Melbourne | McEnroe believes Murray can ‘get back to where he belongs’.

Andy Murray has been advised by John McEnroe to take a leaf out of fellow veteran Rafa Nadal’s book and go on the front foot to achieve his dream of at least returning to the latter stages of a Grand Slam.

He’s 35 years old, the body has been through a lot of wars and so it's tough to teach an old dog new tricks. There's this fine line that he's got to find in his head and his body in order to move forward John McEnroe

Former world No.1 Murray has defied huge odds to return as a potential major contender despite long-term injury with has left him with a metal hip; a rare if not unique achievement in the history of the sport.

The Brit, 35, might not be figuring in latter stages of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne.

But he has shown during the latest renewal that an artificial hip does not preclude a competitor from being able to do so.

The insane scheduling saw him have just under three hours sleep following the longest match of his life – against Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis – ending in victory at 4.05 in the morning surely played a part in his third-round exit against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut later in the day.

But Murray, who knocked out 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in the opening round, showed throughout all his matches his indomitable spirit, allied to ease of movement, tactical nous and shot-making and placement which revived memories of when he was winning Slams, particularly Wimbledon, while battling out with players rated the greatest of all time in Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and, of course, Nadal.

And it was recognised and respected by a vociferous pro-Murray crowd in Melbourne.

John McEnroe commented on Eurosport

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Now McEnroe has suggested how the Scot can go even further to get back to where he once belonged, as Paul McCartney put it.

The American tennis legend, speaking to Eurosport, said: “Andy is a bit of a counter puncher.

“This has been talked about for numerous years, the need to be more aggressive. He’s one of the great returners ever. To me, he needs to take advantage of that and be more willing to move forward and finish points more quickly.

“I think Nadal has been doing a great job of that recently in the last four or five years where he picks the right moments to shorten points. Andy is no fool, he’s tactically very smart. I’m sure that going over this, it’s not his natural inclination. He may feel like he doesn’t have that explosion, that first step that he used to have. So maybe he’s a little hesitant about moving forward. That’s a dilemma.

‘He’s 35 years old, the body has been through a lot of wars and so it’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks. There’s this fine line that he’s got to find in his head and his body in order to move forward.

“Ultimately, it’s about the body holding up and mentally wanting the battle. Wanting to continue to do what we saw him do here (Melbourne). This is encouraging but even this tournament takes its toll on him.”



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