Sunday, 29 June 2008

Image is everything

Andre Agassi was Andy Murray's childhood hero and from an early age he has sought to emulate the master. So it's ironic that at 21 Murray has only just worked out how important image and the off court part of the game is.

By image I don't mean the flash, brash show put on by the early Agassi but the importance of creating a winning and appealing persona. A personal brand that people can willingly buy into.

For any British No 1 Wimbledon is all about pressure and expectation. But Murray is starting to realise that if you communicate better you can turn this potential burden to your advantage and use the crowd to lift you and carry you through difficult points. Witness his pumped up Hewitt style celebration on big points yesterday against Haas.

It would be easy to attribute all of this to his new PR adviser Stuart Higgins - who is clearly doing a great job addressing the two question points hanging over Murray, his temperament and fitness. See for example his photo opp with Murray and his cute puppy, what better way to soften Andy's image?

Or the great photo in the (London) Evening Standard on Friday of Murray working out with his fitness trainer and their 'stretch harness', a neat way of reminding people that Murray has worked hard to build up his strength, fitness and durability.

But personality is something a PR guy can only polish not spin. When the player is on court and in the public eye for hours at a time only they can determine who they are and how they want to come across to the fans and the media. Murray seems to understand this now and that is a big step forward towards becoming the finished article.

Now if he can just cut down on the drop shots!

1 comment:

van said...

Hey Steve. I'm following the scores of he and Gasqe right now and it looks like he's really fighting. I'm at work now and can't watch it. It must be the only thing the whole nation is doing right now! It really seems like a good one!