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Prophetic Murray accepts he is not amongst clay-court elite

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Jonathan Overend | 21:51 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

At Roland Garros

Andy Murray got it right when he said the French Open semi-finals would feature the four best clay-court players in the world.

David Ferrer may be six in the rankings but he's a clear notch above Murray on the crushed brick red stuff. With five years more experience, and a game style so demoralising and exhausting to compete against, it's hard to deny the Spaniard a first Roland Garros semi-final.

Murray may get his chance in the future against 30-year-old Ferrer, a man who is respected and admired throughout the locker rooms of the world, but, as things stand, you have to say he did well to stretch his four-set defeat out to three hours and 45 minutes.

Remember Murray has only beaten one top-10 player on the dirt - Nikolay Davydenko in Monte Carlo a couple of years back - so winning this one was always a long shot. When he made the semis a year ago he had to beat Juan Ignacio Chela in the last eight. Ferrer would beat Chela 6-3 6-2 6-1 or something similar.

The match was enjoyable, albeit a bit random at times, with serve refusing to dominate for extended periods. This was a contest which enthralled the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen either side of a half hour rain delay.

Andy Murray

Murray had reached the last five Grand Slam semi-finals. Photo: Getty Images

I liked the way Murray played. He hit with good depth throughout and many of his backhand returns seemed to trap Ferrer in his backhand corner. The way he hit through his forehand was reminiscent of those fine matches he played in Australia.

In the fourth set, much was missing but at least he was sticking to his game plan. Had he converted one of the two break points which came his way in the seventh game, he could have extended the match.

The world number four's problem was holding serve. He lost five of his last six service games, was broken 10 times in all, and five times he lost serve immediately after breaking.

Ferrer returned exceptionally well and Murray, try as he might, seemed unable to force the ball through the heavy conditions with his first delivery. As a result, Ferrer got fully stuck into most Murray service games, using his speed and court craft to full effect, and by my scorecard's reckoning, Murray only had one love service hold in the entire match.

Considering he was only a few points from retiring in the second round, the British number one must take heart from the way he tested such a good player in a major quarter-final.

He now faces a heart-to-heart with his coaching team to decide how best to prepare for Wimbledon. He wants to do a block of physical training to get in perfect shape for the big one and was non-committal when asked if he could confirm his appearance at Queen's next week.

The French Open is a continuing puzzle for Murray. There are simply more players who can beat him on the surface and, if he's honest, when he saw Ferrer and Rafael Nadal in his half of the draw, he suspected a title challenge was unlikely to be in 2012.

He's not a member of the top five on clay and is he even in the top seven? Results and logic suggests Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro are ahead of him, with Nicolas Almagro and Tomas Berdych pushing him hard.

But as he rightly points out, he would have given Gaston Gaudio, the 2004 champion, a good match. (Let's be honest, Tim Henman would have beaten Gaudio if he'd got past Guillermo Coria in his epic semi-final of eight years ago.)

He'd have beaten 2003 finalist Martin Verkerk and would probably have held his own against other finalists Robin Soderling (2009 and 2010), Mariano Puerta (2005) and Magnus Norman (2000).

But, as it is stands, Murray continues to wait for the day a second-week Grand Slam draw opens up invitingly.

The reality is, in this super-strong era, the finest players are delivering time and time again. On other surfaces that means Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Nadal and Murray. On clay, that means Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Ferrer.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    The master choker chokes again and there has to be an article written about it? Murray failing in a Grand Slam tournament is more reliable than a full moon.

  • Comment number 2.

    I've noticed how this Tennis Sports writer is always praising Murray even after one of the most flawed performances he has ever fashioned.

    Murray at no point looked capable of wielding a victory, and Del Porto and Tsonga in my opinion are better players than him. We should stop bestowing upon Murray more praise than deserved, because in truth he's a very average player who happens to be top of an average bunch but somehow behind an extraordinary trio.

    That's the cold hard truth, and Murray won't win Wimbledon either with his cautious strategies, so please for the love of God stop being so biased towards him.

  • Comment number 3.

    Though I'll admit Murray was very tenacious, but he won't win if he keeps playing negative tennis and we all continue to make him sound better than he is simply for being British.

  • Comment number 4.

    You've done Scotland proud son.

  • Comment number 5.

    too much praise is heaped on Murray unnecessarily. at the beginning of each tournament, he is touted as the winner already. and when he wins a match its like he has won the tournament only for him to lose before the end.

  • Comment number 6.

    To be fair, Murray shouldn't have even started this tournament - back-problems.
    It's his weakest Major and he's never been comfortable on it - I couldnt really see the point of him playing when his best chance is coming up in a few weeks at Wimby.
    But, I feel he's really still stuck in that counter-puncher mode and won't take any risks whatsoever. Any one of Tsonga, Del Potro and Berdych could overtake him at #4 sport

    However, it is starting to look like, lol, 'Who's Going To Win A Major First: Murray or Wozniacki'?

  • Comment number 7.

    Disappointing display from Andy tonight. Did not produce what he is capable of.
    His serve is his liability, and has got to be addressed, before he attempts another slam tournament. Quite simply not good enough. Ferrer who is inches shorter than AM managed a more consistent service game and deservedly won........

    Sorry Andy, I've lost hope that you will ever sniff a slam. I perceive, that over the last three years nothing has changed in your game. Lendl has a tall order....... I doubt if he'll stick around much longer.

  • Comment number 8.

    Although Murray lost to the better player the stats were never in his favour. He has never beaten Ferrer on clay and it was plain to see that Ferrer is far superior to Murray on this surface.

    In response to the idea that Murray is an average player, this is a huge disservice to him. It is true that the media probably exaggerate his chances of winning a grand slam event, yet he continues to feature in the latter stages of every tournament. Having said that, his world ranking of 4 is a testament to his ability and his consistency across the tennis calendar. It is difficult to judge the quality of play given one tournament, particularly where injuries have been cited.

    Murray is an excellent tennis player who should get more recognition for performing consistently in the top 4 in the world. It is easy to be critical, and we shouldn't forget that we don't have many sportspeople in the top 4 in the world, and when we do it tends to be a fleeting visit.

  • Comment number 9.

    The anti-Murray nature of one or two of these comments is ludicrous. The man is the best British tennis player for 75 years, and in most other generations would have won at least one major. He is up against two of the greatest ever and one who is becoming one of the all time greats.

    He's not very good on clay, so what, neither was Sampras! IMO Murray would beat most of teh grand slam winners of the past 30 years. Thats everyone outside the Sampras, Federer, Nadal, etc group. He'd beat Hewitt, Gaudio, Roddick, etc no problem.

    Simply put, he is much much more than an "average player", he's just not one of the all time greats, and that is no shame!

  • Comment number 10.

    Murray is a great player - the best Brit ever - and at times, a joy to watch. He should however take a long look at himself and the "skateboarding persona" he has created. Is this the moment to throw away his cap, behave in a positive manner on the court, and start on the serious business of winning a Grand Slam. Come on Andy - forget about all the "effing and blinding" and get on with the job of winning.

  • Comment number 11.

    Wish I could say something positive about the tournament for Murray.. but there are no real positives. His fake injury, only showing itself at major lost points, along with his negative, defensive play & weak serve etc leave him totally exposed at the highest level against the better players. I fear the players behind are in his rear view mirror now and do not expect too much more from the man. Still, he's the best we've had in a while.

  • Comment number 12.

    how is ferrer considered one of the top 4 on clay? this is the first time he has got to the french semis.

  • Comment number 13.

    How can you say Murray choked?? To choke would imply that he was in a position to win the match but failed to do so through a lack of bottle, Murray was never in a position to win this match; in addition to the fact that he has never managed to beat Ferrer on clay.

    In response to the comments that Murray is a simply average player, it is ludicrous to suggest so. Murray, had he been competing in any other generation of the sport would have been a comfortable world number one, in addition to be a multiple grand slam winner. He has been unlucky in coming up against some inspired opponents when the chances have come his way. He does however have the talent and the game to win a grand slam, and why not Wimbledon? He has a good a chance as any at Wimbledon based on his serve and ground strokes.

