Murray must change his game to win a Slam

By for MurraysWorld.com on
Top coach Larry Stefanki has accused Andy Murray of being a "pusher" but believes once he stops playing defensive tennis, he has what it takes to win a Grand Slam.

Stefanki, considered one of the best coaches in the world, is responsible for Andy Roddick's recent transformation that has seen him once again challenge for a Slam title.

He has to change his mentality of the way he wants to play this game at the very top level.

He is stuck playing defensive tennis only, that was the big difference. I don't think he played enough offence.


Murray has the potential to play a lot more aggressively because he has the foot speed, because he can move the ball very quickly, but he has just chosen not to do that.


You can get through the juniors just being a pusher, a retriever getting balls back.

I call it negative tennis and that's not going to win you Slams. You have to have some offensive threat. He has developed a big serve and can move the ball from A to B as well as anybody, he just does not know when to do it.


Further comments from Stefanki:
Beside Roger Federer, he is the best mover in the game. He has the best footwork and he is technically very sound.

His record is great and he is a very strong-minded kid, and I like that, but he needs to recognise when to play offence. I don't think he sees it while he is playing right now and that's the next step for him.

He is going to have a great future if he gets to the point of recognising balls to attack and to come into the forecourt and play there rather than 15 feet behind the baseline. He will win a lot of Slams, he is that good a mover.

I think he has plenty of weapons. He hits the ball as cleanly as anybody but you have to learn when to use them and unload on certain balls and I don't see him doing that.


Murray will return to action in 5 weeks when he kicks off the American hard court season at the Montreal Masters event on 10 August.
Andy has always been a pusher ..... it's definitely not a very flattering term, but it's a reality for a lot of Andy's game.
July 05, 2009, 10:27 AM
By Daisy

There's no doubt he was a pusher against Andy Roddick but in the last year I think we have seen him play aggressive tennis when it's needed. So I feel Stefanki's comment might simply be based on Friday's match along with this general misconception based on a couple of years ago rather than what Murray has been doing this year.

I do think Murray could be more aggressive generally but calling him a pusher is probably going too far.
July 05, 2009, 10:28 AM
By Mark

Nope - sorry - I agree with Stefanki.  In the Stefanki interview I watched - he said all this and more, and that was before the match was played.

Stefanki is a great great coach and if he says it is so, I personally, would write it down.

Apparently he was approached to beMurray's coach at one time (I recall that) and turned it down ..... citing, I think (but not sure) "too many issues".
July 05, 2009, 10:31 AM
By Daisy

Hmm I have a vague memory of when he was approached for that job... didn't Stefanki suggest at the time that he didn't take the job because Murray showed immaturity by getting his manager to ask him rather than Murray himself making a personal phone call? Think
July 05, 2009, 10:35 AM
By Mark

Hmm I have a vague memory of when he was approached for that job... didn't Stefanki suggest at the time that he didn't take the job because Murray showed immaturity by getting his manager to ask him rather than giving a personal phone call? Think

Ah - yes ...... I think you may be right there ..... or at least close to right (it was something along these lines).
July 05, 2009, 10:36 AM
By Daisy

Actually speaking of coaches and Larry Stefanki in particular......... I recall he coached Rios to #1 and was fired immediately thereafter.  Rios said he wanted to try different things (pretty hilarious).  Also, the other day, it was said that Tommy Haas has actually fired several coached DURING matches .......... now that really is funny! 
July 05, 2009, 10:38 AM
By Daisy

James is going to hate this article, he's gone to so much effort to disprove Murray is a pusher with all those YouTube videos lol
July 05, 2009, 10:45 AM
By Mark

Poor James - I posted a link to an article in similar mode in the News section .........
July 05, 2009, 10:47 AM
By Daisy

No,  I disagree.  Andy Murray needs to get back to his own game!  It was Andy Murray who introduced the skillful drop-shot and lob to top-level tennis and now even Roger F. is using both of these shots.  But Andy has been persuaded away from them by ? our Davis Cup advisors?  In his match with Roddick I estimated that Roddick certainly used the drop-shot more than our Andy.  We want to see more of the skill and control that Andy M. showed at Queen's when he was placing the ball exactly where he wanted to rather than using sheer power.  Andy has a terrific "tennis brain" please let him continue to use it.  Okay, perhaps he needs another version of his second service to avoid repetition. 
However, for some reason, perhaps the enormity of the likely match with Roger F. in the final, Andy M. just did not play anywhere near his best game on Friday.  He made so many unforced errors, he just wasn't himself!!  And I believe his body language showed that he was "tired" and that he did not have the full desire to win.
Next year will be a better opportunity for Andy M. and so I will continue to applaud the tremendous advances he has made and plead for him to concentrate on the skillful apects of his game and to continue using his brain more than his brawn.
Continued success to Andy M.
July 05, 2009, 10:51 AM
By Lew Lloyd

