Andy Murray explains the science behind Dubai withdrawal as he looks to peak at Wimbledon
Andy Murray says his extreme workload at the Qatar Open was the main reason for withdrawing from the Dubai Tennis Championships, adding that his scientific way of training has been key to not overdoing things on and off the court.
The former world No 1 spent nearly 12 hours on court in Doha last week as four of his five matches went to deciding sets and it came just over a month after he totalled almost 14 hours of play time at the Australian Open.
Murray was due to return to action in Dubai on Tuesday as he was due to take on fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz in his opener, but tournament organisers announced his withdrawal on Monday.
A few years ago he would have had no problem playing back-to-back tournaments despite his extended runs, but these days it is about looking at the bigger picture.
“The matches I had last week were physically pretty demanding,” the 35-year-old told The Times.
“It was five matches in six days — the last time I did that was in Stuttgart [in June] but because of the surface [grass], the matches were physically really not that challenging.
“I had an issue then with my abdominal muscle and on Friday evening in Doha I was feeling my abs a little bit after the semi-final.
“Because of the experience I had last year, it was clearly a load-related thing because of the amount of tennis I played in a short period, so I was a bit worried about that.
“I do have to be a bit mindful of my body now, which I wouldn’t have been in my mid-twenties. Because of the issues that I have, it’s not as simple as it used to be.
“There’s a little bit more of a science to my training and how much I should be putting my body through. Obviously, last week was extreme.”
He is expected to compete at the Sunshine Double – the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open – in March while it remains to be seen if he will play on clay this year.
However, his main goal will always be Wimbledon and he is determined to peak on the grass at SW19, hoping data-tracking and scientific analysis will give him an extra hand.
“I do believe that this is allowing me to be in much better shape,” Murray said. “I know exactly when I go on the court, how much time I’m going to spend on it and which drills and exercises I do are going to get me to certain heart-rate zones.
“Rather than just blasting yourself twice, once on the court and once in the gym, sometimes I only need to do it on the court if I’m getting the right stimulus from the tennis session.
“My feeling on Wimbledon is that less players play well on grass. More of the guys are comfortable on the hard courts and that probably increases my chances.
“I’m not saying I would expect to win the French Open [on clay] if I played, but with Wimbledon, there is certainly a better opportunity to have a deep run.
“Yes, I have some niggles and my body doesn’t feel amazing, but it’s coped really well with the first few tournaments of the year that have been really demanding.
“My belief is that my body would be fine to play seven five-set matches if needs be. Granted, if they are six-hour ones, probably not, but regular five-set matches, I’d be able to cope with that.”
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