John McEnroe was never known for his sunny demeanour on a tennis court, but still he has some advice for Andy Murray — cheer up now that you have won your first major.
The veteran American thinks a more positive outlook should help Murray (below) in his quest to add to his US Open title next season, although he acknowledged that he was hardly a shining example when he was at the top of the sport.
‘It would be helpful to see Andy be sort of, “I want to be here and I’m loving this”,’ said McEnroe, who beat Jeremy Bates 6-4, 6-1 in the Statoil Masters at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday.
‘I say it as an ex-player and someone who wished that I had done that a little bit more. ‘One of the things that worried me is that he used to get so negative that not only would it turn himself off, but it turned off people watching him.’
McEnroe believes Murray has everything to play for next season in what could be a year of change for the men’s game after so much domination by four players. ‘This is around the time something is going to give,’ he said. ‘Roger is amazing, but he’s 31. Rafa is the one we don’t know about, he hasn’t played for seven months.
‘Djokovic has finished the last two years at No 1, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to have a letdown, but if he won two Grand Slams it wouldn’t be shocking either.
‘Andy has set himself up for a big year, although he missed a few opportunities at the end of this season.
‘If he doesn’t take it up a notch he would be disappointed, but if he wins one major that would be a good year. They’re not very easy to win.’
McEnroe has been impressed by Laura Robson and Heather Watson but feels the former has the potential to go further. He said: ‘If she commits to getting herself in tip-top shape then she is easily a top-10 player. She could be like someone like Tomas Berdych in the men’s game, big and powerful.’ – Daily Mail