Andy Murray is feeling a new wave of positive energy following his title victory at the Shenzhen Open in China on Sunday.
The world number 11 won his first singles title since winning Wimbledon last year when he defeated Spaniard Tommy Robredo 5-7, 7-6 (11-9), 6-1, and he was forced to save five match points in the second set tie-break in the process.
It has been a difficult year for the British number one, as his world ranking has slipped by seven positions, and he did not manage to reach the final of a Grand Slam in a calendar year for the first time since 2009.
The 27-year-old only added the hard court tournaments in Shenzhen to his schedule to help him qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals, which he is in danger of not making for the first time since 2007.
Better times ahead
But the former world number two feels that a shift in momentum will help guide him through the final weeks of the season after securing his 29th career singles title.
Murray is quoted by the Independent as saying: “It’s something that I’ll continue to work on. In matches like (the Robredo match) when you’re able to get out of a negative mentality or body language and calm yourself down and become more positive, that’s a very good sign. I’ll use that in the next few weeks.”
The Lendl effect
Murray was prone to mood swings for long periods of his career, but his mental state seemed to change under the tutelage of former coach Ivan Lendl, who guided him to his two Grand Slam titles in 2012 and 2013, as well as a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
“It’s something I definitely need to work on a lot. It wasn’t really an issue in the beginning part of my career and then it slowly crept into my game.
“I did improve a lot, really, over the last two and a half or three years, especially when I was working with Ivan.”
Next stop Beijing
The next focus for Murray will be this week’s China Open in Beijing, where he will be competing with the likes of the world’s top two players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal for a maximum 500 ranking points.
The sixth seed is scheduled to face Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in the first round on Lotus Court on Tuesday, who he last played in the semi-finals on the way to winning Wimbledon last year, a match he won in four sets.
There is a chance that he could face US Open champion Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals before facing Djokovic in the semi-finals, as he attempts to improve on his run to the last eight in his last appearance at the tournament in 2010, where he lost to Croat Ivan Ljubicic.
Murray will have two more chances to improve his ranking after the tournament, as he is scheduled to play in the final two ATP Masters 1000 Series events in Shanghai and Paris in October, and he is currently 600 points behind eighth placed Canadian Milos Raonic.