  • Comment number 14.

    I do think Murray's main problem is psychological. He doesn't seem to truly believe he can win against the very, very best. Hence the frequent complaints, self-flagellation and pleading looks to his team in the stands. Put simply, I've never known any of the big 3 do any of those things: they find a way to win, or not, but they don't moan about it either way.

    Victoria Wade called Murray a drama queen. Nobody would even think to raise the question about Djoko, Nadal or Federer. There's your difference.

  • Comment number 15.

    This defeat showed a couple of things: 1) Murray will probably never work out how to play on clay. 2) People are beginning to get off his back a little, or at least they should be smart enough to work out that they should be.

    Murray has a pretty good record against ferrer off clay, because normally he can 'play through' him eventually without going for too many ridiculous shots. On clay ferrer is pretty much a wall so murray tried a very high risk game even though it may have been better to just try to stay with him because ferrer was not going to hit him off the court in the manner that berdych did a couple of years ago when murray was far too passive.

    I certainly think that people shouldn't criticise murray for not taking risks because today (and when he played nadal at last years USO) he probably took too many. The people that criticised him for the timid displays against Cilic at the 2009 USO or against Berdych at the 2010 FO should at least be satisfied that he is now hitting the ball as hard and inaccurately as he possibly can.

    Perhaps a good tactic would be one of mixing patience and taking calculated risks, but does anyone really think that Murray is too stupid to realise this himself?

    He was never going to win the french and never is, Im fairly sure that can be said categorically. However, I also feel certain that it is at least possible that he will win one of the other 3, with maybe Australia being his best shot.

    Hopefully, people will now realise that he is some way behind the BIG 2 and Federer and lower their expectations to the extent that when he loses in the QF or SF of a slam they don't start getting on his back and treating like a politician that reneged on a policy commitment about making their lives better or summit like that.

    Again hopefully, when he goes to Wimbledon he will be healthy and happy and England will still be in the EURO's, so that there is less attention on 'the whingy Scottish tennis bloke' - whom half of the British public seem to be willing to fail for some reason - and the people that do watch the tennis will give murray their full support. Im fairly sure that with all that in his favour he will at least get back to the semi finals again.

    FYI Aziz, murray is a better player than tsonga. you obviously don't pay much attention to tennis if you think he isn't; tsonga is, however, slightly better at getting away with high risk strageies at times. DelPo, I can see an argument there: he has won a slam; he hasn't been fit for a couple of years so we may not have seen the best of him yet. Personally I think the jury is still out on that one, he may be an injury basket these days because he hasn't been fit for about 2 and a half years and if he doesn't get back to his best within the next year or so then i doubt his career will eclipse murray's. Also, murray has a very good record against him, i think its about 5-1, off the top of my head, the only defeat being on clay and two of the victories coming in the USO Quarter finals and in the tour finals.

  • Comment number 16.

    I also meant to add to that rant that clutch serving is murray's principle weakness and he will need to improve that if he is gonna win a slam

  • Comment number 17.

    @14: I completely agree with your comments about Andy.. I think his lamenting and constant self-criticism are his biggest problems. He should really look at how Rafa and Roger behave and try to learn from them; the two of them are always calm and composed and never really seem to doubt themselves. I even think that Nole has his work cut out in this area, he seemed to be really agitated yesterday against Tsonga (and we have seen him destroy rackets in the past). However, he played absolutely incredibly well with his back against the wall and his attitude was right when it really needed to be, i.e. when he fended off the match points.


    I've always been of the opinion that Murray will eventually win a GS if he gets his mental house in order (and the British media gets off his back). He undoubtedly has the talent. Though, to be fair, it wasn't ever likely that he'd win the French Open. He isn't a very good clay-court player to begin with and then to have to play against Ferrer and Nadal back-to-back is a tall order for anyone. So I'll just hope that he can produce some more matches like the semi-final of the Australian Open against Novak and finally get that monkey off his back. He'd surely be much more relaxed about himself and his play if he were to win a slam.

  • Comment number 18.

    To those who say Murray is an average player - you either need to check your facts or you don't know vey much about tennis at all!

    Check out his results in the Slams over the past 2-3 years and you will see he has been very consistent. He has been in the top 4 for quite a while now and has been as high as number 2.

    He is - unfortunately not as good as the 3 players ranked above him, that's not his fault, it is just a fact, however he has beaten all 3 of these players at various points in his career to win tournaments and he is still many ranking points ahead of those behind him.

    I agree that his body language on court lets him down and this is something he needs to address, as undoubtedly his opponents gain an advantage when they see him throwing his arms about and muttering to his team.

    He remains our best tennis player since Fred Perry and would expect him to comfortably make at least the semi's at Wimbledon this year.

  • Comment number 19.

    this is a ridiculous article, 'you like the way he played' and 'the way he hit through his forehand' ??? did you not witness the hundreds of unforced errors he made? and how weak his forehand was? there were glimpses of why murray is ranked no.4 but not much else

  • Comment number 20.

    I feel sorry for the English football team. A recently retired player said he didn't enjoy playing for England. Burdened by unrealistic expectations?
    Andy is by miles our greatest ever Scottish tennis player. In Scotland we have hardly any tennis courts and therefore no right to expect Andy to do as well as he has done.
    He lost, so what! I enjoyed watching the game. If he never wins another tennis match he will still be a legend!
    Andy is up against the No 1 worlds best player (Djokovic), the most majors ever(Federer), and Nadal (going to win 11th major age 25).
    Any other era - how many majors would Andy have wone by now.

  • Comment number 21.

    andy murray to sensible people has repeatedly choked at slams.... ok he made 2 finals but what did he do in them? oh yeh he choked both without winning a set. hes over rated for being british. dont get me wrong he deserves to be ranked 4th BUT on clay rafa is the king, then fed, djoko and ferrer and even del potro and tsonga are better than him. lets not forget both tsonga and del potro have spent considerable time out injured aswell. had they not then theyd be ranked above him aswell. on clay at AT LEAST THOSE 6 are better than him. on other surfaces. again he has proven nothing really. ok he wins masters events but lets be honest here the likes of rafa, fed and djoko DO not exactly put 110% into them tournaments. theyve won so many of them. slams are the only thing that really matters nowadays and they have all been there and done it in both slams and masters series events. its about time the british fans and media woke up. hes a good player thats all. hes a million miles behind the 3 above him and at best is lucky to be the best of the rest cus like all below him he is just as inconsistent.

    also who recovers from a back injury as quick as him? he had that match where hee nearly quit but today and the 2 rounds before it funnily enough only really to truely affected him with his back in games/sets that he had lost. like today he was perfectly fine that 2nd set where he was close n won it yet the 2 after it he was "injured" he may have a back problem but no one, absolutely no one recovers from and then suffers from the same problem repeatedly or recover as fast. only ever held his back when he was struggling. why is that? virginia wade was right to say hes a drama queen. good player but over hyped. while the other 3 are around he wont win one until at least fed retires....

  • Comment number 22.

    This match clearly proves, the gulf between Murray and Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, not only on clay, but what I have been emphasizing all along: in mental fortitude. Sure, clay is Murray's weakest surface, but his temperament is so bad, and he continuously starts to get down on himself when things aren't going his way. Its obviously great to show emotion out on court, but Murray needs to learn how to utilize it in a positive way in order win one of these slams. Its baffling to me that sometimes he just gets so angry on himself, even when the opponent for instance hits a clear winner. He needs to realize and acknowledge that sometimes your opponent was the better player in a particular point. There is no harm in giving him credit for that. One only needs to look at the top 3 to say, how strong they are mentally, Djokovic against Tsonga yesterday or against Federer at the US Open. Even Federer against Del Potro yesterday, these were signs of champions' mentality and resilience, which I still think Murray lacks on the biggest of stages.

    Also with regards to his game, is it just me or is Murray still extremely passive? His forehand still needs a whole lot of work as it easily goes off the boil, and there is no consistency in that wing when compared to his backhand. And of course the less said about his second serve the better. Right now, of course his record in slams is better that the likes of Berdych, Tsonga, Del Potro, but I really believe if Murray doesn't improve these facets of his game soon, those players can beat him on any surface not just on clay. People talk about the big 3, but the rest of the players in the top 10 are no piece meal either, and it is only going to get harder for him in his pursuit for his maiden grand slam.

