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Andy Murray's marriage to Kim Sears will make him a better player

Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

The moods, behaviour and lifestyle of Andy Murray have long fascinated the British public but, with the nation's best tennis player for decades marrying long-term partner Kim Sears on Saturday, is his focus about to change? Mark Hodgkinson, author of 'Game, Set and Match: Secret Weapons of the World's Top Tennis Players', finds out.

An academic study once found - and this is apparently connected to something called intra-sexual competition, and changing levels of testosterone - that "marriage affects competitive performance in male tennis players".

But if you accept those findings, you are ignoring the evidence of how Roger Federer has played since becoming a married man. As well as how Novak Djokovic has competed since his own wedding. Andy Murray wed Kim Sears at the Cromlix Hotel, which he owns, near his childhood home of Dublane in Scotland, with a relatively low-key guestlist and, if Federer and Djokovic are any guide, the marriage will have beneficial effects on his game and his prospects at the top of tennis.

Married life isn't the enemy of world-class tennis, despite what you might read in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, which published a study which examined the performance of players who finished in the top 100 of the year-end rankings between 1995 and 2005, which used a sample size of around 300 men.

"Cultural displays, such as art, science and sport, are proposed to be used by males to compete for potential mates," according to the study, conducted by academics at the universities of Edinburgh and Newcastle. "As a result, the desire to engage in such behaviours will diminish following marriage.

"Our study shows that professional male tennis players perform significantly worse in the year after marriage compared to the year before, whereas there is no such effect for unmarried players of the same age. This explains the results: following marriage, males experience an evolved psychological mechanism that leads to less motivation to engage in intra-sexual competition."

However, where Murray is concerned, doesn't it make more sense to focus in on a smaller group of players? Rather than examining what has happened to top-100 players after walking down the aisle, wouldn't it be more instructive to consider the results of the Big Four players after their respective weddings?

"Following marriage, males experience an evolved psychological mechanism that leads to less motivation" Journal of Evolutionary Psychology

It was in the spring of 2009 that Federer married his long-term girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec, and it hardly had a detrimental effect on his career. Indeed, it was just a few weeks into their married life that Federer won the French Open for the first time, which was arguably the most important tournament victory of his career; that was the one that enabled him to complete the Career Grand Slam. Just a month later, he won Wimbledon, which brought him a 15th major, making him the most most successful male tennis player of all time. Other Grand Slams have followed: the 2010 Australian Open and the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, which took him back to the top of the rankings.

"It was a very special moment," Federer has said of his wedding. "I thought it was going to be a bit more relaxed since we had been together for so, so long, and once you are married there's not a whole lot that changes, but it definitely changes your life, your mindset."

Days after winning last summer's Wimbledon title, Djokovic wed his girlfriend of many years, Jelena Ristic, and he has turned in some fine performances since, including scoring his eighth Grand Slam at this year's Australian Open.

Of course, you need talent to reach the pinnacle of men's tennis - by which I mean winning Grand Slam titles rather than breaking into the top 100 - but you also need extraordinary drive and motivation. Federer has that desire, as do Djokovic and Murray. Marriage isn't going to destroy that.

What if marriage actually improves an elite player's chances of lifting trophies in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York? Speaking a few years ago, Djokovic detected an improvement in Federer's demeanour after his wedding: "Roger's game improved and he gained psychological stability when he married Mirka, and I intend to follow that route."

Andre Agassi is another who has spoken of the importance of a tennis player having support and stability off the court. "Andy has been a one-lady person for a long time now, which speaks to somebody's depth. I think it's a great thing for him to be able to count on somebody he has always counted on for so long, because having a team, having people committed to you, is important."

Of course, there is much more to life than winning Grand Slam titles. As Murray noted after losing this year's Australian Open final to Djokovic, "success is being happy", and surely no one would quibble with that. But there's also a decent chance that happiness off the court for Murray could lead to further joy on the court.