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US Open: Can Andy Murray win his first Grand Slam

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Jonathan Overend | 10:10 UK time, Friday, 24 August 2012

So, as they say in school, what comes next in this sequence? Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer...

And what about this one? Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams...

Six different champions from the six Grand Slam singles events played so far in 2012.

It's the first time that's happened since 2005 when the names were Safin, Nadal, Federer; Serena, Henin and Venus.

So who's going to win in New York City, at the biggest and brashest of the four major events, the US Open?

Andy Murray

Andy Murray will be looking to use his Olympic success to inspire US Open glory. Photo: Getty

The only certainty is that it won't be Nadal winning a 12th Grand Slam title. He's in Majorca, enjoying the sunshine, according to his spokesman, with no firm comeback date in the diary after the latest inflammation of his left knee.

Although unconnected to the long-term tendinitis issue, it sounds as though it's going to be touch-and-go whether Rafa makes it back for the Davis Cup semi-final between Spain and USA in Gijon. Everyone wishes him well.

So the big four, for once, is a big three and that made the men's draw a little more interesting than usual. With Federer up top, the fresh-faced number one seed, and Djokovic down the bottom, the defending champion and number two, onto which side would Andy Murray fall?

The answer was Federer's. Djokovic will be delighted about that. And, actually, I don't think Murray will be too unhappy either. After the thrashing of Federer at the Olympics, he'll be confident of winning again in the semi-final should they meet. And it avoids potential chat of "will it be a fourth Grand Slam final loss to Federer" had they been in opposite halves and met in the Championship match.

But there are tough tests before then for the Gold medallist from the London Games. Possibly Milos Raonic, the big-hitting, improving Canadian, in round four ahead of a last eight meeting with Jo Wilfried Tsonga, the 5th seed. Kei Nishikori, the Japanese 17th seed is also in that third quarter of the draw and Flushing Meadows is the most likely scene for his major breakthrough, whenever that comes (and better judges than me insist it will).

Over in Djokovic's half we find the two first round matches which stand out from the men's draw; Juan Martin Del Potro (7), a potential quarter-final opponent for the man from Serbia, plays compatriot David Nalbandian, who may be getting on but remains one of the most talented floaters out there. That match-up will excite those who look for a bit of ruction, fictional or otherwise. The story goes that the pair had to be separated in the locker room after the 2008 Davis Cup final as accusations flew in both directions. They haven't played since.

And what about Tommy Haas, the 34-year old "newcomer" of the year? Three months ago, he was playing qualifiers for the French Open, ranked outside the top 100 and fighting back from the latest of seven surgeries. Now he's seeded 21 in New York after an amazing summer of success. He faces Ernests Gulbis, the flashy Latvian who upset Tomas Berdych on day one of Wimbledon, you may remember, in the Flushing first round.

Haas reports the courts are playing pretty swiftly, according to his friend and mentor Nick Bolletieri, and he's been flying in Florida practice. One to watch, no doubt.

The WTA this week unveiled the latest stage of it's "Strong is Beautiful" advertising campaign, featuring a parade of high-profile women's tennis fans (the majority American) alongside the stars of the tour.

Some, I'm sure, will care what Donald Trump thinks, but the publicity is all free publicity right now, thanks the ongoing Serena Williams story and those who talk and write about it.

Already one of the greatest female athletes of all time, recent evidence suggests Williams is improving as a player into her thirties and justifiably is the favourite for the women's title despite her number four seeding.

She won Wimbledon and Olympic Gold thanks to a devastating display of serving, emphasising the widely held belief that she owns the finest serve ever seen in the women's game, but, more than that, she showed a wider, cuter, more tactically aware style of play. Suddenly she isn't trying to whack the ball at every opportunity.

What a whack it can be, but Serena's great improvement - particularly during the Olympics - was knowing when to hold back, build the point and expose her opponent. French coaching consultant Patrick Mourotoglou has had an obvious influence.

If she keeps it up and avoids the sort of controversy which has stalked her around New York for the past few years, she can add the US Open to that list of gongs from the the glorious summer of 2012.

Rivals will include top seed Azarenka and 3rd seed Sharapova, both in the same half, Canada champion Petra Kvitova and in-form Li Na. The Chinese 9th seed has played a superb hard-court summer so far, including the title in Cincinnati, and with Carol Rodriguez, Justine Henin's former coach, lending a hand, she could be the best of the outside picks to challenge Serena.

That section of the women's championship also features three-time winner Kim Clijsters and, despite her proximity to Brits Laura Robson and Heather Watson in the draw, it must be hoped that she has a fine run to end her amazing career on a high.

A career of two parts with Grand Slam titles either side of having her first child. She retires for good, she maintains, after the US Open and will be hugely missed. The image of Jada toddling across the stadium court to greet Mum and the trophy, well past her bed time after the final of 2010, remains one of the most memorable from recent US Opens.

Images last year were not so fun. Water seeping up through court surfaces, referees without a clue, players leading ball boys to alternative courts, rain, rain and more rain. Let's hope - just for a treat - we have a trouble-free US Open.

And so we return to those sequences I mentioned. Who comes next? Del Potro and Li Na? Just to give us eight different champions from the year? It's possible, but I'd rather go with Murray and Serena.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    If I were a betting man, I would not put the cash on Murray, sorry just don't think he will do it.

  • Comment number 2.

    murray will never win a grand slam because of his previous defeats. he will never overcome that mental barrier....sad though it is

  • Comment number 3.

    Sure there could be a new name on the US opn trophy, but it certainly wont be Andy Murray. Any is a good player whom i admire and want to do well, but he is still not physicaly ready to win a 5 set game against the other top players. Andy still physically burns out after 3 sets and hence looses his consentration. He is yet to pace himself for 5 set games. Running around the court in full throttle for almost every point has its limits and in Andy's case its in 5 set games. He needs to take some realtime off competition to train hard on how to use less energy to win games. Djokovic took that time off after his maiden grand slam where he did not win much after that. The world saw the result of his reinvigoration where his stunning results got him to the #1 spot. Andy needs to dedicate himself to such hardwork cos if he doesnt, yes sure he could win 1 slam but that could be the only 1 he ever does through his career. This years US open will be won by either Federer or Djokovic

  • Comment number 4.

