Andy Murray at Sanchez Casal Academy

Belgium chose to play the upcoming Davis Cup final on clay, Andy Murray‘s “worst” surface. Clay doesn’t really suit Belgian players David Goffin and Steve Darcis, but they probably think this surface is their best chance of beating Murray.

Even though the world number 3 has only won his first two titles on clay this year, he is a 3-time Roland Garros semifinalist (he lost to Rafael Nadal in 2011 and 2014, and to Novak Djokovic this year) and has spent 3 years training at the Sanchez Casal Academy in Barcelona.

In 2002, aged 15, he left Scotland for Spain. He had made the decision to train abroad the previous year, after a discussion with Rafael Nadal, who had been telling him about his four-hour-a-day hitting sessions in the heat of Majorca and his practices with former world number 1 Carlos Moya. Andy was then practicing only about 4 hours a week.

At the Academy, under the tutelage of tennis guru Pato Alvarez, he learned how to play on clay, and when he could attack. The Sanchez‐Casal system that splits the court into 3 zones: defence, transition and attack, improved Murray’s patience and movement.

Murray partied with Alvarez in 2005, he explained at the time that Alvarez wanted him to be less aggressive and play like the Spanish players, and that’s not the way he plays.

A few pictures taken at the Sanchez Casal Academy in November 2004, two months after Andy’s US Open junior title.

Andy Murray and Pato Alvarez

Andy Murray and Pato Alvarez
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Judy Murray

Robinsons is inspiring families to ‘Play Thirsty’ this summer by giving them some free and fun ways to enjoy tennis as part of the brand’s sponsorship of Wimbledon 2014.

Robinsons has launched six ‘Play Thirsty’ tennis tutorials with brand ambassador Judy Murray, providing games for mums, dads and kids to play together whilst learning the core skills that could inspire future tennis stars.

Sponsored video:

Judy focuses on skills like static and dynamic balance, agility & co-ordination all hidden within fun and active games. The games don’t require a sports club or a specialised trainer, just kids who want to play, and someone to play with them.

Check out more videos on Robinsons Youtube channel

Nike Training Club debuts a new workout with tennis star Serena Williams. Serena’s Core Power workout features some of her favorite core-strengthening moves that have helped her stay at the top of women’s tennis for more than a decade.
The 15-minute workout includes basic exercises done with stability balls and resistance bands, making them great for athletes of all types, and can be done anytime, anywhere.

The NTC app is available for free on iTunes or for Android. Download the NTC app here.

During the recent ATP world tour semifinal, I listened with interest to the radio commentary between Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Andy Murray came out of the blocks all guns blazing playing aggressively and going after Federer, taking an early break and controlling the match. Federer sounded a bit rattled, not too dissimilar to the start of the Wimbledon final in July. The commentators then got into an interesting discussion where they claimed that Murray was targeting the Federer backhand and Murray thought he could get to it and be almost “dismissive” of it. Federer’s one hander somehow wouldn’t cut it at the very top level they mused.

Roger Federer

My ears pricked up instantly for two reasons, the first was I thought the commentators were taking liberties; and the second was that I have heard it all before. There is no doubt the two hander has major advantages in the modern game, and has done since the 1970s when Jimmy Connnors, Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert changed the game with that stroke. However, the way Federer turned the match around confirmed to me what I thought from the moment the discussion was made by the commentators.

For sure, the pundits will look to Federer’s forehand as to why he came out on top in that particular encounter. After all, the Federer forehand is deadly especially when his feet are moving well. However, what changed the match was Federer’s versatility, and his one hander was a big part of that. Federer changed the tempo of the rallies often, using the one hander when stretched to slice the ball and float it, allowing him to get back into position.
Federer also chipped the backhand return on Murray’s 2nd serve, and on breakpoint in the 1st set, used the old chip and charge tactic to great effect, breaking Murray’s serve in the process. Federer also used the backhand down the line whenever possible to stretch Murray.

These were exactly the same tactics Federer used to turn around the Wimbledon final, on that occasion Federer also drove the backhand return often and took to the net more than he usually does. When those tactics work, the forehand is the icing on the cake. The fact that Murray thought he could win the match by attacking the backhand was a mistake, a mistake many players have made over the last five or six years. Nadal’s lefty topspin has always been a big problem but other opponents hit flatter and into his hitting zone.

Roger Federer
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Nike+ Training transforms a daily workout from a necessity to something fun. The experience fuses the appeal of gaming with high-intensity fitness to create the perfect training companion to a 24/7/365 lifestyle.

The technology in utilizes a new Nike+ Pressure Sensor built into each shoe that collects information about the user’s movement and then wirelessly transmits data to their phone. It is then translated into different metrics delivering previously unknown information about either their workout or their game.

Nike+ Training is designed to turn working out into a game. Featuring insights from some of the world’s top athletes including Rafael Nadal, Manny Pacquiao, Allyson Felix and Hope Solo, the Nike+ Training experience makes elite level training available to everyone.

The programs consist of a series of short, sharp workouts, designed to help users get fitter, faster and stronger. Each workout is demonstrated on-screen to provide detailed guidance and motivation. During each drill or challenge data and feedback on the workout is delivered to the user’s phone via the Nike+ Training mobile app. Daily programs can be created based on how hard the user wants to train, and the app provides a digital community to share each day’s workouts and challenges with.

Workout statistics can be shared and compared with friends via social networks allowing users to challenge each other and compete to top the Leaderboard.

The first NIKE+ enabled Training shoes will be the Lunar Hyperworkout+ for Women and the Lunar TR 1+ for men.