  • Comment number 23.

    Im afraid it was a bad day at the office for Murray. he just could not get his first service going to the required standard which is a must if he wanted to get through such a dogged fighter as Ferrer. Adding his injury and the heavy conditions the day was never going to be his. He had his chances but was unable to take them. I think he should rest for queens and come out firing on all cylinders for Wimbledon. His day will come he is to good for it not to, Now get off his back you sados!!

  • Comment number 24.

    The comment that really showed how poor the perception of this article is was the final one. Mentioning the final names on each list (Murray on hard courts and Ferrer on clay) was ridiculous. Good as Murray is relative to most on hard courts, he doesn't deserve to be grouped with men who have won slams on them, Likewise, as already pointed out, grouping Ferrer with the other clay players as "delivering time and time again" when he has reached his first ever semi at Roland Garros, in a career of over a decade, is such utter nonsense.

  • Comment number 25.

    Before he started his match, I mentioned to someone else that for him to win he had to serve well. He didn't and he lost. You could see that Murray's back injury was a hindrance right from the start of the match. A fit Murray serving well would have beaten Ferrer in straight sets. Serving consistently does seem to be Murray's achilles heal.Ferrer maybe more consistent on clay but tennis ability wise, Murray is ahead, just watching the match showed that. He created enough openings against Ferrer but then failed with a simple shot or return. 59 unforced errors is something I've never seen from Murray before. The 49 winners though reminds me of Fernando verdaco's semi in Australia against Nadal. As many winners as unforced errors.

    Will Murray ever win a slam. Yes, only if he gets his serving sorted out though.

  • Comment number 26.

    @1 Go back to school with your short minded criticism

    Murray has been the best British male player for nearly 70 years and that is because he did not go and follow the supposedly LTA coaching development to be a top player


    @21

    Your criticism is ridiculous...his record is better than what Henman and Rusedski managed and he's managed to beat the top 3 guys more times than they ever beat Sampras or Agassi

    Federer is in the autumn of his career and Nadal is king of clay but looks more fragile on other surfaces now that Djokovic has got his number and there is question mark about his fitness long term

    As for Murray he has made the right decision to take on someone like Lendl early in his career whilst still not reaching his peak and he still has time to win a GS

    Henman somewhat left it too late to part with Felgate to improve his game as Federer began to emerge after Sampras


    I wonder if Andy Murray was not Scottish if he would receive the same level of criticism on here

    Clay court has never been Murray's best surface his history shows he is best on hard courts so that is why he 's made finals at the Aus and US open

    He will win a slam although Tsonga and Del Potro are coming back and closing the gap to him

  • Comment number 27.

    @25. Definitely agree with most of that, bar him easily beating ferrer - not so sure there. Again people are claiming that murray better watch behind him because the others are catching up people have said this for two years and it still hasn't happened. Murray's record against the rest of the consistently top ten players (excluding the top 3) 'on other surfaces' is very good.

    tsonga 5-1

    berdych 2-2

    del potro 4-0

    ferrer 5-1

    soderling (who used to be and probably will be again in that mob) 3-2

    He is also younger than everyone bar delpo in that bunch

  • Comment number 28.

    @27

    Sorry, but Murray isn't 4-0 against del Potro on "other surfaces". Delpo beat him in straight sets in the US Open final, remember?

  • Comment number 29.

    nope, fairly sure that was federer. murray beat delpo in four in the quarter final of that particualr tournament

  • Comment number 30.

    I can only think the negative comments on here about Murray are a bit of joke designed to provoke a response. Obviously inaccurate to have a go at a player that is a class above any other player Britain has ever produced and is also a consistent member of the worlds top four. He wasn't expected to win this match, Ferrer as the world number 6 and clay court specialist, was a big favourite therefore it's nothing to do with 'choking'. Murray gives his all to his profession and is completely out on his own both in commitment and ability as far as Britain's tennis players go.

    I would expect him to finish his career as the victor in 2-3 major tournaments, including Wimbledon, but it'll be all thanks to him as the support he receives from us Brits is poor.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry Nick, it was Delpo. Murray had beaten Nadal in an epic semi over 3 days I think, so he was knackered, but it was Delpo who beat him in the final.

  • Comment number 32.

    @28/31 You're wrong. Murray lost to Federer in his only US Open final and Del Potro beat Federer in his only US Open final.

  • Comment number 33.

    Murray is easily the best British tennis player for a long long time. and as its been said above, would be a world no.1 in most other eras. However, he is a class below Djoko, Rafa and R-Fed. I feel most of this is mental, with him also being weaker on the serve.
    He's incredibly frustrating to watch because of his attitude on court, he seems incredibly petulant and has no inner calm, when things aren't going his way he has no mental toughness, no reserve to draw on. This is why i have a sinking feeling he won't win a slam. Nadal and Djoko aren't going away anytime soon. they will be around as long as murray is, and when the pressure is on in a final, their mental strength and winning experience will count.
    However, it won't stop me cheering Andy on!

  • Comment number 34.

    First and foremost, calling Murray 'average' is simply absurd. That is like saying David Silva is an average footballer because he isn't Messi or Ronaldo...

    Having watched the match I was slightly disappointed with his execution, however I think his strategy was very good. If he can work on his forehand before the US Open and bring it to something like the standard of the big 3 he will be in with a great shout of winning the tournament if he plays with similar aggression. Unfortunately he hit far too many errors off that wing today and I doubt it will be in suitable shape come Wimbledon.

    With regards to the semis, I can't see Ferrer beating Rafa. Think he may get a set though. The other one should be a cracker. Hopefully Roger will play a lot better than he did in the Rome semi!

  • Comment number 35.

    @21

    if you think Djokovic Nadal, Federer don't like losing then you don't watch very much tennis. What they are better than Murray is putting those defeats mentally behind them, and just getting on with the next tournament. Nadal and Djokovic do seem to be mentally stronger than Federer though when they play each other.

    Ferrer has Bob Hope of beating Nadal in his semi. I've watched Ferrer play Nadal twice in semi finals this year during the clay court season. Give him his due Ferrer outplayed Nadal for 99.9% of the first set then Rafa just flicks a switch, raises his level and wins comfortably. Ferrer's problem is he has no big weapon to hurt Nadal, to be able to hit though him. Murray hit through Ferrer tonight, unfortunately he served poor and made way too many unforced errors. Nadal simply won't do that.

  • Comment number 36.

    Murray is a clear number 4 in the world, just not on clay. On grass and especially hard court he is comfortably better than Tsonga, who can be erratic and Del Potro, who has no Plan B when his usual (admittedly impressive) style isn't working. Del Potro does of course have a major so I can see why some may think he is better.

    You only need to look at the number of titles Murray has won (22) compared to everyone but the top 3 to see how good and consistent he has been. 8 Masters titles is some achievement and those ahead of him in number of Masters is like a roll call of the greatest players to have played the game.

    In any other era Murray would have a grand slam. He would have been better than Lleyton Hewitt, Safin, Kafelnikov or any of the players of the early 2000s and would have given Agassi and Sampras a game. Also Murray has played tough opponents in every Grand Slaim final. Djokovic won his first Slam against Tsonga (not a top player at the time), Federer against Philippoussis and Nadal against Mariano Puerta.

    However his game is not well suited to clay and he is not a great player on the surface.

  • Comment number 37.

    @ Jonathan Overand

    Regarding Murray's backhand tonight, I have to say apart from the first game of the match where he hit through Ferrer with venom with it, did he ever hit through Ferrer again with. Without watching the match again I can't remember him doing so. His back hand is meant to be his best weapon, but I thought it was his least effective.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have never been one to comment on these blogs, mainly for the ridiculous comments made by others, who clearly have no idea what they are on about.

    But I feel as though I need to make one here.

