Special to – Jul 26, 2006 – Andy Murray’s recent hiring of Brad Gilbert as coach should really help this young man in his quest to reach the top of the tennis world. I have been around tennis for many years, and there are fewer than a handful of coaches out there with the experience and smarts of Brad Gilbert. I expressed this to Judy Murray and Andy Murray several weeks ago in recommending Gilbert, as I am sure many others did too.

While I only met Brad Gilbert once, in a brief hello at Wimbledon this year, I truly enjoyed reading his book “Winning Ugly” long after my tennis coaching days when I was competing as an Open player in the mid-1990s. I finished 1996 ranked #16 in the Men’s Open Singles division in Florida as a slighlty overweight graduate student competing with former pros, coaches and juniors. Brad’s wisdom in “Winning Ugly” helped and I’ve enjoyed his commentary on television from the major tournaments. When I wrote “Smart Tennis” in 1999, I only recommended two other mental tennis books, and one was “Winning Ugly.” I am impressed with Gilbert’s playing and coaching career and his ability to get the most out of his talent.

Every rising star needs a good coach. I also believe that a good sport psychologist enhances any player along with good coaching. Sport psychology combines knoweldge and inspiration to supplement great coaching. Legitimate sport psychologists have many years of academic as well as practical experience. It is a signficant science and a subtle art that borrows from over 100 years of research.

Why all the interest in Andy Murray’s success? My interest in British tennis goes back 5-6 years when I began mental training workshops in London. Andy Murray’s success is Great Britain’s success. I want to see tennis prosper in this great country the way it did in the USA in the mid-70s. Naturally I support American tennis too, and I would not be surprised if Jimmy Connors helped Andy Roddick a lot, but if Andy Murray reaches #1 in the world, or even Top 10, British tennis will explode. Now do you see now why Brad Gilbert was a great pick? Now don’t let me down Brad and Andy! Go out there and do it!

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.