MADRID -- Andy Murray has what it takes to go far at the French Open but he needs to be more patient and have faith in his talent, according to the head of the Spanish academy where he learned to play on clay as a teen.
The British world No. 3, now 22, went to train at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona at the age of 15 to try to improve his craft on the red dust, which remains his weakest surface and one on which he has never won a tour singles title.
"If he suffers and believes in his ability he could get to the final rounds but for that he needs to believe in his head, his heart and his legs," Emilio Sanchez Vicario, the academy's co-founder and a two-time doubles champion at Roland Garros, told Reuters in an interview.
"He has to be more patient, use his head more to be more consistent and make use of his talent to force the game more effectively. He has to use his physical prowess, not just the strength he has built up, but also be more resistant. That is key on clay. He has it but I am not sure if he knows how to show it or if he even knows he has it," added Sanchez Vicario, the brother of former French Open singles champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
This year has been Murray's best clay season so far and he reached the semifinals at the Monte Carlo Masters and the quarterfinals in Madrid before falling to French Open champion Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, respectively.
Sanchez Vicario said Murray had some problems getting used to the intensive regime in Barcelona but soon knuckled down.
"When he arrived he found it quite difficult to train intensively but he gradually learned discipline and dedication," he said. "Right from the start it was clear that he had something special. Above all it was his brutal angles, which is something you cannot teach.
"He was very quiet, a good kid," he said. "Sometimes we had to go and fetch him from his room so he could train. He was always a good friend to his friends and sometimes even accepted punishment for others without complaint."