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Murray nears the summit

Jonathan Overend | 16:46 UK time, Monday, 17 August 2009

As Andy Murray walked back into the players' lounge, after winning his 13th career title here in Montreal on Sunday, a welcoming party of volunteers and tournament staff gave him a big cheer and a long ovation.

Tournament Director Eugene Lapierre handed over a flute of champagne which, while held for the purposes of photographs, was not consumed.

Murray couldn't stop smiling, chatting amiably to the good folk who run a fantastic tournament (this was my first visit to Montreal and I can think of few better), while in the background coach Miles Maclagan, one of the unsung heroes of this remarkable British sporting success story, sat on a sofa watching the golf.

Murray's victory was his fourth at Masters level (the tier just beneath the Grand Slams), which is two more than Henman and Rusedski put together, and the fifth of a fantastic 2009 season which still has three months to run.

On the American hard courts this was his fifth successive final (Cincinnati, US Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal) and the third time he had won. Nobody can match that record anywhere in the world and, unsurprisingly, Murray goes into the defence of his Cincinnati title with the best win-loss ratio on the tour, 50-7.

In Sunday's final, Murray withstood two sets and two hours of ferocious hitting from Juan Martin del Potro before a devastating twist which drained the remaining energy from his tiring opponent.

Del Potro, the magnificent 6ft 6in tall Argentine, was feeling the strain of a second successive final, having won at Washington the previous week. He had also played the second semi-final the night before, saving match point to beat Andy Roddick, which was a distinct disadvantage coming into a 1.30pm final.

He gave everything for two sets, clearly believing he had to win the match in straight sets to have a chance, and as we entered the second-set tie-break it was pretty obvious the match would be decided on these few points.

The big moment was with Murray leading 4-3 as Del Potro slammed his way on to the offensive. Murray, seemingly finished in the point, put up a high lob and Del Potro smashed. Incredible scrambling saw Murray get a racket on the ball once more and the rally was alive again. Then, as he does so often, he turned defence into attack, won the point and effectively the match.

Tempted as he must have been to retire at the end of that arduous second set, body aching and enthusiasm drained by that stunning tie-break exchange, Del Potro admirably fought on until the end and must be congratulated for that.

With an ace fired down the centre of the court, Murray became the first British man to win this Canadian tournament in more than a hundred years. And so began the obligatory round of interviews, including one with his former coach Brad Gilbert, a world record-beating autograph session, polite poses for photos and then the reception back in the players' lounge. A long day, a good week, job done.

The following morning, the ATP ranking list was released and Murray saw himself sitting pretty at number two. He is the first man other than Federer or Nadal to get to number two since Lleyton Hewitt more than four years ago. Incredible.

Just a couple of years ago, as Murray was coming out of juniors, the question to anyone and everyone in tennis was "how good do you think he can be?" And the general consensus seemed to be "definitely top 10".

He duly arrived there in April 2007, climbed into the top five in September 2008, edged up to three in May 2009 and now he is one place off the summit.

Nobody was brave enough to suggest he could get that high back in 2005 and, if he is honest, Murray has probably even surprised himself.

In what is fast becoming one of the strongest eras for men's tennis (with a truly world-class top six at the moment and two of the best players of all-time) this is a staggering achievement and one which should be celebrated the length and breadth of the country.

Can he get to number one? Absolutely he can.

But holding on to number two will be hard enough with Nadal returning from injury and Del Potro looking like the best bet for a long-term rival. Murray knows he needs to win a major soon to consolidate his ranking.

The US Open arrives at the end of August and if he reaches the final for a second successive year, he will benefit from the experience of 12 months ago when he was punished by Federer.

After all, here is a young man who has clearly learned from his mistakes over the four short years of his professional career. If he hadn't, he wouldn't be two in the world right now.

So farewell Montreal, this enchanting island city, and congratulations for becoming the first one-week ATP tournament to sell 200,000 tickets.

My only wish, when we return in 2010, is that a fairer weekend schedule is introduced, with either a later final on the Sunday or back-to-back semis on Saturday afternoon, to avoid a repeat of Del Potro's final-set exhaustion.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Well done to Andy, he has worked hard for this and done things his way, and is now reaping the reward. While he is fully deserving of the no.2 spot, we must remember that Nadals knees and subsequent time off did have a major part to play in Murrays rise to no.2.

    Del Potro is in a similar (all be much higher) position than Andy was two years ago. A very talented young man but he needs to work on his strength, stamina and fitness. If he does this then his movement in general will also improve, making him very difficult to beat. It also might stop him taking multiple MTO's and 5 minute toilet breaks.

  • Comment number 2.

    all credit to andy murray.
    don't forget, it's swings and roundabouts when it comes to garnering atp points.
    andy murray has himself come through long layoffs in each of the last 2 years, during which time he dropped down in the rankings.
    he still has had to do extremely well in tournaments this year in order to usurp nadal.
    nadal himself benefited from federer's sustained period of poor health in 2008.
    it's the way the game goes.
    the points reflect the players' performances over a 12-month period.
    well done andy.
    good luck in flushing meadows.

  • Comment number 3.

    Andy Murray is an absolute credit to himself, his sport and his country.

    What more can you ask of any sportsman than to take lessons on board, learn from them, and improve to become the best you can be? This is exactly what Murray has done, acknowledging his weaknesses and putting in the hard work to eradicate them from his game.

    His commitment and dedication towards making the absolute most of the oppurtunity his fantastic talent has given him makes him a hero in my eyes, a role model that youngsters who wish to excel at any sport should look up to.

    It seems this is not enough for some members of the British public however, who claim that he 'lacks personality' and hold this petty grudge against him for the comments he made about England, which were taken completely out of context.

    As such he does not get nearly as much credit as his achievements deserve and articles like this one are so great to see.

  • Comment number 4.

    Glad to see the BBC reacted to my comment on the previous blog (#12) about their total lack of recognition for Andy Murray's admirable achievement in becoming the world's number two tennis player.

    Glen6899's #3 above proves that people ARE interested in seeing articles properly recognising Andy Murray's efforts - and NOT the miserable sniping and anti-Scottish rants served up on 6-0-6.

  • Comment number 5.

    It has no bearing unless he wins a slam

  • Comment number 6.

    It was inevitable someone would quibble. Now listen, fergaljpc - Federer is often and rightly praised for the length of time he stayed at No 1. How did he stay there? By winning the points. Well, a great number of those points were gathered at Masters and other non-Slam events - the ones you want to ignore.
    Joe Louis was World Heavyweight Champion for about 12 years. When boxing fans admire him for that, nobody expects them to remember every opponent he defeated in those years. If the "minor" tennis events didn't have any "bearing", players wouldn't enter them.

  • Comment number 7.

    As great as it is that Andy is climbing up the rankings, his supporters should note that during the timeframe in which Nadal was injured he was unable to defend over 4000 points. Andy Murray is a great player who will undoubtedly become no.1 and win a slam, but the rankings for both him and Federer reflect the huge amount of points Nadal was unable to defend.

    I am not poo-pooing the achievements of Murray, but it has come to my attention that some members here don't understand how the points system works..............

  • Comment number 8.

    #5 fergaljpc

    The aforementioned (#4) miserable sniping appears right on cue!

