Andy Murray – To Be Or Not

02 Jul 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

Andy Murray action in quarterfinal of Wimbledon 2009The hoopla is over. The Queen has conveyed her best wishes. Sir Sean Connery has let his interest be known. Sir Cliff Richard delivered a hand written success plan. All is well in London town.

The legions of Murray fans are packing their lunch baskets, sun blocking their shoulders, laying out their best outfits and preparing for Friday’s carnival, and then, of course, the finals.

The semifinal match with Andy Roddick is a mere formality, a tune-up before the main event. Despite the past and future heroic efforts of German Tommy Haas, All England knows who will be waiting in the wings. They are counting on it. Do we really need these semifinals? Why not play on? Destiny lies around the bend.

As wonderful as that Swiss gentleman is, this is not his tournament. He will have other chances. There is only one Wimbledon. There is only one Andy Murray. It has been 73 years. It will not be 74. The time is now, the place is here and the stars have aligned perfectly.

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Andy Murray and Kim SearsWhen all is said and done, Andy Roddick is not Rafa Nadal, bad knees and all. Murray fans could never have tolerated Nadal and then Federer. This is better. It has a sense of balance.

Murray-Roddick, Federer-Haas, two well-balanced preps for, excuse the basketball analogy, “the big dance.” So, 22 year young Scotsman, Andy Murray, is it to be or not to be? That is the question.

Andy Murray turned professional in 2005. Since his second place finish at the U.S. Open in 2008, he has been on the cusp. He was favored to win The Australian Open before inexplicably tapping out in the 4th round. He was heavily favored to reach the semis in Paris before stumbling in the quarters. Andy Murray has 195 career wins. His 2009 won-lost record is an amazing 40-6. Andy Murray is a championship-waiting-to-happen.

The time is now, the place is here!

Andy Murray is 22 years young. He is 4 years younger than his Friday opponent, Andy Roddick whom is 26 years-not-so-young. While his 195 career wins are admirable, Andy Murray does not possess half as many tour wins as Tommy Haas (445) or Andy Roddick (492). He possesses less than one third the number of wins as King Roger (best-to-ever-play-the-game) Federer (650). Where I come from, we see numbers like those and we want to know more before we slide our dough across the window.

Let’s make something clear. The time is now, the place is here and Andy Murray is Centre Court, center stage.

No Brit since Freddy Perry has ever been in a better place at Wimbledon. After Roddick, the Scot plays a man he has beaten four consecutive times, a man against who he holds a 6-2 lifetime record. That’s a finals? Sounds like a duck shoot!

Andy Murray has been carrying the flag since the end of round one. He has been on every front page, every back page and as one commentator aptly stated, “will never have to buy a pint again.”

The Wimbledon faithful were out in force for Hewitt – Roddick. It was a “carnival atmosphere” with Aussie Crazies and Hewitt’s links to the Commonwealth acting in bizarre tennis fashion. But Andy Roddick has played in New York. Heck, he won in New York. It does not get any crazier than that.

Andy Roddick knows how to play through this atmosphere. In his 9 year career, Andy Roddick has learned to beware of the player with nothing to lose. Andy Murray has not.

Murray’s inability to deal with those kinds of players has been his demise in Grand Slam events, and in the British press. Fernando Verdasco came at him in Melbourne, prevailing in five sets. In Paris, Murray was rudely ousted by Fernando Gonzalez in four sets. Verdasco? Gonzalez? Grand Slam?

Aberrations, perhaps? Cause for hope for Andy Roddick? Definitely! Look at it another way. 4th round in Melbourne, out. Quarterfinal in Paris, out. Semifinal in London? We shall see.

When I look at Murray’s 2009 Wimbledon, I see a few problems. Blessed with an easy draw, he struggled in the very first round against American serving ace Robert Kendrick, 7-5, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. Robert Kendrick is a nice player with a future. Robert Kendrick is not Andy Roddick.

Murray then blew past Ernests Gulbis and Viktor Troicki, but what would one expect? Against the only player that should have been where he was, Stanislaus Wawrinka, Murray put the fear of God into the crazed Wimbledon gallery. They even had to enclose the place to get this one done. They didn’t do that for Tommy Haas. But, it was an outdoor tournament then. Mr. Murray could not be stretched into a second day, could he?

Wawrinka’s five set man-test ended with Murray on top, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. While a wonderful win? This was a match that should have ended in three hours, not closer to five. If Andy Murray loses focus or blinks against Andy Roddick, he is in trouble. Stanislaus Wawrinka is not Andy Roddick.

So, while Murray should get to the finals, and frankly, do the unthinkable and deny the greatest player to ever play the game his 15th Grand Slam title, he had better keep his eye on the ball and his mind off the gallery. You will not see Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas or the King looking to their corners for help. No sir. You will see Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas and Roger focused on the moment, in the game, where they belong.

This is Andy Murray’s moment. This is Andy Murray’s destiny. He will never be 22 again. It will be a long time before Andy Murray plays another Grand Slam without Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his path for successive matches. It will be a long time before the stars are so perfectly aligned and London so ready, so willing so eager.

This is it Andy. So, will it be, or not to be? You decide.

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