Greg Rusedski: Andy Murray and others benefit from sports psychology

Last Updated: 05/02/14 10:35am

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Greg Rusedski talks about sport psychology and it's importance in modern sport.

Greg Rusedski says sports psychology has now become a "prerequisite" for top tennis players such as Andy Murray.

The former British number one was a guest on What's The Story this week, debating the impact of American sporting culture on this side of the Atlantic and explained that our top stars are increasingly learning lessons about the importance of a strong mental approach.

Rusedski says Murray's decision to start working with sports psychologist Alexis Castorri in 2012, as suggested when Ivan Lendl started coaching him, turned him from a four-time major final loser to a two-time major winner and Olympic gold medallist.

"If you look at success in sport you have to be hard and strong. That's a prerequisite," he said.

"We all have issues that we have to deal with on the side that might not even be involved with sport that we might need help with.

"But if you don't have that basis of wanting to work hard and that it's your passion for life then you're not going to succeed, whether you're from Great Britain, whether you're from America or whether you're from China.

"Talking about sports psychologists, we all know Murray's story. He lost his first four major finals and the first thing Lendl did for Andy was hire him the sports psychologist he used.

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"Murray had to accept that as part of his agreement to work with Ivan and look, he won the US Open and is our first Wimbledon champion in 77 years in the men's game.

"It's about the right person and having that respect."

Rusedski says some of the top Asian players in tennis, including newly-crowned Australian Open champion Li Na, have also taken steps to improve their psychological approach.

He says the Chinese player, who won the French Open in 2011, has benefitted from teaming up with Carlos Rodriguez and his forward-thinking coaching methods.

Rusedski added: "Li Na has just won the Australian Open to win her second major and probably had the biggest viewing audience in China with probably 120million people watching that match.

"She has a Belgian coach who coached Justine Henin and I know he is very into the psychological pattern of tennis and working with psychologists.

"A lot of people don't advertise these things and try to keep them in their pocket and they don't want to tell anybody: 'This is the person, this is what's giving me a little bit of an extra edge or a little bit of half a per cent'".

For more sporting debate, download the What's The Story podcast? by hitting this link.

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