BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend
« Previous | Main | Next »

Timing all wrong for Murray

Post categories:

Jonathan Overend | 17:42 UK time, Sunday, 16 October 2011

It's slightly ironic that at a time when shortening the tennis calendar has never been a more important priority, Andy Murray is raging towards the end of the year, probably wanting the season to continue all the way through until the Australian Open in January.

Such is the peculiarity of tennis that this important Asian swing and the subsequent European indoor season leads nowhere of really true significance for the elite players.

Yes the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals are soon upon us, the O2 ready to host for a third year, but all the majors have been played and the next Grand Slam prize isn't awarded for three and a half months.

Andy Murray with statue

Murray celebrates his latest success with his Terracotta likeness. Picture: Getty

How Murray, for whom a welcoming party and red carpet was arranged at his hotel, must want one to magically appear next week. He has won 24 of his last 25 matches and four of his last five tournaments.

Maybe he should view The Australian Open as the end of the previous season - a March to January calendar - and take his off-season break in February!

With Roger Federer, fatigued and out of action, slipping to four in the world for the first time since before his first major in June 2003, Rafael Nadal at a loss to explain unexpected defeats and Novak Djokovic feeling the effects of a monumental season, Murray is unquestionably the form man.

This was an eighth Masters title from nine finals played, a hugely impressive ratio. But he would trade them all for a first major and that dream-making quest continues.

Federer may have skipped the Asian freeways this year, getting overtaken by Murray's superfast sports car, but - extending this dubious analogy - one imagines Roger holding his 16 majors out of the window of a classic Aston Martin smoking a cigar.

So does this impressive Asian hat-trick leave him any closer the one he really wants?

It's impossible to suggest a best-of-three-set win over David Ferrer helps him avoid a best-of-five-set loss to Rafa Nadal, but what can't be disputed is that this domination, this quantity of victories, can only be of benefit.

He feels a better player than this time last year, and he looks it. He feels more confident after winning four titles from his last five, and he looks it.

This time last year nobody predicted that Novak Djokovic, with only slight tweaks to his game, would suddenly become a world-beating super power. We are surely not too hung up on Murray's perceived failings to regard him any less capable than Novak to do something similar.

Of course it's almost impossible for Djokovic's annus-miraculous to be repeated, but Murray doesn't need revolution. These successes in Bangkok, Tokyo and Sanghai are part of the evolution, with experience gained and confidence increased, towards something bigger in Melbourne, Paris, London or New York.


  • Comment number 1.

    I have more belief in Murray than I ever did with Henman and the standard is higher than ever - well done Andy hopefully you'll do a Djokovic next year

  • Comment number 2.

    "This was an eighth Masters title from nine finals played, a hugely impressive ratio. But he would trade them all for a first major and that dream-making quest continues"

    Have to disagree, I dont think he would. The importance of Grand Slams is overestimated by the media as they relentlessly hype them up. The whole idea was a marketing ploy - a big four to get the attention of the public. There are some really big masters tournaments with illustrious histories and prize money to match, dont kid yourself that they dont mean much to the players. Lazy, predictable journalism, typical of the comment features on this website quite frankly.

  • Comment number 3.

    Only ever been a question of temperament with Murray. At his best, he's shown that he can match anyone in the world. The problem is that when he isn't absolutely firing on all cylinders his head drops and he beats himself. A run of form like this could do wonders for him; he just needs to be able to keep it up!

  • Comment number 4.

    It's about to happen for Andy. He's peaking just as Fed and Nad are going over the top. Neither of those two wins another slam, thus it's all about Murray and Djoko (who won't/can't repeat his annus mirabilis 2011) for the next couple of years; that's 8 slams and Murray probably wins 3 of them. After this, no more because at least one player who is better emerges.

  • Comment number 5.

    to be honest hopefully Andy win a grand slam one day but for me he is just playing in tennis the wrong time with the like's of the BIG TOP 3 Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic. ranking is nothing even thou Andy have move up in the ranking today I still feel it will be hard to beat the the supper top3 in any grand slam. It's just the wrong time for Andy.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's difficult to gauge just how impressive this run is with Djokovic and Federer not even present and Nadal so off the boil. The O2 will be a more telling fight I expect, and I've no doubt they'll all be be back properly for the Aussie. The truth is most of the top players just don't care about this stage of the season, Murray included really

  • Comment number 7.

    Andy WILL win a grand slam - for me it's all about the mind. He goes off the boil during matches against top players all too often. It's so frustrating - he has the talent, but his mindset won't let him use it sometimes.

    Hopefully he'll finally win one and get the media off his back. I believe he'll win the US Open or Aussie Open next year. People go mad over Wimbledon, Murray Mania if you will, but hard courts are his best surface in my opinion.

  • Comment number 8.

    Would love to see Murray finally win a major next year! He so deserves it. If Fed goes into a permanent decline then surely Djoko and Rafa can't win all the majors for the next two years! Murray will get one or maybe two somewhere over the next couple of years I am sure. He plays the most beautiful tennis, has such a complete game, would be a tragedy if he goes his whole career without one of the big ones.

