Giving tennis more than a shot

Opinion – Apparently, Another Grand Slam Final Is Not Enough

 

I do not wish to come back on the Australian Open final strictly in terms of analysis, and this for a simple reason: there would not be much to say but the usual clichés.

 

This said, I would like to sincerely congratulate Novak Djokovic on a very deserved sixth major, fourth Australian Open crown and, most of all, Open Era record third consecutive title in Melbourne. He showed yet again why he is number one in the world.

 

However, what I would like to come back on is the incessant criticism about the runner-up, Andy Murray.

 

Enough is enough.

 

The constant criticism of Murray, and of his game, the perpetual reminder of the glorious British tennis past, and the comparisons with the other members of the Fantastic Four, only to bring him further down and lashing unnecessarily at him is something that is becoming as redundant as it is annoying.

 

I have noticed that since the beginning of his career, the “Murray bashing” has become a sport among many tennis media people and fans. Be it for his flaming temper on court, his dour demeanour in press and off-court (although he has changed quite a bit in the last few months, smiling more and using a little more of this dry, typically British humour he possesses and so seldom uses with the press), his monotone voice, and even, for some, his looks, Murray has been a topic of mockery for many, which is, at times, as unjustified as it is insulting for the man himself.

 

Today, as he lost a fifth Grand Slam final, many were those who criticised the way he played, his defensive and/or passive game (although Djokovic also used quite a lot of that as well, which is one of the reasons the match was not the gruelling duel most of us expected), exposed a mental failure that wasn’t really present, and even went as far as saying he would be a one-Slam wonder.

 

Why? Because he failed to become the first player to win his second Grand Slam title just after winning his first? Because he lost to the World no 1?

 

Of course, if we compare Murray with Roger Federer, the best to ever play the game, Rafael Nadal, the best clay-court player in history, or Novak Djokovic, who had nothing to prove to anyone but himself, being the one to write Serbian tennis history, it is pretty obvious that, at present, he is coming a bit short.

 

However, with six Grand Slam finals, including one title, an Olympic Gold medal, eight Masters 1000 shields, and a total of 25 singles titles, we cannot say he doesn’t deserve his place among the four best players in the world.

 

Murray’s progress over the last year has been astounding. Under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, he has taken decisive strides towards the great accomplishments his raw talent led us to believe he would achieve.

 

If consistency was not present during the non-major events last season, it definitely was at the Grand Slams, the proof being that he reached the final in the last three majors (including this Australian Open), winning his maiden Grand Slam at long last in New York.

 

There is still, indeed, some work to be done for the Brit to reach the top of the ATP rankings, a goal he has had firmly in mind since his U.S. Open triumph. Perhaps, judging by some people’s reactions after today’s Australian Open final, he will never achieve it. However, when we look closely at the situation, it is not so impossible as it may seem.

 

At only 25, Andy Murray can still, and will assuredly, surprise those who relentlessly compare him with his fellow “Fab Fours”. He is well surrounded, is known for his great work ethics, has a sense of the court that very few in the game possess, and when all the pieces will fall into place, he will reach the highest levels.

 

It has already begun.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Scott Scott
    27 January, 2013    

    great write up. I enjoy your works!

  2. 27 January, 2013    

    I completely agree. Murray played some of his best tennis ever at this Australian Open. Unfortunately he ran into a guy who was seemingly destined to cement his status as one of the game’s greats with an historic three-peat. I went to bed unexpectedly thinking there might be an upset when I read the news in the morning, but no go.
    Especially after such a memorable match against Roger, I have nothing but respect for Andy, Ivan, and they work they have put in to make him better than he ever could have been previously.

  3. Scott Scott
    27 January, 2013    

    I enjoy your writtings! Murrary came along at a time with 3 awesome players. His career should carry on when the other big 3 retire. So I predict a few majors…all in due time.

  4. 28 January, 2013    

    Thank you for your words, guys!

    Scott, Murray and Djokovic are the same age. In fact, Murray is a week older than Nole. 😉

    Kevin, he’s always had that talent in him, but there has been an enormous weight of expectations on his shoulders from the moment he became pro. I think that, at this point in his career, working with Ivan Lendl is the best thing that could happen to him and the progress he’s made over the last year shows.

    As I said, there’s still work to do, but they’re on the right track.

  5. 28 January, 2013    

    I was pleased to read this very honest article and i agree 100% with everything it says .If after reading the list of Andy Murray wins and the finals he has reached can be suggested hes a failure there are several hundred pro tennis players in this world that might as well give up yes he lost to the number one player in the world as you say how can that ever be noted as failure is a joke .Andy is a fantastic tennis player unlucky to be around at the same time as three outstanding tennis players and Andy has beaten each one several times he has nothing to prove to anyone and im sure he will go on to prove these idiots wrong lets face it wont be the first time Andy has hushed them .

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