An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

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An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

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

First topic message reminder :

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.


Last edited by CaledonianCraig on Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:31 am

Amazed with some of those. The first two which you describe as "obviously incorrect" are the two I would regard fairly uncontroversial.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:03 am

Berdych and Tsonga said in a sky interview recently that Murray was the fastest player on the tour. McEnroe described Murray as "easily in the top 5 returners to have played the game ever".

I don't like quoting people to back up points, but just pointing out that BS comments about movement and returning are far from ridiculous. In the game they are quite well backed up really.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:18 am

I'd say Murray's all-round game speaks for itself with his achievements in the sport at a time when legends such as Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are plying their trade. Andy's problems have always been in the mental department. He has too many doubts and beats himself up too much so his confidence and assured mindset are at generally a lower starting point than the three greats of the sport of our time. That is chiefly why he has (in my eyes) under-achieved plus of course the need for a far meatier second serve.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Calder106 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:13 pm

summerblues wrote:
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.

I don't think that if he won 5 slams it could be seen as an over achievement. I think that 2 is a slight under achievement. Although saying that I'm more than happy that he won 2 and especially Wimbledon.

I say slight under achievement in relation to slams as I feel with better mental strength he could have won at least one more Wimbledon. In both 2011 (s/f v Nadal) and 2012 (f v Federer) he played well and seemed to be in control for over a set and a half but then dropped away alarmingly after losing a couple of crucial points.

If he were to go on to win 5 (unlikely at the moment Imo) that would mean he would have been in at least 10 finals, 7 other semis and another 7 quarters (if I have counted correctly). I would see that as nearer the level that may have been expected of him.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by kingraf on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:28 pm

To be honest, I think every player achieves what they deserve to. No one is owed anything. If Murray wins "only" two slams, then that is the best he could have done and has achieved accordingly. Now I understand that there is sometimes an argument for a player maybe having been better than the final product, but for me Murray has pretty much turned every stone he possibly could in pursuit of Grand Slam success. really can't see a case for him having underachieved. Looking at his record, vs Nadal, Djokovic and Federer - it reads sans slams, 19-25, which is a 43% success rate. Decent enough. In slams though, it drops to 5-15, a 25% success rate. Given that only two of these matches have been on clay (I'm not sure why, but we always have to ignore clay), and so on Murray's stronger surfaces, it does point to me that over five sets, he had/has a very real problem keeping up with the big boys (who of course are all shorter than him). That being the case, hard to make a case for an underachievement. Just not good enough for five plus.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:45 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:Berdych and Tsonga said in a sky interview recently that Murray was the fastest player on the tour. McEnroe described Murray as "easily in the top 5 returners to have played the game ever".

I don't like quoting people to back up points, but just pointing out that BS comments about movement and returning are far from ridiculous. In the game they are quite well backed up really.
Obviously Berdych, Tsonga and McEnroe know more about tennis than I do, but the problem is that they are not unbiased observes.  Selling tennis is part of their responsibilities.  They will always have a tendency to (a) present any tennis player in a good light, (b) present current tennis players in a good light and (c) present local players in a good light.  So, no doubt that in British media you will see a distorted picture of where Andy belongs.

That is what my original comment about Andy "looking good on British TV" was aimed at.  I am a Fed fan.  I try to be neutral when I observe him but I am sure an unbiased observer could easily spot biases in my assessment of him.  I think similar effects will be even more pronounced with Murray in Britain among British fans.  They not only like him, but they also are likely to be around others that do, and to see media coverage with pro-Andy bias.  All in all, it must be quite easy to end up with a very rosy view of him.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:22 pm

summerblues wrote:
Danny_1982 wrote:Berdych and Tsonga said in a sky interview recently that Murray was the fastest player on the tour. McEnroe described Murray as "easily in the top 5 returners to have played the game ever".

I don't like quoting people to back up points, but just pointing out that BS comments about movement and returning are far from ridiculous. In the game they are quite well backed up really.
Obviously Berdych, Tsonga and McEnroe know more about tennis than I do, but the problem is that they are not unbiased observes.  Selling tennis is part of their responsibilities.  They will always have a tendency to (a) present any tennis player in a good light, (b) present current tennis players in a good light and (c) present local players in a good light.  So, no doubt that in British media you will see a distorted picture of where Andy belongs.

