Britain’s No 1 and the No 2 seed is a devotee of Gyrotonic, devised by an ethnic Hungarian gymnast and dancer in a mountain hut, and modelled on the octopus, the monkey and the cat.
Revealing details of his championship diet and fitness regime before his clash with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Murray, 29, said he had turned to Gyrotonic – known as “yoga for dancers” – following back surgery in 2013.
He said: “That was something I started doing a lot more of when I had my back surgery. Really, that was the sort of time. I can’t afford any more surgeries like this. I need to start looking after my body much better than what I was.
“I used to train extremely hard. I don’t think I looked after my body as well as I should have done. That was something that changed a few years ago. Now that I have been looking after it, doing way more different types of stretching, sort of injury prevention work, my back is no issue whatsoever. Whereas for two years I was in a lot of pain because I was training hard but not doing the right stuff to get it better.”
Gyrotonic, which involves exercising with pulleys, was invented by Juliu Horvath, a Romanian-born ethnic Hungarian gymnast and dancer, who defected to the US. He came up with the technique in a one-roomed mountain hut on St Thomas in the Virgin Islands in the 1970s to rehabilitate his own torn Achilles tendon and herniated vertebral disc.
It embraces the key principles in swimming, dance, yoga, tai chi and gymnastics, and emphasises continuous flowing movements synchronised with corresponding breath patterns. Horvath based his Gyrotonic expansion system on the octopus, monkey and cat “because they can move in any direction at any given time with strength and control”.
Murray knows he has “a very tough match against Tsonga” , the 12th seed, whom he described as “very, very dangerous”. He planned to make sure he had a “good practice day”, he said.
Giving a glimpse of his daily diet, he revealed that before Monday’s victory over Nick Kyrgios, he had breakfasted on a bagel with scrambled eggs, half a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and berry smoothies, and a whole melon.
Watermelon or honey melon? “Cantaloupe, I think is what it was,” he said.
Packing in the protein and carbohydrates, he had a pre-match meal of salmon and rice, and a post-match meal of pasta with broccoli and chicken.
Asked how he would mentally prepare, he said he was spending his down time watching his rivals’ games – with the sound off so he was not distracted by the commentary – and following the Labour leadership battle and Euro 2016.
He said he had been following Wales’ progress to the semi-finals in France, and hopes to finish his quarter-final on Wednesday in time to watch some of their match against Portugal.
“I think it’s an amazing story, unbelievable what they’re doing,” he said. “Obviously, the closer you get, the more people start to think there’s a chance you can go all the way.”
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