  • Comment number 9.

    I hope he doesn't get stuck with the tag "Best Player Never to Win a Major". To be honest, he already owns that but would love to hand it to someone else.

    Federer is going, as far as I am concerned. Nadal is hard to gauge. The brand of tennis he plays will end his career prematurely (think of the toll on his body) but not for another few years.

    Murray was a better player than Nole before he made those tweaks. If Murray does the same, he can surpass him. I'll always cheer on Murray, through the good times and the bad. After all, if he doesn't win a major the only person he'll let down is himself. Not me, not you, not Mr Overend, not anyone.

    But he will win a major, so need for that kind of talk :D

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting that Murray plays 3 tournaments back-to-back, only weeks after he complained about the heavy schedule? Federer was down to play one tournament in Asia before "fatigue" got the better of him, maybe Murray/Nadal should take note.

  • Comment number 11.

    @ TheamazingMrWhite

    The trouble with that statement..."The importance of Grand Slams is overestimated by the media as they relentlessly hype them up" is that whether or not they are hyped up, the top players are only going to be remembered for their slam record achievements in the history books. Winning 20 Master events inst going to put him very far up that list, if anywhere.

    I have to agree with Jonathan on this, if you gave him the choice, swap all Masters for 1 slam, I can't see him not making it the slam as his pick

  • Comment number 12.

    I'll have a wager that the next person other than Djokovic, Nadal or Federer to win a major will not be Murray.

  • Comment number 13.

    Jasta, you're comment is just silly and shows a lack of tennis history. Do you really think there haven't been 'Big three's' before or players who haven't dominated tennis and been just as difficult to get past. Here's a few for you--Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl--Jimmy Connors--Big Mac--Andre Agassi--Pete Sampras--Borg.
    Laver was virtually unbeatable in his day--Connors could (and did) break many a player's heart, with his absolute refusal to give up, Sampras' serve was enough to break any opponent (ask Tim Henman).
    The truth is, there have always been players in any given era who have seemed unbeatable until someone else came along and showed how to beat them. Murray's task is no different from any player trying to topple the ruling stars and he will find a way.

  • Comment number 14.

    Im a Djokovic and Murray fan, I really do hope Murray wins a grand slam soon and has a incredible season like Novo. He is one of the best tennis players around and one of the best Great Britain has had for a long time. If only he can beat Nadal on more occasions as he is the man that he loses to in most of the grand slams. If he can than he would have a good shot at winning grand slams. His best chances is on Hard court but it would be a wonderful moment if he wins his first grand slam at Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hats off to Murray, just when so-called tennis fans get on his back for not winning a major to date, he replies by showing that he is still very much knocking on the door of being a Grand Slam champion.

    The real tennis fans will have done their homework and have watched countless Masters 1000 Series events over the last 6 or 7 years to know that Murray has done extremely well to regularly at least make the semis if not better, and having only lost just one of his 9 finals it speaks volumes for his consistency.

    There have been many very talented players like Gasquet, Monfils and Berdych that are of a similar age to Murray who have never really made the most of their potential. In fact Andy has won more titles than the 3 of the combined and has reached more Grand Slam finals and semi-finals than all of them put together, so it shows that Murray has that edge in terms of mentality.

    When, and not if, Murray next gets to a Grand Slam final he needs to loosen up a bit. The final in Melbourne against Djokovic was arguably his worst because he capitulated at 3-4 in the first set and then got down on himself. If he had have had a more upbeat attitude then he could have found a way to turn it around. He needs to keep telling himself this.

    I'm confident that he will break his duck in 2012.

  • Comment number 16.

    The time Andy Murray took off after Wimbledon and before the start of the American hard court season is off similar length to the time between the Masters final and the beginning of the Australian swing. Playing well now will be rewarded in 2012.

  • Comment number 17.

    Strange Title..`Timing all wrong for Murry`.
    Poor Andy, when he wins the press is negative, his timing is all wrong.
    When he looses the press is negative, his timing is all wrong........

    He should change to a country where he would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 18.

    Brilliant comment keiithj, whatever Andy does is wrong, whatever he achieves, it's not enough.....
    Most impressively since the USOpen, is how his forehand has improved. Corretja mucked around with it, but now it seems to be firing nicely. In fact against Ferrer, his forehand was better than his famous backhand.
    Same dedication to your second serve now Andy, then the world lies at your feet :)

  • Comment number 19.

    @2 You disagree do you? Are you a tennis historian? Rarely does one come accross such incredible non-sense. The 4 GS tournaments are the absolute highlights of the season, not only because of their worth in points and prize money, but the grueling format requires everything the players have and then some (something Murry hasn't found yet). You can ask any tennis pro, and they will tell you a GS tournament is the pinnacle.

