McEnroe believes that if the world number 4 really wants to achieve his dream of finally winning a Grand Slam trophy, he needs to present a more positive image when playing on court and should ignore his present back problems. McEnroe has often been critical of Murray’s unique on-court negativity, especially his tendency to shout at his corner when losing points. Having hired Ivan Lendl as his primary coach last year, Murray has tried to address this potentially damaging behaviour, something that McEnroe has noticed – “He’s worked exceptionally hard but it hasn’t really paid off in the way people expected”.
Murray, who has often been dubbed the greatest player never to win a Grand Slam, has had a tumultuous experience at the French Open this year. Entering the tournament he was suffering with a persistent back problem, even causing severe spasms that almost knocked him out in the second round. Battling on, Murray played some of his best tennis in his fourth round match against the Frenchman Richard Gasquet, seeming to revel in the hostile reception as the Scot faced off against the home favourite. Just 48 hours later, however, in his pivotal match with the 6th seeded Ferrer his back problems and internal frustrations were evident again, leaving him clutching in pain at his back every time he lost points.
As is often the case when it comes to Murray, those in the tennis world are divided in their opinions of his chances of winning a Grand Slam tournament, despite him having reached three finals so far in his career. McEnroe and Murray’s former coach Mark Petchley still has confidence in his ability to do so, with Petchly believing that “he is so close to being able to pick one of these titles up and it may come in the next few”. With three of the greatest tennis players to have played in the open era – Nadal, Federer and Djokovic – often standing in his way, McEnroe’s words that “time is becoming of the essence” must serve as a stark warning for the talented 25-year old who will surely be hoping to play at his best in the upcoming Wimbledon championships.