Wimbledon 2012: Centre Court 'meditation' gives Andy Murray mental edge over his rivals
Whatever your views on him - and few sportsmen divide opinion more violently - nobody could call him an automaton. In an era where so many players follow a set formula, he’s constantly inventive, throwing in a sliced lob here, or a deft drop shot there.
His approach to preparation is similarly open-minded, which is one reason why he hired Ivan Lendl at considerable cost - and some risk, given Lendl’s inexperience as a coach. No one knows if Murray will ever break through that grand-slam barrier, and his latest quest starts on Tuesday at the Wimbledon Championships against Nikolay Davydenko, but what we can say that he is doing his damnedest to get there.
“I have sat on Centre Court with no one there and thought a bit about the matches I have played there,” Murray said. “I have played so many matches and I have so many memories, which mean a lot to me. It feels a long time since the first one,” he added, as he thought back to his 2005 match against villain-of-the-moment David Nalbandian.
He has previously described the excitement of that maiden walk down the corridor from the locker-room, lined with photographs of former champions, and out past the famous Kipling quotation about “Triumph and Disaster”.
The stadium, he wrote in his autobiography, was perfect. “The grass so well cut; the lines so perfectly drawn. The only thing that isn’t good is the bottom of the umpire’s chair. You might say I’m nit-picking but the wheels are black and it looks really ugly in comparison to the rest of the court.”