Given the option of playing well or winning, former World No. 1 Andy Murray knows which he would pick.
After a disappointing straight-sets defeat against second seed Diego Schwartzman on Thursday at the European Open, the Scot explained that he is less concerned with his level and more worried about adding to his win total.
“Sport is a results business. If you play well or poorly, it doesn’t really matter if you lose the matches,” Murray said. “You need to be winning and winning matches maybe when you’re not playing your best, which I have done a few times these past few months, but certainly not as many as I would have liked. That’s obviously what I want [in] the last few tournaments [of the season].”
In recent weeks, the 46-time tour-level titlist has discussed how he has felt slow in reading points and adjusting to rallies. Murray added that he has to improve his decision-making.
“I think at times being a bit more solid in the important moments and just getting the balance right about how I’m trying to play,” Murray said. “Today for example, I feel like I moved to the net way too often and it wasn’t particularly successful. Obviously there are some matches if you’re doing that and it’s working, fine.
“But if you keep repeating the same pattern of play or keep trying the same thing and it’s not working, that shows that you’re just not making the right decisions.”
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Murray explained that decision-making will never be perfect, but that it is important to recognise when a tactic is not working and changing it accordingly.
“You’re not going to get every single one right in the match,” Murray said. “But you also have to be present enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the points and why you are winning and losing points.”
The 2019 champion has proven he is capable of competing with some of the ATP Tour’s best players, pushing Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the US Open and battling Alexander Zverev in a tight two-setter in Indian Wells. He also showed his fighting spirit in a three-hour, 45-minute victory against Frances Tiafoe in Antwerp.
But Murray knows there is still work to be done to consistently get over the line in tight matches.
“Mentally today I was poor. My attitude was poor on the court and those are two things you can control,” Murray said. “If they’re not there, that also will make the decision-making harder.”