    #7 Nadaliator

    "it has come to my attention that some members here don't understand how the points system works.............."

    And some of the clever-dick members who "do understand how the points system works" have a very warped understanding of it:

    1. Murray gets a long-term wrist injury and is out for several months = Nadal's ranking wasn't helped at all by that. (Yeah, right).

    2. Nadal has a knee injury and is out for a month = Nadal had "a huge amount of points he was unable to defend."

    Ugh! Talk about "selective memory"!

    But, of course, you're not "poo-pooing the achievements of Murray." (Of course not!)

    If Murray had gained the same number of points as Nadal, and been injured, the points system would have worked exactly the same way to Murray's detriment! Both players are being ranked by EXACTLY THE SAME SYSTEM.

    The only thing favouring one or the other player is their own good or bad luck with injuries, which is something they don't control.

    Whether people "understand" the ranking system is totally irrelevant as a factor in Murray's achievement.

  • Comment number 9.

    It could be argued that being injured and not defending points makes you a lesser player than one who is playing and earning points, therefore Murray's and Federer's positions are entirely justified.

    I'm sure Nadal doesn't have any problem with this, being the nice guy he appears to be. And both Federer and Murray have acknowledged the absence of Nadal in their attaining their recent rankings climbs.

    And Glen6899, I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 10.

    People like the Nadaliator need to remember that it's not only Nadal who has lost out on points because of injury and illness. Murray had quite some time out with a virus this year, one which caused his early(ish) exit from the Australian Open. If that hadn't happened, who knows where he would be in the rankings right now?

    It's all ifs and buts. The fact is that Murray has got where he is through blinding talent and sustained hard work.

  • Comment number 11.

    It would be an absolute joke if Andy Murray was to become numbe 1 any time soon. He has never won a Grand Slam and only been to 1 final. Maybe if he wins at Flushing Meadows he will deserve the top spot, but until he wins a Slam, it should not be allowed.
    He has won multiple tournaments now, but all of them are best of three sets. He still needs to prove he can win at the highest level.

  • Comment number 12.

    So long as Nadal and/or Federer are out injured then yes Murray does stand a chance at being #1. I know that may sound incredibly harsh.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jimboo20 - Dinara Safina has never won a grand slam and yet has been world number 1 for quite some time now. Should she be shoved off the top spot because she hasn't won a slam?

  • Comment number 14.

    Nadaliator, sorry to be padantic, but Nadal was unable to defend his Wimbledon & Queens titles, that is 2250 points not 4000+.
    Ryushinku, Federer is not out injured, he was recovering from illness last year, which may have helped Nadal get to number 1. Neither is Nadal out injured, having made his comeback at Montreal.

  • Comment number 15.

    5 years ago.... had you said to me that Scotland (Britian) would have a tennis player on the cusp of the World No1 spot, and incredibly people were fretting over the fact that the players above him had been injured, or the fact at only 22 he had not yet won a Slam. I would have laughed my ruddy head off!

    There is just no pleasing some folk.

    Question: Would there be this debate if it was say Tim Henman?

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't have a problem with Safina being number one without winning a Slam, although it would be great for her if she had. When Serena Williams was whingeing about holding three Slams and not being number one, it was mostly down to her not being as consistent as Safina (who, after all, had made Slam finals), rather than Safina playing more tournaments (at the time she was complaining, Safina had only played about three more, which would offer far fewer points than the gap between them).

    So, the bottom line is that the ranking systems reward consistency. And why shouldn't they?

  • Comment number 17.

    Who cares that Nadal has been out for a while? Of course that is a factor and is why Fed is back at #1 as well. But that's life - rankings have always worked on the basis that players are fit to play. Murray is a genuine Top3 player and looks like he is turning the Fed-Nadal monopoly into a battle of 3. There are other excellent Top 10 players but Murray seems to be putting some space between them and himself. For all the snipers who claim he hasn't won a slam - so what. The point is that he is a genuine contender and will challenge (in fact I would even make him slight favourite over Fed) for the US Open. Why do people always want to rubbish Henman and now Murray? I remember when all we could hope for was Jeremy Bates making the second week of Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 18.

    Nice piece. As Mr. Overend points out, this is indeed quite a competitive period in men's tennis, and it would be to Murray's credit if he can make it to # 1 in the rankings. It would be purposeless to pooh-pooh players' achievements on making it to # 1 in the rankings by pointing to lack of Grand Slams, or if they have won Slams, to go on about the absence of Slams on multiple surfaces, etc. After all, the achievement of the ranking by the players is only THROUGH the system that was put together by the governing body of the sport.

    Since most of us spend a large amount of time watching sport, our judgements seem to become unduly harsh when it comes to players and performances. But let us for a moment step back and realise these are youngsters who start to play at the very highest level in their profession by the time they are at university-leaving age (or sometimes even younger). Turning the gaze inward, how many of us were at or near the top of our profession at 22? Of course, it is the prerogative of every viewer to have and express an opinion, but these opinions will probably be a bit more substantial if they are blended in with a certain perspective.

  • Comment number 19.

    #18 wheresmybeer

    "these opinions will probably be a bit more substantial if they are blended in with a certain perspective."

    I suggest that removal of their anti-Scottish spectacles and a grip on actual reality might help...but somehow I don't see that happening!

  • Comment number 20.

    we should not get carried away or make too much fuss over rankings. after he is retired, barely anyone remembers the rankings. the grandslams are what matters. let us cheer on murray and make him win at flushing meadows. after he has won a grand slam, we would not feel so passionate about ratings.

  • Comment number 21.

    This is a joke - How can someone who hasn't won a major be considered for the world number one spot. It's laughable. He's nowhere even close to being as good as Nadal or Federer, he might be able to do them in meaningless tourno's but on the big stage, he struggles. Nothing to do with pressure or nerves, just lack of ability.

    The ranking system is a farce

  • Comment number 22.

    Great performance by Murray although he looked a little jaded. Can anyone explain how Del Potro got so far though. He looks permanently knackered!

    On another point I wonder how many now think that it was a mistake for Murray to ditch Gilbert two years ago an opinion voiced by many at the time? Do they still think he was being arrogant? Well done team Murray for helping make it work.

  • Comment number 23.


    Safina is number 1 and shouldn't be. Like Murray shouldn't be no.2 till he wins a GS. Safina showed how good she was against Williams at Wimbledon. Until Murray wins a GS he cant be considered No.2 IMO.
    It's like saying Tottenham are better than Liverpool because they beat them on Sunday. Who will finish higher in the table/more chance of winning a trophy?
    Until Murray wins that GS he is behind Federer and probably Nadal.

  • Comment number 24.

    Murray has done well to get where he is, but lets face it he is only number 2 because of Nadals injuries. If Nadal and Federer are fit Murray has no chance of being number 1 and the chances are he will drop back down to number 3.
    I do think he is in with a reasonable chance in the US; its his best surface and at the speed that works best for him and with Nadal still on the comeback trail its just the small matter of Federer to deal with, but thats half the problem he gets when he has both Nadal and Federer at the top of their games so lets hope he can win his first big one.

  • Comment number 25.

    benvo81, I remember Murray beating Nadal in the semi at last year's US Open. Seemed like a pretty big stage to me.