    @17 you're joking surely. No other nation is capable of such hype. The "negative media" keep saying he has a GS tournament in him, something many tennis fans (such as myself) fail to see. His psyche is weak and he has a woeful record in GS tournaments compared to the other 3 in the so-called top 4 (because really he is on a tier below Djokovic, Nadal and Federer). There is no other country where such an ill-mannared and spoiled athlete would be appreciated as much as in the UK.

    @16 I don't see much logic in that statement. The only capital he has gained is confidence and maybe he's put himself in the same side of the draw as Djokovic (remains to be seen).

    As far as the blog is concerned, Mr. Overend is employed by the BBC and as such it may be he is required to write flattering articles about Andy Murray, someone who doesn't even merit the word underachiever. Such has been the gulf in class between him and the 3 men whose success he aspires to emulate. He gained 1 ranking place at the expense of Federer, who isn't bothered one iota I am sure. You say Murray gained experience, but how valuable is such experience in the absence of the contemporary greats?

  • Comment number 20.

    There are the usual negative comments from the people who just cant stand seeing Andy Murray succeed. Comments such as those from Hopper are so predictable from the brigade who will always put Andy down. It must be frustrating being a top sports star in this country.
    For those who haven't noticed, Andy has done something subliminal with his serve thus making it much more consistent. With that consistency comes a more secure game. Again, for those who haven't noticed, that is exactly what Nole did thus leading to his transformation.
    As for the opponents, Rafa was fine prior to losing to Andy now it is deemed there is something wrong with him.
    When Andy beat Djokovic at Cincinatti, the latter had a dreaful shoulder injury which miraculously was absolutely fine two weeks later at the US open. As a player myself, i know only too well that shoulder injuries do not recover in two weeks. Infact you will be told to rest for at least 6 weeks.
    If the entire country got behind Andy, as they do ib Djokovic's country, and in Switzerland, and Spain, perhaos we too could have a champion to cheer. Sadly, this country is full of people intent on putting Murray down.
    I hope Murray does win the major he deserves if only to allow people to thumb their noses at his detractors.

  • Comment number 21.

    What a shame to be so bitter russeljones; for sure Andy Murray is not the most likeable guy on the circuit, and his temperment lets him down badly, but he is far and away the best we have in this country and does not deserve the snide and bitter comments directed at him by the likes of you. When is the last time a british player achieved all that he has?

  • Comment number 22.

    "Djokovic's annus-miraculous"

    He does have a nice bum!

  • Comment number 23.

    I am happy to see Murray do well and congratulate him on his new ranking but let's put this into perspective the 24 year old Murray has finally supplanted the 30 year old Swiss Maestro.

    Djokovic and Federer have not played since the US open leaving the way clear for Murray against a weakened field apart from a dispirited Nadal.

    Hopefully Murray can capitalise on this rich vein of form to build up enough self confidence to finally compete at the same level as the other 3 guys when it really counts.

  • Comment number 24.

    Amazingly lazy blog, completely missing the significance of Murray's current run. Sadly, it's the type of ignortant stuff we now get from the Beeb's Tennis team - i.e. Federer plays a great match and suddenley they think it's 2004 again

    The significance of Murray's run, is not actually the victories (although I fail to see how putting yourself firmly in the Top 10 of all time achievers is 'wrong timing'!!) but it's the fact he's found a consistently powerful forehand. Something he's never had

    Now considering that he has the best double backhand in the game (OK perhaps Novak's is better - but Murray's backhand on the run is definitely the best) and during the last 3 years has had the best service return, the development of the forehand is a big plus, simply becaause it means the great dictator of points can simply dictate with even more control

    It would be good if our so called Tennis correspondent, could actually be bothered to be anything more than a bit of a Tennis watcher!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Murray has the ability to win a Grand Slam of that there is no doubt. He can beat all of the best players in the world but seems to baulk when it comes to the big tournaments. His mental strength is often called into question but his big weakness is his second serve. Everything about his game is world class apart from this. In terms of converting points on his second serve it is around 41%, this is about 50th in the rankings.

    Against the big 3 he always puts that little extra into his 1st serve and as a result he will get about 60-65% in of which he will win around 90% of the points. But losing more than every other point on his 2nd serve is what, ultimately, costs him.

    When he sorts that out, I have no doubt he will win a Grand Slam.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find it unbelievable the amount of negative press/comments Andy gets. He is a remarkable athlete in his own right. Yes he has not had quite the success of Roger, Rafa or now Novak but 21 titles speaks for itself - that's 10 more than Tim and I don't remember anywhere near as much negative sniping. Yes he has not yet won a major, which nobody will deny is the pinnacle but no British man has since 1938, and Murray has come the closest, reaching 3 finals and making at least the semi's of all of them this year. That shouldn't be sniffed at!

    At the end of the day this is his career, as a sports fan I'd love to see him win one, however if he doesn't it's only himself that should be disappointed.

    On his day he's capable of beating anyone, I reckon he'll be tough to beat at the O2 next month and hopefully he can carry that on into the Australian and give himself another good chance.

