Murray urged to be more selective

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Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Andy Murray must learn to choose his tennis commitments wisely to avoid a repeat of his 2014 ATP World Tour Finals exit, former mentor Sergio Casal has warned.

Murray was beaten 6-0 6-1 by Roger Federer in his Group B match at the O2 Arena last month, which was the Scot’s worst result in seven years.

His seventh successive qualification for the World Tour Finals needed a mammoth run of tournaments in Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Valencia and Paris – the eventual strain meant Federer needed all of 56 minutes to dispense of Murray.

And Casal, who mentored and coached a teenage Murray during his years at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona, feels the Scot has to start working smarter in 2015.

Speaking at the academy’s visit to York, where it delivered a series of performance player, coach, and adult workshops, Casal told Press Association Sport: “He needs to choose well.

“I think he did about five (tournaments) in a row before the World Tour Finals.

“It’s difficult to play more than three for these guys. More than three, it depends on the player.

“At the beginning, when you are young, it’s good that you play everything – it is the best way to learn.

“At 18, 19, 20 we used to play 36, 37 tournaments. The more you get a better ranking you have to choose little bit. He has to do that.

“He took the risk maybe with that match (against Federer), I don’t know what happened.”

It has been a transitional year of sorts for Murray, not least with Amelie Mauresmo joining him as coach in June, following Ivan Lendl’s exit. In late November, Murray parted ways with long-term coaches Jez Green and Dani Vallverdu, the latter having befriended him as a teenager in Barcelona.

Nevertheless, Casal is confident Murray remains in prime condition to challenge for more Grand Slam titles, despite the pressure that comes from being Britain’s most successful tennis player of the Open era.

“These guys play a lot, they play a lot of years at high level with pressure from sponsors, press, the country, and they get tired,” Casal added.

“As far as you are getting older, you are fit, but it’s tough to recover. From one day to the other one, when you wake up it’s different to when you were in your twenties.

“Murray is still very young – 27 is good. He’s at his peak.

“You mature well, you don’t do mistakes as when you were a junior. He has three, four very good years left.”

:: Sergio Casal was speaking at the Sanchez-Casal academy’s UK coaching tour, held in conjunction with Down The Line Sports. For more information visit www.sanchez-casal.com and www.downthelinesports.com.

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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