Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Murray will never win a Slam

Rather a harsh article as you never know what the future holds.


To everyone familiar with the world of tennis, Andy Murray is an enigma. He seems to have it all – the firepower, the talent, the speed, the ability – but sadly, these characteristics are only useful to him in smaller tournaments. His recent crushing defeat of World Number 2 Roger Federer was a complete surprise; not because he won, but because of the wide margin with which he defeated the Maestro. He managed to overcome the tournament’s third seed with a 6-3, 6-2 victory, to snatch up the sixth Masters 1000 title of his career.

Of course, this success comes with a price, since it reawakens the question which the tennis world has been asking of Murray for ages: why can’t this man win a Grand Slam tournament?

Unfortunately, this is not a question with any definite answer. Perhaps if it were, Murray would be better equipped to answer it and then prevent it from being asked again. Reality defies this predicament: by all matters of sense, Murray should have won a Grand Slam title by now. He has already reached two finals of the Majors, with the first showing at the US Open in Flushing Meadows in 2008 and his second appearance this year at the Australian hard courts – such a record is not at all bad for a 23 year old player. Winners against Murray at his Grand Slam matches are not exactly surprise entries either; Andy Roddick defeated him at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships and Rafael Nadal followed suit at the same event this year.

However, he lost both the Grand Slam finals to Roger Federer, which raises the interesting question: why can Murray get the best of Federer on hard courts of Masters events, yet fail at the events that matter the most? He holds a record of 5-1 against Federer at these ATP Tour events, with Federer’s only victory being at an event in Cincinnati in 2009.

One of two things is possible: Federer either plays an entirely different game at the Masters events, or Murray cannot handle the pressure which is a direct consequence of the Grand Slam challenges. It may be that Roger Federer plays an entirely elevated game, upping every aspect of his playing style for the two weeks that he is involved with Slams. Several times during his match with Federer, Murray’s game looked patchy by comparison. But at their first match in 2008, Murray played exemplary tennis; however, the Maestro was at the peak of his career then, and that meant that he was almost unbeatable.

Murray’s major dilemma in the next year will be the barrage of questions, doubts and criticism, some which will involve the age-old “best player to not win a major” title. As far as a solution goes, the only thing wrong with Andy Murray’s game is this: luck. Tennis, like many other sports, is dictated by it. Players such as Bjorn Borg, who lost his best chances at the US Open in 1978 due to a thumb injury, suffered defeat at the hands of Jimmy Connors, who had never beaten him before and would never beat him again in the 13 matches they played. Pete Sampras managed to defeat two French Open champions, but lost control in the 2006 Roland Garros semi finals against Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Keep in mind that Kafelnikov was a player who routinely asked Sampras when he planned to retire, so that Kafelnikov could “win a few more Grand Slams”.

The difference is, those players already had multiple majors, while Murray doesn’t. However, even if the only rule we follow is probability, Andy Murray should make it big soon – no one can have such bad luck for so long.

Courtesy: Bettor

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