Video of the Week: the Andy Murray Forehand

Andy Murray, fresh from another so nearly moment in a Grand Slam semi final, has been the subject of continued debate over what exactly is lacking in his game to go all the way and win a Grand Slam. Chief among technical factors, the forehand has proven to be the shot which has been make or break for him in crucial encounters.

It is the forehand which has let him down one too many times in the big moments, most recently in his Grand Slam matches against Rafael Nadal. Conversely, on the six occasions when the Scot has triumphed in this match up, it was through good work on the forehand side. As a defensive shot it is brilliant, but Murray’s challenge against the other ‘big three’ of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer is not to play well defensively, but to take the initiative in rallies and then hit through their resolute defences.  It is the forehand down the line in particular which is vital to Murray; he hits his cross court forehand well enough, but too often it is predictable that the Scot will hit in this direction as he rarely opts for a decisive down the line strike.

This match between Nadal and Murray from back in 2011 shows the Scot’s forehand at its very best. Here, Murray is relaxed, confident and hardly afraid to go for huge, flat strikes. On occasion Murray can be guilty of tightening up when he hits the forehand; he doesn’t really open his shoulders and take a cut at the ball, nor take the ball that fraction earlier needed to get the angle for a down the line shot. Murray is often at his free-flowing best in situations where the pressure is off; either in matches against an opponent who has few weapons and he is expected to beat, or toward the end of matches where he has dominated and is clearly in control, like here. If he is to capture a Grand Slam title he will have to learn to release the shackles on his forehand when it really counts.

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One Comment on “Video of the Week: the Andy Murray Forehand”

  1. mariposaxprs says:

    Great observation on Murray! It seems like ever since he took on Lendl as a coach, Murray’s serve has remarkably improved. I wonder if the forehand will soon show the same improvements as well.

    The Tokyo final was a nice surprise—Muzz was really in his element there and it made me wonder why he doesn’t play like that more often. He completely turned the match around and outplayed Nadal. Technically, while I think Muzz has a stronger forehand than Gasquet, both Muzz and Gasquet’s big matches ultimately tend to depend on how well they’re striking their forehands. I wonder how Lendl will coax Muzz into freely striking his FH and going for those down the line shots off that wing as well!


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