That is what my original comment about Andy "looking good on British TV" was aimed at.  I am a Fed fan.  I try to be neutral when I observe him but I am sure an unbiased observer could easily spot biases in my assessment of him.  I think similar effects will be even more pronounced with Murray in Britain among British fans.  They not only like him, but they also are likely to be around others that do, and to see media coverage with pro-Andy bias.  All in all, it must be quite easy to end up with a very rosy view of him.

That is all very well but none of those mentioned are British. Also are we to presume ANY praise of ANY player is merely just people looking to sell the game? No I don't think so.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:44 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:That is all very well but none of those mentioned are British.
It has nothing to do with whether they themselves are British but rather whether they mentioned it to British media.  Every year before the AO you will find all kinds of optimistic quotes about Aussie players from all kinds of non-Aussie tennis pundits or players visiting Australia.

CaledonianCraig wrote:Also are we to presume ANY praise of ANY player is merely just people looking to sell the game? No I don't think so.
Obviously not all praise is incorrect but certainly, by and large yes, we should expect praise to be exaggerated.  It will typically go in the right direction (they are more likely to praise Nole's returns than his overheads, obviously), but it will generally exaggerate the actual quality.  Certainly we should not take those quotes, turn around, and pretend they are probably meant for real.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:53 pm

I see what you are saying but I don't buy it. Why? Well I have watched Murray getting criticised as well by pundits (most of whom are ex-pros and some are those listed here ie Mac) so evidently it is not all fawn fawn fawn to the British public or bumming them up for the good of tennis is it? If it were there would be no criticism.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:55 pm

Here is an example quote from McEnroe - who seems to like top 5 ever statements - from just before 2012 AO.  This is about Hewitt:
He’s one of the gutsiest ever players, he’s in the top five,

And he’s pretty darn talented to be 5’11 and standing up to the guys for as long as he did. It’s amazing.
Is this quote total nonsense?  Well, no.  But is it a bit biased in Hewitt's favor?  I think so.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:00 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:I see what you are saying but I don't buy it. Why? Well I have watched Murray getting criticised as well by pundits (most of whom are ex-pros and some are those listed here ie Mac) so evidently it is not all fawn fawn fawn to the British public or bumming them up for the good of tennis is it? If it were there would be no criticism.
It is not going to be 100% one or the other, but the bias is very much going to go in the pro-Andy direction in the media. It always works that way.

When I was a kid growing up in Eastern Europe we were able to watch West German TV - you would think Becker was the best thing since sliced bread listening to that. Same goes here in the US for American athletes (not so much in tennis as they currently do not have any tennis players, but in sports in general). It just always happens. Of course, it is not North Korea style of propaganda where everyone who attempts to have a contrary opinion ends up in a concentration camp if they are lucky. You do get to hear views from both sides, but not in equal measure.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:05 pm

Yes you get bias but it is not all bias when they comment. That is the point I am making. I have watched Murray matches with foreign commentary ie US Open and they make the same observations even though they are going out to US television. So yes British media will offer bias but not every compliment aimed at Murray is bias but genuine opinion is what I would say.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:17 pm

I am sure some of them are genuine.  But I think there are enough that are biased that one cannot really use those types of quotes to support their opinion on a tennis forum - especially since the ones one will need for such support will tend to be the more extreme ones, and thus the ones which are most likely to be biased.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:25 pm

So there are genuine opinions offered on Murray's speed, great hands etc. I presume they can be taken as genuine since I have heard it from so many pundits. Okay some may be bias but others genuine so bias is negated if you see what I mean. Just because an opinion/observation/comment or praise of Murray may be done out of purely because he is British it does not make the observation erroneous.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by hawkeye on Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:53 pm

If I was a non British player asked by the British media what I thought of Murray's game I would pay him the highest complements. Why would any player do anything else? They don't want a genuine critique they just want a few positive quotes and as a player I would have a lot to lose and nothing to gain by being less than complementary. To be honest I've rarely heard any player give anything but praise when asked about other players skills by the media. Part of their contract with the ATP is to promote the game. Same goes with the British pundits on the whole why rock the boat it would be un patriotic. If he wins then wow its the best shot ever and if he loses there will be a rational explanation. On the rare occasion when a pundit has said something that Murray would perhaps not approve off they have been eaten alive by the rest of the media. On the whole they know their job which is to help gain the biggest viewing figures.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:26 pm

hawkeye wrote:If I was a non British player asked by the British media what I thought of Murray's game I would pay him the highest complements. Why would any player do anything else? They don't want a genuine critique they just want a few positive quotes and as a player I would have a lot to lose and nothing to gain by being less than complementary. To be honest I've rarely heard any player give anything but praise when asked about other players skills by the media. Part of their contract with the ATP is to promote the game. Same goes with the British pundits on the whole why rock the boat it would be un patriotic. If he wins then wow its the best shot ever and if he loses there will be a rational explanation. On the rare occasion when a pundit has said something that Murray would perhaps not approve off they have been eaten alive by the rest of the media. On the whole they know their job which is to help gain the biggest viewing figures.

You are totally missing the point.

Would a Swiss pundits bias in saying Federer is the most successful player of all-time (as they surely have) be deemed erroneous? No. Whether it has bias or not does not disqualify the remark from any relevancy.

When Spaniards drool over Rafa's clay court prowess is it put down to just pure bias? Of course not as even though bias may have been there it is still a fact Nadal is an all-time great on clay.

And as summertimeblues admits not every remark made about Murray is clouded in bias so do not pretend that it is.

Bias exists in media coverage in any country in the world and from pundits but there are also very pertinent and accurate comments made from pundits as well.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:56 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:So there are genuine opinions offered on Murray's speed, great hands etc. I presume they can be taken as genuine since I have heard it from so many pundits.
Yes, agree, Andy moves well around the court, has good hands, returns well, etc.  All those sentiments are in general reasonable description of reality.  But the degree to which he moves well, returns well etc can be quite significantly distorted in the eyes of local public because of slanted commentary, as well as slanted desire by the public itself.

Just as Becker was never as good as German media would have made Germans believe, I am pretty sure the same goes for Andy in Britain, as it does for most other athletes in their home countries.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:02 pm

summerblues wrote:
CaledonianCraig wrote:So there are genuine opinions offered on Murray's speed, great hands etc. I presume they can be taken as genuine since I have heard it from so many pundits.
Yes, agree, Andy moves well around the court, has good hands, returns well, etc.  All those sentiments are in general reasonable description of reality.  But the degree to which he moves well, returns well etc can be quite significantly distorted in the eyes of local public because of slanted commentary, as well as slanted desire by the public itself.

Just as Becker was never as good as German media would have made Germans believe, I am pretty sure the same goes for Andy in Britain, as it does for most other athletes in their home countries.

Of course you take bias with a large pinch of salt, some more so than others depending on the sources, whilst others lauding his great hands, court speed and returns of serve are continuously made from various sources (such as ex-pros, current pros, pundits, commentators) and to me that is far too coincedental for it to merely be bias but more an honest opinion.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:24 pm

CC, I think we pretty much agree in principle.

Still, I suspect that the proportion of tennis fans who believe that Andy "moves as well as anyone on tour" or is probably "among the best 3 returners of the Open Era" is significantly higher in Britain than elsewhere.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by temporary21 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:27 pm

All reasonable points. Though I would point out that if it takes comparing him to people like Nadal Federer Djokovic, to find individuals that do things better than him, that probably says more about how good he is that he isnt

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:52 pm

summerblues wrote:CC, I think we pretty much agree in principle.

Still, I suspect that the proportion of tennis fans who believe that Andy "moves as well as anyone on tour" or is probably "among the best 3 returners of the Open Era" is significantly higher in Britain than elsewhere.

Yes we are pretty close on agreement but I must digress as I have NEVER heard anyone (British or otherwise) say he is 'among the best 3 returners of the Open Era'.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:58 pm

What do you mean "NEVER"?  Just here, on this thread, a couple of days ago:
Born Slippy wrote:is probably a top 3 open era returner
and when I poked gentle fun at it, BS even went as far as to call that view "fairly uncontroversial".

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:06 pm

Ah missed that. Again though it iis a random opinion and one I would disagree with.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:08 pm

But if he were referring to in the here and now only then yes I would agree but not in open era that is stretching it.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:13 pm

Yes, here and now I can see him being top 3; I would probably agree myself.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:38 pm

There was a former sky sports news newsreader, Georgie Thompson, who said back in 2013 that the big 4 have dominated the sport for years (something that the British press championed) in an interview with Jmac on US TV.
He interjected, it's only become that since Murray won Wimbledon (coupled with Wimby'12-Wimby '13 finals run) that that has been the case, but before then it was the big 3, and preceding that the big 2.

That's different right there. Brit's bigging up there man so I deffo agree with SB here.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:45 pm

LuvSports! wrote:There was a former sky sports news newsreader, Georgie Thompson, who said back in 2013 that the big 4 have dominated the sport for years (something that the British press championed) in an interview with Jmac on US TV.
He interjected, it's only become that since Murray won Wimbledon (coupled with Wimby'12-Wimby '13 finals run) that that has been the case, but before then it was the big 3, and preceding that the big 2.

That's different right there. Brit's bigging up there man so I deffo agree with SB here.

Nobody is saying that every biased British media correspondent or pundit is right just that there are those that offer an honest, balanced opinion.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by hawkeye on Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:11 pm

If Murray had Djokovic's credentials and Djokovic had Murrays there never would have been any talk of a big four it would have been a big three. The funny thing is when Murray did win a slam he was talked of not as part of the big four but was elevated to the big two. He supposedly jumped ahead of both Nadal and Federer. Some still try to make out he is more talented than them Rolling Eyes Murray is a good player but if he wasn't born in Britain he would never be compared with the two best or even the three best players. The same people that big Murray up are often very dismissive of other very solid players.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:27 pm

At the time Murray won his slams it was him and Djokovic largely competing in the slam finals and Federer and Nadal did fall away at that time of that there is no doubt so talk of him being in the two at that time was fair and this is purely talking results-wise at that time.

Like I said hawkeye, biased opinions in favour of Murray exist of course as do balanced opinions and yes some of those balanced opinions do praise Andy for strengths such as service returns, court speed, good hands and so there you have it.

Back to the epitaph and if this is it for Andy it will be mainly down to mental frailties and a very weak second serve and not high enough first serve percentage and at times lack of aggression that have been his downfall.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:02 pm

SB - I think I need to provide some more info on the quotes, to quell this "they only said it to sell tennis" theory.

Tsonga and Berdych were in seperate interviews before playing each other, answering quick fire questions. They were asked best serve (both said Isner) best forehand (one said Rafa, one said Roger) best backhand (both said Novak) best returner (Berdych said Novak, Tsonga said both Novak and Murray before saying Novak edges it) and were asked quickest (both said Murray with no hesitation).

McEnroe's comment was whilst commentating during the 5th set of the US open final 2012, when he said "it's no wonder there's been so many long games, Novak is probably the greatest returner ever and Murray is what, top 5 ever at worst".

If you still think the comments aren't what they genuinely think, well I find that a bit bizarre and completely disagree but fair enough. I still maintain that he has underachieved and should have won more slams given his toolset. If you disagree then fair enough, I respect your view.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:12 pm

Like I said I wouldn't say players are offering saccharin sweet remarks purely to pander to the British media - it is genuinely what they feel a lot of the times though sometimes in an interview on BBC may be different at Wimbledon say. However, I am guessing Danny that those interviews were conducted at some far-flung venue off British shores so can't see why they'd pander especially if thet were quick-fire questions they were facing.

Murray, as a returner, is one of the best in the game at the moment but I think it is going a bit overboard to paint him in top five of the open era - in my opinion.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:27 pm

I don't know if he's top 5 returner ever Craig, I can only really comment on the tennis of my era. He doesn't strike it as well as Agassi did in his peak, and I think Novak edges him too.

But JM's comment was for an American broadcaster during the 2012 USO final. It wasn't broadcast over here in the UK. I only heard him say it because someone put the full match with US comments on youtube.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:

But JM's comment was for an American broadcaster during the 2012 USO final. It wasn't broadcast over here in the UK. I only heard him say it because someone put the full match with US comments on youtube.

That was a point I made earlier as in a lot of these pro-Murray comments are made abroad and not on British television so therefore cannot be considered as purely to pander to the British public. It can only really be because that is was JMac honestly believes. I am not saying I agree with him but seemingly that is his honest opinion.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:56 pm

Just googled this. Real mixed bag on who is the quickest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9X3Qdi3mJc

Dimi, Nishi, monfils: Rafa
Kohli: Murray
Stan: Novak and Rafa
Gasquet, Devaarman: Djoko, Nadal, Murray.
Lu, Raonic: Ferrer
Fognini, melzer: Bjorn Phau
Almagro: Nishi
Berdych, Simon, seppi, nadal, haas, isner, lopez, tomic, pospisil, anderson... Monfils Very Happy: Monfils

I would deffo go with Monfils.
Can I ask where you got that info danny, interested to know.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by The Special Juan on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:02 pm

Phau retired yesterday. I read a few articles stating he was the fastest man about. Murray's acceleration is better than anyone else's but it would be interesting to see who could do 70m the quickest. I remember in an interview with Murray he stated that players don't practice 100m sprints because there's a chance a hamstring could pop.
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:07 pm

Just curious how you know his acceleration is the best?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:17 pm

LS - oh god, now you're asking. It was before a meeting between them about a year ago. Possibly at a masters.

In short, no I don't remember exactly when. I think they would answer differently today to be honest. Since surgery he hasn't moved quite as spectacularly in my opinion.

I'd go for Monfils too I think LS.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by The Special Juan on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:47 pm

LuvSports! wrote:Just curious how you know his acceleration is the best?

I think Sky did a feature on it and he was very close to Bolt over the first 30m (obviously a chasm after that).
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by LuvSports! on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:50 pm

Yes LF alluded to that a while back, re his movement.
I'm just annoyed because I wanted a Murray backed Lendl to play rafa!

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:52 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:quickest (both said Murray with no hesitation).
Agreed, this kind of set up with players answering these questions the way you describe it does eliminate danger of bias I mentioned (unless they happened to be playing in UK).

I would note though that, assuming you remembered the questions correctly, this was about quickness rather than about movement.  The statement I was objecting to was "moves as well as any player on tour".  One of the main reasons why Andy has not done well on clay is his (relatively) poor movement there.  Even though clay is a minority surface, hard to see how a player who moves distinctly subpar on the surface can "move as well as any player on tour".

Danny_1982 wrote:McEnroe's comment was whilst commentating during the 5th set of the US open final 2012, when he said "it's no wonder there's been so many long games, Novak is probably the greatest returner ever and Murray is what, top 5 ever at worst".
With all due respect, you cannot be serious.  The 4-5 hours during the USO final are the 4-5 hours per year when Mac is supposed to sell the show more than ever.  That is the pinnacle of his sales year.  I would not take him seriously on this topic if he said it while vacationing in Hawaii (because, as I said, he is in the business of promoting current players) but surely not during the USO final?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:24 am

There seems to be a common misunderstanding (generally speaking, not just here) that speed and movement are the same. Hence when people talk about best movers they usually bring up the players that look to be the speediest.

Movement is much more than foot speed. The most important aspect is footwork - getting yourself in place to play the shot so no movement is wasted. No extra steps are taken. Each step is made to count.

Federer, at his best was by far the best mover on tour. Rafa was second and then everyone else. Federer is able to execute every movement required by a top professional at a very high level.

Movement is also about anticipation, court sense, balance and positioning of the torso and arms. Again, Federer was (and still is) the best at all of this. Except of course he has lost pace and that hurts him a lot.

Anyway, Murray may be one of the fastest but there were many others who were/are more economical.

As for being able to blast the ball of both wings, well everyone in the top five hundred can do that. But only a few can hit regular winners with power and precision when the stakes are high. Murray is not consistently one of those.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:30 am

LuvSports! wrote:Just googled this. Real mixed bag on who is the quickest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9X3Qdi3mJc

Dimi, Nishi, monfils: Rafa
Kohli: Murray
Stan: Novak and Rafa
Gasquet, Devaarman: Djoko, Nadal, Murray.
Lu, Raonic: Ferrer
Fognini, melzer: Bjorn Phau
Almagro: Nishi
Berdych, Simon, seppi, nadal, haas, isner, lopez, tomic, pospisil, anderson... Monfils Very Happy: Monfils

I would deffo go with Monfils.
Can I ask where you got that info danny, interested to know.

Bjorn Phau at his peak was ludicrously quick to the extent it was funny to watch - shame his tennis wasn't quite at the same level. My initial point though was that Murray's movement was comparable with anyone on tour. I didn't literally mean that no one could beat him in a race or that no one has better footwork. Just that he would be considered in the top echelon.

As for whether he is a top 3 open era returner, the guys who played with wooden racquets are heavily disadvantaged in such a debate so really I'm talking last 30 years. There are probably five names which get raised by most people in such a debate (whether in the UK or otherwise). I suspect most people could easily guess who I am thinking of. I personally would put Murray at 3, though the stats tend to suggest he should also be above Novak.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:50 am

summerblues wrote:
Danny_1982 wrote:quickest (both said Murray with no hesitation).
Agreed, this kind of set up with players answering these questions the way you describe it does eliminate danger of bias I mentioned (unless they happened to be playing in UK).

I would note though that, assuming you remembered the questions correctly, this was about quickness rather than about movement.  The statement I was objecting to was "moves as well as any player on tour".  One of the main reasons why Andy has not done well on clay is his (relatively) poor movement there.  Even though clay is a minority surface, hard to see how a player who moves distinctly subpar on the surface can "move as well as any player on tour".

Danny_1982 wrote:McEnroe's comment was whilst commentating during the 5th set of the US open final 2012, when he said "it's no wonder there's been so many long games, Novak is probably the greatest returner ever and Murray is what, top 5 ever at worst".
With all due respect, you cannot be serious.  The 4-5 hours during the USO final are the 4-5 hours per year when Mac is supposed to sell the show more than ever.  That is the pinnacle of his sales year.  I would not take him seriously on this topic if he said it while vacationing in Hawaii (because, as I said, he is in the business of promoting current players) but surely not during the USO final?

I will happily accept that Murray moves poorly on clay - I slide better than he does. I did consider putting that in as a caveat but I considered it so blindingly obvious that it wasn't worth doing. Interestingly though, despite being frankly appalling bad on the surface he sits at number 11 in the all-time list of first serve return points won. There is no one ahead of him who wouldn't be considered an out and out clay courter (except Edberg!) and he is above both Novak and Andre - despite the fact both would be considered ATG on clay.

As for the last part, with all due respect, it just sounds like a nice excuse to allow you to disagree with someone who should have an exceptional understanding of the game. I can accept that Mc might be influenced by the fact Novak and Murray are fresher in the memory but I don't for one second believe he was stating anything other than his genuine opinion at the time.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:09 am

Born Slippy wrote:it just sounds like a nice excuse to allow you to disagree with someone who should have an exceptional understanding of the game....I don't for one second believe he was stating anything other than his genuine opinion at the time.
I would definitely not take the words of a commentator too seriously (do you also believe them when they say a couple of times a match things like "this was the shot of the tournament"?) and I provided fair amount of explanation why.

If it sounds just like a nice excuse to you, fair enough, but why not provide some reasoning as to why?  At this point, all I have from you is that you believe that Mac is stating his opinion.  Hard to see from that what your rationale may be.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:01 am

Born Slippy wrote:on clay ... he sits at number 11 in the all-time list of first serve return points won.
Noticed this on a second read.  This just has to be wrong.  11th all-time?  How do you even measure that?

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:59 am

summerblues wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:it just sounds like a nice excuse to allow you to disagree with someone who should have an exceptional understanding of the game....I don't for one second believe he was stating anything other than his genuine opinion at the time.
I would definitely not take the words of a commentator too seriously (do you also believe them when they say a couple of times a match things like "this was the shot of the tournament"?) and I provided fair amount of explanation why.

If it sounds just like a nice excuse to you, fair enough, but why not provide some reasoning as to why?  At this point, all I have from you is that you believe that Mac is stating his opinion.  Hard to see from that what your rationale may be.

Well Mac is a little more than just a commentator - he is an ex-pro of the highest order and mighty successful. Considering the bias theory has been blown out of the water as he was addressing US television then surely it is safe to presume it was a comment made out of genuine belief (not saying I agree with it). Just another thing would we be so dismissive if Mac was and obviously has praised Roger, Rafa or Novak so much in the past?
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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Danny_1982 on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:09 am

I'm sure Mac has been guilty of adding a little embellishment onto his comments, but his comments are usually ball park correct. He doesn't outright lie. He wouldn't say Murray is "top 5 at worst" in best ever returners if he didn't believe he was of sufficient quality to at least be in the conversation.

At the end of the day, if you disagree with something and try hard enough you can discredit other peoples opinions so that yours holds more credence. I personally have no idea if he's top 5 ever. In my opinion he's in the top 3 of the last 10-12 years, since I've really been into the sport but I can't comment further than that as it's hard to make judgements from old videos of matches that you're not watching live.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:55 am

summerblues wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:on clay ... he sits at number 11 in the all-time list of first serve return points won.
Noticed this on a second read.  This just has to be wrong.  11th all-time?  How do you even measure that?

Its from the ATP site. I think they take the number of points won divide it by the number of points played and work out the %? In fairness, it looks from the stats as though they only go back to the mid to late 80s but its still pretty impressive.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by Born Slippy on Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:13 am

summerblues wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:it just sounds like a nice excuse to allow you to disagree with someone who should have an exceptional understanding of the game....I don't for one second believe he was stating anything other than his genuine opinion at the time.
I would definitely not take the words of a commentator too seriously (do you also believe them when they say a couple of times a match things like "this was the shot of the tournament"?) and I provided fair amount of explanation why.

If it sounds just like a nice excuse to you, fair enough, but why not provide some reasoning as to why?  At this point, all I have from you is that you believe that Mac is stating his opinion.  Hard to see from that what your rationale may be.

Obviously, I can't prove he believes what he says. It just seems to me a pretty cynical position to treat anything at ex-pro says on TV as probably done solely to promote the game. If they are promoting a particular match then they are going to try and sell it. However, I don't see it as likely that when asked about the quality of someone's return, Mc's brain spits out an "on message" reply. I suspect its far more likely to be his honest opinion.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

Post by summerblues on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:19 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Well Mac is a little more than just a commentator - he is an ex-pro of the highest order and mighty successful. Considering the bias theory has been blown out of the water as he was addressing US television then surely it is safe to presume it was a comment made out of genuine belief (not saying I agree with it). Just another thing would we be so dismissive if Mac was and obviously has praised Roger, Rafa or Novak so much in the past?
Born Slippy wrote:Obviously, I can't prove he believes what he says. It just seems to me a pretty cynical position to treat anything at ex-pro says on TV as probably done solely to promote the game. If they are promoting a particular match then they are going to try and sell it. However, I don't see it as likely that when asked about the quality of someone's return, Mc's brain spits out an "on message" reply. I suspect its far more likely to be his honest opinion.
CC:

In his role when commentating on the USO, Mac is a salesperson - he is selling detergent, cars, medication, and whatever else comes up in the commercials.  That is what they pay him to do.  If he has a choice of embellishing things to increase the ratings, he is supposed to do that.  And over time, he got better at it.  For example, when he first started he would quite often mention that current equipment makes current players look relatively better than they really are.  He does much less of that nowadays.

Your comment regarding my bias theory is unfair.  I never said the bias would only be for the home player - the bias is for whatever improves the ratings.  When Nole and Andy are playing USO final, the bias will be to big them up.

Finally, of course it is not just Andy where they do it.  I have seen them claim that Fed's serve may in reality be the best on tour, that Rafa is the best volleyer on tour, and in just the example we discussed Mac said that Nole was the best ever returner - all of that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

CC/BS/Danny:

Where you may think I am cynical, I think you are naïve.  Mac is not there to tell it like it is, he is there to help boost the ratings.  It will be very clear to him and those around him.  At the very least I would suggest to you that whenever you are itching to use a statement from a commentator or a former pro in an argument, ask yourself first whether that statement was made in circumstances where it could help boost the ratings, popularity and etc.  If so, use with caution.

As a final example, when Jack Nicklaus was asked if Rory could beat his record of 18 majors, he replied:  "Rory is on par to do that. I would be very surprised if he doesn’t".  Do you really think he meant it quite like that?  And if Rory later fails to do so, will you suggest that he may have underachieved given that the likes of Jack expected him to beat his record?

In any event, our discussion started with the question of whether Andy was one of top 3 open era returners and we ended up talking about what commentators say and if it can be trusted.  This is no longer really a tennis discussion, and I suspect we will not bridge the gap in our opinions anyway. Therefore I am happy to agree to disagree, and this is it from me on the topic.

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Re: An Early Epitaph for Andy Murray

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