    Jimboo20, sounds like you're arguing against yourself. You're saying that Spurs aren't better than Liverpool just because they beat them on Sunday, but that you have to take a whole season's football into account. Conversely, you say that Murray isn't as good as Federer and Nadal because they have won some individual tournaments, and that you should ignore the fact that Murray has been better/more consistent over the entire season. Make your mind up!

    ForOne, Equally, you could say that Nadal only made it to #1 because of Federer's injury/illness, and that Federer and Nadal both benefited from Murray's illness at the start of the year. Who knows how far Murray would have gone at the Aussie Open if he hadn't had that virus?

  • Comment number 26.

    "It's like saying Tottenham are better than Liverpool because they beat them on Sunday."

    No, it's not like saying that at all, since he is ranked based on points accumulated over 12 months. If it was based on the last performance, he'd be number 1 and Del Potro would be number 2 (with Tsonga and Roddick at 3 and 4, but I've no idea how they'd separate them).

  • Comment number 27.

    I've just had a trawl through the above blog entries and there are a number of well-made points, but also a number of questionable ones. Jimboo, between 11 and 23 you seem to be contradicting yourself a little. League titles, just like ranking position are won through consistency over a season, not on one-off matches or tournaments so your analogy doesn't make a lot of sense. It appears that your view is that rankings only be assessed on GS tournaments, which is a little childish and ridiculous. That's like saying that if a player plays well in an important football match like a cup final or some such, but isn't a first team regular, he's a better player than someone selected every week. And anyway, leave football out of this, we're talking tennis.

    The main point is that Murray reaching number two is a fantastic achievement which even Federer acknowledges. As has been previously said, we should be applauding that for Britain. And I don't think the press would heve been so critical of Henman, not just because he was a bit more carved from the 'expected' mould for a British tennis player, but because he was a very talented player who didn't quite have the winning mentality which appears to be despised in our sportsmen and women by our press and yet praised in non-national sports people.

    Murray has it in spades, and has proved it on many occasions, and some don't like that. Thankfully most of us who appreciate sport love it, so lets have plenty more!

  • Comment number 28.

    I, and I think everyone else, agree that Nadal's injury was a major help in Murray overtaking the Spaniard in the rankings. But, I think what some people are missing is that the real achievement in this is that it was Murray (and Federer) and not anyone else that took advantage of this. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and the ranking system and it is all about who can take best advantage of someone else's misfortune through their own ability - and this is what Murray has done and this is why we should admire him.

    Let's not forget, Murray has had a brilliant year and his best Slam is still to come. I have to agree with some bloggers though...he needs to win a Slam at some point if he really wants to be able to lay claim to being the best player in the world. I do think it's ridiculous that Safina's No. 1 having never won one. She clearly is not the best, and she was absolutely woeful at Wimbledon in the semis...but having said that, Murray will win one, and when he does, he'll probably claim the top spot at the same time - US Open anyone...?!

  • Comment number 29.

    Lleyton Hewitt last won a GS in 2002 - does that mean Andy Murray should not be ranked higher than him as he's not won a GS? No - that would be a nonsense system.

    If a single person had won all of the Grand Slams for the last 2 years would it be OK for Murray to be number 2 in the world then?

    Well done Murray on another excellent tournament win and getting to Number 2 in the world.

  • Comment number 30.

    The ranking system (ludicrously condemned by one or two above) was seriously overhauled a few years ago precisely to avoid the kind of abuses that people are looking for here. It was possible for a clay court player to garner huge numbers of points by just playing major and minor clay court tournaments through the season and obtain a totally false ranking. Any tennis fan will be able to name some of the well-known examples.

    The system, as is, bases the ranking on the Championship Race on the 4 Grand Slams, the Masters series events and the best five other tournaments.

    Even the entry list system, massively favours Gran Slam results because they are given a huge points advantage. Masters events come next and then "minor" tournaments. You can only get a high ranking by being extremely consistent through the year. What of the player who wins a Grand Slam and nothing else? (there have been examples in the not too distant past such as MaliVai Washington and Goran Ivanisovic) It's actually pretty hard for such a player to get near the top 10, even with a Gran Slam win, unless there are some other big performances in there. No one gets to #2 now without consistent performances on all surfaces and particularly in the biggest tournaments. Anyone who says that Andy Murray's ranking is a joke presumably is not terribly knowledgeable about how tennis actually works.

    Incidentally, Federer, Murray and Nadal have ALL laregly been out of action since Wimbledon for different reasons.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am not a Tennis expert but have been following AM's amazing achievements for the last 2 years. I have followed this blog and am a bit confused with regard the amount of emphasis being placed on GS events and how much there isnt on the smaller competitions, All the players play in all the tournaments but if the top players win a GS they get huge credit and if they lose a lesser tournament they get less credit from the fans/points, however, if they are playing each other (whatever the rank) then does it realy matter what the tournament is and why would there be less praise for winning a minor if you have just beat a player higher ranked than you? it all seems a little academic realy, as apposed to reality. You win or lose against your opponent no matter what the tournament.

  • Comment number 32.

    This article was starting to make me quite angry until I got to the last few paragraphs, so apologies Mr Overend for judging you too soon.

    It is right to acknowledge that Murray has reached no.2 because of Nadal's injury (the claim that Nadal only reached no.1 because of Federer's illness doesn't hold much weight because of Nadal's excellent record against Federer and because of his 6 Grand Slam wins at 3 of the 4 Slams).
    However, Murray has established himself as a solid no.3, and you could argue that he is just unfortunate to be sharing an era with arguably the two best players in the history of the game.

    He simply has to win a slam to move up to the top level, and the US Open probably represents his best bet....

  • Comment number 33.

    "Murray shouldn't be no.2 till he wins a GS."

    You're mixing up the Grand Slam totals table and the ranking system.

    Saying that Murray "shouldn't" be number two until he wins a Grand Slam is about as logical as saying he "shouldn't" win a Grand Slam until he's been number two!

    Of course, there is a world of difference between logic and warped prejudice.

  • Comment number 34.

    why the focus on the slams?

    yes they are best of 5 rather than best of 3 sets, and have an extra round or 2 for most players, but that is why you get DOUBLE the ranking points for winning one.

    if one player wins all 4 slams, but another wins all 9 ATP 1000 events, the one who won 9 tournaments will be number one.

    why not?

  • Comment number 35.

    #28 StuartisaBroadBean

    "I, and I think everyone else, agree that Nadal's injury was a major help in Murray overtaking the Spaniard in the rankings."

    I don't agree so, NOT everyone else agrees.

    Murray rose in the rankings thanks to other players being injured just as other players rose in the rankings thanks to Murray being injured.

    Swings and roundabouts.

    To be unable to see that they're all being ranked using the same system just highlights the irrational ignorance shown by some towards Murray on these blogs and message boards.

  • Comment number 36.

    #35 bighullabaloo

    Couldn't agree more. AM will win a GS in the near future, wonder what reason they will then find to say that he is not a worthy champ.

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 DundeeGadgie

    "wonder what reason they will then find to say that he is not a worthy champ."

    Here's my prediction of what will happen when Murray wins a Grand Slam:

    All the nasally accents whining: "Murray will never win a Grand Slam" will suddenly and inexplicably evaporate into thin air - with not one of them having the guts to admit they were wrong.

