May 13, 2006 – Dr. John F. Murray is writing about rising British tennis sensation Andy Murray in the current (June, 2006) issue of ACE Magazine, Britain’s biggest tennis magazine, and about Andy’s prospects of handling the pressure of a nation during this year’s Wimbledon. The article hits the newstands very soon. In the meantime, enjoy the article by Eben Harrell about the fiery Scot who many feel holds the future of British tennis in his hands.
The Scotsman – Eben Harrell – The legendary Wimbledon referee Alan Mills has hit out at Andy Murray’s on-court behaviour, saying the Scot’s fiery temper is the main obstacle to him winning at the All England Club.
Mr Mills, who retired after 23 years as Wimbledon tournament referee last year, told The Scotsman he has “serious concerns” over Murray’s recent on-court behaviour.
Experience with top tennis champions such as the placid Pete Sampras and Roger Federer has convinced him that Murray cannot succeed unless he brings his temper under control.
Even the tumultuous John McEnroe, with whom the referee had many encounters at Wimbledon, played his best tennis when his emotions were in check, Mr Mills said.
Last month, Murray received Britain’s first fine in the 106-year history of the Davis Cup after swearing at a match official.
That fine followed a code violation issued to Murray at a pro tournament in San Jose in February, after Murray threw his racket four times and appeared to swear at a chair umpire.
Mr Mills said: “Things like that are very foolish. If you can’t control yourself that’s not going to be very good for you in the future. It’s one of two questions in his game.
“The first is his fitness and the second is his ability to keep his emotions under control”.
“I always go back to [Bjorn] Borg. He was always known as the Ice Man. But what most people don’t know is that at the age of 15 he behaved so badly at a tournament that the Swedish Tennis Association suspended him for six months. Soon after he learned his lesson and went on to be a great champion.
“It would be very difficult for someone to suspend [Murray] in this day and age. [But] if he imagined that it could happen he would have shaped up.”
After his Davis Cup fine, Murray justified his behaviour by arguing that footballers swear on the pitch without being reprimanded.
Mr Mills, himself a former Davis Cup player, said: “A certain amount of aggression is good. When I first saw him play, I thought, ‘At last, here was a British player who looks as though he wants it. He’s hungry. You can tell by the way he plays.
“You are always going to have things that happen on a tennis court that are going to upset you and there are ways of dealing with it without losing control.”
Mr Mills, 70, who is in Edinburgh this week refereeing the Scottish Open, also questioned Murray’s decision to fire coach Mark Petchy last month.
A spokesman for Murray could not be reached last night, but Jeremy Bates, the former British number one and current Davis Cup captain, said: “[Murray’s temper] is part and parcel of what makes him a good player. He is channelling it in the right direction – it’s what is going to make him such a champion.”
Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.