  • Comment number 27.

    @19 Russeljones:

    " he has a woeful record in GS tournaments compared to the other 3 in the so-called top 4"

    Having a hard time comprehending this statement. Andy is one of only 7 people in the open era to reach the semi-final of every GS event in one year. Three others of that seven happen to be the 'other 3 in the so-called top 4'. Your statement therefore is a contradiction. It seems that you are saying that only winning grand slams equates to a record that is not 'woeful'. By that logic, we could run off a giant list of players who should be considered woeful, yet they are not.

    The reality is that Andy Murray has a lot of haters because he doesn't smile all the time, he doesn't have the mental strength of a robot against 3 of the greatest players of ALL TIME, and let's not forget the final reason: he is Scottish. Fact of the matter is, a lot of English people dislike Andy Murray purely for that fact, just like they hate all Scottish politicians at Westminster. That's why lots of the newspapers spun the stories about hit wanting the England football team to lose and other supposed anti-English sentiments from him.

    As far as his talent goes, let me put it this way: I'd like to see Henman, who I also supported, bagel Nadal in a supposed mickey mouse tournament final. Or any other British tennis player of the last forever years. It just wouldn't have happened. But here we are again reading the same old comments from the great British public: It means nothing. Andy Murray will never win a grand slam. Etc.

  • Comment number 28.

    Sadly for Murray just as Federer has declined this year Djokovic has gone past him (Murray) in the rankings. Murray has probably got another couple of years in order to win a grand slam as by then the next kids on the block will be challenging and in all honesty probably have gone past him in the rankings.

    Still think he needs to ditch Mummy in order to achieve his full potential but thats another story

  • Comment number 29.

    On Masters vs Slams, it's a bit of a moot point. Most of the time Masters and Slams go hand in hand. No player with 8 Masters (as Murray has now) has ever failed to win a Slam. Indeed there's only one player with 5 or more Masters who is slamless (Rios) and he's a bit of an exception to the rule - he's also the only player who was ever number one in the world without winning a Slam.

    Usually, Masters are an exceptionally good indicator of players who will win Slams and if Murray never wins one then his career is going to look like an historical anomaly. This isn't the media hyping up a no hoper who only ever wins "Mickey Mouse tournaments": he's either going to win a Slam or he's going to go down as the best player never to win one.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 27 "Having a hard time comprehending this statement."

    I will gladly offer my assistance.

    RF - 16
    RN - 10
    ND - 4
    AM - 0

    I hope that was helpful.

    (He hasn't won a set in any GS final he has reached)

  • Comment number 31.

    While Murray's form at this stage in the season is lucrative and it is impressive to see him bounce back from another 'nearly' season at the Slams - the truth is that Djockovic, Nadal and Fed don't treat other tournaments as seriously as the slams.

    Winning slams is all that matters to them now, and they will sacrifice form and fitness throughout other parts of the season in order to peak for the slams.

    Murray is a top player, and generally very consistent, hence he has been able to win a lot of masters events. However when it comes to a semi or a final against Rafa or Novak, all the Masters wins can't prepare him for the extra level these guys find at a Slam.

    Hope he can keep believing and perhaps outlast one of these guys in the next few seasons - because, as big a fan of Murray as I am, I don't believe he can win a slam while Rafa and Novak are fit and motivated.

  • Comment number 32.

    @24 "(although I fail to see how putting yourself firmly in the Top 10 of all time achievers is 'wrong timing'!!)

    Top 10 of WHAT!?!

    Let's see...

    Most GS titles
    1. Roger Federer 16
    2. Pete Sampras 14
    3. Björn Borg 11
    4. Rafael Nadal 10
    5. Jimmy Connors 8
    = Ivan Lendl 8
    = Andre Agassi 8
    8. John McEnroe 7
    = Mats Wilander 7
    10. Stefan Edberg 6
    Boris Becker 6

    GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 23
    2. Ivan Lendl 19
    3. Pete Sampras 18
    4. Björn Borg 16
    5. Jimmy Connors 15
    = Andre Agassi 15
    7. Rafael Nadal 14
    8. John McEnroe 11
    = Mats Wilander 11
    = Stefan Edberg 11

    Consecutive GS finals
    1. Roger Federer 10
    2. Roger Federer 8
    3. Andre Agassi 4
    = Rod Laver 4
    5. Jimmy Connors 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Björn Borg 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Ivan Lendl 3
    = Mats Wilander 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Jim Courier 3
    = Pete Sampras 3
    = Rafael Nadal 3

    GS semi-finals
    1. Jimmy Connors 31
    2. Roger Federer 29
    3. Ivan Lendl 28
    4. Andre Agassi 26
    5. Pete Sampras 23
    6. John McEnroe 19
    = Stefan Edberg 19
    8. Boris Becker 18
    9. Björn Borg 17
    10. Rafael Nadal 15