    A new whingeing chorus of: "Murray will never win as many Grand Slams as Federer" will rise up in its place: totally ridiculous though it will be.

    The ugly truth is these people cannot face the reality of their own irrational hatred of Murray, any more than they are able to face the reality of their irrational hatred of themselves.

    That self-hatred is the root of their pathetic envy and the true cause of all their miserable sniping on these blogs and boards.

  • Comment number 38.

    So, to merely pass comment about Murray here without dancing and singing his praises is classed as envy and sniping??!! I think Murray has been brilliant over the last 12 months and deserves to be applauded for his achievements, please tell me where in this paragraph I am sniping, or in my previous comment.

    This is a forum for discussion and people are entitled to their opinions, regardless of whether you follow Andy, Nadal, Federer or whoever.

    As for the points debate, here are some statistics:

    On Monday 25th May Nadal had 14,960 points (1000 of which he lost after the Soderling defeat)

    Nadal didn't play again until w/c 10th August.

    The current rankings as of 17th August show Nadal at 8,665 points.

    He hasn't played so has not been able to defend his titles, therefore he has lost over 4000 points since he became injured.

    2000 points for a Slam (French & Wimbledon), 1000 for The Rogers Cup (although he did retain points for reaching the 1/4 final).

  • Comment number 39.

    ForOne, Equally, you could say that Nadal only made it to #1 because of Federer's injury/illness, and that Federer and Nadal both benefited from Murray's illness at the start of the year. Who knows how far Murray would have gone at the Aussie Open if he hadn't had that virus
    The fact is Murray still picked up decent ranking points before his illness; Rafa went out of the FO with his injury and missed Wimbledon an event as I'm sure you will agree his pedegree is much better in than Murrays. Murray is a very good player on the up and I hope he does very well, but dont get carried away. At the top of their game both Nadal and Federer are still some considerable way ahead of him. I'm sure he will continue to close on Federer as age will no doubt start to catch up with him in the next 2-3 years, but if Nadal stays injury free (or even has just a few injuries) Murray will really struggle to keep up over the longer term...
    Murray is the third best player in the World (yes I know he is ranked 2, but not as a result of tennis but as a result of an injury to a rival) and that gives him a decent chance of a Grandslam title, but dont get carried away and over rate him.

  • Comment number 40.

    Really good to see a blog of this tone existing on the BBC website. It's ludicrous that it's not on the front sports page of the website. I suspect if Laura Robson ever makes the top five in the world, it'll be front page news. Why would there be a difference in the prominence given to the achievement? One is Scottish and the other is (just) English.

  • Comment number 41.

    So 2 years agoe when Murray was playing blinding tennis for 2 sets and then blowing up because he wan't fit enough, were you saying he deserved to be #5 purely because of the away he played? Nope.
    When he dropped in the rankings due to his wrist injury and illness, I didn't hear anyone say were you there saying 'the other guy only went above him in the rankings because Murray was injured'? Nope

    Sport is a combination of ability and fitness. Liev with it.
    After all, Federer is only #1 because Bjorn Borg is 53 years old. Not fair that, is it?

    Now I can understand the emotion of why people want Murray to win a Grand Slam to validate his #2 ranking, but think about it: what is so special about Grand Slams other than the prestige artifically applied to it for historical reasons? Is it harder to beat a player at a slam event than it is to beat than at a masters tournament - if so please explain why?

    The ranking are applied over a year and is a system designed *by the players* to reward consistency and they accept that. Live with it all you whinging amateurs.

  • Comment number 42.

    #39 ForOne

    "At the top of their game both Nadal and Federer are still some considerable way ahead of him (Murray)."

    Based on what observable reality exactly?

    The facts are these:

    Murray v. Federer (head-to-head) Murray has a 6-2 lead.

    Murray v. Nadal (head-to-head) Nadal has a 7-2 lead.

    So, it's wrong straight off the bat to claim BOTH Nadal and Federer are some considerable way ahead of Murray. In fact, Murray is some considerable way ahead of Federer, using head-to-head comparison.

    If the "argument" suddenly switches back to: "Ah yes, but Federer is way ahead of Murray in the rankings!" that shoots down all the misery guts on here who say the rankings are not a true measure of relative ability.

    If the claim is now that the rankings ARE a true measure of relative ability, then the current rankings say Murray is some considerable way ahead of Nadal!

    It's one thing for people to try to have their cake and eat it, but this constant (and tedious) refusal to acknowledge Murray's achievements is mean-spirited and, well, just plain ugly.

    Murray is the world's second best tennis player on merit.

    Get over it!

  • Comment number 43.

    Unless my maths is really up the creek, Nadal is much nearer to Murray in the world rankings than Murray is to Federer. Tennis is not about could have, should have, would have. Pretty sure Murray wouldn't want the same reputation as Dinara Safina ... a World No 1 without a slam to his name. He should acknowledge the fact that Nadal is only just returning to action after having been sidelined by injury. Though the same could be said with regard to Federer winning the FO + particularly Wimbledon, at least he achieved the No 1 spot by actually winning 2 slams.

  • Comment number 44.

    Fed certainly seems to be congratulating AM in his achievement and for his hard work in getting there.

    Anyone else think they can argue with the Fed ?

  • Comment number 45.

    "Is it harder to beat a player at a slam event than it is to beat than at a masters tournament - if so please explain why? "

    Because the slams are five set matches. Many of them, one after the other.

    Because the best players focus on the slams, and aim to peak during these events.

    Because the whole world is watching the slams, which add a tremendous amount of pressure to the game, and absolutely affects players who have weak minds.

    Anyway, the whole thing about Murray is absurd.

    If and when he does win a slam, he will then have won 1 slam. BIG DEAL. He will still not be even close to standing in the shadow of Nadal or Federer.

    However, if and when he wins a good number of slams, all this chatter of the present time will be shown for what it is: idle speculation on a man who is clearly having a very good go.

    Murray is a potential great, just like all the other potential greats that are competing with the established greats of the current time: Nadal and Federer.

  • Comment number 46.

    The last thing anybody wants is a #1 mens ranking with no Grand Slam titles. Andy's #1 priority should be and will be to win his self confessed favourite major and the one where he has produced his best form 4 weeks time in Queens. Congratulations to Andy on becoming world #2. In an era which he shares world tennis with 2 of the greatest players of all time it's quite a feat.

  • Comment number 47.

    If and when he does win a slam, he will then have won 1 slam. BIG DEAL.


    In the Open Era only 50 men have won a singles slam. Talk about hard to please. Idiot.

    As far as I'm concerned, the ATP have got the rankings spot on. To be out through injury, although not Nadal's fault, doesn't mean he can be called number 2 in the world. If your body cannot play for the 10 months/year required then you are a lesser player than one of the same ability who can. Simple.

  • Comment number 48.

    Maybe one of the many "tennis geniuses" on here can remind what age Federer was when he won his first Grand Slam? Hold on, I've just found it. It was Wimbledon, 2003 and he was 22 years old.

    Oh, yes, and remind me what age is Andy Murray this year?

    You people need to get a better grip on reality!

  • Comment number 49.

    I see the dumbos at the BBC are still at it:

    "Although Murray's victory in Montreal saw him lift his fourth senior Masters title, he is yet to win a Grand Slam - something Federer, who beat Murray in last year's US Open final, has achieved 15 times."

