Murray pins Slam hopes on new diet
Andy Murray is so hungry for Grand Slam success that he's cutting out some of his favourite foods in order to land one of the game's top titles.
The British number one has hit a glass ceiling in his career, with his loss in the Australian Open final earlier this year his third consecutive defeat in a Grand Slam final.
But the 24-year-old has now revealed that a series of blood tests shortly before Queen's showed that he was struggling to digest some of his favourite, carbohydrate-heavy foods.
Murray claims that since cutting right down on things like bagels and yoghurts he is feeling fitter, sleeping better and recovering more quickly after matches.
"After ten hours’ sleep I still used to be tired in the mornings," said Murray.
"Now I’m sleeping eight and I feel totally fresh when I wake up.
"My recoveries from matches have been terrific as well. I’m not feeling bloated and my body is not as intolerant as it used to be. It’s making all the difference.”
Murray's regime is based on a traffic light system, according to a report in The Times: 'red' foods include cereal, bagels and yoghurt; 'amber' includes red meat and gluten-free pasta; while 'green' foods take in things like fish, rice and leafy vegetables.
Murray has transformed his body shape over the course of his tennis career, with his previous muscle-building diet said to include 6,000 calories a day, including plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and as many as 50 pieces of sushi after a match. The recommended calorie intake in a typical day for a man is 2,500 calories.
That diet, which included bagels with peanut butter for breakfast, reportedly dubbed by Murray 'the breakfast of champions', was seen by some as hindering Murray rather than helping him.
Though it might seem as if the Scot is clutching at straws, there is a powerful precedent for a similar tactic working for one of Murray' s friends and training partners: Novak Djokovic, the world number one, came on leaps and bounds after moving to a gluten free diet last year, and has won both Australian Open and Wimbledon this season.
“As an athlete, everyone is led to believe that the best thing is pasta, pasta and more pasta but it’s not,” added Murray.
“It is about a balance and with that you become leaner and reach a stable weight. I used to drop weight every day but it’s steady right now and, because of that, it’s more effective.”
And the Scot is confident that, even if his new diet does not bear fruit (whether it be red, amber or green), he will at least know that he has done everything he can to try and get the very most out of his talent.
"It is all about finding ways of prolonging your career,” he explained. “You need to look ahead because what you do now is bound to affect the way you are in a few years’ time.
"Even at our age, Novak, Rafa (Nadal) and I find it tough. Things start to hurt.
"I need to know that in everything I do I am being at my most effective."