    "After the thrashing of Federer at the Olympics, he'll be confident of winning again in the semi-final should they meet."

    Well, possibly. But apart from Murray, how can anyone know this? Can't British commentators ever be objective?

    The sensible thing to say is that his victory probably gave him a little extra self-belief. But whether that amounts to a full tank of confidence remains to be seen. The Olympics is only the Olympics: in terms of pressure and prestige, it is nowhere near a grand slam. I am not a crazy Federer apologist, but he was clearly under-par that day and we have to assume he would bring considerably more focus to his game when the game itself was one that really mattered. Murray, too, is likely to have a few more doubts - especially as he has had such a terrible hard-court season so far. In normal circumstances, we would all be worried for him after such a poor showing. One win all summer?

    Finally, how can anyone in their right minds be "confident" of beating Federer in New York? If he plays his very best, he cannot be beaten - it is as simple as that. As good as Murray is - and he is very good; easily good enough to win a grand slam - he will not be able to compete if Federer is on top form. That, surely, is a fact.

  • Comment number 5.

    Djokovic looks slightly bored with his tennis at the moment, not winning the French has dented him more than we all suspected. I can see him going out before the final. The Fed Express is the favorite, he has to be. However, a Del Potro-Murray final would be aces.

  • Comment number 6.

    A lot of rather prejudiced anti-Murray posts here. Any impartial observer can see that Murray has been the best player in the world for the second half of this season and is comfortably in better form than both Federer and Djokovic. No-one thinks it'll be easy, but this is probably Murray's best surface (though the same does apply for the Serb) whereas Federer is best on grass.

    John McEnroe was right to point out that Murray may well prevail at Flushing Meadows, and the backing of ex-Champs like Ivanesavic means a thousand times more than the meagre comments of the previous posts. Watch out world rankings - Murray could even be No.1 by the end of the year - a late challenge to Wiggins and Farah for BBC Sports Personality of the Year?

  • Comment number 7.

    Until Murray can win one major title, he would be a terrible bet for a win. He has not conquered the mental mountain presented to him by the top three players. He is at an advantage not having Nadal in this tournament. But he will still have to defeat a top 3 player in the semi and final. He has managed one, but never two in a row on the biggest stage. Sorry, the olympics does not count as the biggest stage for tennis.

    That said, I like him and hope he does well. Just wouldn't back him.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hoping Murray can win in New York to end off a good year for him. He's certainly in the mix, and make no mistake if Federer/Djokovic slip Murray will win. He is without question the best of the rest especially on hard courts.

    Obvious candidate is Federer, although I think Novak might fall earlier than the semis, which would open up that side of the draw with Rafa being injured. Optimistic, but for me if Andy gets to the final he'll win.

    COME ON ANDY!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    #3 B223dy

    I don't think Andy's problem is physical in best of 5 sets. He is know as one of the fittest guys on tour! I think his problem has been believing that he can play at his best for 5 sets against the best and win. I feel he has been improving this though since he took on Lendl and the belief is now there.

  • Comment number 10.

    BBC should not allow comments on any article about Andy Murray. The board always descends into rubbish Murray bashing.

    Anyone who thinks Andy doesn't have a chance to win this tournament simply doesn't know very much about tennis.

  • Comment number 11.

    Could disagree with you more Jonathan. Agree that Rog was soundly beaten by Murray at the Olympics, and credit that he beat Novak and Rog back to back (which he might have to do again to win his maiden slam) but, it was also clear that Rog was well below his best on that day. Grand Slam play is totally different from the Olympics, it is like #9 said, whether Murray can sustain his best level for 5 sets over 7 matches, and that's where he is yet to prove himself. If Rog and Murray met and go into a decider, I would always favor Federer, as I still believe he is mentally tougher, and for those who saw the Wimbledon final, physically as well. Rog played amazing at Cincinnati, and US open surface plays pretty fast, which suits Rog's game, so I would still put him as the favorite. For those questioning Novak, he has played unbelievably well the whole year, and it is unwise to compare this year with last year. For me he is the second favorite to win, as if met Murray in the finals, I still don't think Murray can beat Novak over five sets, so we'll see. Lastly for the men, I really think Del Potro is the dark horse. He has a very tough first round, and if he get through that, and provided his wrist is back to normal, he can make a big run at the Open, but I would still not favor him to beat Djokovic if they meet in the QF.

    For the women, its pretty clear that Serena is the favorite again. If she plays like she did at Wimbledon, I give nobody a chance to take a set off her let alone beat her. But like we saw at Cincinnati, she is her worst enemy and played terribly against Kerber. Besides Serena, Azarenka, Sharapova, Li Na, Kvitova, and Stosur all have legitimate chances to win, but they would have to be absolutely at their best and there are questions marks over Azarenka and Sharapova's fitness anyways. Also watch out for Venus Williams too. She played amazing at Cincinnati, and will be lurking dangerously. Being unseeded, no one would want to face her in the early rounds.

    Here's hoping for a fantastic Open, and for Rog to lift a record-extending 18th grand slam. I'm afraid Murray's quest for his maiden slam will have to wait a little bit longer.

  • Comment number 12.

    Blogs like this tend to descend into two parties: those who believe Murray does not stand a chance - some back this opinion up with some reasoned judgement, others do not

    and then there are those staunch murray defenders who thinks that anyone who believes Murray probably wont win are evil negative blog troll's

    well I suppose I am going to be a negative evil blog troll!!

    Andy Murray is 3rd in the world, has won gold at the olympics after thrashing the greatest tennis player every, he is fit and he prefers the hard courts - so in line with comment#10 I agree, Andy Murray has every chance of winning the US Open.

    However, it is my opinion that he will fall just short again. Djokovich and Federer, IMO, did not give the same importance to Olympic gold as they do to the major tournaments - there is no way that scoreline would be repeated in a grand slam final. It was only over two sets, and Murray still played absolutely sublime tennis, but I think Federer would raise his game for a major final.

    Murray is fit enough to beat anyone over five sets, physically that is. whether he has the mental temerity to do so is absolutely questionable. As it will always be questioned until he does win one of the biggies.

    No Rafa is one less potential superstar to beat. I agree he will prefer to play Federer in the semi's should he get there and I would think he would just beat Federer, but Djokovich is not having his greatest year, and he too loves the hard courts.

