Former Wimbledon champion and British No.1 Andy Murray is finally back to his best after an injury-plagued and frustrating 2014, and is on the verge of rediscovering his best form – that’s according to mum Judy Murray.
It has been an electric start to the new season for Murray, his quarter-final win against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez last month was enough to see him pass Tim Henman for the most wins by a British player in the open era – it was the 497th victory of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Murray was also a beaten finalist in this year’s Australian Open by world No.1 Novak Djokovic back in January, while after reaching the semi-final in Indian Wells last week, Murray is now the second highest points scorer on the ATP Tour this year.
A look at the Race for London confirms this has been a decent start to the year for Murray, with him ahead of Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer, in that order.
Mum Judy – the current captain of the women’s Fed Cup team and star of reality television show Strictly Come Dancing – is convinced Murray’s back operation in late 2013 severely hampered his performances across the last 12 months.
And she feels son Andy, who is marrying Kim Sears on April 11 in Dunblane Cathedral, is only just starting to move as he did in 2013 when he lifted the Wimbledon title and challenged the supremacy of Djokovic as the world’s best player on a near weekly basis.
“2014 was a difficult year for Andy because he was returning from back surgery and any kind of surgery you just don’t recover quickly from,” said Judy Murray, SSE’s Next Generation programme mentor.
“But I think when it’s in your back it takes a long time to get it to the stage where you can put it through what you need to, to play tennis at the very top level and I think once he got into the back end of the season he finished it very strong.
“He won three tournaments, he qualified for the end of year finals and finished the year at six in the world, which is an incredible achievement considering he had what he would say was an inconsistent season.
“But then he had a really good off season with his coach Amelie Mauresmo and played incredible tennis all the way through Australia and the preparation events.
“That was a really good sign and it was good to see him back moving well and happy and healthy and playing his best tennis.
“And I think we saw some of his best tennis again at Indian Wells, which was great to see, so I think he’s back on track and he’s happy and he’s healthy.”
Murray is hopeful of adding to his coaching team this week, with the appointment of former world number four Jon Bjorkman.
The Swede will join as an assistant to Amelie Mauresmo sometime after he finishes his involvement in a television dance show.
The arrival of Bjorkman to Team Murray is timely after Djokovic dismantled the world No.4 at Indian Wells – the defeat sparked a Twitter row with a disgruntled fan and highlighted the urgent improvements needed if the Scot is to challenge for Grand Slam titles again.
But mum Judy has called on fans to be patient as Murray rebuilds his career, while she is convinced another major title is only just around the corner.
“I think you have to remember that Novak is the best player in the world presently and no match against him is ever going to be easy,” she added.
“Andy made the semi-finals of the French Open last year and has a good game for clay because he is a great athlete and has a great engine on him.
“Growing up, we trained a lot on clay in Barcelona. He played a lot on hard courts in Scotland, albeit indoors, so that will always be in my opinion his best surface.
“The grass season is very short and less of the top players play well on grass because they don’t have grass courts in their country, so they are not used to it.
“So I think grass always presents itself a big opportunity for any British player.
“But I think Andy’s goal is the same as it was when he was a little boy, he wants to win Grand Slams and he wants to be the best.
“He has a very good record in Grand Slams over the last four or five years so he will be out there and doing his best.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future.
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