    Andy Murray is the best tennis player from these shores since Fred Perry. Bar none. Tim Henman was a good player, capable of great things on his day, but not capable of anything like what Murray is. Murray made the last 5 semifinals of majors before today, before being beaten by an exceptional clay court player in David Ferrer (he is a great player on most surfaces but on the red clay is truly great).

    In any other era we would have a world number 1 and multiple grand slam winner yet people with seemingly little knowledge of tennis continue to berate him. Yes he can be a marry bum but hey, so was Sampras and he won a fair few titles!

    He is playing in the golden era of tennis. Federer is the best ever, Nadal is not far behind and Djokovic won't be long going them. And two or three years ago everyone was saying that Djokovic was a 'drama queen' and now look at him.

    Murray will win a grand slam, probably not the French, and we should be thankful that he has the ability to. There is no one else in world tennis capable of breaking the monotony of Fed, Nadal and Djoko any time soon bar maybe Del Potro.

    Stop jumping on peoples back and realise we have a genuine champion in our midst, get behind him and hope he can succeed.

  • Comment number 39.

    @37. another good comment. murray's b/h didn't do too much damage i thought. on the odd occasion his agrresive forehands landed in they did look impressive.

    i don't buy the notion that some folk used to peddle that he lacks power, he can fairly tank the ball when he wants to, but he does seem to struggle for rhythm and consistency when he hits it big unlike a del potro or a berdych when they get their forehand's going.

  • Comment number 40.

    Oh dear same old story... I'm honestly fedup hearing "Andy lost another slam".. Just give it a break guys lets talk about Andy winning his 2nd Slam, when/ if he wins his 1st, but until that just look into the plain truth of overly hyped, much dissapointed 4-5 years of Murray's career and have to say "probably he hasnt got what it takes"..!

    Murray is an exciting player to watch, so do Tsonga and couple of other guys. But Federer, Nadal and Djoko has got something extra, and until Murray wins his 1st slam we have to admit he hast got it... Basically let him win first, then we'll talk... Media got lot to answer if Murray never wins a Slam (which is increasingly becoming the case).

    And relating to some of the previous comments, it is lame & pathatic to say if Murray played in a different era he'll win most of the slams (well, probably he would), but you just have to accept whats on table, you know the time machine which takes him to past may never get invented in his life time..! Its like saying Don Bradman is half the batsman if he had to play in this era, or some of the current footballers would fair so much better if they played in a different (past) era...! Its just sour grapes...!

    Bottom line is Murray is trying so hard, but he just cant win it at Slams. He is just not good enough. Unless the Top 3 lost their form, get injured or loses before semi final stage dont see Murray winning a Grand Slam..!

  • Comment number 41.

    The criticisms of Murray are totally unfounded and the reason why Murray is given so much praise by the media is because people knowledgeable of the game recognise his undeniable talent and skill set. He is in an era of greatness and should be thankful to be playing with the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djock.

    Murray has already proven his capacity to beat these players at a much higher regularity than the rest of the circuit. When he finally wins a Slam, which he certainly will, he would have done it against some of the greatest tennis players to have played the game. He may not win multiple titles but he will win and compete against these greatest of champions more regularly than any other players of this era and appropriate recognition should be given to this.

    @20 – agreed.

  • Comment number 42.

    @28/31 Federer definately beat Murray in US Open final. Murray and Del Potro have never met in a final of a grand slam.

    Murray has been in 3 finals and has yet to get his game hat on when he gets there and has still to beat Federer in a slam. He was so close at one point against Djok in Aussie villethis year and last year in his semi against Nadal at wimbldon was one volley at the net from gaining huge control of that match. The game turned on that. These are the type of things that make him different at the moment from the top three.

    Djok is now known for his grit and lack of choking but he was a choker at times and lost his cool. He's managed to get past that and he now believes. That is Andy's next goal. To get past the moment of pretending to believe to doing it and being able to truly believe.

    I don't think Murray played that well today and he did put far too many forehands straight into the net from a normal rally. I see many folks on this blog being a bit over dramatic with critism. Murray has had an excellent tennis career thus far and has made it to three more finals than Henman in slams.

    It's far too easy to shout from the sidelines how bad someone is when they lose. Were you saying that when Murray demolished anything that came at him at Queen's last year? He toyed with Roddick last year. Murray can win a slam, will he is a question yet to be answered!

  • Comment number 43.

    @39.

    If you remember last year against iirc Michael Berrer after he did his ankle, he stopped playing defensively, shortened the points and just basically went for winners, showing he did have power in his forehand. The puzzling question to most commentators was why hadn't he previously shown it and when he became that aggressive in his play it showed just what he was capable of. Ok his opponent did bottle it by being too nice and not exploit the injury by moving him all over the court and drop shotting him to death.

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't think it's right for a supposed professional sports journalist to start bashing other players so carelessly. Verkerk, Sodering, Norman, Peurta, and Gaudio all deserve plenty of respect for what they achieved, and until Murray makes an RG final you can't just say he would have beaten them all no problem. Especially the Sod since he actually beat Rafa in 2009.

    This blog is very melodramatic and focusing on the wrong points. Keep it simple, break down the match, and focus on what the lost points will do to his ranking/seeding going into the grass season.

  • Comment number 45.

    it doesn't bother me that he lost on clay, a win would have been a bonus really. anyone who follows tennis knows its a different game on clay...
    what worries me is his first serve percentage. i havent seen his lifetime stats but very often i have seen it is around the 50% mark. the big 3 above hime seem to always be at the 70% mark. and although andy is a great returner, some say the best, thats a big gap to make up and puts a lot of pressure on especially against the quality of the top 3. if he can improve his serve i think he can compete with the big 3, he has the talent. he could do with a bit of luck, only having to beat one of them say, instead of two, to clinch his first slam. if this can happen soon they maybe he can pick up one or two more with the increase in confidence and presence that this will bring. good luck to him, hes good to watch, a decent lad and we might not have another as good as him for a long time.

  • Comment number 46.

    I expected Lendl to teach him to serve - or at least minimise the damage from his lack of serve. But he is still as variable as ever - one match he gets 70% 1st serves in and wind easily. Next match he's at 50% and struggles or loses if it's a decent opponent.

    Commentators have been saying for years that he must lean to take something off his 1st serve and get the % up - since his 2nd serve is woeful.

    Improving four things would give him a chance to be No1 in the world:

    1) Consistent 1st serve.
    2) Improved 2nd serve - even some kick/slice would do it if he can't serve any harder consistently.
    3) Stop playing negative tennis and waiting a set and a half to decide to start executing a game plan.
    4) Stop showing opponents your emotions when things go wrong.

    He must know all this, so I guess he's as good as he can be. Shame, since there's no sign of anyone coming up to replace him from the UK.

  • Comment number 47.

    The lost points from Roland Garros shouldn't make any difference to his ranking/seeding going into the grass season. I think he loses 250 points compared to last year for only making the Qf instead of the SF. Queens which he won is a 500 tournament I believe, beating Tsonga. If Murray doesn't play then Tsonga has to get to the final at least to keep the same points from last year. Murray (7500)is over 2,500 points ahead of Tsonga (4965) in the points tally, so he won't be challenged by anyone from Tsonga down to Berdych (4515)n the rankings until the US Open at least if Murray's back injury turns serious.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 43. i do remeber that match and i also remember being one of the first times i saw murray consistently skelp winners off his forehand side, but berrer isn't great and im pretty sure murray knew there was absolutely nothing to lose by doing that so he wasn't concerned by pressure.

    someone said earlier in tournament that djokovic did a lot of work on the consistency and power of his forehand prior to going on that big run post davis cup 2010 (cause i don't think it was one of his weapons prior to that) and i wonder if murray has been tring to do that since he got lendl on board because he was going toe-to-with djokovic in shot making in australia and it was fantastic tennis to watch, bar set 4.

    Anyway i think we will definitely see if he has gotten anything significant out of lendl by the time the US hardcourt swing comes about and i don't think judging him on an nihilistic swing at david ferrer on wet clay is the sort of thing rational people who actually follow tennis would bother doing to be honest. I think Jonathan has been right about one thing certainly during the clay court swing: the attitude of a murray fan should be one of optimism tinged with realism.

  • Comment number 49.