    I wish Murray well. I truly hope he delivers, not for us, not for his coach or mum or girlfriend, but for him. He is a world class athlete who works his socks off with the weight of a nation on his back.

    But I think he will lose in the final to Djokovic.

  • Comment number 13.

    #6 James: "Murray has been the best player in the world for the second half of this season and is comfortably in better form than both Federer..."?? How do you work this out? Federer beat Murray to win Wimbledon, lost to him at the Olympics final and won last Sunday at the Cincinnati Masters 1000. That makes him the best player of the second half of the season thus far, without doubt. Murray - for the record - lost tamely in Cincinnati to Jeremy Chardy.

  • Comment number 14.

    Murray, let’s not forget, has won just two tournaments all year and one of those is was a minor 250 series event. Yet, he's the best player in the world right now? Nonsense, that is clearly Federer, until when or if someone beats him in New York.

  • Comment number 15.

    Yawn. Stuck record. Find something else to write about please.

  • Comment number 16.

    The headline read "Can Andy Murray win the US Open?"

    Of course he can because he has entered it. As can any of the players who have entered it. It's like asking "Can I win the lottery this week?" Of course I can if I buy a ticket. The headline is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 17.

    @James

    "Any impartial observer can see that Murray has been the best player in the world for the second half of this season"

    Do you even watch tennis? Which "half" do you mean? He has had a terrible hard court season so far - just two wins in two tournaments. His clay season was terrible (QF at French, R3 Rome, QF Barecelona etc), and he lost in his first match at Queens. The ONLY success he has had - and this is what you are probably referring to - is winning the Olympics and getting to the final at Wimbledon. Those are great achievements, but they don't make him the best player in the "second half", whatever that is. Look at Federer in contrast (SF Paris, Runner Up at Halle, Wimbledon win, Olympics final and win at Cincinnati). Surely an "objective observer" would say that Federer has had the best time of it over the past few months? There is, in fact, an fairly objective way of assessing this and that is to look at the ranking points earned in a given period - and here, too, Federer completely outstrips Murray.

    I don't want to get into a silly, personal spat with you, but it really does look as if you are one of those people who don''t actually follow tennis.........or understand how the tennis calender actually works.

  • Comment number 18.

    As ever plenty of drivel about how Fed didnt' care about the Olympics, had a bad day etc etc.

    If Fed didn't care about the Olympics he would have let Del Potro win the semi instead of going to 36 games in the final set and kissing the Swiss badge when he won. This is the only tennis title Fed doesn't have and he wanted it badly. Problem for Federer in the final was that it was very windy and Federer is well known for not playing well in those conditions.

    people should also remember that Murray played mixed and mens doubles during te Olympics so his fitness is not in doubt.

    Mentally, Murray has been suspect in previous slam finals but now that he has won a major final against Fed I'm pretty sure that the self doubt is gone.

    Murray to make the final then it is anyones guess.

  • Comment number 19.

    #6 James

    I am not sure how you can say that Murray is in 'comfortably better form than Federer.' Roger's last three tournaments: Wimbledon, the Olympics and Cincinnati, have resulted in two wins and a silver medal. Importantly, one of those wins came on a surface very similar to that at the US Open, including a straight sets victory against Djokovic.

    Compare that to Murray whose last four tournaments: Wimbledon, the Olympics, Toronto and Cincinnati, have led to a runner up finish, a gold medal, a withdrawal and a third round loss to Jeremy Chardy. He has yet to show the sort of form on hard courts that would suggest he is to be the champion at flushing meadows.

    I am not saying that Murray is in bad form, in fact heading into Wimbledon he showed very little form on grass and performed brilliantly and I do believe he will be challenging for the title in New York.

  • Comment number 20.

    All those Neg remarks about Andy Murray, only tells me that all you so called Tennis Experts don't have a Clue what you are all talking about, he has been endorsed by the likes of McEnroe and Ivanesavic which know a damn site more about Tennis and Tennis Players than you lot off Idiots.

    We here in Bonnie Scotland wish you well Andy Murray

  • Comment number 21.

    It is true that in terms of individual tournaments, Federer's recent form outstrips Murray, but in recent head-to-heads this season Murray has a least parity, if not an advantage of Federer (after that thrashing at the Olympics and an even match at SW19 until the roof changed the nature of the event completely) and he certainly goes in with both more form and head-to-head edge over Djokovic. Federer is by far the most consistent player on the tour for almost a decade now, and nows how to rack up Masters Series wins , but I do not consider this a fair assessment of how a player can be predicted to perform at a Slam.

    Too many 'Rog' fans who blindly support Federer because of his name and past achievements - yes, he's world No.1 but he is not an automatic favourite for any tournament any more.

  • Comment number 22.

    @yorshire_blogger it was over 5 sets actually (just the final was).

    However you make a good point, Murray can beat the best, but is yet to prove he can do it at a MAJOR.

    I do believe he has got closer this year.

    That said. this topic is extremely tedious, a cheap shot for journo's to generate an smidge of interest. The mania it generates especially at wimbledon is a bit uncomfortable to watch, although what happened to the old school supporters who once cried "lets go Andy lets go!". Loved that one! Cheesey McMurphy or what!?

  • Comment number 23.

    Number 4 is spot on with his comments !

    If the REAL Roger Federer turns up he wins...simples !!

    And the only player who "might" prevent him doing so is Novak Djokovic......not Andy Murray !

    I correctly predicted that the Fed would win at Wimbledon BEFORE the tournament started and have the same feeling about the US Open too !

  • Comment number 24.

    What amuses me are the people who stauchly put forward the view the "Murray will never win a major! Its mad to be so certain of something like that for such a good tennis player - while nothing is certain, I think he will win a Major and hopefully it won't be far away! He won the Olympics - which is a big prize and is coming closer to that major (eg his loss at the Wimbledon final). The US open is perhaps his most likely opportunity - and he certainly has a great chance. Hopefully the memory of the way he played in the Olympics will help push him that final margin to victory.

  • Comment number 25.

    @James

    Why not do the honourable thing and admit you were wrong? Set an example. No-one ever admits they are wrong on these sites. You said:

    "Any impartial observer can see that Murray has been the best player in the world for the second half of this season"

    And that is clearly false. Be big and say you got it wrong. This is not about head to head results or whether Federer fans are fanatics or who is going to win the US Open, but about the truth or falsity of the statement above. And it is false.