    They need to read my post #48 as well. There is the slight difference of six whole years in age between Murray and Federer. Tennis years are like dog years. You should multiply them by seven to get the human equivalent.

    In human terms Murray is a sprightly 28-year-old whilst Federer is a doddery old codger of 77!

    One has to admit Roger is still cutting a dash even in his tennis old age, but for how much longer? How long will it going to be before it's a case of the "Emperor has no clothes?"

    Nadal is undeniably a tennis powerhouse but his knees are going to wear out within the next two or three years.

    Andy Murray has all of his prime tennis years ahead of him.

    Some of the vindictive nutcases on here would do well to remember that when they are trying to spit their bile out.

  • Comment number 50.

    23. At 12:02pm on 18 Aug 2009, Jimboo20 wrote:


    Safina is number 1 and shouldn't be. Like Murray shouldn't be no.2 till he wins a GS. Safina showed how good she was against Williams at Wimbledon. Until Murray wins a GS he cant be considered No.2 IMO.
    It's like saying Tottenham are better than Liverpool because they beat them on Sunday. Who will finish higher in the table/more chance of winning a trophy?
    Until Murray wins that GS he is behind Federer and probably Nadal.

    Jimboo20 - you are an idiot. I've never commented on any blog but I couldn't resist after your comment. Your metaphor contradicts your argument.

  • Comment number 51.

    Anyone who doesn't think Murray deserves his No.2 ranking is a fool. He's already the best British tennis player ever at 22 (and I don't care about Perry, that was a different era where playing standards were no doubt far lower than they are today). Chances are this time next year he'll be number 1 with a couple of slams to his name. It is a wonder quite what British sports fans expect. It's like saying Asafa Powell is a rubbish sprinter because he finished behind Bolt and Gay. Imagine in 2012, Murray's just won his fifth Grand Slam. The 'fans': 'yeah, but, Federer won 15. Murray sucks.'

    Get over it. He's the 2nd best player in the world at 22 and is still getting better. He has a superior head to head against Federer, one which will only stretch more, while his deficit against Nadal will mostly likely shorten as Murray improves on clay. Who cares if he has a 'bad attitude' or 'no personality' or is 'too defensive', he's an awesome tennis player, and the facts prove it.

  • Comment number 52.

    I read last week that Federa let a 5 1 match winning lead slip against Tsonga, for reasons that might not have been as clear cut as they seem. The article suggested that maybe his next opponant played some part in the outcome of the game.
    Has Federa ever lost such a large winning margin?? 5 1 up, and serving for the match, then loses??

  • Comment number 53.

    So let's get this right - Murray is not as good as Federer (arguably the best player the world has ever seen) so doesn't deserve to be number 2.
    Murray is now past the age when Federer won his first GS so doesn't deserve to be number 2 (what the hell has that got to do with it,anyway?)

    And Murray is not as good as Nadal - right now he is which is what the rankings show. And if you look at Murray's record againsr Nadal in the last 2 years it is 2:2. So maybe Murray is not as far behind Nadal as many are making out.
    In fact, for the tennis purists out there I would honestly says that Murray is the more artistic stroke-playing sort of player whereas Nadal is (relatively) more about power and fitness - they don't call him 'the beast' for nothing and it seems that his style of play is starting to take its toll on his body. Yes, I do think Nadal is overall an awesome player of tennis, but a different style to Murray.

    "You people need to get a better grip on reality!"
    Bughullabaloo - I get what you are saying, but the rankings are the rankings. Designed *by the players* as what they consider the best possible way to measure who the best player in the world is right now. And according to that system Murray is #2 and that is all that Jonathan Overends's column was saying. Any argument after that is about personal preference.

    I think there is a huge anti-Murray sentiment. Not bcause he is Scottish but because of his personality - he came in a stroppy, surly gangly kid which put people off him (that just isn't the 'British way' of doing things, is it?) and, as the saying goes, mud sticks and people are slow to get past the first impressions.

  • Comment number 54.

    It's like saying Tottenham are better than Liverpool because they beat them on Sunday. Who will finish higher in the table/more chance of winning a trophy?
    Until Murray wins that GS he is behind Federer and probably Nadal.


    Completely moronic.

    The rankings ARE the table. So how by your logic does finishing highr in the table in football show the best player but NOt the table in tennis?

  • Comment number 55.

    "He should acknowledge the fact that Nadal is only just returning to action after having been sidelined by injury. Though the same could be said with regard to Federer winning the FO + particularly Wimbledon, at least he achieved the No 1 spot by actually winning 2 slams."

    Actually, as I said before, both Federer and Murray have acknowledged Nadal's absence. But that doesn't change the fact that they currently have more points than him and are therefore ranked higher.

    Well done Murray, I say. Whether or not Nadal is playing, Murray is a great player and I happen to like his attitude. He always comes across to me as a very fair kind of guy.

  • Comment number 56.


    You say, "I think there is a huge anti-Murray sentiment."

    We all know why that is - one interview about the World Cup where Murray, Henman and a DJ shared a joke. The outcome was that the English media (including the BBC) misreported the content and context and Murray got slated. Most of the anti-Murray comments still mention this despite the fact that the DJ and Henman have both consistently said that the incident was misreported. Strangely, Murray was castigated for anti-English jocular comments. Henman and the DJ started the discussion with anti-Scottish jocular comments - no castigation from Scots about those because it was jocular.

    As for being a, "stroppy, surly gangly kid", Henman was too - Henman's behaviour led to him forfeiting a match at Wimbledon but Henman was not widely abused by the English media.

    After that one incident, the English media was after Murray - he was abused for his appearance, his manner, his style of play (by journalists who watch tennis once a year), his accent etc. I hope Murray remembers who wrote the most vile articles about him (some "sports" journalists from The Guardian were particularly poor). When the grand slam comes (and it will) he can talk to those journalists who concentrated on what matters - the tennis.

  • Comment number 57.

    I would love to know why Andy Murray warrants special treatment ?
    What I mean is, us, the great un-washed viewing public, are perfectly within our rights to like or dislike any one for whatever reason we see fit. It's exactly the same for all sportsmen/women and other celebs.
    Murray fanatics assume that just because he (Murray) is undoubtedly a great tennis player, we all should just fall at his feet in worship. Urhh, no, it doesn't work like that.
    Think McEnroe, Nastase and others. Sure they were some that liked them and everyone admired their talents but a LOT of people disliked them solely for their on-screen persona.

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.


    "I would love to know why Andy Murray warrants special treatment?"

    He doesn't deserve special treatment but he gets it with the extreme negativity shown towards him for no apparent reason.

  • Comment number 60.

    FairplayMonty can you explain why we English have to pass off biggotted comments from scotts as small minded banter. if Ron Atkinson makes a a misguided comment about a black man he's tarnished for life. Small minded comments are about the English are two a penny from Scotts in the sporting media yet we have to pass them off as sporting banter.

    I like Andy Murray and hope he wins many slams and gets to no1. But lets not forget the origins of his comments about the English are from his exposure to the deep rooted biggotry that exists amounst Scottish sports fans towards the English.

    Im no politically correct nutter, but its one thing that constantly gets on my nerves!

  • Comment number 61.

