Can Murray Do It?

22 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

andy-murrayIt has been a long time, a generation, an interminable 73 years in fact since Fred Perry defended the home country’s honor at the premier tennis tournament in the game. 73 years ago! 73 years of anticipation, countless false alarms, intense media scrutiny and dashed hopes since the revered Perry got the job done on Wimbledon’s grass.

As circumstances would have it, the 2009 tournament may be the Brits best chance to raise the trophy in many a year. The Empire’s hopes rest solely and squarely on their best player, the enigmatic third ranked Scotsman, Andy Murray. Fresh from his clean win at Queens, Murray appears at the top of his game. Once again, there is a wave of optimism in the English air. That may not be good news for the three seed, who has won more than $2 million this year and sports a spectacular 40-6 won-lost record.

Murray has developed the reputation of a player who cannot cut the mustard when in the limelight. And, for the next two weeks, or as long as he is in play, that is squarely where the 22-year old will be.

Alan Jones, Jo Durie’s former coach, summed up Murray’s dilemma; “Winning a Grand Slam is a challenge that most players never overcome. It also does not help that he is playing at home where, as Tim Henman can testify, the pressure and scrutiny is incredibly intense. But, what is for sure is that Andy has the talent to succeed, particularly on grass. It is obvious that he is a far better physical specimen now than he was three years ago and as a result, is able to complete the five sets that are often required to win matches at the highest level. He has top be one of the fastest 6 ft 3 inch players to have ever played the game. But, to be successful at Wimbledon, Andy must overcome the safety-first approach that he adopted in matches that he lost at the Australian and French Opens. He needs to be braver.”

William Hill Tennis Betting

Jones seems to have pegged Murray to a tee. The lanky Scotsman now features a blistering serve, devastating ground strokes and blazing foot speed. What is most improved in his game is that the Scot has learned to hit winners from unlikely, off-balanced positions that seem to occur regularly on Wimbledon’s grass.

However, based on his performance at Queen’s, Murray seems most comfortable on grass. With Nadal’s withdrawal, Murray’s top half of the draw appears a bit diminished. He opens against American Robert Kendrick, who failed to win a game in their last encounter.

If form holds, Murray would meet Marat Saffin, a semifinalist last year in the 4th round and e8 seed Gilles Simon in the quarters. A likely semifinal match would be against either Juan Martin del Porto or American Andy Roddick. Never has a Brit had a smoother path to the finals.

Pacific Poker

And, if he gets there, Murray has reason to play with confidence. He has won his last four encounters with Federer and holds a 6-2 record against the 14-time Grand Slam winner, who was the bookmakers’ choice prior to Nadal’s departure.

As the media will remind anyone who will listen, Federer knows how to compete and how to win Grand Slams. These two-week pilgrimages are his cause. As a five-time Wimbledon champion and a man determined to collect his record setting 15th Grand Slam, there can be no doubt that the Swiss star will not go away easily.

Murray has had a year most players would consider a career. British tennis fans do not see it that way. They crave the Wimbledon championship. Murray began the year with big plans. Following his appearance ion the finals at the U.S. Open, there was cause for optimism.

His 2009 Grand Slam events have not gone as planned. Seed third in Melbourne and Paris, Murray got the boot in the fourth round in Australia and in the quarters at Roland Garros. As Jones observed, Murray seems to believes that his talent alone can win matches. In Grand Slams, Murray has played too close to the vest. To win at Wimbledon not only must he be braver, he must be the countless media attention aside.

Day One begins on Monday, June 22nd. Many of the games big stars will be on court. Federer (Yen-Hsun Lu), Djokovic (Julien Benneteau), Soderling (Muller), Verdasco (Ward) will all be off early. On the Ladies’s side, Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva will also be on the grass. This one is looking special, don’t miss a thing!

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