    Consecutive GS semi-finals
    1. Roger Federer 23
    2. Ivan Lendl 10
    3. Ivan Lendl 6
    = Novak Djokovic 6
    5. Novak Djokovic
    = Boris Becker 5
    = Nadal 5
    8. Rod Laver 4
    9. Tony Roche 4
    = John McEnroe 4
    = Andre Agassi 4
    = Jim Courer 4

    All Four Slams Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969

    Three Slams Per Year
    Jimmy Connors 1974
    Mats Wilander 1988
    Roger Federer 2004
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Rafael Nadal 2010
    Novak Djokovic 2011

    All Four Finals Per Year
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2009
    Rod Laver 1969

    All Four Semi-finals Per Year
    Rod Laver 1969
    Ivan Lendl 1987
    Roger Federer 2005
    Roger Federer 2006
    Roger Federer 2007
    Roger Federer 2008
    Roger Federer 2009
    Rafael Nadal 2008
    Novak Djokovic 2011
    Andy Murray 2011

    Most consecutive matches won at one Grand Slam event:
    1. Björn Borg (Wimbledon), 41
    2. Roger Federer (Wimbledon), 40
    = Roger Federer (US Open), 40
    4. Pete Sampras (Wimbledon), 31
    = Rafael Nadal (French Open), 31

    Most Grand Slam match wins
    1. Jimmy Connors - 233 wins
    2. Roger Federer - 228 wins
    3. Andre Agassi - 224 wins
    4. Ivan Lendl - 222 wins
    5. Pete Sampras - 204 wins %

  • Comment number 33.

    Other Stuff:

    Year-End Championships
    1. Roger Federer 5
    = Ivan Lendl 5
    = Pete Sampras 5
    4. Ilie Nastase 3
    = John McEnroe 3
    = Boris Becker 3

    Most Weeks at #1
    1. Pete Sampras 286
    2. Roger Federer 285
    3. Ivan Lendl 270
    4. Jimmy Connors 268
    5. John McEnroe 170
    6. Björn Borg 109
    7. Rafael Nadal 102
    8. Andre Agassi 101
    9. Lleyton Hewitt 80
    10. Stefan Edberg 72

    Consecutive Weeks at #1
    1. Roger Federer (1) 237
    2. Jimmy Connors (1) 160
    3. Ivan Lendl (1) 157
    4. Pete Sampras (1) 102
    5. Jimmy Connors (2) 84
    6. Pete Sampras (2) 82
    7. Ivan Lendl (2) 80
    8. Lleyton Hewitt (1) 75
    9. John McEnroe (1) 58
    10. Rafael Nadal (1) 56

    Year End #1
    1. Sampras 6
    2. Federer 5
    3. Borg 4
    4. Connors 3
    = Lendl 3
    = McEnroe 3

    Highest Season Winning Percentage
    1. John McEnroe (1984) .965 82–3
    2. Jimmy Connors (1974) .959 93–4
    3. Roger Federer (2005) .953 81–4
    4. Roger Federer (2006) .948 92–5
    5. Björn Borg (1979) .933 84–6
    6. Ivan Lendl (1986) .925 74–6
    7. Roger Federer (2004) .925 74–6
    8. Ivan Lendl (1985) .923 84–7
    9. Ivan Lendl (1982) .922 106–9
    10. Björn Borg (1980) .921 70–6

    all credit to TMF from TT for the list, as a matter of fact Murray did make a top 10. Played in all 4 Semifinals, which is great (no sarcasm).

  • Comment number 34.

    Some very funny comments here about Murray and slams and weak minds. I am sure Nadal and Ferrer a delighted that no-one thonks they are any good and don't take these events seriously.
    Personally I think Murray will be over the moon with his end to the season. Shed loads of dosh in the bank, more confident sponsors, boosts in his own confidence. Just look at his face and body language he is on a high and good for him. I would rather be in his shoes with many ATP 1000 series wins under his belt than say Del Potro who despite his one slam still struggles across the season. I agree with those comments about the slams being hyped up as all the competitors are the same week in and week out in the main season.
    I also agree that the media is partly to blame for the pressure it puts on Andy to win a slam. Like he is a failure if he doesn't. Well I wish I had failed as much as Andy has.
    Lets be happy we have a top player doing the business on the court most of the time.
    His Slam time will come and when it does I am sure he will love it but his career should not be defined by his slam record but by how long he stays at the top of the game and right now winning ATP events will keep him there.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was in the U.S. watching their Open on TV. The American commentators repeatedly referred to 'The Big Four' and were very complimentary about Murray's game.
    They agreed that no player would like to be Andy Murray because so many of his fellow Brits are hyper critical of him.
    They also mention the above stat that he's one of only six players to reach four GS SF's in a year.
    We seem to be violently pro- or anti- Murray.
    He's the best tennis player we've had for years. No one can predict what will happen next.

  • Comment number 36.

    "This was an eighth Masters title from nine finals played, a hugely impressive ratio. But he would trade them all for a first major"

    Gaston Gaudio

  • Comment number 37.

