It cannot be fatigue or too much wear and tear considering no final berth was secured at either of the two events played so far. That result would have actually warranted a new event before the AO given the field at Kooyong and the litmus test it offers.
So what was it? Confidence – lack of it?
Entering a Slam with two losses at two events is bad enough. Two losses and one win would have made it better but from the look of it, likelihood of a title at Kooyong appeared unlikely, with the backdrop of competition at Abu Dhabi and Doha.
Bottom line: Two losses seemed a lot better than three.
He just won his first EVER title in Australia, coming at the heels of a disappointing last four months. Why ruin that perfect momentum by entering the jungle infested with some of the toughest wolves.
Del Potro Quietly Slips Past Murray Into 4th Place.
While Andy Murray was, once again, talking up his own chances at winning the Australian Open, Juan Martin Del Porto – with no fanfare and without even playing a tournament – quietly jogged past him and into 4th place in the ATP rankings.
Murray’s stock has been declining for the better part of ten months now, though you would never guess it from listening to the Scot’s ever self-flattering comments. After confidently – and repeatedly – declaring that he was on the verge of claiming his first Grand Slam title in 2009, he failed to reach a single Slam final.
The closing months of 2009 were anything but stellar for Murray. After proudly stating that he held Roger Federer’s number and knew how to beat him, he suffered 2 humiliating losses to the Swiss, the last of which playing a huge role in eliminating Murray from the World Tour Finals. He also suffered losses to the likes of Radek Stepanek, Marin Cillic and now, Tommy Robredo.
The Robredo loss might ultimately hurt the most of all. At the time of writing, the Hopman Cup was Murray’s only warmup event for the Australian Open. Losing to an opponent who he claimed he would not lost to certainly won’t help his confidence.
Though he has downplayed the importance of losing his number 4 position, it will certainly irk Murray that it is now occupied by Del Potro, who has now struck Murray two great blows in 6 months – winning a Slam before the Scot could, and sitting higher than him in the rankings.