The terrific three…and Andy Murray
He gave it his all but as Andy Murray has found out in three previous slam finals the ‘big three’ of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are simply on another level. This year’s men’s singles final at Wimbledon was Andy’s fourth shot at winning that first slam title that has eluded him since the 2008 US Open when a certain Roger Federer slayed him in his first final. In fact Andy has been on the receiving end of a Federer masterclass in three of his four appearances in finals. If there is anybody that Andy can draw inspiration from it’s his coach, the great Ivan Lendl. He too lost his first four slam finals before finishing his career with eight titles.
Andy, as has been said, has made it to four grand slam finals. His first final at the 2008 US Open was a lesson in tennis. After beating his great tormentor Rafael Nadal in the semi-final in four sets, Murray was expected to give Roger a tough time in the final. Despite his best efforts he lost in three straight sets (6-2 7-5 6-2). His two Australian Open final appearances in 2010 and 2011 tell a similar tale; straight-set losses to Roger and Novak Djokovic respectively. In last week’s final Andy made an encouraging start, racing out of the blocks he had Federer rattled and won his first ever set in a final 6-4. However Federer eventually eased into the game and it soon became apparent that Murray still has a lot to do before he can eclipse the Swiss master in a final.
To his credit Andy is a terrific player whose consistency is criminally underrated. In 2011 Murray became only the seventh man to reach the semi-finals at all four grand slams in a single year, a group that includes the ‘big three’ as well as his coach Ivan Lendl. Without doubt the wait for Britain’s first male winner since 1936 is weighing heavily on the Scot’s shoulders upon which he carries the hopes of a nation.
If Andy never wins a grand slam he must not be viewed as a failure. He has had the great misfortune of playing in an era dominated by arguably the three greatest players of all time. Had Murray been born a decade earlier there is no doubt he would have won a slam title, if not during the Pete Sampras years certainly in the intervening years between ‘Pistol’ Pete’s last Wimbledon title in 2000 and King Roger’s first in 2003.
Posted by Robert McNamara, Sports Editor on at 11:44 am.
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