a one-month trial. The American also helped Murray and the rest of the British Davis Cup team as part of his work with the Lawn Tennis Association.

"In terms of his game style, he was serve-and-volley and came to the net a lot," Murray said. "The guys he's worked with were that style of player, so I'm sure that's something he could help with."

Murray may have to beat Federer, Nadal and Tomas Berdych if he is to win his first Grand Slam title, but he has what appears to be a straightforward route to the quarter-finals. His opening match is against Slovakia's Lukas Lacko, the world No 72.

England's Laura Robson's hopes of reaching the women's draw ended in a 2-6 6-4 6-3 defeat by Nuria Llagostera Vives. Even after losing the second set, Robson opened a 3-1 lead in the decider before losing five successive games to the Spaniard. (© Independent News Service)

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