    The sheer ignorance of some people on here who think they are tennis fans. For ex. if Bengate had the slightest knowledge of the game he has the arrogance to comment on, he would have known before he wrote that Murray lost to Federer in the U.S. open final and has never played Del Potro in any major final.
    It is a common truth that I've commented on for years that Andy lacks a consistent first serve and can't always produce when he needs a big serve most, a.k.a Pete Sampras. It is not too long ago I wrote he should pick up the phone and ask Pete how much he wants to teach Andy how he did it.
    I was interested that someone commented about Tim Henman leaving it too late to get a good coach. It was something I was writing even when Tim still had Felgate and was about the same time I dubbed Tim "The nearly man" a title many of the media picked up on.
    My often repeated fear is that Andy could finish up taking that title just because of the majors, which would be a shame and wrong, because his number of titles already exceeds Tim's by miles as it does most of those people the 'experts' think are better than Andy.
    Still, in the end, no matter what they spout on here, he is the fourth best player in the world, his record says so and that cannot be denied no matter how much thes idiots try.

  • Comment number 50.

    I was disappointed for Andy losing to Ferrer tonight, but it has to be said that he isn't a clay court player, he has improved his clay game somewhat, but he's still far behind the likes of Nadal and Ferrer. However he did play 4 solid matches prior to playing Ferrer in the French (bar a set or two!), so he did well to get that far, considering his back issue.

    One thing I do wonder about though is what does Ivan Lendl make of Andy when he is out on court, still berating himself and whinging. We really don't know what Lendl has helped Murray with because he hasn't really expressly said, but it is still a trait that stays with him, and in the end Lendl probably can't take the "Andy Murray" out of Andy, its all down to the man himself.

    But despite the disappointment of losing out again in the French Open, it remains a slam that regretfully he will never win. Wimbledon is his next best shout, failing that the US Open, but again he needs to find that first serve, which during the clay season has been on certain occasions, shocking. I hope he can win a slam one day, but he is cursed to playing in the era of Nadal, Federer and now Djokovic.

    Regardless of how he gets on in Wimbledon, should he only make the quarter finals or semis, I'll still support him, as he's a great player. Tough losses are part of a tennis player's career, so I guess you just have to keep taking the hits, and move on.

  • Comment number 51.

    I'm sure he'll be crying all the way to the bank, as they say.

    He can remind himself of why he does what he does and just how "tough" it is by having a look at his bank statement - and smile about having to take these terrible knocks :)

  • Comment number 52.

    Call the fashion police and have Andy arrested!

  • Comment number 53.

    Highlight of Murray's tournament must be his magical trainer/medical team. At one point, he looks as if he could not even walk. Then moments later, he was back to his normal self, and continued with many hours of professional afterwards!

  • Comment number 54.

    I think the biggest gripe fans have with Murray is that he does not seem to be improving any more. His progress seems to have hit a wall, and he has almost accepted his status as a perpetual number 4. While it is true that it is no shame being 4th to the current three guys is it, you should at least show signs that you are willing to challenge. Let *them* beat you; don't beat yourself.

  • Comment number 55.

    Love watching Murray in the slams. To paraphrase the man himself: I support whoever Murray is playing. So far, I've never been disappointed. Not likely to be either - MUrray may have snatched a grand slam title in another era, but with the current crop of players he's a long way from slam-winning class.

  • Comment number 56.

    I didn't see the match. Sadly my schedule neither allows me to watch or play tennis anymore, but I read as much as I can, and the comments made after this match interest me.
    I definately agree with Chris, Mark Blow, sos3000, nick606 and Reid. There may be other comments I have read that I support the view too.
    The serve is such an important aspect of Tennis. I've watched many players triumph over others from their mastery of the 'dead ball' situation.
    There is nothing average about Andy Murray or indeed any of the World's top Tennis players. The shots they produce against each other amaze me. The very best are simply more consistent, particularly under pressure.
    The top players must play in the grand slams if they and their team feel that they are physically able. At the end of the day the player makes the final decision based on the opinion of the team that supports them. They must feel quite obliged since they have their fans and sponsors to gratify.
    I believe that Murray has the talent to win one of the big four. To win regularly on the tour is an indication of this. In 7 years, since he turned pro, he's won 22 titles and been runner-up in 11. He's slightly better in a shorter match. I think he knows himself that he needs to be fitter, since more errors creep in when you are fatigued. I'd need to study the statistics to see how he fares in set 4 of all of his matches that get that far, Nadal and Djokovic are fitter in my opinion. I think he'd also readily admit that mentally he has some progress to make. I'd hope Lendl could help him there, he was very tough.
    I really hope Murray can prove his doubters wrong on the biggest stage: an ATP tour Grand Slam final. If he wants to improve on clay he should employ the services of a spaniard, they seem to know what they are doing on the medium, get fitter and try to improve the consistency of the first serve. It is so important, particularly on clay, as it puts you in the driving seat and therein helps fatigue your opponent if they are chasing the ball. But then some players like to chase. Nevertheless the great Champions of the past were always able to find a big serve when they really needed to win the point, even Agassi!
    Time will tell, I don't think Murray will be on top of his game for Wimbledon this year, but he has time to improve in time for the US Open. He's only 25 but the longer he goes without winning a major the harder it gets, and it's almost impossibly difficult in the first place?

  • Comment number 57.

    Personally I think it is what goes on in his head that is the problem, not his tennis ability, which is superb - you can't knock the current 4th best tennis player in the world for his ability. How can a professional sportsman who has that winning desire say he is satisfied with losing in the quarter finals? He may privately believe that, but don't tell your opponents that you are satisfied with not doing better. The same happens on court; until he gets his head straight and stops showing his opponents that he is rattled he will always be giving his opponents a boost.

    People keep mentioning he is only 25; how old are Djokovic and Nadal?

  • Comment number 58.

    #55, Hitcho... That old cracker again. The reason every Englishman dislikes Murray is because he dislikes them? Thats it isn't it? Now why don't you go and read up on the alleged "Anyone but England" incident, and then come back and admit your mistake?

    Murray is the best BRITISH player in 75 years, and no one should forget it!

  • Comment number 59.

    I find it difficult to understand why so many people are so blatantly hostile to Andy Murray for no apparent reason. I enjoy watching him play and admire his level of excellence. The fact that he is a fellow-Scot, who has doubtless worked hard to achieve a great deal of success at a time, when there are several supremely talented players around, also makes me proud. If some people feel unable to enjoy watching tennis being played at the highest level by someone, irrespective of their nationality, then that is a pity. The fact that such people then see the need to share their negativity with others only reflects badly on themselves, so why do they bother doing it?

  • Comment number 60.

    No doubt Andy Murray is the best British tennis player there has been for a long time. He is alo playing at a time with a trio of outstanding players ahead of him. However, he lost against Ferrer for a number of reasons; serve, ground stroke unforced errors (forehands in the net and backhands long) and a weak mental game. I put the emphasis on he lost as Ferrer did not need to a great deal to win. Andy Murray despeartely needs to get his emotions under control on court. You should do nothing on court that doesn't contribute to winning. I do not see where the outbursts and tantrums contribute to winning.

  • Comment number 61.

    Bit disappointing, thought he'd beat Ferrer (since he's a better player). Still, he was never going to get past Nadal in the semi, so nothing lost really.

    Wimbledon next and (following either a no-show or an early exit at Queens) expectations will be lower than usual. As with England at the Euros, this will surely mean victory.

    Unless, of course, people start seeing it that way, in which case it flips again and Murray ends up losing in the last 16 and letting down a nation.

  • Comment number 62.

    The inconsistent quality of Andy's serving is the fundamental problem that has to be addressed if he is to win a major - irrespective of the surface. It cost him the match against Ferrer and it has been the cause of most of his failures against the top players.

  • Comment number 63.

    Murray should accept that he is a hard-court specialist, and look to maximise his efforts on either the US Open or the Australian Open. With his deep-lying game, clay and grass don't really suit his style and he can't be as free-flowing on either. I know we all want a British Wimbledon champion, but perhaps we should just accept that this is a long way off happening, and just support Murray in his quest to win one of the two Slams he actually has a sniff of winning.

