Murray urged to reflect on alarming remarks as Davis Cup captain in disagreement
Leon Smith is hoping that Andy Murray will “reflect” on his crushing defeat to Alex de Minaur as the British Davis Cup captain claimed that the world No 40 had improved, despite what Murray may believe. The 36-year-old confessed that he wasn’t enjoying his tennis after his first-round exit from the Rolex Paris Masters. But Smith explained that Murray had actually been able to fix some of the issues he targeted in practice.
Murray was brutal following his loss to De Minaur on Monday, claiming that he hadn’t enjoyed being on a court for the last few months. The three-time Grand Slam champion said he needed to put in a serious shift during the off-season to get to where he wants to be.
But the Brit’s Davis Cup captain isn’t in total agreement with Murray, as Smith explained that the former world No 1 had made several improvements and would have been able to see it had he won the match. “I think it’s normal,” Smith said of Murray’s claims that he didn’t enjoy his tennis.
“He’s a bloody good tennis player and he’s trying to find that way because he’s not been far away in some matches. Like, yesterday would have been a really good win. What is Demon, like 13 in the world? It’s a bloody good win and he’s so close to it and he is getting hacked off on the court because he knows he can do better still.”
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Smith was in Murray’s box as the Brit served for the victory twice and had a match point but still crashed out. It was one of several close, tough defeats the 36-year-old has suffered this year and the tennis coach knew that the brutal defeats weren’t helping Murray’s confidence. He continued: “I think it must be difficult.
“The Tsitsipas match [in the Wimbledon second-round] and there’s been moments this year where he could’ve changed things quite a lot by getting over the line in a couple of them and I know he hasn’t and that will really frustrate him.”
Murray himself explained that he used to rely on his fighting spirit to get him through the tight matches, though that had failed him in recent months. But once again, Smith wasn’t alarmed. “I think if you win a bit less, it’s just normal. Where do you get your confidence from? It’s winning isn’t it?” the 47-year-old added.
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“I hope he reflects on yesterday because I thought he played some really, really good tennis. From a set and 4-3 down he sort of clicked up a gear. He was playing well in the first set, I mean he should have won the first set really as well. But I thought it was what he was doing with the stuff he’s been working on in practice, I thought that was the best – from what I have seen as well – as best as he’s hit the ball and what he was doing with it.
“I thought he was dominating on his forehand from the centre of the court really, really well. I thought he played better when he came forwards at the net than previous. So for me, those two elements were really good. Very aggressive on second serve, returning it.”
Had Murray beaten 13th seed De Minaur, Smith thought that he may have changed his mind about his game. “I think he was doing things much better yesterday and why it’s a shame he didn’t win, because then you feel those benefits more,” he explained. “When you lose, it’s more difficult to reflect on, ‘I’ve got a bit better again’, which I think he has.”
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