    There are many very apparent reasons. His on court behaviour has been abysmal in the past. Wimbledon 2008 against Gasquet. The Olympics 2008 among others. Admittedly these were in the past and 2009 saw a much better Murray in ALL departments.
    Fair play to him if he's sorted this stuff out but as someone else posted here, mud sticks and he'll just have to live with it.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think all those people who knock Andy Murray about no slam/grumpy/no personality/lucky because nadal injuries/rankings mean nothing/he hates the english should buzz off and support another British tennis player.

    Have fun! LOL

  • Comment number 63.

    I think Andy is still extremely far to where people consider the top. he can't play with such great pressure from everyone in UK...and it's sad to know that there's only a few players in UK that tried to reach to the top and only few made it...with respect from everyone. I guess people in UK should let him go a bit.....maybe he can perform better....

  • Comment number 64.

    #53 frogjumper91

    "I get what you are saying"

    No you don't!

    If you'd actually "got" what I'm saying you'd know my comment: "You people need to get a better grip on reality!" is addressed to the numpties trying to rubbish Murray's achievement not the people who see it in proper perspective as the result of a massive amount of dedication and hard work on Murray's part.

    Try reading what people write. Then you might actually "get" what they're saying.

  • Comment number 65.

    "lets not forget the origins of his comments about the English are from his exposure to the deep rooted biggotry that exists amounst Scottish sports fans towards the English."

    Hard to believe there are still morons out there spouting this ignorant lie about Murray making anti-English comments.

    Try reading the reality in #56.

  • Comment number 66.


    Read #56 and then buy yourself a book on spelling and grammar.


    What was wrong with Murray's behaviour against Gasquet, or in the Olympics?

    Against Gasquet he used home support as you would expect. He lost in the Olympics - that happens.

  • Comment number 67.


    I don't think there is much pressure from the general public, or at least it doesn't make much of a difference to him. Murray has such a competitive nature (as do all top players) that he goes out there wanting to win and expecting to win. What we or the papers say is irrelevant when he's on court. What he's said does help though is people encouraging him when he's playing.

  • Comment number 68.

    Andy has done great and I have no doubt that he will reach no 1 in the ATP rankings at some point. I am half Scottish and support Murray just as I supported Henman in his day.

    But the bottom line is that history will bracket him with the likes of Marcelo Rios and Pat Rafter should he achieve the number one ranking without adding a Grand Slam title to his name. In other words the achievement would be quickly forgotten.

    A Grand Slam title however, with or without the number one ranking would be remembered forever. Only a matter of time in my opinion.

  • Comment number 69.

    #67 EdTennisFan

    "it doesn't make much of a difference to him."

    I disagree. Murray is very competitive and I think all the negativity he gets from English bigots actually helps him enormously. In fact, it's probably one of the biggest reasons why he's reached number two in the world.

    If they keep ranting it will help Murray get to number one. The bigots know that and that's why they get so angry when Murray is doing so well. They're helping him get there.

  • Comment number 70.


    Rafter won the U.S. Open twice.

  • Comment number 71.

    "Im no politically correct nutter, but its one thing that constantly gets on my nerves!"

    It bothers you that much that in the intervening 3+ years you've never even bothered to look up what was actually said instead relying on heresay and what the media dish out to you?

    You Sir, are a buffoon.

  • Comment number 72.

    #69: I agree with you there. Maybe I misinterpreted #63, but I took it to mean the pressure from expectation of winning a slam. In that case, I think, as it's something he wants anyway, it doesn't seem to bother him that people are expecting him to achieve it. I agree that any criticism is more likely to spur him on.

  • Comment number 73.

    "What was wrong with Murray's behaviour against Gasquet, or in the Olympics?"

    If you saw nothing at all wrong with his behaviour then that is why you support him and I don't. Screaming, ranting and raving is all good, eh ?

  • Comment number 74.

    why do i find it hard to really support murray?

    It's nothing to do with him being scottish or the english joke a few years ago. He is an excellent tennis player who can and will beat all the best players for years to come.

    However as a tennis fan who watches tennis week in week out he can be difficult to watch. His style of play is to hit the ball back over the net deep and hard, his defence when attacked is second to none, he retrieves more balls than anyone. He has a super first serve and great stamina. What's the problem then.

    He will never play tennis like Federer, few ever will. I would love him to be more aggresive, hit the corners, more winners. He can do it, but he knows mostly he doesn't have to, he can win playing the way he does.

    Now unless you are in his fan club and are just interested in him winning, it doesn't matter. When he does show passion and go for it, it's exciting, but all to rare.

    He beats Federer in 3 sets because he has a plan. Similar to Nadal's plan on clay against Federer. Murray targets the Fed backhand, relentlessly, until he makes a mistake. All the matches against Federer have been close that Murray has won and they are fascinating to watch. I think Federer has not changed the way he has played Murray apart from uso final. Hopefully they will play again this week and we will see if Fed has come up with a plan.

    I can see no reason from Murrays perspective, why he will change his game. He will go deep into every tournament he play but hopefully he won't win a slam for a year and he will have a re-think, change his game and become more attractive to watch.

    In football terms he's no Brazil, more an Italy.

  • Comment number 75.

    #73 fatClyde

    "Screaming, ranting and raving is all good, eh ?"

    With you people Murray can't win no matter what he does.

    Do you have any idea how ugly that attitude is?

    According to you miserable lot he's either "surly and dour" or he's "screaming, ranting and raving".

    Personally I'm glad to see such comments because I know the real reason for them is you're all totally ticked that Murray is proving you all wrong.

    May he continue for many years to come!

  • Comment number 76.

    #74 monkey1729

    Let's see if one can come up with a helpful solution for your plight of finding Murray "difficult to watch".

    Let's see now, it's a toughie! about you DON'T WATCH Murray?

    I knew it would be a struggle but that sounds very practical to me and understandable even by the dimmest of bulbs.

    I think it's also good for all the other people on here who don't like Murray.

    For some unknown reason they seem to think any of the rest of give a toss what they think, when in fact all they have to do is not watch Murray - and keep their traps shut!


  • Comment number 77.

    "Murray v. Federer (head-to-head) Murray has a 6-2 lead."

    This statistic is indisputable but additional to this may be that Murray has not beaten Federer in a Grand Slam, a point not lost on Federer himself at an interview prior to last year's US Open final.

    It's that experience that seems to set Federer and Nadal (arguably even Roddick, too, re Wimbledon) apart from Murray right now, in terms of their overall tennis performance, rather than just ranking position.

    How does Murray gain that experience? By keeping on playing the tennis he has been for the last few years. The finals and wins will follow from his good play and continued improvements. Based on his recent performances and the respect that he garners from his fellow professionals, the only person who can stop him from winning a Grand Slam would appear to be himself.

    His achievements are excellent and I hope they continue.

  • Comment number 78.

    All due respect to Murray and what he has achieved in the 3 set version of the game, but his 5 set record and Grand Slam record isnt good enough for him to be number 1.
    His rise to 2 is clearly because of Nadal's injury, and whilst it is deserved holding onto that ranking is a much more realistic target.
    You only have to look at Feds Grand Slam record to know knocking him off top spot will be very tough.
    I see Fed and Nadal being number one and two pretty consistently for 4 or 5 years.
    Fed is only 28 and when he retires Murray will be at the peak of his game, Nadals physical aproach will have taken its toll and Murray cwill then have his chance.

