Exclusive interview. Nick Bollettieri’s five thoughts before Andy Murray plays Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
“If Murray wants to beat Federer, he has to keep him pinned down. He needs Federer to be hitting the ball three or four feet behind the baseline. He needs Federer to be playing the ball at shoulder height, especially on the backhand side. If Murray allows Federer to play the ball from the baseline, then Murray’s going to be in trouble, as Federer is such a great attacking player and shot-maker. If Murray wants to keep Federer pinned down, he has to imagine that he’s hitting the ball over two nets, rather than one, as he doesn’t want his groundstrokes to be too flat.”
“This is going to be the first time Murray has played Federer at a grand slam when he’s a champion himself. Murray’s going to feel so much better about himself. He should be thinking to himself, ‘I’ve already won a slam, damn it, I’ve already done this’. He’s going to have so much self-belief before this match. He’s already done it once – in fact, he’s done it twice before because he won the Olympics – so he knows that he’s capable of winning another big title. He should be more relaxed.”
“At the same time, Murray has created pressure for himself by winning a grand slam. You have to live up to that pressure of being a grand slam champion.”
“Murray is in such great shape now that he can stay in rallies for so long, and he’s not going to lose out physically. Murray doesn’t have the guns that Federer’s semi-final opponent, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, does – he doesn’t hit the crap out of the ball like the Frenchman does – but he’s a great defensive player. Murray is a fantastic mover, and is capable of playing great defensive and offensive tennis. And you can see that his coach Ivan Lendl has improved his game in the year they’ve been working together.”
“I think it’s going to be one hell of a match and I think it will come down to nerves.”
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