  • Comment number 26.

    I do wish Federer's apologist obsessive fanbase would face facts. Murray won the Olympics because he outplayed Federer in every department except first serve percentage. Federer had 9 break point chances and converted none of them. That shows how well Murray was playing, because he wasn't broken in the semi's either, or the quarter finals for that matter. Federer was soundly thrashed not because he was tired, or worn out, or because he thought the one decent male tennis player Britain has deserved a win, or because he didn't fancy the look of the gold medal, but because Murray did not allow him in to the match. It's really quite simple. Federer wanted that gold medal. How many times do people need to be told. Federer has spoken all year ad nauseam about wanting that gold medal. More than that, he seemed to assume he was going to win it, along with almost everyone else in tennis, and Federer's obsessives. Fortunately Murray did not.

    I don't buy tiredness as any excuse for Federer. Murray played doubles, mixed doubles, singles and a best of five set final where he knew he had to be on the ball to win. That is tiring and stressful. If all it takes to make Federer tired now is one long match maybe it is time he packed it in.

    People will look through the year and argue that Murray has had a bad time. Sure, I would accept that he has not won a Masters. The question to ask is how relevant that is. He has won Masters (Toronto and Cincinatti being obvious to point out) tournaments before going in to majors and it hasn't made any difference. The thing to point out is that Murray is clearly prioritising the majors for now, and he is banging on the door. He took Djokovic very close in the semi's in Australia having played some of his best tennis. He played a brilliant Wimbledon and reached his first SW19 final. Had he won that second set that match could have been a very different result, and in my opinion it would have been. Murray also overcame a phenomenal amount of pressure to get to and compete in that final. Even Federer had the grace to concede the pressure Murray is under at SW19.

    Anyone who can put their pathetic prejudice away long enough knows that this has been a significant year for Andy Murray. His tennis has seen significant changes. Yes, it may well have taken time for those to be seen to full effect, but they are there. His forehand is better than ever, his first serve is a major weapon. He wins more points behind his second serve now than he ever has before. However, the area where he has changed the most is his mindset. He is stronger, no longer gets down on himself and believes in his ability. After losing the Wimbledon final he could have fallen apart and gone out early in the Olympics. He didn't. He got back up, went back to work and won, achieving along the way the one thing that has previously stood in his way, beating two of the top three on the way to a title. People can argue that the semi was best of three, blah, blah, blah, but that is not the point. Those same conditions applied to any competitor, not just Murray. The difference is that he came through. Had Federer done it some would think he was the closest thing to God on earth. Tough.

    Andy Murray can win the US Open. No doubt. He has the game. He now has the belief to go with it. Nadal's absence is neither here nor there. Look at the rankings. The earliest Murray could have met Nadal is the final. Do try to follow the sport. It will not be easy, it never is, but he does have a great chance, arguably his best chance yet of a major win, because his mind is at last in the same place as his talent. My money is firmly on a Murray/Djokovic final, with Murray coming through.

    Oh, and it is hysterical that in that third comment someone thinks Murray can't beat the best in a best of five match because he isn't fit enough. Funny that, because it's exactly what he did at the Olympics. The person he beat was Roger Federer. Ever heard of him? I believe he's quite good at this tennis lark.

    The anti Murray brigade really do defy belief, but you're all good for a laugh.

  • Comment number 27.

    My Pick is ANDY Murray... 100% guaranteed... He will crush fed and novak...Lets get back on Sep 9th...

  • Comment number 28.

    Definitely recommend reading the comments of Henman, Croft and Wilander about Murray's win at Wimbeldon if you haven't already http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19141370
    They are in no doubt about the importance of the match to Murray and the status of winning gold at the olympics. Could very well be a sea change for him - but the US Open will be an interesting indicator as to whether that really is going to be the case

  • Comment number 29.

    Mr Overend going for Murray.....what a surprise. How many times has he done that?? I guess if you predict it enough times, one will drop in at some stage.....!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Mister Doble at 25 is spot on again whilst tjh at 26 is somewhat making "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" comments and must be an avid Andy Murray fan who is trying to belittle the greatest player to ever hold a racket (asides from Rod Laver) Roger Federer !

    I will hope a blog is created here AFTER the US Open and we'll see where tjh places Mr Murray in the pecking order as regards the top 4......4th is the best he can muster so far... as the other 3 superior players have won several Grand Slam titles between them, whilst he STILL awaits his first one,despite his improvement under Lendl ......that wait will go on into 2013 and beyond....I am most confident about that !

  • Comment number 31.

    #6 The BBC is always getting quotes from ex players saying British sports people could win various events all the time. And they always make a headline. Lame really.

  • Comment number 32.

    Any Tennis observer will tell you that right now Djokovic and Federer arent so confident playing Murray. He will be the man to beat.

    Hes probably playing the best tennis right now- who cares about cincy and rogers cup- he was post olympics.

    Del Potro v Djokovic is in the balance also and I think Raonic will definitely give Murray a hell of a match. Apart from the 4 Olympic semi finalists noone else will really mount much of a challenge.

    My prediction: Andy Murray v Del Potro final

  • Comment number 33.

    #28 I meant.

  • Comment number 34.

    @26
    The last match was a best of 5 .......... not the tournament......which lasted one whole week.

  • Comment number 35.

    I all honesty though AM doesnt have a great US Open record- in 8 years- just 1 final and 1 semi final- not great at all.

  • Comment number 36.

    Indeed, Mcimmy though in fairness to him he has shown improvement under Lendl's guidance...though he will still be kept at bay by the great Fed....when it matters most...even though Fed is in the twilight of his career now ,aged 30 ,and 5 years plus older than his main challengers !

  • Comment number 37.

    This is basically the same blog as last year - can he do it? potentially.

  • Comment number 38.

    I personally think people are making far too much of Murray's victory over Federer at the Olympics. I admit that I am a Federer fan but I am also British and during the Olympics I was supporting Team GB and was delighted for Murray - so nobody accuse me of being biased to Roger.

