Andy Murray working harder than ever says Leon Smith

Leon Smith, Great Britain’s Davis Cup winning captain, has revealed Andy Murray is working harder than ever at his Florida training based to defend his World No1 ranking.  Murray interrupted his punishing schedule to receive the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for an historic third time after defending his Olympic title, winning Wimbledon again and usurping Novak Djokovic as the best tennis player on the planet.   Smith, Murray’s first coach, has just returned from the 29-year-old’s training base where the No1 is working with brother Jamie, who is part of the World’s top ranked doubles team, Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and Dom Inglot in preparation for the Australian Open in Melbourne next month.  Smith said:”Andy is working as hard as I have ever seen him at the moment and the hunger and motivation from all the players training out there is incredible. I am really excited about the new year. Just remember what Andy had to do to get the No1 ranking in the last three months of the year – an outrageous number of wins in a row.  It is difficult to stay at the top, but having just come back from Florida having spent time with them all, it is astonishing the amount of work Andy is putting in.”  Great Britain have a World Group first round clash with Canada in Ottawa (Feb 3-5) just days after the Australian Open finishes and Smith knows he will have to wait to discover if the World No1 is going to be able to play. He explained:” Both teams are led by two of the best players in the world – Andy and Milos Raonic – and it will depend how deep they go in Melbourne. It is a 24-26 hour trip to Ottawa from Australia moving from outdoors to indoors with a massive change of temperature.“  The exploits of the Murray brothers following the Davis Cup win just over a year ago, allied to Johanna Konta’s move into the women’s top 10 ranking plus Gordon Reid’s wheelchair No1 ranking, has given British tennis a unique opportunity to grow the sport, particularly in Scotland.  Smith has been delighted with the announcement that Tennis Scotland will be given £15m to double the number of indoor courts to 225 within the decade and boost participation in a sport that has been consistently in the headlines in 2016.  Smith is combining his Tennis Scotland performance director job with the Davis Cup captaincy and his role as LTA head of men’s tennis , giving the 40-year-old a major influence on the future of the sport. Smith added:” The investment in Tennis Scotland is hugely important and a lot of work has been done to bring this about. We have had this amazing group of players, spearheaded by Andy and Jamie, over the last decade and the legacy won’t be met if there is nowhere to play.   “The weather is so bad, you really do need indoor courts and this will make a big difference and it is great news. If you go back to when I started working in player development, it was with Judy Murray and what she did was very special as national coach on a very limited budget. She worked extremely hard to make sure the programme built for the future, bringing in young coaches like myself with an inclusive and consistent programme.   “It helped that there were a group of players around the same age, Andy and Jamie, Elena Baltacha, Jamie Baker and Colin Fleming along with other players who trained and travelled together. Currently, we have some very promising youngsters in Scotland and we want more players. People are being attracted to the game because of Andy, Jamie and Jo, but if there are a lack of facilities of a lack of coaches then you don’t grab and keep their attention. Judy’s Tennis on the Road programme is a massive part of what is being done to keep the development going.  “ We have just had the most amazing 12 months and there has been wave after wave of great memories and stories.  There is a real connection with the public and when you add that increased interest to the news about the £15m investment then you are bound to get excited. Now, it is about finding the players to turn this into a real legacy for decades to come.”  After an incredible 2016 what will Smith be wishing for in 2017? “ Simple, more of the same please!”

as seen in the Daily Mail