I don't think the pressure gets to Murray at all, I think the reason he didn't play well on Friday was because he was expected to win so easily and Murray needs to be nervous about his opponent to play his best. But maybe he just simply had an off day at the worst time.
July 05, 2009, 10:54 AM
By Mark

No,  I disagree.  Andy Murray needs to get back to his own game!  It was Andy Murray who introduced the skillful drop-shot and lob to top-level tennis and now even Roger F. is using both of these shots.   But Andy has been persuaded away from them by ? our Davis Cup advisors?  In his match with Roddick I estimated that Roddick certainly used the drop-shot more than our Andy.  We want to see more of the skill and control that Andy M. showed at Queen's when he was placing the ball exactly where he wanted to rather than using sheer power.  Andy has a terrific "tennis brain" please let him continue to use it.  Okay, perhaps he needs another version of his second service to avoid repetition. 
However, for some reason, perhaps the enormity of the likely match with Roger F. in the final, Andy M. just did not play anywhere near his best game on Friday.  He made so many unforced errors, he just wasn't himself!!  And I believe his body language showed that he was "tired" and that he did not have the full desire to win.
Next year will be a better opportunity for Andy M. and so I will continue to applaud the tremendous advances he has made and plead for him to concentrate on the skillful apects of his game and to continue using his brain more than his brawn.
Continued success to Andy M.

 confused lmao

July 05, 2009, 10:54 AM
By Daisy

I get where he is coming from, I think he's just exaggerating. Murray was infamous for his drop shots a couple of years ago, I don't think any other player at his level did it anywhere near as much as him.
July 05, 2009, 10:58 AM
By Mark

I know what he means, but what he said is hilarious (to me, but no doubt not to Roger)............ Smile
July 05, 2009, 11:00 AM
By Daisy

Stefanki has a point. Not sure if Andy is ever going to change his game though - there's been precious little sign so far.
July 05, 2009, 11:00 AM
By boogers

I'm wondering if the whole pusher thing has set like concrete in Andy's mind.  What I mean to say is that in the Junior's it's a great way to win matches.  Just wait for the opponent to fail and the point is yours.  However, in the real world, that game plan will only get you so far.  I am sure that Andy has won so many (Junior) matches and "lesser" ATP matches by playing that type of tennis, that he is going to take a lot of convincing to change his tactics altogether.
July 05, 2009, 11:03 AM
By Daisy

I agree to some extent with Stefanki - he seems to have given a fairly balanced analysis - still praising all Andy's skills etc. It might be that he needs to change his game to win a slam. HOWEVER, I don't think we should dismiss Andy's game altogether - he's clearly capable of winning tournaments...
July 05, 2009, 11:24 AM
By eira_arian

I think Stefanki definitely has a point. Andy's style is enough to beat 90% of the tour on most days, but he can be overpowered and wait too long for errors that won't come. He definitely CAN be aggressive because he does it from the start whenever he plays Rafa. He needs to be able to switch to a more offensive game as soon as it becomes clear that the opponent isn't going to cough up the errors - think Gonzo at the French or Roddick on Friday. Sitting back and being forced to pass in a 5 set match is too much to ask unless he is absolutely on fire.

Stefanki is also right about him stepping into the forecourt - Fed and Nadal can kill
a point from there, whereas Andy usually allows it to continue one shot too many.

I hope Andy has finally realised this - we all know that he can adapt to this, but is his own style too deeply ingrained? Frown
I don't want to sound too down on him but I'm still really disappointed about Friday. Frown
July 05, 2009, 12:15 PM
By Joe

It looked to me like he didn't have a plan B going into the Roddick match, that plan B should have been an aggressive strategy and then things might have been different. I suppose when you have a 6-2 record against someone, you don't really think about plan Bs.
July 05, 2009, 12:16 PM
By Mark

It looked to me like he didn't have a plan B going into the Roddick match, that plan B should have been an aggressive strategy and then things might have been different. I suppose when you have a 6-2 record against someone, you don't really think about plan Bs.

Like I said a couple of posts ago ......it's not clear to me that he can entirely change the way he plays ........ it's ingrained.
July 05, 2009, 12:17 PM
By Daisy

This time last year the press was full off what Andy had to improve in his game .He went away and worked on the areas that needed improving and is a much-improved player this year. He and his team did it last year, so I think they will be on top of it again this year, I think Murray will be more offensive from now on.   
July 05, 2009, 12:25 PM
By Vinnie

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