    Meanwhile, the LTA badly needs to assess whether it is working correctly in encouraging tennis amongst children in order to find more and better players coming through the ranks - the mere fact that Murray decided to choose his own path rather than that of the LTA shows that there are serious institutional problems within the organisation. We have to ask whether the LTA is doing the most it can with the resources available to it, and whether it has done as much as it can in its current form.

  • Comment number 64.

    He didn't serve well enough.

    He didn't play the break-points well enough.

    Ergo: he lost.

  • Comment number 65.

    It was hardly a shock result and I doubt Murray will lose sleep over it.
    After all, it spares him being dismantled by Nadal in straight sets in the semi final.
    In fact, all this effort from the likes of Ferrer and Federer and probably Djokovic will be to no avail. They are all playing for the runners-up spot.

  • Comment number 66.

    Ferrer was the favourite in this match. Despite the seedings, Ferrer has far greater clay court experience having played 334 matches on the red stuff compared to just 72 for Andy. Murray is still learning on this particular surface and personally I would have liked to see him take the pace of his shots to not let Ferrer have the rhythm he so adores. For example using the short slice that Federer uses so well. Federer's record against Ferrer? 13-0 including 5 wins on clay.

    There is no doubt that Murray is a great player. He is certainly the best from Great Britain since Fred Perry but unfortunately for him he is in such a difficult era. If he wishes to break the grand slam dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic I believe there are three things that need to be worked on:

    1) Forehand - he tends to hit this very flat but in my opinion he doesn't get the balance right between offence and defence. It can also be easily broken down by the likes of Ferrer.
    2) Serve - he simply doesn't get enough first serves in and when he is only winning 30% on second serve he really needs to. None of the top 3 have huge serves but they all get them in consistently and set up the point.
    3) Mental - he continues to berate himself when things go wrong and this needs to be addressed.

    This may sound like a lot but we mustn't forget that Djokovic was always in the shadow of Federer and Nadal but he worked on his forehand and serve and found an incredible self belief and is now on the verge of the Novak slam.

  • Comment number 67.

    Not a big fan of Murray, but to suggest he is an average player is frankly ridiculous - how many Masters events has he won by beating Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic?...lots. As has been mentioned already he just needs to play positive tennis and stop the constant moaning

  • Comment number 68.

    *sigh* winning one slam event eg the French Open or Wimbledon does not equal winning a grand slam. A grand slam is winning all four slams. Very few players have won a grand slam. Please stop saying Murry would beat other grand slam winners. He wouldn't.

  • Comment number 69.

    @67

    I think the main problem is that the other three all conserve their energy a little during the Masters events, and then come out blasting for the majors - Murray finds it easier to beat them in the Masters because they're not that bothered about winning or losing those tournaments in the long run. But when it comes to the majors, Murray doesn't have that extra gear to step up into that the other three have so when he faces them he's playing the same tennis he does in the Masters, but they're playing at a higher level.

  • Comment number 70.

    as a massive fan of murray since he was a teenager.i just cannot understand how a man of 6'3 can can have such a pathetic serve(1st and 2nd) and forehand plus no reliable but effective ground strokes.he brushes his forehand with spin(unlike nadal vicious whip) but has such little margin he dumps most of his forehands half way up the net.ferrer has a better one while he is about 4-5 inches smaller,his 1st was more effective and didnt hand all of those pathetic errors at break points.i was a avid beliver that murray was going to win a slam but after this defeat im 95% sure he wont.if he cannot beat ferrer,yes he is the 4th best clay courter but murray was well in the match and had countless chances but bottled it.lets not be fooled ferrer gets smashed by the top 3 in clay.

    im not too concerned with the defeat it was the way he got beaten,it was a joke.he broke he handed it straight back.the top 3 will kill them themselves if they lets all those chances get dumped into the net at a 1/4 of a slam.his forehand was as good as mine on my bad day.but it was on clay had it been hard or grass im 100% confident he would of won in straight sets.

    happy for ferrer,glad he got to the semi here,he has 1% chance(anything can happen cant it) of winning v rafa but it has been a good tournament,easy draw except murray but i bet he was sitting up at night praying to be in murrays 1/4

    we go onto grass,queens is going to be a complete bore if murray doesnt play,i might watch the halle event with fed,nadal and possibly djokovic.wimbledon murray has a better chance but can he get to the final? my heart says yes head says hell no.he needs to avoid the big hitters and server eg roanic,isner,berdych,anderson guys like these and to be in novaks half,which is pretty much 75-80/100 chance of not happen giving that fed and nole are in each others half most the time

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    SHOCK NEWS: Tennis player loses match. OMG. He's awful. Everyone else is better than him. I knew he couldn't do it, etc etc etc...

  • Comment number 73.

    Let's be honest, Murray isn't as proficient on clay as he is on other surfaces, so Ferrer was always going to be favourite coming into this match yesterday, and it didn't come as much of a surprise when he was beaten by arguably one of the world's top 4 players on the this surface.

    I don't agree with some of the comments earlier about Murray being cautious either. If anything, he was being overtly aggressive on some of the points, to his detriment with his forehand once again letting him down big time throughout. Murray isn't a "very average" player to quote another ill-thought out post on here, some of the more positive results in the past against the top players disprove that theory, but the French open and the clay widens the gap between him and the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer.

    He had a game plan yesterday, he just didn't implement it very well and his serve and forehand weren't firing. What was quite worrying was that he's still berating himself on court in a negative manner as he's always done when the chips are down, when I'd hoped Lendl's presence might have helped him channel this in a more positive manner.

  • Comment number 74.

    @07robertsma no66

    you say that about federere and ferrer but murray can only dream of federers forehand,plus fed slices to bring him in "no mans land" then runs around it a pumps a forehand winner,murray cannot and he will not do that.i dont know if it is arrogance or stupidity but he seems intent on fitness,well i say good luck but he needs everything you said plus more to be a slam champion,what does he expect the top 3 to erros at the sight of murrays forehand and 2nd serve.i think lendl should quit,not his fault but murray doesnt want to or cant learn or is trapped by his massive ego,i personally think it is all three and if murray cant bring a basic tatic like slice to ferrers backhand which is the obvious weakness then i dont know.if was murrays opponent wouldnt you just blast his 2nd serve and attack his forehand relentlessly,it works,only the top 3 do it without fail.that baffles me he has 2 crystal clear weaknesses and doesnt get punished as much as he should

  • Comment number 75.

    Murray is a very talented tennis player, no question. It's his mental state that holds him back. He looks and plays like a petulant 5 year old far too often. It's a very dislikeable trait and that's why he is booed on court. His antics in the French Open gained him far more enemies than new fans. You want to see an improvement in Murray, he should break the shackles from his Mummy and act like a man.
    People are hostile towards him for a reason. He acts like a baby !

    To those who say "In any other era we would have a world number 1 and multiple grand slam winner ". That is pure conjecture and opinion. I can't see how he would ever beat Sampras, Agassi, Borg or even McEnroe who were as tough as they come mentally and fantastic players as well.

  • Comment number 76.

    To the ignoramus who said the Murray is just "an average player" look past your nationalisitic hatred and just think about what you've said. Average compared with whom? To be the no 4 world player is not mediocre; the England football team and ALL of its players - now they're average and demonstrably so.

  • Comment number 77.

    Murray is a brilliant player doing very well at his sport....end off. Are there other players that are better than him? Of course yes. Should he try and improve to win mor games against these players? Yes he should make an effort to win more. It is not a right but through hardwork and luck he could succeed
    Murray is the Us best tennis player in decades so give him the support. If the English and their press dont want to provide this support, let the Scots move ahead. Henman was never half good as Murray is today, but got all the praise and support from the English public and press, and one just has to wonder what Murray has to do to get a little bit more support
    My message to Murray will be to enjoy your sport, and fellow pro buddies in the tour, get married when you can and have kids who you can celeberate and enjoy life with

  • Comment number 78.

