Andy Murray’s New Attitude – you read it here first

Ours is a wonderful, but equally ours is a very difficult game.

We have all had days when we played great, sometimes unexpectedly great.

And we have all had days when we played far far below our best level, said another way far below our expectations.

When some say the game is 95% mental, I am now coming to understand that this “mental thing” is about a mind that is quiet, free from expectation or worry, a mind that is open and totally present centered.

But from personal experience, I confess I am not always accessing that special state – but I am working on it.

That said  many months ago (January of 2011 to be precise)  I published an article on Ivan Lendl, and the chance that Andy Murray would then hook up with the sports psychologist who had made such a difference in Lendl’s career.

Sure enough, in October of this year (2012) Andy Murray has gone on record that he has been working with Alexis Castorri.

The following from the Independent in England is well worth reading.

Andy Murray tells BBC Scotland that he has been working with sports psychologist Alexis Castorri since the start of the season. Murray’s coach, Ivan Lendl, recommended Castorri, whom he also worked with.

“I spoke about things away from the court that may affect you and stop you from being fully focused on tennis,” Murray said. “A lot of athletes use sports psychologists. I had in the past and it hadn’t worked particularly well for me. It’s something when I spoke to Ivan [about] at the beginning of the year, he’d travelled with a sports psychologist throughout his career. He asked if I was open to trying it and I said ‘yes.”

Andy Murray had doubted the value of psychologists in the past but the 25-year-old Scot revealed here last night that he has been consulting one for most of this year. Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach, suggested that the world No 3 could benefit from seeing Alexis Castorri, a psychologist based in Fort Lauderdale who helped him during his own career.

Murray believes the sessions with Castorri have helped him on the court as well and played a significant part in his victory at the US Open last month, when he became the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title for 76 years.

When my mind isn’t free of everything, when things might be frustrating me away from the court, I can’t focus as well as I need to,” Murray said. “When my mind’s clear, I can go on the court and play, not worry about anything else. I can play much better and think a lot better on the court.”

The basis of Castorri’s work comes from logotherapy – the idea that truly the only choice you have in life is attitude – the mental and emotional reactions you choose to the events in your day to day life.

And when it comes to playing your best tennis, to quieting your mind, and becoming present centered – it is possible for you to truly learn to “choose” this emotional state.

I published the following article January 16th – and truly I believe as regards attitude, logotherapy and Andy Murray – you read it here first!

And now if you have made a decision to work on your attitude – consider the ETI Network – we have over 30 online lesson articles devoted entirely to the “mental game.”  And further, throughout the coming year I am going to work personally, as well as instructionally through this site and our online product stream, on training methods and states associated with that elusive yet oh so powerful feeling when in the “zone.”

What are your thoughts, or better yet, when have you been “in the zone?”  Share your comments, this is an interesting topic.

PS.  Djokovic and Wawrinka just finished a marathon 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10 match, with Novak yet again on top.  Consider his 5 hour 5 set match over Murray in last years Australian Open semifinal, followed by his nearly 6  hour victory over Nadal in the finals.  Couple this with his 5 set two match points down victory over Federer in the 2012 US Open semifinals, and his subsequent 5 set 5 hour victory over Nadal to capture the US Open title – and what we have here is an attitude – a commitment – a steely resolve of a player who “refuses to lose.”  Amazing.  Can you imagine the pressure felt by opponents as a match with Novak enters either the 5th set and or the 5th hour.  Attitude – plain and simple.


  • ed simon

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    thank you so much, Ihave gained alot from your instruction and information.

  • Steve Flowers

    Reply Reply January 25, 2013

    Thanks – Lots of Questions:

    with serena’s injury i saw she was serving mainly with her arm and
    was serving about as fast as i do – 82 mph or so.
    i have been told by my wife that i serve mostly with my arm and i have
    been told by you that i am trying to muscle the ball.
    so how do you get more input from the rest of your body on the serve
    and not just the arm? do you bend your knees for more leg action and rotate your shoulders more?
    my wife says serena jumps up and forward into the court when healthy and i don’t.

    also i was studying stan wawrinka’s 1 hand backhand and they say he uses a modified eastern
    backhand grip and that allows him to wait longer to hit the ball. i don’t understand what this grip is and how that would allow him to swing later? also studying nickolas amalgro’s one hand backhand.
    saw the 1st 2 sets in the qtrs versus david ferrer – he must have collapsed in the last 3.
    don’t understand that either?

    i also saw sharapova look very bad against li na in the semis – what happened ?
    she had been playing sensational before that match but looked slow and made
    too many errors. she served badly and did not return well. she did not even move
    for a lot of balls on 2nd serve returns. she was sliced often wide to her forehand on the deuce court.

    i don’t understand how a top lady pro can play that poorly in a big match after playing so well
    in all other matches. granted li na has improved but…..

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply January 25, 2013

      Steve – as regards Serena and the serve all the body parts must be used in a cumulative rhythm – legs hips torso shoulder and so on. Jumping into the court really insn’t the issue. On one handed backhands Wawrinka and Almagro look similar to me – but I suspect they suggested Stan’s grip is further on the eastern backhand than is Almagro. And as regards Sharapova, I think her opponent was too good, and hit the ball much deeper and closer to the lines than her previous opponents. Plus, everyone has a range of play and perhaps Maria was ever so slightly off.

