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Two-and-a-half-month winter training hell produced stunning Australian Open upset

January 17th, 2023

Andy Murray – Andy Murray: Two-and-a-half-month winter training hell produced stunning Australian Open upset – Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

Andy Murray entered a tennis version of “goblin mode” in Florida in December, doing nothing but training, eating and sleeping, which is how he came to be celebrating a five-set victory on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday night.

This intensive three-week training block was the only way to address the cramping problems that had afflicted Murray throughout the second half of last season. And the medicine must have worked. Murray navigated his 4hr 49min marathon against Matteo Berrettini without needing so much as a bathroom break, let alone a visit from the trainer.

“Yeah, just lived a pretty sort of basic life for those weeks,” Murray explained, of his retreat near a typical American country club in Boca Raton. “I stayed in a house which was a maximum two-minute drive from the court that we practiced on every day there.

“I was just, yeah, get up at the same time most mornings, go grab a coffee, get down to the practice courts, spend two-and-a-half, three hours on the court, have lunch, then head to the gym in the afternoon, or sometimes go back on the court again.

“Yeah, just had very, very little distractions. I was totally focused on my training and on my tennis, the things I needed to do to get better. It’s something that I’ll definitely look to do at times during the rest of this year, to make sure I dedicate enough time to hard work and improving my game.”

For all the obvious value of intensive training blocks, it’s difficult to accommodate them amid the hurly-burly of the tour. Still, we could potentially see Murray duck out of certain tournaments this year – probably during the clay-court swing, which is his least favourite part of the season – to boost his endurance and tune up his skillset.

His ball-striking against Berrettini was the cleanest we have seen from him since he suffered his hip injury six years ago, and his clear tactical mindset stemmed from a palpable confidence in every aspect of his game.

Dan Evans – the British No2 who was following events from the player gym – had a hunch that good things might be around the corner after he and Murray swapped messages last week.

“He’s pretty negative,” said Evans of Murray’s general demeanour and tendency to be hard on himself. “He messaged last week saying, ‘Yeah, [I’ve done] some good work.’ Obviously he feels he’s hitting the ball well if he gives himself a compliment.

“I think the amazing thing is he didn’t cramp,” Evans added. “He obviously had troubles with the cramping and I think he will be happy that he did his pre-season and he got everything right. I mean, he always does. Andy leaves no stone unturned.”

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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