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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Andy Murray and his support staff ready for Wimbledon ~ UK waits !!

Come June and 1st week of July – we will be reading all about Wimbledon, the  oldest tennis tournament in the world, and widely considered the most prestigious.  It is held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments (Majors), the others being the Australian Open, the French Open (Roland Garros) and the US Open – the only major played on ‘grass’ – the original surface, giving the game the name  "lawn tennis".The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with the Ladies' and Gentlemen's Singles Final, scheduled for the second Saturday and Sunday respectively. Wimbledon traditions include a strict dress code for competitors, the eating of strawberries and cream by the spectators, and Royal patronage. The tournament is also notable for the absence of sponsor advertising around the courts. In 2009, Wimbledon's Centre Court was fitted with aretractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain.

Britain, as usual will be looking forward to one man – Andy Murray who had reasons to celebrate at Queen’s  making people believe, he is better placed to win the title again,  than he was when he beat Novak Djokovic in the final two years ago.“You just have to improve, otherwise I wouldn’t still be in the same position,” he said after beating Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Aegon Championships – two hours after completing a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Viktor Troicki on the same Centre Court in their interrupted semi-final.  That win over  Kevin Anderson gave him the Queen’s title for fourth time.   Murray joins four other four-time Queen’s winners in John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick.

He perhaps is in great nick, he went on to win Wimbledon after winning Queens in 2013 – but in Sports, there is no guarantee of any repeat performance.  He reportedly has been preparing hard on grass, gaining lot of confidence – but there is long way to go, as lot of things can happen during the various rounds.   Murray paid tribute to his coach of one year, AmélieMauresmo, augmented lately by the input of Jonas Bjorkman, for the adjustments to his game that have allowed him to play his best tennis in two years, on grass and clay.She is due to arrive in London shortly,  having left Bjorkman to oversee Murray’s training at Queen’s,  and she is expecting her first child in August.

Last year at Wimbledon, GrigorDimitrov broke British hearts by ending Andy Murray's reign as Wimbledon champion with a sublime and serene 6-1 7-6(4) 6-2 victory in the quarter-finals.   The third seed had confidently marched into the last eight without dropping a set, but his meek abdication left the Centre Court crowd, which included Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, stunned into silence.

Can you imagine the force behind his training – it is no longer One man army of Player or that of a Player assisted by personal Coach.  Ahead of his assault on SW19 later this month, Sportsmail brings you the eight members of Team Murray. MailOnline reports that Murray marked his title win on Sunday with a big thank you to the people closest to him. Joining in the big high five were...

1 - Josh Murray (employee at 77, Andy’s management company): The London-based company set up in September 2013 following Murray's triumph at Wimbledon. The name of the company was inspired by the 77-year wait for a British men's singles triumph at the SW19 event that Murray ended that year.
2- Rob Stewart (friend and ex-employee): Stewart manages Murray's official website and is very much a friend of the tennis star as well as an employee. Stewart has been credited for making Murray more accessible to the public with frequent updates, interviews and photos on the site
3 - Matt Gentry (manager): Murray's long-standing agent, Gentry is also managing director of 77 management.
4- Leon Smith (GB Davis Cup captain): A close friend of Murray, Smith has turned around the fortunes of the British Davis Cup since his appointment five years ago. He coached Andy as a teenager, and while never having played professionally, learned his coaching trade at the knee of Murray's mother Judy.
5 - Wife Kim: Murray wed his long-term girlfriend his hometown of Dunblane in April. Sussex-born Kim is the daughter of Nigel Sears, a women's tennis coach who trained Daniela Hantuchova
6 - Shane Annun (Physio): Has been working with Murray's team part time since October of last year. 
7 - Matt Little (trainer): An old friend of Murray, Little also works as the as the Lawn Tennis Association's strength and conditioning coach.
8 - Jonas Bjorkman (coach): Former world No 4 Jonas Bjorkman was Murray's sole coach at Queen's with pregnent Amelie Mauresmo set to re-join the team for Wimbledon. The Swede is a former world No 1 in doubles, winning nine grand slam doubles titles.

Grand team work indeed !!

In Dec 2011, the legendary Ivan Lendl was appointed coach to Andy Murray.  Lendl is  credited with improving Murray's maturity and consistency, guiding the Scot to his first two Grand Slam victories in the 2012 US Open, and 2013 Wimbledon Championships, thereby ending the 77-year-old wait for a male British tennis player to win a Grand Slam Major.  However, in Mar 2014, it was announced that Lendl and Murray would be ending their 2 year coaching partnership.

But is that 77 year right ?- all news sites mentioned of Andy Murray becoming the first British champion of Wimbledon since 1936.  Not right fully as in 1977, Virginia Wade on the Ladies Championship.  Frederick John "Fred" Perry,  won 10 Majors including eight Grand Slams and two Pro Slams single titles, as well as six Major doubles titles. Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships from 1934 to 1936.  Prior to Andy Murray in 2013, Perry was the last British player to win the men's Wimbledon championship, in 1936 but in Women, the latest is Virginia Wade in 1977.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd June 2015.

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