  • Alan

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    There is a tennis pro, Scott Ford, who published a book about how to “enter the zone”. One of my tennis friends and I have worked at length through the concepts and progressions outlined in his book. Frankly, his concept of “parallel processing” and focusing on the contact point at the window vs “serial processing” by focusing on the ball is not easy to totally buy into. However, I have found that when I can lock into the contact point/window – I get in the zone. It’s not an easy skill to master. But similar to the above article and video – a clear mind is very beneficial to one’s game.

  • Bertel Rennerfelt

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    Speaking about luck in tennis, luck is just a reward for skilfulness!

  • Mary

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013

    Thank you for your wonderful web site and advice.

    That said, Andy Murray acts like a spoiled brat on the court. I wish all the commentators weren’t so gaga over him. He is not a person I would want my son to emulate. Yes, he can be nice in an interview, but he is truly horrible on the court, like a raving lunatic. Just sayin’

    Tennis is not football. We should hold them to higher standards. I realize Connors started this, but it’s worth pointing out. Don’t try this at home.

    As far as Gerard’s comment about Wawrinka’s failure to challenge. It is not so easy for players to be sure about the back line. It’s very hard to see balls at your feet. Admitting that you ticked the ball or it double-bounced is the best behavior. Trying to make judgement calls about whether your opponent should or should not challenge is ridiculous. What is Dj tells him to challenge and it is out of challengers later. Not Dj’s job.

    You have a great web site.

    All the Best,

    Mary B

  • Srinivasan Balaraman

    Reply Reply January 23, 2013


    Attitude definitely important. The courageous strokes at the crucial moment of 5 set match are definitely of high quality of mental strengh. But, we can not forget the loser also who has played equally well for 5 full set. Without equally strong mind, the loser can not go upto that level. There is a fraction of luck or some other factor which might have played the difference. In my opinion, the world tops are having very strong mind mental attitude.

  • Mogens Kock Hansen

    Reply Reply January 22, 2013


    yes, I couldn’t agree more!! It was the match of his life – Wawrinka’s. And he did so well. But fair play and sportmanship – where do they go when so much money and prestige are on stake? In that situation the Serb did not show it.


    Reply Reply January 22, 2013

    I’m a veteran of over 70years old and after many many years playing at club level I agree completely with Jim. May I just add that is having the mental strength, belief and confidence that you can ndeed win those crucial games & matches.Just wish after all these years I had it!!
    Mike Cowan France

  • Gerard

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    Instead of Murray’s attitude, for me it is more important to comment about the attitude of Djokovic and Wawrinka.
    In the fith set, at 4 set 4, Djokovic was serving and Wawrinka has the chance to break his opponent then, a judge call his ball out. Wawrinka ask the chair umpire who agreed with the call but, to my surprise, Wawrinska didn’t ask for a replay. It was a very important point because he won his service wright after that. He lost the match because he didn’r ask for the replay. We had a chance to see the replay and the ball was directly on the line without a doubt.
    I am pretty sure that Djokovic saw that ball in too but, he didn’t say a word.
    Last year, Tsunga was men enough to admit by himself that, the ball had made 2 jumps before he was able to hit it good on the other side of the net and even if the umpire did not see it. Tsunga is a fair player. I don’t know about Djokovic !
    Tell me what is your opinion about that,

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply January 22, 2013

      Gerard – I have yet to see the match so I really cannot comment – not at all sure

  • Sally

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    Hi Jim, you said in a video that a coach who dishes out too much info in a class isn’t always a good coach,well that’s how i feel about some psychologists,THEY TALK TOO MUCH about nothing.I bought a book on 50 mental strategies but could only remember 1 or 2 when i played a match.I’m trying the elastic band now,when i make a mistake i give it a ping on my wrist…lol

  • Michael

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    Jim, great stuff!
    Just an FYI-
    For many years, I’ve been trying to get my players to connect mentally with four things:
    1 Emotion is created by motion. Carry yourself happily.
    2 As a player thinkith, so shall they play. Think good thoughts.
    3 The mental “player” inside us enjoys RITUALS: bouncing the ball, hopping, play tempo –
    Find the ritual that helps you be perform best and “do it”.
    4 Start RECOVERY breathing during the warm up and continue throughout the match.
    Slowly in thru the nose and out thru the mouth.

  • Mike Street

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    Hi Jim,
    Yes, the mental aspect of the game is so important, especially for those of us who are vulnerable to apprehension and nerves, even the yips. I appreciate all your reports, Jim, and especially any referrals re: sports psychology would be helpful. Keep ’em coming.
    Mike Street

  • Carol

    Reply Reply January 21, 2013

    I watched a college match at the Michigan Invitational yesterday which underscores the importance of having a mind free of everything. Player A had won set one easily, and was serving to close out the match at 5-2 in the second. Player B, her opponent, just kept going steadily…not trying to win the point, but to force Player A to come up with a winner. They played 5 deuce points where Player A had the ad, and on each she failed to take the match. With each failed ad point, she became increasingly frustrated, and was visibly irritated. You could almost predict what happened next. Not only did Player A lose that game, but she failed to close out the match on her next service game as well, and then went on to lose all but one of the first 13 points of the third set.
    As a spectator, you could see (and even hear at some points) what was going on in her head, and you could predict her loss far before it was finalized. To me, this match was the perfect example of needing to keep your mind free of everything. Player A had stronger strokes, more weapons, and likely had an expectation that she should have “crushed” Player B, as Player B had a weak serve, was very short in stature, and had no weapons, other than her consistency. Thanks for placing an emphasis this year on this all important aspect of this wonderful game we play.

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