Andy Murray fit for whatever challenges come his way against Verdasco

Scot has left no stone unturned in his meticulous physical preparations over the last six years

Andy Murray: will face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco today in the men’s quarter finals at Wimbledon. Photograph:Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Andy Murray: will face Spain’s Fernando Verdasco today in the men’s quarter finals at Wimbledon. Photograph:Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 01:00


Jez Green, Andy Murray’s fitness coach, is an interesting man. Green believes Murray is a rugby player in tennis shorts, an outlier of an athlete who could probably have picked up an oval ball and run with it as easy as hit one that is round and yellow.

The Scot, who arrived late to his press conference two days ago because of his cautious post -match rehab of ice baths and massage, changed his life and his career six years ago.

Like Novak Djokovic, the regime has transformed his career. In an age of rediscovering new ways of finding an edge, Murray has renovated his body, tacked on additional assets.

According to Green the 26-year-old has got the stamina of a middle distance runner, 800-1500metres, and the speed of a sprinter.

His 100m time would be around 11seconds, not outstanding but his speed over the first 20 metres, critical to tennis, is exceptional. Prior to last year Murray used to flog himself at his training base in Miami by running 10 consecutive 400 metre laps, taking 85 second rests in between.

Now he’s changed the emphasis to shorter runs. The world number two does 20 sprints over 100 metres in his cardio routine with one run every minute. But the most eye-popping change to Murray has been his changed shape.

The thing he doesn’t need is muscle mass but his strength-to-weight ratio means that, despite having almost no bulk, which allows him survive five-hour matches in baking heat, he can shift weights like a rugby player.

“On his best day he can do 27 pull ups, and push 500 pounds on the leg-press,” said Green earlier this year.

Wiry strength
“He could probably run 53 to 55 seconds for 400 metres if he trained for it. He is a big, powerful guy, whereas Novak has a wiry strength; his flexibility is extraordinary.”

Murray also does his chin-up sets with a 20kg weight strapped around his waist. He always eats within 30 minutes of coming off court in order to help his body recover.

He will eat six meals a day to keep fuel levels high and consumes heaps of sushi. Apocryphal or not he apparently consumed 42 pieces in a single sitting. Rich in protein, low in fat. Perfect. Out of season, Murray spends at least a month in boot camp, often running along the beaches in Miami. But during the season the main theme is protection.

In Wimbledon fortnight and at Roland Garros, which he missed this year due to a back strain, recovery and maintaining his body is key to success, especially in the second weeks.

Take care
“I missed the French Open. I don’t want it to be a case of things creeping back up on me. I want to take care of my body. It’s my main priority this tournament.” said Murray this week.

The only four events on the calendar that are two weeks long are the Grand Slams. But with just the two weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon causing particular problems, organisers are making changes. From 2015 Wimbledon will begin a week later to allow the top players avail of a three-week rest.

After every session Murray takes a 10-minute ice bath with water set to 10C. Some days he will also do bikram yoga, with exercises carried out in a sauna-like room set at 43 degrees.

“It’s insane how hot it is in there and you’ve got to hold your position. You sweat so much and you feel you’re going to faint,” he said last year.

And all of it will weigh on his side in today’s quarter-final against Fernando Verdasco