Murray adopts new exercise to get in shape for dual test
Andy Murray has turned to a little-known form of training called the GYROTONIC® Method to help get his body through a hazardous next couple of weeks.
The aim is to increase Murray’s flexibility ahead of the dual challenges of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begin today at London’s O2 Arena, and the Davis Cup final that follows in Ghent.
As ever, Murray has shown that he is prepared to adopt and invest in the unconventional in order to achieve his aims. A particular issue this fortnight is the switch from hard court to the clay being used by the Belgians, which will require different movement techniques.
Andy Murray has turned to a little-known form of training called gyrotonic to help get his body through a hazardous next couple of weeks.
Earlier this month the world No 2 flew over a renowned American instructor, former dancer Teresina Goheen, to give him daily workouts in the practice that has elements of yoga and tai chi.
Goheen, who once performed alongside British entertainer Michael Crawford in his shows, was in attendance at the Paris Masters at the start of this month.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my regular team and also had Teresina come across from America,’ he said. ‘It’s like pilates but different movements. I did a session every day, which helps with my movement and flexibility and I also did it when she came over to Barcelona.’
Gyrotonic advertises itself as a hybrid that takes in aspects of yoga — of which Murray has long been a devotee — dancing and swimming, with a particular emphasis on rotating the spine.
That is an area the 28-year-old Scot has to protect, although it has improved considerably since his back surgery in 2013, and has been a major factor in his resurgence towards the top of the game.
While Novak Djokovic heads the world rankings by a mile, Murray can confirm his status as the nearest challenger this season if he can win two matches at the O2.
That would guarantee him the year-end No 2 position for the first time in his career and render irrelevant anything third-placed Roger Federer does. If the Swiss legend underperforms this week, Murray may not even have to win two matches to secure second place.
It is a strange dynamic for him, as he has made it clear that lifting the Davis Cup for Britain for the first time since 1936 is the priority.
‘My ambition is to win the tournament but I have to be realistic about how well I will start,’ he said. ‘It’s impossible to prepare for both events, for me anyway. For some guys they can rock up on a clay court and immediately feel great. I will go out there and give it my best in all of the matches.’
What will surely not happen is a repeat of his last match of 2014, when he won only one game against Federer.
‘Last year was a terrible way for me to finish the year and I don’t want that to be the case again. Also if I was thinking ahead about the Davis Cup, to show up and then get thrashed three times while getting ready for Ghent is terrible preparation.
‘So I want to go out there and perform well, winning some big matches and that will give me confidence for the Davis Cup.’
A fascinating aspect of this week at the O2 — open to the season’s eight top performers — is its geriatric make-up. Japan’s Kei Nishikori is the youngest qualifier and Djokovic the second youngest at 28.
n 2014 there were three new qualifiers, but this year there are none, showing the remarkable stability at the top of the game. David Ferrer, for example, is now 33 and has made the field seven times.
The generation that was meant by now to be challenging them — featuring the likes of Canada’s (currently injured) Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Australian Bernard Tomic — has not yet materialised. Now observers are looking for Nick Kyrgios, his fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis and German Alex Zverev to come through.
The explanation is that the modern sport’s demands require greater physical maturity, and the excellence of those at the top.
‘There are only two options,’ said Rafa Nadal, now nearly 30. ‘The players who are here are very good. The other option is that the new generation needs more time. Sport is simple. The reason nobody of the new generation is here is because they didn’t play well enough.’
15 November 2015