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Reason Murray hasn’t won a title / and may not, this season.

Posted by tennisplanet on August 2, 2010

To lose to a Wal-Mart reject after winning the first set is inexcusable – on a hard court. This was the first time Querrey has defeated a player ranked this high. Granted he had home court advantage – not just the country but I think the city he is from is just few miles away – but to allow him back in the game after the deflating first set routine speaks more of everything but the physical forehand or the backhand.

Murray is suffering from what I can the ‘grading’ effect. Every player goes through these stages in his career as he moves up the rankings. How long he stays at a certain step on the ladder is predicated on many factors – not all related to the physical aspect of the game improving proportionately.

This syndrome is quite close to my other BS theory – the dog and the nail. From virtual anonymity to stardom internationally, Murray has progressed quite rapidly. The absence of any Slam contender from his home since the dark ages has added another nasty spin to the already out of control orbit he is currently spinning in.

Once you get there (this stage he is in now), there is a gestation period before the call from the next step up becomes irresistible. For some it never does. For others it’s just like a natural progression. For others a certain ‘incident’ has to happen to ignite the passion to move up.

Murray, it appears, is still in that ‘enjoying the current status’ mode. The fame, money, attention, video games etc. he has cornered has not outgrown him. After all, he still enjoys a winning H2H (6-5) record against Federer and has reached two Slam finals – last Brit reaching the final or No. 2 rank was centuries ago. So there’s a lot he has achieved if looked through the proper lens making the absorbtion of it all a tad longer given his arrogant and boasting make up.

Once that glow wears off – completely – the call from above will take a whole new meaning. Whether the journey north will actually happen is of course dependent on many factors both within and outside his control but the losses then will become far from painful making it hard to camouflage or internalize. That AO crying was more out of shame for letting his people down than any ‘real’ pain of losing the final. If there was even an aorta of discomfort, Federer made sure it evaporated with that straighter. You don’t cry when you lose a Slam final in straight freaking sets. You are relieved the humiliation is finally over.

Translation: Unless Murray outgrows this honeymoon phase of basking on his past laurels – in a hurry – this train may actually switch tracks from north to south – even if he covers ALL the bases within his control. Why? Because what’s landing outside that line of control – lately – is getting scarier by the minute – one of the pieces from that outside lobby may be the guy who just beat him.

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10 Responses to “Reason Murray hasn’t won a title / and may not, this season.”

  1. Joy said

    Interesting theory, TP.
    You think maybe Ana Ivanovic was in that same sort of ‘limbo’ after winning RG ’08? Achieving something she has always wanted, and then not knowing what next?
    I also think that when they’re doing well so early, the desire to ‘catch up on the lost joys of childhood’ can become stronger than the will to keep winning at a higher level.
    I remember Time magazine had an article about how the human brain is not fully developed until age 25, making it harder for young people to make wise long-term decisions on their own. An argument for Murray to find a coach soon, IMHO.

  2. Jenny said

    I also think that when they’re doing well so early, the desire to ‘catch up on the lost joys of childhood’ can become stronger than the will to keep winning at a higher level.
    —————————————-
    You make an interesting point, Joy. However, that theory didn’t apply to Borg, Hewitt, Becker, Nadal, Del Potro, Djokovic who were all younger than Murray when they won their first slam. Okay, Djoko has lost his edge, and Del Potro has been injured. Hewitt was the youngest #1 at 20 and he still has the same passion and intensity today, despite 2 hip ops, marriage and kids. The only time Nadal slacked off was because he was forced to through injury. I believe Roger was still just 21 when he won his first slam. These guys knew/know how to win mentally and physically, but were/are also driven by an ambitious passion, intensity and commitment because they also knew/know the windows of opportunity close very quickly in tennis.

    • M said

      “… because they also knew/know the windows of opportunity close very quickly in tennis.”

      This part is so important, Jenny. I knew some athletes in school that really didn’t see that, thought they were immortal, and there was plenty of time to rack up the wins, and didn’t necessarily have the vision to see they had to do “what you can, when you can, while you can” — to quote Jimmy Fallon from Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’.

      • Jenny said

        Obviously some players are late developers, the tour is littered with them, there are various reasons for this, early injuries, confidence, lack of self belief, the wrong coach, too much reliance on natural talent where the ego is over-inflated and an opponent is underestimated [lack of humility], or simply too much partying and lack of self discipline. Andy may never win a slam, I hope he does, but it’s an incredibly difficult task, but he should also aspire to be the best he can be for his fans win or lose. IMHO, He should also stop talking about his winning record against Fed which is history, opt to play small tourneys without invitation, and treat every quality opponent as a threat which is exactly what Rafa, David, Juan Carlos and many other players do.

        Thanks for the quote, M.

      • M said

        “Andy may never win a slam, I hope he does, but it’s an incredibly difficult task”

        I think this is something it’s easy for us fans to forget, Jenny; I think sometimes the players that do do it — especially those who do it with a special degree of consistency — are so good, they can deceive us with their talent by making it look easier than it actually is.
        (Even when they remind us in post-interviews how difficult it was.)
        ______________________________________________________

        “He should also stop talking about his winning record against Fed which is history”

        Agreed. Emphatically.
        I always admire Andy’s work ethic when he’s doing just that — working. Like when he was working so hard on his conditioning between the 08 and 09 seasons to bring his level up.
        I guess I find him more charming the *less* he talks (though what he said when he lost to Roger in the AO 09 final was quite charming).
        ______________________________________________________

        “opt to play small tourneys without invitation”

        This is an excellent idea. I hope Andy is reading you here. 🙂
        ______________________________________________________

        “and treat every quality opponent as a threat which is exactly what Rafa, David, Juan Carlos and many other players do.”

        They definitely set an example with this, I think.

        ______________________________________________________

        “Thanks for the quote, M.”

        Call me a silly romantic. 🙂
        Cameron is one of my very favorite filmmakers — and I love Jimmy in that role (first b/c he parodies personalities I’ve seen, in sports as well as entertainment, and also b/c he did it back when people had to squint and remember “Where have I see that guy?” before he had his late-night talk spot, with the Roots and all 😛 ).

  3. O said

    Murray had a great game, but it was not enough when Roger and Rafa are so good and way ahead of him. You need to find every edge. You know, get a coach, someone like Agassi, Sampras or Connors. On the other hand, maybe he is not very nice to coaches, because it was kind of bitter when he parted ways with Gilbert. (When you coached somebody, to world number one, you get some credit, and Gilbert coached 2 to number one, Roddick and Agassi.) Maybe it’s hard for him to get experienced coach.

    • O said

      Forgot to comment on this match, it was terrible play. Murray regressed. He is nowhere near near the level of Nadal or Federer, his window of winning a slam may close if he doesn’t get a great coach, which he may not be willing to pay for.

    • Jenny said

      Very true, O. To be fair, it’s hard finding the right coach who is available, what suits one doesn’t suit another, a player and coach have to bond, read from the same book, or it won’t work and it ends up with discord and a split. I always thought Gilbert was a good choice, but they ended up not agreeing. Peter Lundgren might be an option, [he coached Roger to his first Wimby title and Safin to his AO title when he beat Roger in the semis] he was with Dimitrov, but I think he’s with another player now.

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