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Murray: Fitness, not technology, is key

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Originally published on: 17/07/12 00:00

The world No.4 says that better fitness has been the key to raising standards.

“Ex-players like to use the strings as an excuse,” Murray said. “Luxilon string, the string that I use as well the gut, I’ve been using for about 15 years now. It’s exactly the same string. I haven’t changed it at all for 15 years.

“Guys were still serving and volleying 15 years ago, but the game has just changed. It’s so hard to do it now, but it’s not because of the rackets. The racket that I use, and I know the racket Roger [Federer] uses and a lot of the guys use, I’ve been using that racket since I was 14 years old. Roger’s been using his racket for 10, 15 years as well.

“If the technology was so much better, we’d be playing with brand new rackets. I think it has nothing to do with the strings because guys can still choose to use gut if they want to. Everyone’s just so much faster. Everyone’s too quick to play serve-and-volley against now. It’s too hard.”

Murray believes the improvement in standards is almost entirely down to players’ fitness. “You could watch videos of all of the guys playing from two years ago and they haven’t changed their technique,” he said. “I haven’t seen anyone change a specific shot, in the way they hit the shot, but you look at the speed that guys are moving around the court, how quick they are to retrieve balls and moving forward to the net. Guys are quicker.

“Everything looks much faster. When you see a video of guys playing from 20 years ago, it just looks literally like slow-motion. Even 10 years ago. I watched Rafa [Nadal] playing against Roger in the final in Miami and you look at the speed they’re hitting the ball at then and compare it to how it is now. It’s just so much quicker.”

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