    The Olympics proved that Murray can beat Federer over five sets. Fact. However, it didn't prove that he can do it in a major. I agree that Federer has said for years that he really wanted that gold medal and he will have taken the match very seriously. Nevertheless, although it may have felt like a major final, it wasnt. It was indeed very different. Mentally the tournament was different as they were playing for their country. I think the whole momentum of Team GB helped Murray and the partisan crowd certainly did. Will he get that at the US Open? No. He didnt get it at Wimbledon either as the final was a much more corporate affair. Physically the Olympics was different to a slam as well due to the opening rounds being best of three. The tournament was also played in a week whereas majors stretch on for two weeks. Little things like this can make a big difference. Roger has become a master at scheduling over the years and getting far in the Slams is so familiar to him, he knows what works best for him.

    Federer's match with Del Potro was draining - both emotionally and physically and I do think it played a part in the ease of Murray's victory over Roger (some may argue that Murray played mixed doubles but this is probably about as taxing as having a hit in training.) However, it is possible that Roger will have a long quarter at the US Open and then have to face Murray in the semi, so I dont think the point is really valid.

    As I said before, I do genuinely believe that Murray has a great chance of winning the US Open. If he gets a high percentage of first serves in and hits his forehand like he did in London, he will be very hard to beat. Unfortunately for him, I fear the Olympics win may have put the pressure on even more - people now expect him to win, whereas before he was a great hope.

  • Comment number 39.

    Valid comments at 38 and your last sentence was a masterpiece too...though only the Scottish "people" and Murray fanatics will be expecting him to win...others remain more realistic about his actual chances,and the bookmakers haven't made him favourite to win it either !

  • Comment number 40.

    got to laugh at 38, are you seriously suggesting that the greatest player to play the game changed his game because of the olympics? LOL! Fed is far too good and has far too cool a temprament for that.

    Murray may have had better backing for sure compared to the pro Federer Wimbledon crowd, but to suggest Federer wanted it less becuase he was playing for his country is ludicrous. Fed wants to win every game he plays, alll the top pros do. It's why they are there.

    As for more pressure for Murray, doubt it, the monkey is off the back and he knows he can beat the Djoke or Fed so no fears there. My worry is for him to come up against the likes of Tsonga on a make everything day.

  • Comment number 41.

    #40

    When did I suggest that Federer changed his game for the Olympics? You are twisting my words. I said in fact that Federer will have taken that match very seriously as he really wanted that gold medal. I certainly never said that he wants it less. I know that he was beaten fair and square by Murray but I was simply saying that the whole atmosphere and feel of the Olympics is different to a major because of the best of three sets, the partisan crowd etc...Murray has proved he can win in those circumstances, but he has yet to prove he can win a major.

  • Comment number 42.

    Raonic is the one that worries me most as a likely opponent (before the semis obviously). There's something about these courts that Murray doesn't quite like. I think it might be the high bounce. He struggles to hit aggressive returns off high bouncing serves. I know this looked like his best surface initially and he won the boy's title here in 2004 but, outside Roland Garros, this is where he's had some of his most disappointing defeats in the last 3 years. Cilic in '09 and Wawrinka in '10 were both bad losses. I feel like, if he can get to the semis though, he's got a better chance that he did at the same stage last year simply because he's going to be mentally better against Roger after the previous 2 performances against him.

  • Comment number 43.

    Ah, great too see the nation is behind the guy, go team GB!.... ah wait ....

    "I all honesty though AM doesnt have a great US Open record- in 8 years- just 1 final and 1 semi final- not great at all."

    Hmmm "not great" I guess looking at what he's done at the rest of the slams, I think he's been to the quarters at the French more often than the US Open. Bit of a surprise that it's true.

    In his favour is his record on North American hard courts is genereally very strong.

    He's not the favourite but his chances aren't too shabby, and it looks better than previous years given his summer and the absence of his bete noir, Nadal..

  • Comment number 44.

    Davser at 40...obviously everyone "wants" to win every game they play but even the likes of Laver,Borg,McEnroe,Sampras etc could not win "every" game though they won the vast majority of the matches that really mattered !

    Out of curiosity,which does everyone think was the greater British achievement..Murray beating the 30 year old Federer in the Olympics Final or Roger Taylor beating the 31 year old Laver in the 1970 Wimbledon Quarter Finals..thereby ending Rod's dominance of the game from 1961 onwards, including winning ALL FOUR Grand Slams in the same year TWICE..taking 11 Grand Slams and being denied several others between 1963 and 1967 inclusive, when it was open to amateurs only and he had already become a pro !!

    Those achievemnents are something Murray can only dream about !

  • Comment number 45.

    @41, the final was over 5 sets and Murray had been playing doubles and mixed doubles all week. Fact is Fed is getting older so if it comes to fitness then AM will have the upper hand on Fed now.

    Many would suggest winning an Olympics is like winning a major, certainly most of the top pros do. Nadal certainly did. Pity you think different.

    Some would argue that AM will have less pressure at the US as he isn't representing the UK at a home Olympics. Who knows.

    @42 - Murray has always said the US is his favourite tournament and that he prefers the courts there as they are faster than Aus.

  • Comment number 46.

    @45
    "Murray has always said the US is his favourite tournament and that he prefers the courts there as they are faster than Aus."

    I know he says that. But then he also said that clay was his favourite surface when he first turned pro. Statistically, grass is by far his best surface (81.3%), followed by indoor hard and carpet (78.1%), followed by outdoor hard (77.7%), followed miles behind by clay (61%).

  • Comment number 47.

    @44 - I wouldn't bother comparing the modern game with the one Taylor et al played. For one the strength in depth of the modern game is far superior to the era when they played.

    As for achievements, every current player can only dream of that dominance, not just Murray.

  • Comment number 48.

    ogbg - Problem with your stat is the prevalence of tournaments on the various surfaces. Given Murray plays probably 2 grass tournaments a year and is likely (most of the time) to make semis or final in each it is no wonder his success rate is so high.

  • Comment number 49.

    Davser at 47 I would agree the actual physical strength of the players has evolved ,however, taking like for like, there were equally top class players around in the 60s besides Laver...notably Roy Emerson,John Newcombe,Ken Rosewall and Pancho Gonzales, and those four would comfortably be the equal to the likes of Djokovic,Murray,Del Potro and Tsonga.....whilst placing Federer and Nadal above them all asides from Laver, personally !

  • Comment number 50.

    @40..
    'he can beat the Djoke or Fed so no fears there.'

    Yeh right, no fears at all. A walk in the park. In slams over 5 sets, he does it all the time!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    #45

    Of course I know the Olympics final was best of five, i never said it wasnt. The reason I mentioned the opening round best of 3 sets is that it is just one of and arguably the most obvious of the differences between the Olympics and a slam. Fed also played doubles that week and got further than Murray in the men's doubles. I agree that Murray will have the upper hand on Roger now in terms of fitness as I believe his recovery from long matches will be better. Fortunately for Federer, long matches like the Del Potro match are a rarity for him.
    I agree that players probably value the Olympics as much as a major but what I have been trying to say is that the challenges faced to win the Olympics are different to the challenges faced to win a major. Roger has mastered the latter, Murray the former. Therefore Federer would have to be the favourite if he plays Murray at the US Open. Someone mentioned that Fed's best surface is grass and Murray's is hard and while I would agree, Federer is great at the US Open. He won five in a row and since then he has lost in 5 sets the last three years. It takes a great performance to beat Roger in New York. Murray can do it, and it would be great for British tennis if he does, although I have my doubts.

  • Comment number 52.

    50, a tad disengenuous there! It's not a walk in the park, everyone knows that but he knows he can beat them on a regular basis.

    @49 - Purposely didn't mention physical strength as players of any given era are usually realtively on a par. What I meant was the quality of the top 100 today is far closer than the top 100 in Lavers day.

  • Comment number 53.

    Had the draw worked out more favourably I might have agreed but beating Federer then having to face Djokovic is going to be a mighty task especially as Murray will no doubt get the worst of the ludicrous scheduling at the USO and have fully 24 hours less recovery time than his opponent should he make the final

    Murray has developed this alarming pattern following big events. Following defeat in both the 2010 and 2011 Australian Open finals and following his Olympic victory he always goes into his shell, seems in jured, incapable of performing at his normal level

    Losses to the likes of Alex Bogomolov, Donald Young and more recently Jeremy Chardy all say to me that he is scared of success on a subconscious level. I wish he would man up after a big tourney and step forward instead of shrinking back like he did in Canada and Cinncy after the Olympics

    I simply have no confidence at all that he can win the USO. Draw, schedule and late night finishes will do for him

  • Comment number 54.

    @51 - prior to the Olympics I would probably have agreed with you but waying up Fed experience/talent v Murray fitness and new found confidence I'd put it at evens.

  • Comment number 55.

    @48. davser
    "Problem with your stat is the prevalence of tournaments on the various surfaces. Given Murray plays probably 2 grass tournaments a year and is likely (most of the time) to make semis or final in each it is no wonder his success rate is so high."

    Why is he more likely to reach the semis or final just because there's only 2 of them?

    Anyway, it's not just stats, it's also looking at his game. He returns so much better and his flat first serve is so much more effective when the ball bounces lower.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 waying???? Try weighing, doh.

  • Comment number 57.

    @55 - Not to do with the amount he plays, just that there are less tournaments for him to not reach semis/finals compared to hard courts. Factor in the fact that Fed always plays Halle and you have less top players in the draw at Queens as well. And when was the last year he failed to make a wimbledon semi?

  • Comment number 58.

    Andy Murray in tennis is like Richard Johnson in National Hunt Racing...the latter is unfortunate to be around at the same time as Tony McCoy whilst Murray is unfortunate to be around at the same time as Messrs Federer,Nadal and Djokovic....had Murray been around in the Henman era then I dare say he would have won a couple or even more Grand Slams by now !

  • Comment number 59.

    @tjh Regarding the fitness issue, you can't tell me that playing 6 matches in 8 days doesn't take a toll on a player's body which is 31. Its simple, a 31 year old's body just can't recover the way it used to when it was 25. There is absolutely no doubt that Fed's match against Del Potro, I would say more than physically, was emotionally draining. I have seen Murray's game evolve tremendously this year, and he has improved every aspect of it, but the fact remains he is yet to do that under Grand Slam conditions. He has a great chance, but just because he won the Olympics doesn't mean he can be regarded as the favorite. I certainly wouldn't favor him ahead of Fed or Djokovic as they have been there and done it

  • Comment number 60.

    @57. davser

    Isn't your argument slightly circular? You're saying his grass statistics are inflated by the fact that he always does well at the grass tournaments. Did you never think that perhaps he always does well at grass tournaments because grass is his best surface?

  • Comment number 61.

    @59 I wouldn't make Murray favourite either. I'd still put Djokovic slightly ahead.

  • Comment number 62.

    60 - not really. As a top 4 player Murray is expected to make the semi at least in all his tournaments. However, that becomes less likely on any given surface the greater the number of tournaments are played on it. It just comes down to the fact that on hard or clay there are more opportunities for him NOT to make a semi compared to grass.

    Anyway, I would believe the guy himself as to what surface/tournament he prefers.

  • Comment number 63.

    #59

    We have made similar points - I couldn't agree with you more.

  • Comment number 64.

    @62
    That doesn't make any sense. He's got more opportunities to lose but he's also got more opportunities to win.

  • Comment number 65.

    @48 and 55. Who is for a longer grass court season? The Clay one seems to go on forever and the hard court tournaments (indoor and outdoor) are at both the start and end of season.

    Grass having only about a 3 week run is ridiculous. Why is there no Masters event played on Grass? I say make Queens (if the facilities can take it) into a 1000 event and take a couple of week off either the clay or hard court seasons.

  • Comment number 66.

    I wonder if he's doing the mixed doubles with Laura Robson again ?

    Something tells me the way he was ignoring her flattering comments about him, after their Olympics final defeat, that is most unlikely !

    Maybe Kim might fancy teaming up with him on court ?

  • Comment number 67.

    @65. oohareya

    They are actaully adding an extra week starting in 2014 I believe, but that will probably just wind up meaning an extra week's rest before the season actually begins. Ideally for me, either Queens or Halle would be a Masters 1000 and then the other would be a 500 in the week after, and Roland garros would be a week earlier, giving 2 extra weeks for grass. As it stands, however, there are multiple issues with this ever happening. First of all, those two tournaments aren't physically big enough to hold the required draw for a Masters 1000 event. Second, they can't offer enough prize money (this is why they are both currently 250s I believe). Third, the ATP would need to strip one of the existing tournaments of its Masters 1000 status. Fourth, Roland Garros can't really go back a week earlier since there are alraedy 2 clay Masters 1000s very close to it and the weather in Paris might be an issue.