    After all is said and done I think we can all safely say that russeljones has serious issues. I'm guessing a deep seated insecurity which he can only manage by attempting (quite badly) to downplay the achievements of someone who enjoys the sort of success russeljones can, in a Walter Mitty way, only dream about.

    Either that or a significant other dumped him for someone Scottish.

    So russel - what have you ever achieved?

  • Comment number 38.

    I think the most significant thing to come out of the last few weeks, other than the previously noted improvement in forehand and first serve percentage is the attacking style which Murray has deployed.
    Without doubt he has learned from Djokovic who has stated much of his improved form came from going out with a much more aggressive game.
    When Murray is aggressive rather than passive he is more than capable of taking even the top 3 apart at times. As he has done on a couple of occassions against Nadal.
    The question now is when these big games come in a slam can he back himself to keep that style of play going? And can he avoid imploding when he hits a bad shot or two?
    His ability is there for all to see, has he mastered his mental strength? Time will tell.

  • Comment number 39.

    Also, russel - half your top tens are based on full career stats. Murray is barely half way through his.

    Try and compare apples with apples eh.

  • Comment number 40.

    Another great week for Scotland's No1.

    The Murrayhaters should remember the 'half baked Brit' Rusedski and Englishman Henman managed only 2 Masters between them. That little stat shows exactly how good the Scottish tennis superstar actually is!

    Overends changes his mind on a week to week basis when it comes to Scotland's No1's slam winning chances. Keep the faith Overends, and maybe one day, we'll take you seriously as a BBC hack!

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't really care about the winning streak... as long as Andy Murray win a GS next year I am gonna be happy following him all season. That's the only thing I am praying for.

  • Comment number 42.

    Is there a wrong time to be flying?
    Give credit where credit is due. This is a phenomenol run of success and we need to get behind THE BEST tennis player of our nation ( the only one in SCOTLAND) and stop the negativity.
    There is a GS for him next year.

  • Comment number 43.


    I am sure you are knoweldgeable enough to know how long (for example) it took Roger Federer to compile a record of 10 consecutive GS finals. Then look at the respective ages of Nadal and Djokovic and you should come to realize how far he has to go. (I think it would be great for men's tennis for there to be more GS tournament winners, I just find it laughable some consider Andy Murray to be victimised by the British media. He is in no way a victim.)

  • Comment number 44.

    @19 russeljones
    You have a point of view - other contributors have different points of view. You are not automatically 'right' while everyone else is wrong.
    A couple of observations - "His psyche is weak" - would you have said the same about Djoko a couple of years ago? Was Nadal's psyche weak when he 'allowed' Murray to win a set 6-0? Was Federer's psyche weak when he 'allowed' Djoko to turn the US final on one point?
    "There is no other country where such an ill-mannared (sic) and spoiled athlete would be appreciated as much as in the UK" - before making comments about manners, I'd suggest you reflect about your style of contributions to this blog.
    You are obviously unaware of Andy's off-court work to say that he is ill-mannered and spoiled.
    If Andy Murray is an 'underachiever', British tennis could do with several more underachievers of his calibre.

  • Comment number 45.

    From a Scottish perspective we have no football team and no rugby team to shout about. He is Scotland's hero and his behaviour is far and above these premiership prima donnas who are courted by the world's media and fans alike.

  • Comment number 46.


    I stand by my comments, you and every other contributor may feel free to try refute my points, its the right of all to have a view as you say it. Djokovic had a physical problem not a mental one (see his retirements from matches due to exhaustion). Nadal is tired, this is a guy who's trained 8 hours a day since he could remember and I think his uncle's ideas about coaching are going to significantly shorten Nadal's career. The Match against Murray had no meaning but he showed class by playing till the end and not faking a medical reason like ND. Anything Andy does offcourt is a concerted effort to improve his image. I don't think I need to comment on the reasons for such an effort to exist. And I actually said he cannot be labeled an underachiever as he is not expected to achieve a lot more.

  • Comment number 47.

    Cooo, Johnny, I didn't know you can write this well!

    I'm not going to be a party pooper, but it's wrong to be delusional about Murray winning slam "next week".
    If there was a slam next week, Murray wouldn't've won any of the last three tournaments because Federer and Djokovic would've been prepared for that slam and so would be Nadal.
    They are simply better players.
    Murray doesn't have the guts for the fight, first sign of losing, he's all over the place.
    I don't know if you can "teach" heart, but that's what AM needs more than anything in that final weekend of a slam.
    Imagine Nole or Nadal in AM's body: admit it, they would've won a slam by now.

  • Comment number 48.


    You haven't improved since the old 606 days. Even more mental it seems, going by your final line!

  • Comment number 49.


    Shame of you, my favourite Nole fan. I defended those who protected Nole from similar nonsense last year - you're sounding like an ignorant Tennis fan, which I know you're not. Are you being ironic in questioning Murray's heart, given the number of injury timeout's / fade outs your man used to have (still has judging by Cincy!!)

