Originally posted on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 3/22/13
Murray
  If you hear someone escape to the Miami area in February, you assume they are another snowbird escaping the harsh winter. For Andy Murray, the reasons for his sojourn have now become part of his immediate reality and singular focus. I’ve talked in the past about the reasons behind Roger Federer’s scheduling this season (He will be skipping the Sony Open this week). However, Andy Murray did something similar by taking five weeks off after losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic . He retreated to the Miami area, a place he has spent some time over the years working on the fitness training that has come to define his game. It is an intentional decision by him and his team to exploit not only the Miami scenery but the humid weather. He incorporates running 400m laps to build endurance, free weights and core exercises to improve stability. The workouts are demanding and stressful but if you ask Murray, these weeks he spends in Miami may be more important than any practice he gets in a smaller tournament. “For much of the year, you’re just trying to maintain your fitness,” Murray tells MH at his training base in Miami. “It’s not often you get a lot of time to really concentrate on improving it.” –Men’s Health UK Sharpened Focus (Image available on menshealth.co.uk) It would be safe to suggest that it’s not hard getting focused when your coach is Ivan Lendl, one of the most intimidating forces in the history of tennis. However, Murray’s ongoing challenge is one that is present for any elite player. The need to have all the elements in your game(mental and physical) come together before the big tournaments and building fitness is a part of it. In Melbourne, Murray’s setback had nothing to do with being run off the court. He has the stamina to stay on court with Djokovic rather it will be the mental challenge to overcome the tough loss of being beat by the better player that day. The ability to move on and accept a loss for a loss. You would assume that the new championship pedigree will instill further confidence in him after a tough loss than before his US Open breakthrough. In his pseudo-home tournament this next week, I expect Murray to have better results than his quarterfinal loss to Juan Martin Del Potro at Indian Wells. With the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Murray to take some steps in Miami to avenge that loss to Djokovic. Check out more on the blog A man and his racquet
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