Posted on November 03 2021
After another tough loss in the early stages of an ATP tournament, Andy Murray shook his head in disgust as he left the stadium court in Paris on Monday night.
Murray squandered 7 match points before eventually losing to 58th ranked Dominik Koepfer in 3 tight sets. This was scheduled to be Andy’s final tournament of 2021, but he’s now accepted a wild card into the Stockholm Open which begins next week. In his last few press conferences, Murray has hinted that this year’s off season will be incredibly important for him as he hopes to get some good training in while his body feels good. There is also talk of Andy wanting to experiment with his racket over the off season, something that many have been urging him to do for some time.
Earlier this year, Murray’s former coach Brad Gilbert tweeted some of his thoughts on Andy’s racket choice.
It’s evident that a change in his racket is something Murray is thinking about, and it does make sense. As he navigates his way through a comeback from major hip surgery, anything that can help Murray shorten the points and put less strain on his body has to be a good thing. It’s also heartening to know that even Andy Murray is unsure about his gear choices, a hard relate.
It’s not uncommon for top players to change their racket specs in order to try and improve certain aspects of their game. Every member of the ‘Big 3’ has undergone a relatively major change to their racket in the last 5 years or so. Roger Federer is the most extreme example, and an example that Murray could look to for inspiration. In 2013, Federer changed the head size on his Wilson Pro Staff from 90 square inches to 98. He eventually settled at 97 square inches and went on to enjoy his late career renaissance which saw him win 3 more majors and continue to play at the highest level well into his late thirties.
Murray endorses the Head Graphene 360+ Radical Pro but he actually plays with a 20-year-old pro stock frame called the Head Pro Tour 630 painted to look like a Radical Pro. It’s an extremely heavy racket (353g) with a 95 square inch head size. It certainly doesn’t give you anything for free, it’s a precision racket that takes a whole load of skill to play well with. Murray, of course, possesses such skill and has won all 46 of his titles wielding this classic racket. However, since his hip surgery it’s been interesting to observe how Andy has tried to implement a more aggressive game style into his matches to help preserve his hip.
This aggressive style has worked well for him on occasions but against Dominik Koepfer in Paris, on a slow indoor hard court, Murray wasn’t able to easily penetrate the defence of the world number 58 during the grinding baseline rallies. Admittedly, Andy wasn’t having a great day at the office and his serve percentages were pretty poor, but you can’t help but wonder if a slightly more powerful racket could help Murray in matches like this, especially now that his defence isn’t quite what it was.
Murray will no doubt spend his off season tinkering with areas of his game and his racket as he continues to adjust to playing professional tennis with a metal hip, something that there is no playbook for. So, don’t be surprised if you see him playing with a different racket in Australia next year, it may well be the final ingredient needed in his trailblazing comeback.
Written by Aron Dochard
Watch our Andy Murray racket review with comedian Josh Berry: