An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

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An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 11:15 am

As this year enters its final few months it has been surely Andy's worst season since he became a real contender in the sport. Only one title and that was only an ATP250 and alarming losses in alarming circumstances has seen Andy slip out of the top ten in the world and facing an uphill battle to reach London for the World Finals at the end of the season. His inconsistency and low confidence is a concern and I am left to muse that Andy may never recover former glories of slam wins so find myself assessing where he now stands in the list of tennis greats.

Well he has won two slams, an Olympic Gold medal and do believe he is one of only ten men in the Open Era to have reached each slam semi-finals at least twice. He has won 30 career title (two of which are slams) and that puts him alongside the likes of Lleyton Hewitt (30 titles 2 slams) and Goran Ivanisevic (31 titles 1 slam).

If this is the beginning of the end then at least Andy can hold claim to breaking the male British slam singles hoodoo and become the best player this country has produced since Fred Perry. You can't help but feel he has under-achieved but would put that down to mental flaws and if he had directed his strengths into more positive areas more could have been achieved.

I do hope I am proven wrong by the way but I don't like the signs.


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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Henman Bill on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 2:01 pm

On the other hand he would surely have settled for this 3 years ago, when the "Murray will never win a slam" argument was actually starting to look more credible. In fact take any point before he actually won his first slam and he would have settled for this. He has achieved what he needed to do. However, I think that may be the problem in terms of motivation now.

It's too early to start writing him off - with Federer not getting any younger, Nadal not getting any more injury free, Djokovic arguably having plateaued or dipped, and youngsters still not storming through, odds are more success in Murray's future if the motivation is there, he only has to put together a slam and a masters or two and a run to no 1 could be on the cards. I could see him achieving it one day, even if only for a short period probably.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by bogbrush on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 6:27 pm

It's premature but he's pushed his body very far. He looks nothing like the guy who emerged and just maybe - combined with developing a game based on retrieving a great deal - an early physical decline is inevitable.

By the way, breaking a hoodoo was impressive, but breaking a voodoo really is something!
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 6:54 pm

Okay sorry for typo consider it edited.

I just feel at the moment he is a pale shadow of the player he once was. He always has needed everything to be spot on to produce his best such as mentally settled, confident, consistent and motivated and at the moment much is missing and I struggle to see where he can get those elements back. Physically I don't think there is any problem now it is more mental and about consistency.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by temporary21 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 7:19 pm

Well not all tennis players are Federer and Djokovic. Most tennis players drop in and out of form, especially after surgery. If Murray is going physically, then hell have to adjust his game to compensate, that'll take some time. Bear in mind he still made at least quarters of every slam, soo hes not gone yet.

Also bear in mind this is an unusual year, a lot of otherwise outsiders have made big leaps, any other year he might well still be top 6

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 7:23 pm

I don't think the issue now is anything physical at all - the surgery has cleared that up. It is purely confidence and consistency he is lacking and that in turn gnaws away at him mentally.

Yes he has made quarters in all of the slams but his losses in those were alarming in nature.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by temporary21 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 7:28 pm

Well thats good, if its mental only that can be corrected with confidence, that rarely goes away forever.
Hes probably achieved more than he could have dreamed of given the circumstances of who hes had to play. He retires tomorrow, hell remain a british legend and potential hall of famer, as a fan I could ask for no more really.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 7:31 pm

I think he has achieved a heck of a lot in the sport but for me it could and perhaps should have been much more. I am sure there will be regrets within him initially if his career stumbles down the path it has been going this past year.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by temporary21 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 7:34 pm

Its a glass half full or half empty situation. You could look back in disappointment of what you dont have compared to what others have, or be proud of what you did achieve. Life rarely lets you achieve everything you set out to do, no need for regrets.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 8:05 pm

Time to judge is next year. If the back is fine I expect him to cruise back to the top 4. If he starts next year slowly then it looks more like its a permanent problem.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 8:06 pm

Craig - I too doubt his chances of getting back to the top of the game, but I think the problems are not irreversible. I believe they are largely his own making.

Physically he is not the same. And I'm not talking about the surgery. He was outlasted by Novak in New York after wilting a little over 2 hours into a night match. What's all that about? His conditioning should be better than that.

Plus, Murray used to scamper around a court like his life depended on it when he was behind. He doesn't do that anymore. I understand how difficult it must be for a player from these shores to have the same motivation after ending the billion year drought, but the level it has dropped I find quite alarming. From an outside perspective of course.

Also, strategically I don't like what is going on since Mauresmo. Like it or hate it, the Lendl blue print was the slam winning blue print. Moving away from that to a more defensive game has backfired. His court position is not as offensive and the only exception to this seems to be his recent matches v Novak.

I guess it isn't totally unrealistic for him to return next year in better form, fitness and more motivated. Federer did it after all after a poor year... But the difference with Andy is I don't believe he's on the right path now. Areas if his game are regressing.

In terms of Andy's overall standing, in terms of ability he should have done much better. His numbers should be close to Novak based on his talent, but mentally he can't be compared to his big 3 rivals. They are streets ahead between the ears.

At 21 I would not have settled for 2 slams for Andy. I thought he was destined for around 8. I was convinced of it. 2 is not to be sniffed at by any stretch. He's provided some of my favourite sporting moments ever and it's been great supporting him. But in my opinion it will always feel less than he should have won.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 8:09 pm

.... Assuming he finishes with two slams, which I think is quite likely now.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by bogbrush on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 8:53 pm

I think you're all being too hard. I suspect the physical side is just too demanding, trying to maintain a mega physical game on a basically slighter frame is too much. The body is giving up, he's pressed it to something it wasn't made for.

I think he's trying to adapt his game to new circumstances, a la Federer, and it'll take his game closer to young Murray. Hence Mauresmo for variety rather than Lendl.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 9:29 pm

Yeah I've heard you say that before BB, and it's something I don't think will be successful because - as I've said before - Murray's version of variety = defence, which means more running. Agree to disagree on that one.

I also don't think he's broke physically. He seems to move fine to me. He was up there with Rafa and Novak in terms of his endurance, but he's not now. I don't see too much evidence of being impaired though.

In terms of being too hard, maybe that's fair. But as a fan, when you look at what he achieved in the space of 12 months you can't help but wonder if he'd applied the same strategy a few years earlier...

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 9:37 pm

8 slams? Wow. That's very generous.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 9:59 pm

LuvSports! wrote:8 slams? Wow. That's very generous.

Yeah, when he reached his first slam final in 2008 and then hit purple form in the last few months of that season beating everyone, I thought those were the numbers he should be aiming for. In hindsight it does seem generous of course.

But he's reached 7 slam finals by the age of 27 so looking back it wasn't that ridiculous a target surely?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by temporary21 on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 11:02 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:
LuvSports! wrote:8 slams? Wow. That's very generous.

Yeah, when he reached his first slam final in 2008 and then hit purple form in the last few months of that season beating everyone, I thought those were the numbers he should be aiming for. In hindsight it does seem generous of course.

But he's reached 7 slam finals by the age of 27 so looking back it wasn't that ridiculous a target surely?

Maybe in a different generation maybe. Realistically though hes been playing either Djokovic or Federer in all of those, and having to deal with Nadal sometimes too. Taking two of off them is a mighty feat

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 11:11 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:
LuvSports! wrote:8 slams? Wow. That's very generous.

Yeah, when he reached his first slam final in 2008 and then hit purple form in the last few months of that season beating everyone, I thought those were the numbers he should be aiming for. In hindsight it does seem generous of course.

But he's reached 7 slam finals by the age of 27 so looking back it wasn't that ridiculous a target surely?

Well To get 8 slams it would be generous to say that he we need to reach at least 10 slam finals and realistically perhaps closer to 15.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 11:12 pm

Well Novak has 7 slams and should end with at least 10. Given I personally would say that Murray had the potential to be, at the very least, as good as Novak, Danny's view seems about right to me.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Tue 14 Oct 2014, 11:23 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:Craig - I too doubt his chances of getting back to the top of the game, but I think the problems are not irreversible. I believe they are largely his own making.

Physically he is not the same. And I'm not talking about the surgery. He was outlasted by Novak in New York after wilting a little over 2 hours into a night match. What's all that about? His conditioning should be better than that.

Plus, Murray used to scamper around a court like his life depended on it when he was behind. He doesn't do that anymore. I understand how difficult it must be for a player from these shores to have the same motivation after ending the billion year drought, but the level it has dropped I find quite alarming. From an outside perspective of course.

Also, strategically I don't like what is going on since Mauresmo. Like it or hate it, the Lendl blue print was the slam winning blue print. Moving away from that to a more defensive game has backfired. His court position is not as offensive and the only exception to this seems to be his recent matches v Novak.

I guess it isn't totally unrealistic for him to return next year in better form, fitness and more motivated. Federer did it after all after a poor year... But the difference with Andy is I don't believe he's on the right path now. Areas if his game are regressing.

In terms of Andy's overall standing, in terms of ability he should have done much better. His numbers should be close to Novak based on his talent, but mentally he can't be compared to his big 3 rivals. They are streets ahead between the ears.

At 21 I would not have settled for 2 slams for Andy. I thought he was destined for around 8. I was convinced of it. 2 is not to be sniffed at by any stretch. He's provided some of my favourite sporting moments ever and it's been great supporting him. But in my opinion it will always feel less than he should have won.

There has been some very odd physical stuff this year. Cramping in NY and then as you say struggling so early against Novak. All the messages seem to be he is training hard and doing all the right things, so it is very hard to understand.

I didn't see sets 2 and 3 versus Ferrer last week but the performance in the 1st set was sublime - way above most of the Lendl days. As I understand it though he then disintegrated as soon as Ferrer applied a modicum of pressure. That's obviously concerning but I don't see that as an issue with his game-style - it has to be mental.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by laverfan on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 3:53 am

CC... IMO an epitaph is premature.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by super_realist on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 10:54 am

Given how wretched his 2014 was he doesn't have many points to defend going into 2015.
Even an average year ought to see him get back to top 5 easily enough.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 1:46 pm

As has been alluded to, in a "normal year" with one of the big three perhaps getting two GS victories, Murray would already have qualified for the year-end finals and we would be saying how well he's done to recover from major surgery.
I expect him to be back in the top four next year. Stan is probably going to plunge down the rankings after the AO15 and it could be that the likes of Nishikori and Cilic will be unable to repeat their 2014 heroics.
Now if Murray is scrambling to qualify for the O2 this time next year, then that will be the time to worry.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by slashermcguirk on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 2:47 pm

I think Murray has plenty more to give, too good a player not to. He just needs a few big wins to get his confidence back, I think him parting with Lendl had a big impact.

It is getting to the stage where the top 4 are very much motivated by the slams, I feel like murray is not very motivated in the other events. You do get the sense though that Murray needs to get back to winning ways next year and at least threaten in the slams. If not, it could prove a tough road back. None of these top guys are getting any younger. As has been aluded to already, Djokovic is far more consistent and is just a better player. Of course Murray can beat him on his day but Djokovic is so consistent across all surfaces whereas Murray is way too up and down throughout the season.

I do think he will remain a threat in the biggest events. The future of Nadal will also have a big say on how Murray does in the slams, Rafa has a great record against Murray and Andy will always want to avoid him if he is to have his chances of winning slams, regardless of the surface.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by hawkeye on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 3:41 pm

I take it this thread is an invitation to say "No no Murray will go on to do great things" or "He should already have 8 slams"? I guess If anyone says anything to the contrary CC will be handing out ASBO's. I'm certainly not going to risk having to clear out canals and clean graffiti off walls for 6 months just to give an opinion. One way of getting a one sided "debate" I suppose.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by hawkeye on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 3:50 pm

super_realist wrote:Given how wretched his 2014 was he doesn't have many points to defend going into 2015.
Even an average year ought to see him get back to top 5 easily enough.

This is nothing about Murray but do you know how ranking points work? No one gets more ranking points because they won less in a previous year. A player having a great year will get lots of ranking points, a player having an average year will get an average number of ranking points and a player having a poor year will get a poor number of ranking points no matter what happened in the previous year. A players history can be used to predict what MAY happen in the future though and in that case the best scene is always to have had an excellent year. For example Djokovic won lots of points this year I think it's likely he will do so the same next year.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by super_realist on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 3:59 pm

Hawkeye, Of course I know that he won't necessarily get more, I think you've misunderstood my point,  however, given Murray's career trend, 2014 can be seen as a blip in that.
Any sort of return to form will see him win more points than he has won this year and as a consequence he'll rise in the rankings as he'll be surpassing the points won in 2014, also, he hasn't won many this year, and has lost a lot from 2013, so won't be defending many points/ won't have many points drop off in 2015 compared to what he is likely to gain, should he return to form.

Obviously if his form doesn't return that's a different story.

The point is that it's unusual for Murray to acrue so few points. I predict he'll win more next year which will exceed what drops off.


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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by JuliusHMarx on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 4:00 pm

hawkeye wrote:I take it this thread is an invitation to say "No no Murray will go on to do great things" or "He should already have 8 slams"? I guess If anyone says anything to the contrary CC will be handing out ASBO's.

Why do you think that hawkeye? If you have anything reasonable and sensible to say about Murray, positive or negative, and are willing to answer any points raised by other posters in a genuine manner, then feel free to join in.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 4:26 pm

From a non-fan's perspective there is no dubt Murray has overachieved. You look at what he has won and it's impressive to say the least, players like Ferrer and Tsonga would settle for a couple of masters, let alone a slam, Ivanisevic and Muster, both tremendous champoins won only one. It's clear to me that Murray has never had those outstanding weapons that the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Sampras etc. etc. have had. So won't be surprised if he'll stay with two slams.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by The Special Juan on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 4:30 pm

Jeremy_Kyle wrote:From a non-fan's perspective there is no dubt Murray has overachieved. You look at what he has won and it's impressive to say the least, players like Ferrer and Tsonga would settle for a couple of masters, let alone a slam, Ivanisevic and Muster, both tremendous champoins won only one. It's clear to me that Murray has never had those outstanding weapons that the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Sampras etc. etc. have had. So won't be surprised if he'll stay with two slams.

What is Djokovic's outstanding weapon?
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 4:39 pm

He is simply the best returner in the game. Furthermore Djokovic's forehand is consistent, accurate and very deep and powerful. BH is imo on par with Murray's but with a little more pace on avg. But you win matches with the forehand not the bh.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by The Special Juan on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 4:45 pm

I disagree (but then again I would Wink ). I think Murray has the better return off both wings (just) but Djokovic's less flaky (i.e. better) groundstrokes allow him to take advantage more often.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Guest on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 6:27 pm

Djokovic has a better return, moves better, has a better forehand and his backhand is more of a weapon. He also has a better serve.

Murray has more guile, and better hands, volleys and overheads - all good skills but none that are crucial to success in current conditions.

Overall, Djokovic is clearly the better player. If conditions were faster and more conducive to net play then the gap would be narrowed.

Overall, I think Murray has achieved what can be expected from him given his talents. He would have gotten a similar total (slams and overall tournaments) in most post 80's eras. There would always have been 1 or 2 or 3 great players ahead of him.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 6:32 pm

laverfan wrote:CC... IMO an epitaph is premature.

Obviously, I hope you are correct but this year has been by far his worst since he established himself as a contender at tournaments. He has lost alarmingly tamely in slams against Dimitrov and Nadal, his only title win is an ATP250 which he had to save five match points in the final and recently lost from a winning position on a hard court (a first in a very long time) against a David Ferrer much out of touch himself lately.

I think it is key if Andy is to postpone his epitaph that he ends the year strongly and breaks back into the top eight in time for the new season then gets in good pre-season training and starts 2015 off in fine fettle. That may just reboot his career. A lot of ifs there though.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Wed 15 Oct 2014, 6:47 pm

Interesting that most seem to think that Murray either achieved what he should given his talents, or even over achieved.

Must admit that's completely different to my view. Had he had a Lendl esq more aggressive strategy (which got him to 4 slam finals in a row remember) that he had in 2012-2013 from the age of around 22 then I think he'd have many more. He used to pretty much only defend in big matches before Lendl.

Each to their own though. I hope he makes London, and hope he does whatever he needs to get back in contention next year.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Henman Bill on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 12:01 am

People commenting that he's done for slams as if it's fact!, so short sighted, I predict further multiple slams for Murray and to get to number 1 for at least one week before he retires. Let's revisit this thread in 2 years.

The wildcard for me is the motivation. If he wants to retire early that's fair enough if that's the case so I assume in my prediction that that won't happen.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 12:10 am

I would bet you quite a lot HB that that will not happen.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 12:30 am

Danny_1982 wrote:Interesting that most seem to think that Murray either achieved what he should given his talents, or even over achieved.

Must admit that's completely different to my view. Had he had a Lendl esq more aggressive strategy (which got him to 4 slam finals in a row remember) that he had in 2012-2013 from the age of around 22 then I think he'd have many more. He used to pretty much only defend in big matches before Lendl.

Each to their own though. I hope he makes London, and hope he does whatever he needs to get back in contention next year.

I do find it bizarre. He's a big guy who moves as well as any player on tour, can hammer the ball off either side, is probably a top 3 open era returner, with an exceptional slice backhand and great hands. Oh, and he's served at over 140mph. I'm genuinely not sure there has ever been a player who can combine all those attributes. However, he's overachieved to get 2 slams?

I think he will come again and I'm still hopeful we might get a year where he truly believes in his talent. As it stands, he has had a magnificent career but not at quite the level he might have reached.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 3:40 am

Born Slippy wrote:He's a big guy who moves as well as any player on tour, can hammer the ball off either side, is probably a top 3 open era returner, with an exceptional slice backhand and great hands.
Is that what he looks like on British TV?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 3:42 am

Henman Bill wrote:I predict further multiple slams for Murray and to get to number 1 for at least one week before he retires.
I could possibly see him win another couple of slams if stars align, but to get to #1?  He will be 28 next year, not much time for that to happen.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Jahu on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 7:30 am

He will win a few more Masters and get to some GS SF/F.

Andy always seems to me a little too mechanic, somehow bit of a forced motion, not naturally fluid, maybe cause of a permanent bad hair-cut style impeding his aerodynamics on court, compared to Djoko, who has found a way to defeat his ugly ears parachute-style air drag on court.

Also, his childish spoiled nature, has hampered his concentration during his career, of fighting with himself a lot on court.

And yes, would love to see him take the AO, just for the sake of being 3 times in the Final.

Go Andy Go Fingers Crossed


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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 7:51 am

clap SB!

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 8:29 am

summerblues wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:He's a big guy who moves as well as any player on tour, can hammer the ball off either side, is probably a top 3 open era returner, with an exceptional slice backhand and great hands.
Is that what he looks like on British TV?

Taking each part of that in turn, which part can you actually disagree with?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Calder106 on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 12:02 pm

Like others have said 2015 will be the real answer to whether he can regain the ground he has lost and get back into the top 5 or whether he will go on just being a top 20 player. His current ranking truly reflects his year not losing many matches to players outside the top 15 (current rankings) but not winning many against the players in it. The slams have been ok on paper but the manner of some the defeats are what has been worrying. The game is still there but only in short bursts and when it goes wrong it seems to go badly wrong. Motivation and confidence seem to be big issues although the fact that he is trying to get to the WTF shows that maybe the motivation is returning. Think that losing Lendl has had a major effect on him which I'm not sure Mauresmo can fully nullify.

So I think that we wait and see what 2015 brings. I would rather he didn't take part in the IPTL and concentrated on getting his winter training block in uninterrupted. I expect that is unlikely now.


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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by HM Murdock on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 4:06 pm

This is premature... but not by much.

Andy will be 28 next birthday and I don't think he is the kind of player who will be fit and injury free into his 30s.

But he still has a couple of seasons where he has a reasonable chance of boosting his numbers. His best game still looks capable of beating anyone. It's just that his best game has become an infrequent visitor.

I agree with the comments that it doesn't appear to be physical anymore. It seems to be more mental.

There are however, clear problems in his game. His second serve remains dire. His forehand is not reliable and he is reluctant to go down the line with it. Lendl was able to address the forehand issue but it has lapsed again. His ability in other areas is good enough to limit the effects of these issues but they cost him against the very best.

The comparison with Djokovic is an interesting one. Clearly, Andy has gifts that Novak does not have. But, aside from that 12 month period, the overall package has not been as good.

What is a career high watermark for Andy (USO12 - W13) has been standard fare for Novak for 4 years, and standard for Roger and Rafa for a decade or more.

Too often that is seen as a slight against Andy but, let's be honest, one can be below the level of the current top 3 and still be a blooming good player.

If he ends on two slams, that's maybe at the lower end of what his talent might have provided. But how high would people realistically put him? Is he the equal of say, Becker and Edberg who won 6 slams? I wouldn't put him at that level.

So maybe he could have won (and may yet win) a slam or two more. But two doesn't seem a huge underachievement.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Johnyjeep on Thu 16 Oct 2014, 9:37 pm

Initially I think he will be disappointed if he only finishes on 2 slams. Mainly because of the missed opportunities before hand rather than anything he achieves from now on. I think it's fair to say he froze on the biggest stage and didn't know how to handle finals. That's why, initially I think he will feel disappointed.

But...I still think we are being a little unfair to him to say disappointed. He lived in a time of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Who hoovered most of the slams. I doubt there has been a period in tennis where the majors have been so dominated by 3 players? We all say he didn't get what his talents deserved but this hasn't been a 'normal' period for tennis I don't think. In the last 11 seasons, 5 of them have seen 1 player win 3 slams. The last time that happened was in 1988. Before that? 1974. Before that? 1969.

What's my point? I have no idea. Either view it as unlucky or he is actually in pretty good company as it is. I think it's about right personally. His second serve is frankly appalling and he is mentally terrible.

I've always said sport is played in between the ears. Yes ability and talent help. But can be compensated if you are mentally switched on. If you are not mentally right - no amount of ability is helping you. And while Murray was better with Lendl - it was too little too late. And now he has reverted back to type. I honestly can't see him winning another major. He has no form and age is definitely against him.

Federer won 2 since 28? Nadal has just turned 28. But Murray is no where near Nadal like standards on clay (or any surface for that matter) so taking away that comparison - Nadal has only won one off the red stuff in 4 years which followed an elongated break from the tour. Pete Sampras only won 2 after turning 28 as well.

The point being if these giants of the game slow down as they get older (fairly obvious statement) it's hard to see how Murray can buck that trend.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by HM Murdock on Fri 17 Oct 2014, 8:56 am

Johnyjeep wrote:But...I still think we are being a little unfair to him to say disappointed. He lived in a time of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Who hoovered most of the slams. I doubt there has been a period in tennis where the majors have been so dominated by 3 players? We all say he didn't get what his talents deserved but this hasn't been a 'normal' period for tennis I don't think. In the last 11 seasons, 5 of them have seen 1 player win 3 slams. The last time that happened was in 1988. Before that? 1974. Before that? 1969.

What's my point? I have no idea.
I know this is flirting with an era debate but I too am unsure of what recent events tell us.

It has often been said that if Andy were playing in another era, he might have won more.

On one hand, there have been three unusually dominant players in recent years which makes one think that the last few years have been unusually tough.

But when it comes to picking a period that would have been easier, that is less clear cut. Aside from arguably the interregnum between Sampras and Federer, every period has had great players.

Would Andy have won more against Sampras and Agassi? Edberg, Becker, Wilander and Lendl? Connors, Borg and McEnroe?

It's impossible to say but I suspect not.

There's a case that with a bit more composure, Andy would have won a couple more slams. But with more composure, Djokovic would probably be in double figures. The ability to perform at the big moments is a huge part of what separates the very best from the rest. We may as well say that if a player had a better forehand, he'd have won more.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 17 Oct 2014, 9:05 am

I think Andy would have been pretty competitive in most eras but would still suffer because of mental frailties.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Fri 17 Oct 2014, 6:13 pm

Johnyjeep wrote:Initially I think he will be disappointed if he only finishes on 2 slams. Mainly because of the missed opportunities before hand rather than anything he achieves from now on. I think it's fair to say he froze on the biggest stage and didn't know how to handle finals. That's why, initially I think he will feel disappointed.

But...I still think we are being a little unfair to him to say disappointed. He lived in a time of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Who hoovered most of the slams. I doubt there has been a period in tennis where the majors have been so dominated by 3 players? We all say he didn't get what his talents deserved but this hasn't been a 'normal' period for tennis I don't think. In the last 11 seasons, 5 of them have seen 1 player win 3 slams. The last time that happened was in 1988. Before that? 1974. Before that? 1969.

What's my point? I have no idea. Either view it as unlucky or he is actually in pretty good company as it is.  I think it's about right personally. His second serve is frankly appalling and he is mentally terrible.

I've always said sport is played in between the ears. Yes ability and talent help. But can be compensated if you are mentally switched on. If you are not mentally right - no amount of ability is helping you.  And while Murray was better with Lendl - it was too little too late. And now he has reverted back to type. I honestly can't see him winning another major. He has no form and age is definitely against him.

Federer won 2 since 28? Nadal has just turned 28. But Murray is no where near Nadal like standards on clay (or any surface for that matter) so taking away that comparison - Nadal has only won one off the red stuff in 4 years which followed an elongated break from the tour. Pete Sampras only won 2 after turning 28 as well.

The point being if these giants of the game slow down as they get older (fairly obvious statement) it's hard to see how Murray can buck that trend.  

This is a good comment JJ. I agree with lots of it.

Yes, the disappointment will be anything before 2012, not from today onwards. In fact, it will be 2008 - 2012 specifically, when he didn't so much get outplayed in big matches as much as not show up! From this point forward, if he gets back on the path and wins another slam or two it would be an unexpected bonus to me.

I also agree that he has mental frailties, though it must be said this is when compared to his 3 great rivals who are mentally superb. It is that comparative frailty that stopped him 'going for it' in all those big matches before 2012. I repeat what I said earlier, if Murray had employed Lendl in 2008 then I think he'd have more than 2 slams. Way more.

And yes, the second serve has held him back too of course.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat 18 Oct 2014, 2:37 am

Born Slippy wrote:Taking each part of that in turn, which part can you actually disagree with?
I disagree with pretty much all of it - which probably led me to my light-hearted comment.  Taking each part in turn:

"He's a big guy" - agree with this

"moves as well as any player on tour"
"is probably a top 3 open era returner" - these two strike me as not only obviously incorrect, but rather non-controversially so

"exceptional slice backhand"
"great hands" - Correctness of these two depends upon context.  Relative to an amateur club player, or even an average top 100 player, sure, I agree.  But in the context of assessing whether or not he has underachieved you need to compare him against what would you expect of a great player - relative to that he is nowhere near as exceptional as you suggest.

"can hammer the ball off either side" - This is somewhat similar to the previous one in that it is relative.  Compared to me, sure he can hammer the ball.  However, in the context of top pros, this one is even more strikingly incorrect than the previous one.  Especially his forehand is unexceptional, at best.

All in all, he is a great player, but not 7-slam kind of great.  If he had never won a slam, he would have underachieved.  However, if he ends up with 5 or more, he will overachieve.  He is just about where he belongs in terms of his success.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

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