    Right now Federer and nadal are too good and Murray a bit weak in Grand Slams for him to be number 1.

  • Comment number 79.

    '"Murray v. Federer (head-to-head) Murray has a 6-2 lead."

    This statistic is indisputable but additional to this may be that Murray has not beaten Federer in a Grand Slam.'

    He's only played Federer in a Grand Slam once, so the sample is too small to draw any meaningful conclusions. Not that I'm trying to take anything away from Fed's incredible Slam record though.

  • Comment number 80.

    "Murray has not beaten Federer in a Grand Slam, a point not lost on Federer himself at an interview prior to last year's US Open final."

    A five-year-old could point out the flaw in this bilge masquerading as "reasoning".

    Has it never occurred to you that "beating Federer in a Grand Slam" isn't a compulsory requirement for winning a Grand Slam?

    Why even the implication that winning Grand Slam - regardless of who is beaten in the process - is not good enough in itself?

    According to the typical bigot's logic, Murray MUST "beat Federer" or "beat Nadal" in winning a Grand Slam, or it somehow "doesn't count"!

    What total bilge!

    Reality Check:

    1. It won't be that long before Federer will be struggling to reach the finals of Grand Slams.

    2. How long before Nadal's knees give out and he isn't reaching Grand Slam finals either?

  • Comment number 81.

    bighullabaloo - osrry fo rmisrepresenting your comment there! I pulled your quote instead of from someone else who said virtually the same thing but from the other side.

    I am sure that as and when Murray does win a GS they naysayers will find another reason to deny that Murray is justified to be number 2 (or even #1 ??). As someone above said, they have a right not to like him; but it seems it is also right to disclaim his right to be #2 based on this alone. Jerks.

    That's life as a celebrity I suppose.

  • Comment number 82.


    Federer also says that he hasn't lost to Murray in a final which is true (his two wins were in finals, one four years ago) and that he was sick when he lost the other matches. The first claim implies Federer doesn't try unless the match is a final which is not the mark of a champion, more a sore loseer. The sick note claim is very dubious because in between those losses Federer managed to win grand slam titles. Sour grapes - even great champions don't like to be beaten, though I've never heard Nadal talk like that about losses.

  • Comment number 83.

    I would like to see a change in ranking system which only grand slam winner can get first ranking, i am worried Murray would get number one ranking without grand slam, that's would be mess, like women. Safina is number one but never get close to grand slam title. Of course i am much prefer to see Murray to win US open then first ranking.

  • Comment number 84.

    #81 frogjumper91

    Apology accepted.

  • Comment number 85.

    #83: Safina has made three slam finals, so that's fairly close to winning the slam title (even if the matches in question were largely one-sided). I don't think there's any problem in a ranking system that rewards consistency.

    For example, this year, Serena Williams has won two slam titles and made a quarter-final, but nothing else (35-9 win-loss record), whereas Safina has made two Slam finals and a semi-final and has won three other titles (52-11 win-loss record). I can't think how a ranking system would favour Serena over Safina with that kind of record without having even more points for winning slams (and the points difference between winner and runner up is already 600 points). It seems fair enough to me, although Safina herself has said she'd rather have a slam title as well!

  • Comment number 86.

    Murray has impressed me recently with his politeness and good sportsmanship.
    As for the rest, time will tell.

  • Comment number 87.

    I hope Del Potro wins the US Open,because he his better than Murray.Murray won in Montreal because Del Potro was exausted.

  • Comment number 88.

    @80 - "Murray has not beaten Federer in a Grand Slam, a point not lost on Federer himself at an interview prior to last year's US Open final."

    A five-year-old could point out the flaw in this bilge masquerading as "reasoning".

    Has it never occurred to you that "beating Federer in a Grand Slam" isn't a compulsory requirement for winning a Grand Slam?


    Reasoning has nothing to do with it - that's what Federer said last year (albeit paraphrased).

    I would have thought that beating Federer to win a Grand Slam is entirely compulsory when you are in the final facing Federer, which was the case for Murray in the US Open 2008.

    My point being that what separates the current set of Grand Slam winners and Murray is that they have the experience to have been there and done it. The only way that Murray can achieve that experience is to, er, go there and experience it.

    He's done it once and came up short that time. I am sure he'll go there again (and again, perhaps) and use the lessons he learned from his first go. He may win one, he may win many, he may not win any but (in my opinion) the adding experience will help him.

    I'd prefer not to labelled a bigot or anti-Murray, particularly as I have written nothing that is against him or his achievements.

  • Comment number 89.


    Outside of the tie breaks, Del Potro won less points than Murray in all three sets in Montreal - he was the lesser player. Ability at tennis is mainly about skill, tactics, fitness and psychology. If Del Potro cannot last three sets after four years on the tour, there is something seriously wrong with his preparation.

  • Comment number 90.

    In my opinion Murray will not be regarded as a great until he wins a Gran Slam title. Nothing to do with anti-Murray or anti-Scottish or anti-UK. It’s just the way it is. Greatness in Tennis is measured by the success in GS tournaments. Ask any Tennis fan, pundit or past player their top 20 players of all time and I’d guarantee all of the players mentioned would have won multiple GS titles. Laver, Federer, Sampras, Borg, McEnroe, Lendle, Nadal, Aggasi just to name a few… I couldn’t tell you how many Master titles they won or how many weeks they were number #1. On TV they don’t show repeats of a Master series from the 80s or 90s. Or a computer screen showing the rankings.

    If Murray gets to the number one spot but never wins a GS – in 15 years time will we remember him as a great player? Will we say “oh Murray was world number one between Jan-Aug 2010, what a great he was”? I somehow doubt it. In September 2003 Juan Carlos Ferrero became world number one. Is he lauded as a great of the game?

    I remember watching the Sampras v Agassi final at Wimbledon a few years ago. Sampras slaughtered Andre in straight sets yet Agassi went to world number one. How are we supposed to consider a player the best in the world after watching him get his backside spanked in the biggest tennis match of the year? At least Andre won a few GS titles though. But say Nadal and Fed lose early in the US open, Murray gets to the final and loses to Del Potro and loses in straight sets. If the computer says he is number #1 would it be right to laud him as the greatest tennis player in the world?

    Having said all that Murray’s achievement is a very good one. He’s the best by a country mile the UK has produced in decades!

  • Comment number 91.


    "This statistic is indisputable but additional to this may be that Murray has not beaten Federer in a Grand Slam, a point not lost on Federer himself at an interview prior to last year's US Open final."

    Their head to head is 6-2 in Murray's favour. They have met in one grand slam and it happened to be in the final, with the odds stacked in Federer's favour by dint of poor tournament scheduling. Murray lost that one - big deal. Federer is great at tennis and great at excuses. Simply because Federer makes a point in a press conference does not make the point sensible or noteworthy.

  • Comment number 92.

    I’m hugely disappointed – but even more sadly, not in the least surprised.

    The attitude we have within the UK when it comes to ‘our own’ fighting to achieve great things is nothing short of embarrassing, and downright destructive. We just love to kick the stuffing out of people who do in fact achieve; make ground, and aspire to great things.