  • Comment number 68.

    @65

    I know you didn't direct that question at me, but I agree with you. Grass is the surface where you see the most variation in the players games and therefore I feel it is the most interesting surface. For example, they slice more and come to the net more, especially when compared to the long top spin rallies on clay and the slow hard courts.
    Also, the grass is physically less demanding than clay and hard courts and extra weeks on grass and less on hard/clay should mean that Nadal and Djokovic can bring their best games to the indoor season whereas in previous years they seem to be burned out.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ supremearkle

    nope he will not be doing mixed doubles at the slams

  • Comment number 70.

    Thanks judorick at 69...........though I was being a tad facetious there !!

  • Comment number 71.

    It is silly for so many folks to write Murray off at this stage.

    Nadal is out injured. Djoker could break his foot. Federer could break his hands. Del Potro could get eaten by a shark.

    There is still a window for Murray to do well.

  • Comment number 72.

    @71...of course ANYTHING is possible.....Boris Johnson could beat Usain Bolt over 100 metres if Bolt fell over and lay prostrate on the ground for 10 seconds ......and I could beat Ronnie O'Sullivan at Snooker if he had to play the game blindfolded !!

    Next !!

  • Comment number 73.

    Murray does not have a great record in New York in recent years with losses to Cilic and Warwinka, has not had a great preparation with playing too much grass tennis then dumping canada and cincy

    be a major shock if he breaks his duck here

  • Comment number 74.

    Please no more comments re draining match against del potro being a significant factor in Fed's loss at the Olympics. That was a 3 set match - although the last set was long, overall it was about equivalent to a 5 set match goin to the last set. He's likely to get some of those in the slams.

  • Comment number 75.

    Murray in 3 against Del Pot in final, end of chat!

  • Comment number 76.

    i was a doubter about Murray ever winning a major, then he went and did it by taking olympic gold. Despite this i do not think he will win in N.Y. But not for the reasons which i would have doubted him for in the past. now what is against him, as already mentioned by others, is the draw. Rounic Tsonga Feds Djoko it is just too physically demanding and he will be drained. Otherwise i would have bet on him winning there.

  • Comment number 77.

    Of course Murray "can" win the US Open - he's a leadng contender. Butthe question posed is really WILL he win? He might but Federer and Djokovic are more likely to. Peopel are clearly getting carried away because of the Olympics, given nothing else Murray has done throughout the whole of 2012 suggests he's the likely winner in NewYork.

  • Comment number 78.

    SupremeArkle at 30: I wasn't belittling anyone. I was stating the facts. I'm sorry the truth upsets you so much. Actually I'm not, but there we are. I'm actually pretty offended by your Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds comment as well. Not clever, not funny. Just because someone doesn't agree with you it doesn't make them wrong, or what you were patently implying.

    Where will I put Murray in the pecking order after the US? I can tell you now if you like. As one of the best players in the world, one of the best ever to play the game, irrespective of whether he has yet won a major. Murray is part of the best group of players the sport has ever seen. He is in the form of his life. Simple.

    Federer_Legend at 59: Where did I say Murray was the favourite? I did not say that. I would not say that. Truth be told I don't want Murray regarded as the favourite by the media and a load of pundits. I want Murray to go out there and play the best tennis he can play, as he did at Wimbledon, as he also did at the Olympics. What I said was that Murray has a great chance. He has. Deal with it. Oh, and Murray played 10 matches in 9 days, 4 of which were admittedly doubles, but all of those went to match tie-breaks, which has its own emotional stress. Murray also faced the potential of playing the top two in the singles if he wanted to win, which is also potentially emotionally stressful, and had to face Federer in the final, who had beaten him a month previously. Federer doesn't have the monopoly on emotional stress.

  • Comment number 79.

    76. the Olympic Gold was NOT a major and that's a fact. An important title yes, but categorically not a major.

  • Comment number 80.

    @ #73 judorick

    It would be far from a major shock. Before Wimbledon he lost his only prearation match but went on to get to the final. Also in the past he has won in Canada/Cincy but lost early at the US open. I don't think his build up really tells us much about how he is going to do.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 80

    yes it would when you consider the draw, the scheduling and his dumping of two tournaments and lack of match practice on the hard courts plus his poor record relatively in NYC (lost to Warwinka and Cilic)... and the psychological damage he has suffered in 4 GS final defeats

    will be a massive shock if he beats Fed and Djoko back to back in 5 set matches

  • Comment number 82.

    78. "(Murray is) one of the best ever to play the game, irrespective of whether he has yet won a major." That cracked me up. That's like saying whoever is near the top of the game at the current moment in time is "one of the best to ever play the game"! Yes, Rawanska (for example) would no doubt beat the Martina Navratilova of 1982, so such statements are meaningless.

  • Comment number 83.

    @73. Murray was injured when playing Cilic. Note, that he's never lost tio him before or since and then was out of the game for a month after rather stupidly agreeing to play Davis Cup, with a bust wrist

    I'm amazed by some of these comments and love the way people make their pessimistic theories about Murray fit the facts

    For instance, Hard Courts have always been Murray's best surface - as illustrated by two Slam final appearances. Suddenly, because we must find an excuse for his relative success on grass this year - then grass now has to be his best surface

    It also amuses me that apparantly it's not a problem when Fed or Nadal have a surprising loss at a non-slam even, as this shows tbat they save their 'game face' for the Slams. No such grace for Andy though!! A loss to Chardy obvioulsy means he doesn't have the mental strength that true Champions have

    It's amazing that he's managed to win 20-odd titles and be in the ALL TIME (modern era) Top 10 of numerous lists, such as Master wins, Top 10 record, when you read the comments of the pessimistic peter's of this world!!!!!!