    Overend seems to heap blind praise on Murray at every opportunity reeling out the tried and trusted "he should take heart from this performance". The flaws in Murray's game were never more obvious than against Ferrer and Ivan Lendl doesn't seem to have made a jot of difference. I also agree with Virginia Wade that Murray was being a drama queen about his injury. Either his medical team performed a miracle or Murray has been taking acting lessons.

  • Comment number 79.

    Yes he's rubbish. Number 4 in the world and getting to the last 5 grand slam semi-finals before this one just confirms this!

    I'd rather British tennis was like it used to be with us celebrating a player getting to the second round of Wimbledon. We were so much better then.

  • Comment number 80.

    planetboo - I dont think your argument that 4th in the world is not average but 6th in the world (England Football teams FIFA ranking) is, holds much water. However! I do sympathise with your intention, Murray is a good player, way above average, close to elite but until he wins a major (like a few of our Golfers) he will remain below the top names.
    The strap line of this blog probably shows why that is the case. Murray accpets he isnt as good as the top players, and therefore his destiny is written. Do you think Nadal early in his career said "Im a clay court player, I cant win on grass" ?

    Many comments here moan about pre tournament press saying Murray will win. I cant say Ive read all of the papers but I dont remember ever reading one who thinks Murray will win in Paris, not this year or any previous! I suspect some people dont like him so have a moan. Miserable devils!

  • Comment number 81.

    I did comment earlier here, but forgot to add in something and appears to be an issue everytime Murray loses. Although I agree that Murray is a very good player, the notion that in another era he would be world number 1 and a multiple grand slam champion is not as straight forward as it sounds. Other eras include Sampras, Agassi, Conors, McEnroe etc.

    In my opinion (and many others) Murray is a far better player than Henman was, and yet the same idea could be argued for Henman. There were always 3 or 4 better players than him in every tournament and his only chance of winning is if 1 or 2 of these players are knocked out or don't play due to injury.

  • Comment number 82.

    The serve isn't simply a case 'calling Pete Sampras', it is something you either have or you don't. All Murray can do is adopt Agassi's strategy and go for placement if he lacks the ability to serve fast. Andy seems to have stalled as a player, whether this is now his natural limitations as player or he is mentally stuck in a 4th place rut is the big question. He is 25 now-not many players win their first Slam at that age.

    I don't agree with the line that 'he would win in most other eras', you cannot really compare other eras to this one. When Roddick won the US Open & Hewitt stepped up for 18 months the courts were still fast, they weren't as fast as the Agassi, Sampras days but they were a lot quicker than today. I am amazed when commentators go on & on about how good the tennis is between Nadal, Djokovic & Federer without noticing that two of them simply club the ball with no variety to their game. Federer is the only one who could actually play on all 4 surfaces when they used to be variety between them.

    There is no way that Nadal would be a threat at Wimbledon from the base line like Agassi was in 1992, Sampras would destroy him at all the Slams but the FO. Racquets have such huge sweets spots today that it is almost impossible to shank it anymore. I really hope tennis wakes up and provides more variety in the surfaces, I am not sure why they decided to make Wimbledon like a clay court but the fact is now that the US Open is the fastest surface and even that isn't playing as fast as it used to.

    Lets not pretend Murray is playing in a time of 'the 3 greatest ever', he is playing in a time of slow courts (which have helped his counter-punching style) and better technology. I honestly believe that Federer is the one who is actually at a disadvantage as the game has slowed in the past 7-10 years. His game actually has variety, not the relentless ball chasing of Nadal & Djokovic.

    Rant over back to Murray. Ferrer is a solid clay court player but I doubt anyone here believes he will beat Nadal, or Federer/Djokovic but most assumed Murray would fall to him. This is surely due to him being so passive, Murray was accused of being a player who relies on others to make mistakes instead of going for it and it appears to have been a correct call. The 'injury' did seem to flare up only when playing badly, that surely is a mental weakness, why show your opponent any signs of distress when you are still out there playing?

    Murray lacks a huge shot, he cannot shorten points like Del Potro, Federer, Nole & Rafa-therefore is unable to hit through a player. This always leaves him vulnerable to being broken. I read a few years back that a top coach stated that there is not much difference in technique between the top 20 players, the biggest difference comes in mentality. Murray seems to lack any sort of mental toughness needed to land the biggest tournaments, losing 3 Slam finals without taking a set may be his overall legacy unless something changes.

    You have to wonder how he Djokovic managed to come from being behind Murray for a year or two to then totally eclipsing him, it never looked like happening 3 years ago. Lendl will last as long as Gilbert, I don't think Andy likes being told what to do.

  • Comment number 83.

    The frustrating thing about Andy Murray is that he should be challenging the other 3. I agree with a good deal of the informed comment that has been made over the past 18 months. The trouble with Murray is, in the early rounds is he is so aware of how good he is that he just coasts and hacks from the back or messes about with drop shots and lobs like against Gasquet. Then he gets up against an opponent who he knows won't roll over or oblige by making their own mistakes and he knows he has to be much more aggressive. He tries but because he doesn't play like that in competition very often he's not as good at it as he should be. Mistakes come from everywhere and he gets demoralised - finds he's tearing about the court trying to defend and making loads of unforced errors. On the big points in particular he doesn't execute an aggressive game well because its unfamiliar. The other 3 guys don't do that. They bring their A game as far as they can to every match, and when they most need it at crunch times its there. Murray has to change his attitude to the way he plays on the tour generally. He should see every match as a dress rehearsal for the big one. His ability can't be questioned but but his approach on the tour doesn't help him.

  • Comment number 84.

    I can only agree 1000% with "bengate's" evaluation.
    How many times did AM have walk-overs without capitalizing on them as well?
    He is a very good tennis player and the engl. press should treat him for what he is: a very good tennis player.
    I have never ever written a comment on any blog, but "bengate" cut through the cheese and I had to write this silly comment -:)

  • Comment number 85.

    @1 PulpGrape wrote:
    The master choker chokes again and there has to be an article written about it? Murray failing in a Grand Slam tournament is more reliable than a full moon.


    why do people insist on writing tedious posts like this that offer nothing but to display a dislike for the player and a serious lack of knowledge of the sport? 'Master choker', why?because he lost a match against a player who was brought up on clay, is more adept to the surface and who hadn't dropped a set all tournament. David Ferrer is a very competent tennis player, especially on clay, number 6 in the world and bags of experience-hardly a 'choke' in my opinion.

    Now i understand that murray is not everyones cup of tea, and that is their opinion, but what i do strongly refute is the fact that he is 'average' by any stretch of the imagination. Ok he is not on the same playing field at the moment as the top 3, and who knows if he ever will, but lets be honest, these guys are playing probably playing the best tennis thats ever been seen, and all at the same time, you just need to watch the quarter finals to see this. They are on a pedestal on their own, but to be the best of the other guys is no mean feat and one that we should be proud of.

    Murray, im sure, will be the first to admit he didnt play well-he didnt attack ferrers b/h enough, didnt serve well and made copious amounts of errors, but lets put it in perspective, even he had won, he would have been up against a guy who has a 45-1 record at the French-had he lost that game, would that have been a choke as well???

    Clay will never be his favoured surface, and if anything it widens the gap between him and the top 3, but lets get off his back, stop with these misguided comments about 'choking' and realise, whether you like it or not, he is the best tennis player to ever come out of this country.

  • Comment number 86.

    Andy is a very fine player, but there is a palpable gulf between him at number 4 and the trio in the top 3. I fear the only way Andy will ever win a grand slam will be if Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are either all out injured, or all suddenly decide to retire.

  • Comment number 87.

    Murray is a pheneomenal tennis player there is no doubt about it and he should win a Grand Slam, that does not mean to say he will. I have seen him play some excellent tennis and play in some brilliant matches against the likes of Federer, Nadal etc.

    He is as good as anyone else in the world on any surface in terms of rallys, returns, backhands etc. However the two areas I believe he is weak are firstly his ability to mix it up. Make the court work for him by adjsuting his game plan contantly. The drop shots are ok but he overuses them. He does not seem able to adapt a game plan during a match.

