By Angus Mugford, Head of Mental Conditioning, IMG Academy
As the head of Mental Conditioning at IMG Academy, I have a biased perspective on seeing Andy Murray's growth and ultimately success at the US Open from a mental perspective. Over the years, Andy has clearly put a lot of time into being in great physical shape. His movement, strength and speed around the court are without question. The most questions about Andy have centered around his ability to control his emotions, and his ability to deal with the pressure and expectations from the British public, and whether or not he had the belief that he could beat the top three (Djokovic, Federer, Nadal) when it really counted. All of these questions were answered on Monday evening.
Possible keys to his success?
1) Crying at Wimbledon. Believe it or not, I think that the emotion he showed after losing the final to Federer at Wimbledon provided such a positive reaction from the British public and press, he realized the amount of support he really had. Rather than pressure, perhaps this created a shift of support and positive energy?
2) Winning Gold at the Olympics. Okay, so this is a no-brainer right!? While this wasn't a Grand Slam, he lost a good battle at Wimbledon in the final, but how often do you get a rematch a few weeks later on the same court against the same rival? This was a huge boost to beat the #1 and #2 in the world, not to mention winning an Olympic gold for your country. It was proof that he could do it when it counted.
3) Bad weather conditions. If you look at the body language of Djokovic and Murray at the beginning of the final, you will see a winner and a loser. More specifically, you will see a âvictim' and a âfighter'. One of them complained about the wind, shrugged his shoulders, looked up at the sky and shook his head. The other let it go and focused on the next point. Guess who won the match? Perhaps it's the benefit of being born and raised in Scotland? Regardless, let this be a lesson to young players out there. You will rarely have perfect conditions, especially when it matters the most. Embrace those days with bad weather - it may just be the best practice of your life!
4) Utilizing his team. One of the comments from Djokovic in the consolation speech referred to the success not just of Andy, but his team. The holistic approach with our Athletic and Personal Development training disciplines at IMG Academy are essential to the success of a player, which is usually the fruit of the labor of many people behind the scenes. From the sports medicine, to physical conditioning, to nutrition, mental conditioning and great coaching, plus the support of his family and friends. Andy's done a great job surrounding himself with people helping him on his mission. Take the time to look and consider who's on your team and make sure that you all have the same mission.
Congratulations, Andyâ¦ Let the golden age of men's tennis continue!