  • Comment number 84.

    judorik


    So he'll never win a Slam, then? Like Lendl I suppose!! Goodness, I hope you're not a motivational speaker!! At first I thought your last comment was full of biting saracsm (after all in previous years he's done well at Cincy and Canada which gave those disappointing results - is it that crucial he has lots of hard court matches, particualrly after the mentally tough early summer? Of course it isn't!!) but you obviously worry too much

    It's highly likely that Fed will suffer the most from the long summer, he's 31 now and no matter how great he can be, Wimby, Olympics and Cincy will take it's toll

    I think it's time we realised that it's 2012 not 2007

    The winner will be Novak or Andy

  • Comment number 85.

    egrorian

    Even Andy's critics admit that he's the best player never to win a Slam

    I suggest you look at the stats that put Andy in numerous Top 10 all time lists, i.e. educate yourself, before pouring scorn on other people

  • Comment number 86.

    85. there are all sorts of stats but to suggest Murray is "top ten all time" (if that is indeed what you are doing), is just ludicrous and wholly deserving of scorn. And I don't need educating, thanks all the same - I've probably been following tennis closely since before you were born.

  • Comment number 87.

    Murray is "the best player never to win a Slam" by virtue of his nearly man status - 4 losing Slam finals - but that hardly makes him "one of the best to ever play the game", be reasonable!

  • Comment number 88.

    I know you from the defunct tennis boards banbrotam

    and you know me too...

    and I'm saying the victory in the Olympics has been over estimated with regards to winning the USO which he is going to find very hard indeed

    just the way he will be scheduled will make him an unlikely winner

  • Comment number 89.

    @81 judrick

    What do you mean 'considering the draw'?
    It is not bad and he was always going to have to beat Federer/Djokovic back to back irrespective of how the draw went.

    Also the two tournaments he has played since the olympics were always going to be tough, coming so soon after the olympics where he played more tennis than anyone else. As i said earlier lack of match practice won't be a problem, look at this years Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 90.

    People do like to talk as if there are certainties when it is far from an impossibility that one (or two) of the Federer-Djokovic-Murray trio will lose before the semis.

    After all, who could have dreamed Rosol would beat Nadal at Wimbledon? Probably everyone here (myself included) would have bet their house on Nadal winning that match.

  • Comment number 91.

    You do wonder really the point in blogs such as this - even the ATP encourages people to predict "who will win?" on a regular basis and much of the time fans just come on and say that their particular favourite player is a certainty!

  • Comment number 92.

    Presumably most of the posters on here are british .If thats the case why cant you just say good luck to andy in his quest for a major win.As behind him british tennis quite frankly is a joke IMO .Its the old adage we wont miss him til he s gone

  • Comment number 93.

    Easy way to make money - bet on Murray to win!

  • Comment number 94.

    Murray goes through first round in four sets, and loses in round four to Raonic. He won't get a 2012 slam...or '13...or' 14...etc etc

  • Comment number 95.

    Murray only 3rd favourite with the bookies-as has been said, tough assignment to win back to back against Fed & then Djoker (assuming no upsets of course).
    But Murray has now won a best of 5 set final, & it's nonsense to suggest Federer was not as focused as he would be for a slam. As tjh said (#26) Federer has made numerous statements about the OG singles being the only gap in his trophy cabinet, & would have been fighing to win Olympic gold just as hard as he would for a major.
    Still, tough to pick a winner on the men's side, but Serena looks unplayable at the moment.

  • Comment number 96.

    #94 Sowton
    Is this like your prediction of "Andy won't win gold"?
    As for the whole thread
    Its pointless even discussing who the winner will be. If we all knew already it would be pretty boring and we would all be rich from the bets we would have put on. No-one can predict the crazy results (Rosol at this years wimbledon, or even Newcastle last year) so who knows what will happen.

    As for the effect that the olympics would have had on Andy (or indeed Roger) I doubt it had a negative effect on either of them. Roger certainly shouldn't doubt his ability all of a sudden, and equally it can only enhance Andy's confidence in his ability to sustain his best for a 5 set match against Roger, Novak or (as i suspect) JM Del Pot.

    All that being said I will be watching and enjoying the play (not the scheduling however)

  • Comment number 97.

    the draw and scheduling are going to make it very tough - guarantee he will get the second semi final and therefore 24 hours less rest and that in itself will make him a big under dog going into the final, if he does manage to beat fed (fed will be favourite to beat Murray)

    based on my calculations Murray should be at least 7.5/1 to win at a bare minimum and that's if I make him 1/3 to beat Tsonga and assumes he gets to the quarter final easily... you could make a case that his true odds are much higher if you count the Raonic match and make Tsonga a shorter price

    current bookies odds are way too short

  • Comment number 98.

    egrorian @90

    After all, who could have dreamed Rosol would beat Nadal at Wimbledon? Probably everyone here (myself included) would have bet their house on Nadal winning that match.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Certainly not myself, a ridiculous price, therefore no bet. Coupled to the fact, i would never leave myself open to backing an injury waiting to reoccur.

    I do punt [successfully] on sport but never on tennis or golf. Although the principles are the same, current form, understanding styles of play meeting differing styles, mental state, fatigue or rusty from recent scedules. So many other factors to include plus one important one. I note that most are stating Murray/Federer semi meeting, of course they have to reach that stage first.

    Federer for example, has the time gone when he dominated slams? Yes that is quite clear from his last 10 slams. But we know from a few months ago that there are still slams left in him. On the other hand as most posts relating to Murray bottling it or having stamina issues, I doubt either being a valid reason for his failing to win a slam. On each ocassion he has been bettered in the final or semis by the better player at the time. If we accept Murray will never be a Federer, that's ok but there will come a time when Murray will be the stronger player and capable of winning against him in a slam. It may be now.

    Predictions can be fun, gambling is not for everyone but this is an event with over a 100 runners, eliminate who cannot possibly win and your left with a short list which can. I strongly suspect we are approaching a time when the list is going to be greater than the usual 3.

  • Comment number 99.

    judoric @97

    current bookies odds are way too short

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Agreed.

    His outright price is definitely unappealing although i see him quoted around 1/2 to win the quarters, still not my cuppa tea thank you but that would probably be the bet.

    I steer clear of punting tennis, for myself, it is a sport to watch.

  • Comment number 100.

    I honestly think the winner of the Federer/Murray semi (if it's those 2!) will win the tournament. Nole hasn't been the same player since the rain delay in the French final.

 

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