Tennis: Stop extreme pressure and start developing players, says Murray

DOHA (AFP) - Andy Murray wants to put a stop to the habit of putting "extreme pressure" on players, as part of a legacy for his history-making achievement in winning Wimbledon.

The Scot ended a 77-year wait for a British male winner of the legendary Grand Slam event and is keen that the ensuing opportunity to learn lessons should not be missed during 2014.

He has been concerned about unhealthy attitudes in trying to produce winners for some time, and elaborated on it at the Qatar Open where he has been preparing for the Australian Open, the new year's first Grand Slam tournament.

"I just think it got to a stage where it was desperation," he said. "It was hoping, rather than (thinking) what are you trying to do to develop the next Wimbledon champion.

"You know you could have the best system and structure in place and never get someone that wins Wimbledon.

"The goal is really to get a number of players to the top of the game and competing on the tour. That is the goal you would try to achieve, rather than there being almost an obsession with just Wimbledon, and with those two weeks.

"Because I know what it will be like - the LTA (British Lawn Tennis Association) will be very nervous coming up to Wimbledon, because if the players don't do well there's a massive amount of negative press.

"Hopefully now you don't need to worry so much about just Wimbledon and can focus on the year as a whole," he said, referring to a hoped-for legacy of his triumph in July when a victory over Novak Djokovic in the final produced the first home winner since Fred Perry in 1936.

His remarks were developing a theme emanating from his comment here three days ago that: "We want to move on and concentrate on developing players - rather than putting people under an extreme amount of pressure".

Murray continued: "With the resources we have we should produce more top players. A lot of it comes down to the players themselves, putting in the work.

That's extremely important because many countries have got top players.

"The only thing they have that we don't is good weather, good climate, but in terms of facilities and stuff, we have fantastic facilities. So that's not really an excuse. You need to get more kids playing tennis, more regularly and at a young age, and keep them playing.

"Because it is not so tough to get a kid to try tennis, but to keep them playing for a number of years and not lose the best athletes to other sports, like football, or cycling or rugby, or cricket (is different). You need to make tennis as appealing as possible for youngsters to play."

Murray's tennis was developed by his mother Judy from a country within the United Kingdom - Scotland - which had only 20,000 registered competitive players and has an average day-time temperature below 10 deg C for more than six months a year.

After playing only two matches in Doha on his comeback ATP tournament, he is on his way to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open in 18 days' time.

Murray hopes, he says, that the operation on his troublesome back will enable him sometime later in the year to play at an even higher standard than when he won Wimbledon.

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