    It used to be the domain of Fleet Street as their mantle to do the berating. Nothing was ever good enough – regardless of the platform. Sports, music, acting, writing et al – in fact in any field of endeavour, the British press have missed their remit – and that’s impartiality. That said, one would have always hoped that at the very least, when it comes to ‘our own’ that the allowance of favouritism might at least ignore impartiality then. God forbid. The Press have even forgone their favourite ‘sport’ of waiting until someone does achieve the great goals in their chosen field and then kick the hell out of them. The modus operandi now is to kick them in the guts as they trying to simply get there.

    That’s the UK press – it’s what they are simply known for now. Simple and shameful as that. However, the more awful turn of the screw now is that that lamentful view and assessment is now the given approach by the generic population. It’s so infused with how we do things, that it’s now par of the course. It’s become what we do. He used to be a ‘soap actor’ now he’s trying to get into Hollywood – stuff you, you’re a clown; she used to be in that band; now she’s put on 3lbs – sod you, you’re a fat loser; he used to be a comedian who lived in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds etc, and now he’s moved to London – sod him, he’s getting a bit above himself, lets give him a real good kicking. It’s an utter embarrassment. It’s the UK’s favourite game – and every observer, every fat layabout, and more significantly every couch potato who has achieved sod all deems themselves highly qualified to dish out their ‘valued’ opinion.

    If something landed here from a different constellation it would scratch one of it’s 4 heads with a crooked claw, and then laugh up its spandex cuffs at us.

    Opinions, sure, we all have them – and that’s a fair call. But why in the name of all that is utterly bamboozling is it all so often borne out of the negative? Why is it so easy to shout and bawl about what hacks us off as opposed to what makes us punch the air and be proud?

    If you simply don’t like Murray – he just isn’t your guy, fair enough. But if your constant chorus is that he’s a non-achiever who will never amount to much – well the records quite plainly indicate that is not the case. He is achieving – and that should be celebrated. To go down the road of “he’s not as good as they say”, or “he’ll never achieve what Fed or Nadal has” is all in itself a fairly groundless and vacuous argument. Because it means absolutely nothing – he’s on this journey and all will become apparent. The young man is embarking on what is now about furtherance of a groundswell of undeniable achievements. That marks him out as someone to be both proud of and mightily warranting of our support.

    Argue the what’s and wherefores all you like. But it’s negativity in the extreme, shamefully churlish.

    Here we have a man who has achieved the greatest status in world tennis for a British player that anyone reading this will have ever witnessed. Is he bound for even greater things? I’d say without a doubt – and I’ll venture that all reading this would also agree. Are we proud, enthused and encouraging about this? It would seem not. Those who are not pleased – never will be. And that my friends, is a very sad – if not unsurprising – indictment on us wonderful supportive Brits. Don’t we just love to kick the life out of those who aim to achieve. Sad stuff, very very sad stuff indeed.

  • Comment number 93.


    You may be correct about the scheduling and about Federer's point not necessarily being sensible or noteworthy. I was trying to get at the psychology of the situation (armchair psychology, admittedly).

    Murray has an excellent record against Federer but, as someone else also pointed out, has never beaten him in a final. I'm sure that time will come but it seems to me that for the Grand Slams (which every player I would have thought rates higher than temporary ranking position), Federer (or Nadal, or even Roddick) holds the psychological upper hand.

    Until Murray can break that (and as I said in my original post, ONLY he can do that, as it exists in him, not someone else) do I think that he will achieve his Grand Slam win. It may simply be a matter of time or it may be further reaching than that, I don't know. I hope he can do it.

  • Comment number 94.

    #88 Titanicus

    "Reasoning has nothing to do with it - that's what Federer said last year (albeit paraphrased)."

    It's Federer's "reasoning" that I'm describing as "bilge"!

    I'm not some mindless sheep who thinks that just because Roger Federer says something it has to be taken as Gospel like some sort of sacred religious text!

    If you engage your brain you'll see that Federer WOULD say that, wouldn't he, especially if he was starting to get a bit worried about the Murray challenge - which is now breathing down the back of his neck.

    Try thinking for yourself for a change instead of just accepting the sort of mindless twaddle you see trotted out on tennis blogs.

    "I would have thought that beating Federer to win a Grand Slam is entirely compulsory when you are in the final facing Federer, which was the case for Murray in the US Open 2008."

    So, again, no sign of a connection there with the actual reality that Roger Federer has been in the past and will in future be beaten before the final of a Grand Slam.

    "I'd prefer not to labelled a bigot or anti-Murray, particularly as I have written nothing that is against him or his achievements."

    I'd prefer you didn't accuse me of labelling you a "bigot" or "anti-Murray" - neither of which I did. The proof of that is that you can't point to a post where I do.

  • Comment number 95.


    Why would Roddick or Federer have a psychological advantage over Murray in a Grand Slam or a final? Both Federer and Roddick know that over a reasonable number of matches, Murray has beaten them more often than not.

    Murray has beaten Roddick in a final and in a Grand Slam. Are you seriously trying to suggest that Federer not try to win in other matches?

  • Comment number 96.

    how come my last comment saying negative things about murry didn't show up? thanks bbc

  • Comment number 97.


    I don't recall accusing you of calling me a bigot either. However, you have used that word, to label someone or a group, previously. I merely stated my preference not to labelled in that way, by anybody. It's a pretty strong word and I'm not sure a full psychological profile of anybody on this forum could be drawn up on the basis of a few posts.

    If you were referring to Federer's reasoning as bilge then that is fair enough (if a little harsh on Federer). However, the *reality* is that Roger Federer played Andrew Murray in the US Open 2008 and beat him ( equally *real* is that Murray played Nadal in the semi-final and beat him). What Murray or any other player can produce in the future (of any tournament) is pure conjecture at this stage.


    I believe, possibly erroneously, that those players hold a psychological edge because they know what it is like to win a Grand Slam. Commentators of many sports often refer to this (golf being a particularly good example). Having been there and known what it felt like can give you the edge (apparently).

    In a Grand Slam final, Murray has yet to achieve this but presumably he will, given his recent record and, as you rightly point out, his recent record against the other players in, say, the top 5. I am not suggesting that Federer doesn't try just that he has that level of experience "in the bag". Naturally, being older than Murray (and a top player), he will have that experience and can call on it.

  • Comment number 98.

    It's interesting that you think it is Del Potro who will be Murray's long term rival as opposed to Novak Djokovic. Time will tell. I think that what sets Murray apart from these and other wannabe rivals is the sheer hard work he is willing to put in to ensure that he he is in the best possible physical shape for his matches. He reminds me a little of Andre Agassi (during his later playing days) in this regard. Tennis has become so physically demanding now that it is not enough to be a pure ball striker like Del Potro. That just won't get the job done over the course of a two week grand slam. Murray has the physical strength to last the two weeks now. This, together with his growing emotional maturity is why he will win Grand Slams and will be number one in the world in the not too distant future. He has always had the raw talent but he is increasingly becoming the complete package.

  • Comment number 99.

    I think the stategy behind Del Potro is very good.This week he will be resting and he will be back ,in form, for what it matters...the last grand slam of the year,the US Open.Del Potro his the favourite now to win.

  • Comment number 100.


    The guy can't last three long sets, withdraws this week due to exhaustion/injury and he's your favourite to win the US Open. Don't put any money on it.


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