Querrey on the up, Murray’s career is at the crossroads

Andy Murray’s career at a tennis player is at the crossroads. Something was broke and needed fixing. He has decided to change his coaching team in a quest to advance further in the game

Andy Murray’s tennis career seems to be on hold. His goals of a winning grand slams, and maybe contesting for World No 1 seem increasingly remote. The trajectory was highlighted last week as he announced a change in training personnel. He also lost to big-hitter Sam Querrey [August 1st 2010] whose career seems on a more upward track.

The counter-puncher out-punched

The loss was in the final of the Farmer’s Classic, in Los Angeles, a relatively minor ATP event. Murray had accepted a wild-card and had been granted top-seed status. It could be argued that Murray did well to get to the final, where he demonstrated only fitfully his strengths of speed and shot brilliance, and more clearly the weaknesses that are now increasingly recognised. These are much to do with finding a shift away from counter-punching when facing a skillful big-hitter capable of out-punching the counter-puncher. Murray’s serve remains disappointingly unreliable.

Managing change

It is no exaggeration to suggest that Murray needs a radical change to reach his tennis goals. Changng his coaching set-up might be as necessary as was BP’s change of leadership recently, as much signal of intent as guarantee of future success.

Resilience and other success factors

In work on dream-teams, there is evidence that performance success may be shown through team factors such as resilience, learning from experience, vision, and capacity to activate a network of contacts. Murray has shown willingness to initiate changes to achieve his professional goals. His last coaching change was to remove the abrasive but internationally-experienced Brad Gilbert with a team-set up providing a cosier psychological environment led by Miles Maclagan. Strictly speaking, a positive team-climate is another success-factor, but positive is not the same as unchallenging. This time he may have acted realising that comfort-zones are there to be broken out of.

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