    Murray's chances of winning a Slam, if it was played next week is enhanced, because your man is carrying an injury, Nadal looks out of sorts and granted we don't know about Fed. But perhaps the other main reason, is simply that Andy has taken his forehand to a new level (for him) which was always the key

    I'm surprised at your new superior tone, then again at Novak has won three slams, maybe it's to be expected. Fact is Murray beat Nole last time they played. Then again we could cite Nole's shoulder injury as a reason. Even so, Murray has won 4 out of the last 6 matches they've played. Which shows that if any or the Top 4 are below par their opponent invariably wins.

    What Andy needed was to harden his game, so it was less brittle when playing his three rivals and he appears to be well on his way to doing this

    Oh and you don't win 8 out of 9 Masters Finals, if you lack heart

  • Comment number 50.

    Andy Murray have recorded some victories against healthy Nadal, healthy Djokovic and healthy Federer. I don't see any reason why he can't do it again in the future. (if injured idol is your argument)

  • Comment number 51.

    Although I'd love a Brit to win a GS, I find Murray so unlikeable it's hard to root for him. As for him winning one, he has a chance but I think the fact that the slams are best of 5 sets goes against him. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are all much harder to beat in best of 5 set matches and Murray would have to beat at least 2 of the 3 of them at the moment to win. It's doable and I think Murray better do it next year as someone else will be coming along. By the way, I do not think Roger is done yet and predict him to win Wimbledon next year and the Olympics!!!

  • Comment number 52.

    @ 50

    I agree, all he has to do is perform when it really matters.

  • Comment number 53.

    Like it or not the Grand Slams are the generally accepted measure of greatness within the men's game. Unfortunately, there has never been a tougher time to win them. Nobody's coming up against players like Arnaud Clement, Martin Verkerk or MaliVai Washington in Grand Slam finals these days. Federer, Nadal and now Djokovic aren't just immensely talented but also far more consistent than any previous generation of players. Great champions like Sampras, Agassi, Becker and Lendl still had their share of early slam exits even during their best years but those sort of upsets simply don't happen these days. Even Murray, who is just a step beneath his three rivals has reached another level compared to everyone else out there today. Look at David Ferrer, a fine player and a legitimate world number five but he has never in his career won a Masters or contested a Grand Slam Final and he's 29 years old now.

    There are very few active male players today who can claim a Grand Slam victory. Other than the three previously mentioned there are three men who are entering the twilight of their tennis careers; Andy Roddick won his single US Open came before Federer had fully settled into his Grand Slam winning groove, Juan Carlos Ferrero picked up one Roland Garros title before Nadal emerged as the King of Clay and Leyton Hewitt picked up a couple majors between the end of the Sampras era and the dawn of Federer's but has been out of the hunt ever since. The sole exception over the past seven years to the dominance of the leading trio has been Juan Martin Del Potro's US Open victory of 2009 but his subsequent injury problems and poor form haven't seen him anywhere near the business end of a Slam since. The likes of Soderling, Tsonga and Berdych have threatened briefly in majors but are even further from a breakthrough than Murray and cannot between them match his total of grand slam semis or Masters victories.

  • Comment number 54.


    I suspect you're the typical superficial fan, who sees Murray's snarling ways as 'not polite' on comparison to the perfect Roger Federer

    Whilst Federer is one of my five favourite players of all time, he is quite a poor sportsman at times, if you choose to be balanced enough to allow this possibility

    For instance, he's never whole heartedly congratulated Novak when he's been beaten by him, moaned about Murray not improving even though he'd lost to him and can be a subtle version of Serena with umpires, when things are not going his way

    Personally, there's nothing wrong with this - show me a very good and polite loser and I'll show you a loser, but in that case and given that Murray is quite a laugh off the court (go Google him letting the well respected Tennis journalist interview him whilst have an ice bath) why do find him "unlikeable"?

    How on earth can you 'like' or 'dislike' someone, who you've not got to know personally?

  • Comment number 55.

    53 - kieranm

    I couldn't have written a better piece myself and so will gracefully 'retire' from this discussion :-)

    I'm afraid though, the likes of Overend and some of those scribing on here lack perspective and hence deem Murray a failure

  • Comment number 56.

    #54, "How on earth can you 'like' or 'dislike' someone, who you've not got to know personally?"

    Might be because Andy is Scottish!

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    Come off it everyone! The only thing wrong with Andy is his nerves during Grand Slam finals. It's all about confidence and maturity and that's coming together with his forehand and hopefully second serve.
    57 your post is so extraordinary that I won't bother to say anything except I'm
    afraid Fed's on the decline and you and all his fans better get used to it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Ah just re-read, probably ironic, however too near what Andy's fans hear every day to be funny.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think 'Kristofferson' was posting with his tongue firmly in his cheek, pointing out that all of Andy's knockers would give their right arm (or perhaps their left, depending what they serve with!!) to have a hit with him

  • Comment number 61.

    "How on earth can you 'like' or 'dislike' someone, who you've not got to know personally?"

