ANDY MURRAY’s chances of netting his first Grand Slam tennis title could be boosted if his mother, Judy Murray, agrees not to watch him from the stands, according to a leading behavioural guru.
David Yeoman, who has been hired by some of Britain’s largest companies to help boost staff performance, suggested the British number one is still affected by the separation of his parents when he was a young boy.
Yeoman has advised the UK government, NatWest and the Scottish Football Association on how to use language to tackle deep-rooted emotional problems reduce conflict between staff and improve productivity.
He said that he has followed Murray’s career and concluded that his mother, who he is particularly close to – she has coached him and is rarely absent when he plays – might be a source of distraction during tournaments.
“Let me say first of all that I am a huge fan of Andy Murray and have admired his skills and his phenomenal rise up the rankings,” said Yeoman, who is based in Glasgow.
“But I often wonder, how much inner conflict at an unconscious level did this separation have – and still may have – on Andy?
“Judy Murray has been a tremendous coach, mentor and mother but I would suggest he considers asking her to stay away from the tennis courts and the media and let’s see if, within a year, he wins a Grand Slam event. A negative emotion from the past, held in the present, is the reason why all the positive thinking will never work.” How do the relate to each other? And in what capacity when he looks up to see her in the family members seating area? What deep emotions are triggered that may affect the mind body connection?
What has to have happened to release the mental hand brake that will produce the desired state for the ultimate prize.
Yeoman’s observations come as Murray, the world number four, prepares for Wimbledon next month. It will be his first assault on the tournament since hiring Ivan Lendl, the former world number one, as his full-time coach.
The 25-year-old has been among the final four in five Grand Slam tournaments and was the runner-up in last year’s Australian Open. His failure to lift a Grand Slam trophy, however, has been attributed by some to a lack of focus.
Rafael Nadal, the Spanish tennis player, recently observed that Murray could be the world number one if he improves his mental approach on the game’s biggest stages.
Yeoman said Murray’s defeat against Nadal in last year’s Wimbledon semi-final may have been influenced by his mother.
“Before the match, Judy Murray predicted it would be a ‘tough game’ and said that ‘we will have to serve well’. This begs the question: who had to serve well? Who was playing the tennis on the court? Andy or his mother?” No ownership by or from Andy.
Judy Murray has also been known to “tweet” on her mobile phone about her son’s opponents. In 2011, she described the Spanish player, Feliciano Lopez as “Deliciano” on Twitter. At the time, Murray was reported as saying: “I think it’s about time she stopped with that nonsense.”
Murray has admitted that the trauma he suffered over the separation of his parents, Willie and Judy, when he was nine years old – they eventually divorced in 2005 – helped forge his competitive spirit, propelling him to the top of his sport.
However, he also said early in his career that anger expressed during tennis matches might be related to his family trauma. “It could be,” he said in an interview five years ago. “When I was younger and went on court, and was away from the arguments my parents were having, I could just go out and play.”
Last year, Murray spoke in depth for the first time about his relationship with his mother and made it clear that, contrary to public perceptions, Judy was a benign, rather than an interfering, influence in his professional life.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the time she speaks to me like anyone’s mum would. And then there are times when I decide that I want to talk to her a bit about tennis, about the guys I’m working about, how I’m feeling. And she’s there to listen and understand.
“A lot of people I’m sure might find that very difficult to understand but she knows me well. She knows when to speak to me, when to be positive, when to tell me off and explain things to me.
It’s not our conscious mind that creates our reality but our subconscious beliefs – what is deep inside Andy that requires replacing with a more serving belief system.