    The second is his serve. If you look at his first serve percentage and points won I would suspect it would be up around 90% of points won on first serve. That is comparable with anyone else. However move to his second serve and his percentage of points won drops to about 35-40% that is nowhere near the other top players. His second serves are too "safe" often landing comfortably in the service box. Federer uses his second serve as a weapon pulling opponents all over the place with them and wins about 60-70% of his second serve points.

  • Comment number 88.

    From reading some of the comments I wonder if people actually watched the match.

    Negative tennis? The problem was he was too agresive. Why? Because Ferrer was completely out maneuvering him in the normal rallies.

    Average player? This is from someone who has made the semis in the previous 5 slams and 2(?) finals in that time as well.

    I find it incredible how people write off players. Federer, number 4 in the world, not won a slam for a while, should give up. Nadal lost in the finals of Wimbledon, should give up. If Djokovic does not win the French Open, surely his time is up too? Come on, someones career is not defined by one tennis match.

    I personally think he has more craft than Djokovic but needs to be able to step up a bit more on those big points. Which he is starting to do but the best players are doing in a little bit better.

    I wasn't sure why he seemed to be trying to beat Ferrer at his own game at times in that match, maybe he just wasn't allowed to play his.

    I also believe it is a myth that all the other players stay completely calm on court. I do believe we saw Federer telling the crowd to shut up when someone called his shot out (when it was in) against DP and I do believe we saw a very forlorn looking Djokovic when Tsonga started hitting the lines.

    Nadal is playing some of the best, positive tennis I have seen him play and Ferrer could have and should have beaten him in Barcelona final this year, if he just held his nerve a bit. I think Ferrer hits the ball earlier whereas Nadal tends to wait, he also doesn't run around his backhand as much. I will be very interested to see how Friday pans out.

  • Comment number 89.

    What i dont understand is how anyone can be a fan of Andy Murray's. Lets look at him:

    Positive: A very Good tennis player- but is that really enough to like someone?
    Negative: Arrogant- he can never blame himself, it is always an injury or something distracting him.
    Moaning- he moans about everything. as Virginia Wade got it spot on this week when she called him a 'drama queen'
    His antics- On the court he acts very un-tennis like. i understand when things aren't going well that a player gets frustrated but punching your racket strings shouting at the top of your voice just isn't tennis.
    His personality- Unlike someone like Novak, Andy is a really dull, boring person. Also i dont understand why English people like him because he hates the English. he has showed this many times when waring a croatian shirt at an Eng Vs Croatia football game and saying that he doesn't like them. so how can you support someone just because they are British when he doesn't like most of you and your'e british

  • Comment number 90.

    Saga@61
    I would be more optimistic about Murray than England .

    Murray came into the tournament carrying an injury and Ferrer is no push over, he chases everything down on clay, so it is not entirely surprising Murray lost.

    Hard to see past Nadal in the final with Djok/Fed still below par and lucky to be in the semis - it is testament to them as great champions that they can play poorly by their standards and still beat the rest of the field.

  • Comment number 91.

    Despite the is he good enough / isn't he good enough debate it appears we can all agree on one thing and that is the Media's attitude to Murray. However one thing I will add is that the media produced exactly the attitude to Henman. Except in Henman's case his mental weakness was because he was from middle class England.

    We do so love to build 'em up and knock 'em down. No doubt if Murray ever were to win a Major then the press would be falling over themselves to say how much only they supported him!

  • Comment number 92.

    Murray is an exceptional player no doubt. The game he won to love against the Ferrer serve yesterday was as good as you will see.....destructive ,devestating tennis.
    but one key factor determines his success when he plays the other top seeds...his % first serves in. Yesterday he was serving in the 50's % .
    If he can serve at 70% he will beat anyone in any final!!! Akin to this is his very weak second serve.
    Ivan....go to work!!

  • Comment number 93.

    To assume Andy will 'never be able to play on clay' is a baffling idea. He's just turned 25, and two of the men in the draw for the semi's are 30. He's got a few years left to 'learn' to play on clay.

    Yes, he was outplayed yesterday. Ferrer was relentless on his return and served well we he needed too. Andy knows how to beat the top three on the big occasions now, it's a high risk strategy, but its one he can definitely perfect. Against Ferrer he struggled a little with his tactics, and struggled with his game. It's a work in progress, and on his weakest surface against an incredibly dogged and wise player, it was going to be tough. Had he won, that would have been one of his top five wins, because he hasn't beaten anyone of that calibre on clay before.

    Andy is an outstanding tennis player, who has been able to elevate his game to a higher level because he's been able to play the likes of Nadal. So I don't buy into the idea that he's been 'unlucky' and 'unfortunate' to be around these guys, i'm sure he doesn't feel that way. Unfortunately his supposed 'failings' have led to alot of criticism from people who only watch Wimbledon, love to hate him because he 'definitely' wears football tops of whoever England are playing and think he's dull as dishwater because of the tone of his voice. It's embarrasing and ignorant.

    You can't win 22 ATP titles and counting and be 'average'. You must be using it in the loosest term or have a poor vocabulary, because Tsonga, Berdych, Ferrer and Murray are superb tennis players. Dan Evans at 381 in the world, is an excellent tennis player, he just doesn't have the consistency needed to play at the highest level.

  • Comment number 94.

    "89.
    At 10:23 7th Jun 2012, Aonghusv wrote:
    What i dont understand is how anyone can be a fan of Andy Murray's"

    Why does it bother you that people do?

    W.r.t. unforced errors, this needs to be balanced out with the number of winners. Murray did hit more winners than Ferrer also, unfortunately he needed to hit more winners than unforced errors and he did not. But that was the tactic he adopted and he was beaten by a better player.

    Ferrer had equal unforced errors to winners.

    There were plenty of opportunities for Murray to hold and plenty for him to break as well, just Ferrer overall played those points better.

  • Comment number 95.

    @20: "Andy is up against the No 1 worlds best player (Djokovic), the most majors ever(Federer), and Nadal (going to win 11th major age 25).
    Any other era - how many majors would Andy have wone by now." Thats one of the stupidest comments I've ever heard. That way, Federer would have had 30 GS titles by now. All Murray fans should admit that he has reached the highest he can with the amount of talent and skill he has. Now he should just try to maintain this position coz there are many other players close to him

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Not a bad tournament overall for Murray, so long as he hasn't aggrevated some underlying back problem. This just is the one Slam he is least likely to win, for all the reasons you cite. He is a pretty decent player on clay, there's just half a dozen or so players who will beat him most days, especially over 5 sets.

    He'll turn the tables at Wimbledon and then the US Open, and if his Australian Open form can be revived, at the very least he'll run the Big 3 very close. For the rest of the season though, looks like Nadal is going to be the man to beat.

  • Comment number 98.

    murray is no average player, he has a head to head win record against federer, and nadal leads by 1 match, djokovic and andy are also close, and a guy 8 atp masters torunamanet and 3 slam finals and 10 semi-finals in grandslam, how is he average.

    at number 2 you say"Murray at no point looked capable of wielding a victory, and Del Porto and Tsonga in my opinion are better players than him. We should stop bestowing upon Murray more praise than deserved, because in truth he's a very average player who happens to be top of an average bunch but somehow behind an extraordinary trio.

    That's the cold hard truth, and Murray won't win Wimbledon either with his cautious strategies, so please for the love of God stop being so biased towards him.

    You just del porton and tsonga are better than him, and than just described them as average. you do know djokovic, nadal, and federer rate murray very highly, and even the guy that beat him yesterday rates very highly so he is no average players, and all the rest are average, no, in federer;s time were he was dominating in 2005, 06, 07 he had average players going up aganist him.

  • Comment number 99.

    My main concern was how easily Murray capitulated in the 4th set. His game disintergrated against Ferrer, and I do not agree with him that he needs to be fitter. In the 4th set his game plan totally deserted him and he was just content to hit the ball straight back to Ferrer hoping that the Spaniard would make a mistake, which of course he did'nt. It was a sad performance from Murray and I feel a little sorry for him as there is so much expectation from the British public.

  • Comment number 100.

    at 95 no his ranking points suggests his not at risk losing his ranking he has 7590 ranking points and federer has 9256, murray can overtake federer is murray has a decent hardcourt at the end.

 

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