    I think a lot of people don't warm to Murray (who has lightened up considerably in recent years), as he used to be quite morose, giving off an anti-social vibe.

    I quite like him now, but I'm not always too cut up when he loses, as in my opinion there are more likeable and personable players on tour.

  • Comment number 62.


    A half-hearted attempt at sarcasm I guess. I don't see where the need of all this defence of AM's ability is originating from. Neither the article or the contributions suggested he is a useless tennis player. The only assertions, which Murray fans may take offense to, are that he isn't doing the right things at the right time. Who cares if he won a 6-0 set against Nadal? You need to win 3 sets at a GS final. And GS tournaments are everything that counts when it comes to a tennis player's legacy (something that has been said a million times on 606 and on every tennis board). To this moment Murray has been a fine competitor, but even if it can be (successfully) argued that he sits alone no his perch above the chasing pack, he is also chasing (and failing to catch) the 3 men dominating today's game.

    If he stays healthy and continues to improve at the time Federer stops being a major factor (post 2012 is everyone's best guess) and Nadal's knees stop him from moonballing back nearly every ball, there might well be newpretenders on the horizon. You have your Nishikoris, Raonic's Dimitrovs etc. The pressure is on Murray, and it's not from the fans, not from the media, but from time itself. If he doesn't win a GS tournament these coming 2 years he might find the window closed for good.

  • Comment number 63.

    @62: I would say that the significance of a 6-0 set against Nadal is that it will increase Murray's confidence. Sure, there are lots of variables in every tennis match, so the next match won't be the same, but that result certainly won't do any harm.

  • Comment number 64.

    Bj#61 wrote

    "I quite like him now, but I'm not always too cut up when he loses, as in my opinion there are more likeable and personable players on tour."

    Perhaps you should stick to the Peoples Friend or Hello magazine and give sport a wide berth if that's what tickles yer cookies!

  • Comment number 65.

    "But he would trade them all for a first major and that dream-making quest continues."

    Completely disagree. There have been a lot of almost one-hit wonders who may have won a slam but not been anywhere near as successful as Murray overall. I would suggest Murray is going to be long remembered for his current (more or less) consistant success at the top, competing regularly and I am sure beating those top players more than others do, then he ever would if he just won one Grand Slam then not quite hit that peak again.

    Question: Who shoes would you rather be in at the moment? Del Potro's or Murray's?

  • Comment number 66.


    Your latest post was much more balanced, I appreciate it. However you are still missing the key points here. You continually talk of his woeful record and basically state that only tennis players who win a grand slam are remembered as great. I put it to you that this statement is only half true, and that a player who won one grand slam and had no other great success will be remembered less than someone who has a record like Andy Murray's.

    No will dispute that in order to be truly thought of in the same vein as champs like the other top 3, Andy needs to win his elusive first GS title. What we are saying is that none of his other victories are meaningless and that he has shown great talent up to now to achieve winning many his masters titles, consistently high ranking and reaching the closing end of GS tournaments regularly. He is not a dud. He is not rubbish. He is an amazing player.

    As for the comments about his personality from various people. I think you are all living in cloud coo-coo land. Andy was only a young lad when we were all introduced to him as a pro. I live in the real world where not every young guy in their late teens is a complete charmer who smiles every time they lose. Where do you all come from? He has been maturing year after year and the guy we see now is completely different from back then. That is unless you watch carefully edited highlights of his matches, which I'm sure you all do.

  • Comment number 67.

    I thought the ' Asia Swing ' was a Chinese wife swopping party !

  • Comment number 68.

    Is AM a great player?
    .......... ask the other players on tour.
    Nuff said.

  • Comment number 69.

    Marty, "I put it to you that this statement is only half true, and that a player who won one grand slam and had no other great success will be remembered less than someone who has a record like Andy Murray's. "

    This can only hold true for the UK public. Outside the UK he will only be regarded in the light of his achievements and without a GS tournament to his name he will not last long in people's memories. He is a fierce competitor but so are many many other players. He is immensely talented, see the previous sentence.

    Try look at it this way. If Andy Murray's career ended today, and (maybe some years down the line when he stops screaming the F word at all and everything) you put before him the question would he swap his career with that of a Marat Safin, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick, Juan Martin Del Potro, Lleyton Hewitt, Thomas Muster or Michael Chang, I am sure he would answer with an emphatic yes. K2 is not good enough when everyone is measured by their Everests.

  • Comment number 70.

    @ Kristofferson

    Do you mean Nadal, Djokovic and Federer who have totally gotten inside Andy Murray's head down the years by insisting he will win one day (usually after hitting him off the park)? Do not mistake the respect awarded to a fellow pro with an admission of greatness. They know his respective standing and it is only a matter of time until he accepts it too (unless he really breaks through very very soon).

  • Comment number 71.

    Andy if you happen across this blog--Forget about all these musings and comments above on Grand Slams. Just think about Robert The Bruce and the Spider.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.