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Possible reason(s) why Murray plays so well against Federer.

Posted by tennisplanet on October 18, 2010

For rock people Murray enjoys a winning H2H of 8-5. Against Nadal? 4-8. Djokovic? 3-4.

Is it because of ‘most bang for your effort’ theory? Federer’s near-universally acknowledged status of GOAT (at least as of now) and that just one more mortal has a winning record against him so far, makes win over Federer bigger than even winning a Slam – in Murray’s world. If that’s the case why has he not defeated Federer at the two shots he had at US Open and the AO finals? Could it be that the transition from the first plane to the next requires bridging a gap that’s still not worth the effort for Murray to exact the same ‘bang’ – comparatively? Maybe.

Murray lost both Slam finals to Federer in straight sets while smack in the middle of a run where be beat Federer routinely albeit close matches. The five set format coupled with Federer’s 16-Slam experience and Murray’s home country pressure demands lot more time and discipline to pull off than the three set Masters events – fact Murray has not reconciled with on the ‘pay and reward’ plane.

Additionally, each win over Federer and the winning record so far has been able to effectively deflect from his Slamless career – in Murray’s eyes. It provides him a reasonable rebuttal when faced with Slam questions at age 23. It’s like close to retirement players winning a major tournament to gain a new lease of life – momentarily. Logically that cushion should have worn out by now opening the gate for a full on Slam assault preferably by beating Federer en route.

But most careers don’t take a logical route, do they? It’s when the clock inside begins to churn uncontrollably setting in motion series of events mentally that the physical machinery starts the delivery van. Sampras won his first major at age 19 but didn’t hit the ‘clock’ until the next three years had passed. Rest is history.

Murray clearly has the game to be among the greats of the game as has been admitted by nearly every tennis pundit – but that’s not enough. Remember my famous saying “The difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is that little ‘extra'”? Murray is still not ready to put in the work for that ‘extra’ for whatever reason and may not ever. But if and when he does the game and the winning will become so routine and easy that he will wonder why he didn’t go for it long long long time ago.


14 Responses to “Possible reason(s) why Murray plays so well against Federer.”

  1. M said

    “But most careers don’t take a logical route, do they?”

    I think you’re right, TP – they really don’t.

    Roger bloomed comparatively late in tennis years.
    Then he won everything. 🙂

    Everyone is amazed at what Rafa’s done at such a young age — and of course they’re absolutely astounding feats — but he’s been a pro since he was 17. That’s 7 years already. So he really has had time to “learn to adapt fast” — he’s been practicing a long time.

  2. Jenny said

    What Andy needs now is consistency month in month out, year in year out, and fitness. Of course he has the potential to win slams on hard courts and grass, but he also has to remember it isn’t only Nadal, Fed and Djoko he has to beat en route. He had the easiest draw in Shanghai with no real competition, it won’t always be that way.

    • chieko said

      I totally agree. And he also played first so he rested longer before the final also. A combination of easier draw and longer resting period before the final game is very lucky indeed. But Jenny san in a way he deserves to win also. Your home country’s media sometimes I think is more negative than one can bare. This win for Murray hopefully gives him back the self respect and belief sometimes negative criticism can rub from us. But winning a slam is a completely different matter. I do think Murrray san himself understand that now. 😀

  3. banti said

    Agree with Jenny here. When he does make it to a slam final, he’s usually overcome more so mentally than anything. Also when asked about why he could not overcome Roger in the slams at the Aussie Open, he said something like “well he just plays so much more consistent in the slams, he doesn’t make as many errors” . This may not be the case the next time they meet and Murray could take advantage, we’ll see.

  4. Manal Ismail said

    British Press on Murray:

    Winning: In-form Murray wins

    Losing: Out-of-form, out-of-sort Murray lost

  5. Sir Vibhudi Aatmapudi said

    Murray is a very good player. It was indeed, a thrill to watch him on Sunday. However, I just don’t think he’s going to be an alltime great with his kind of game. Only after he wins his first slam ( and some) can he be considered to make that leap from good to great.

    • Jenny said

      I have to agree, Sir V. I couldn’t watch the match live, but I saw the vids posted by TP and everyone here seems to agree it was great match play from Murray. He outplayed Roger and deserved his victory. Slam potential yes, talented yes, so far a good player but not great one yet, imo. We all know it isn’t just talent alone that wins slams, or we would have had, still have, more actual slam winners in the frame, no names, no pack drill, but I think we all know who they are! 😉

      He could make a serious finals run at the AO, Wimby, US Open next year. I can’t see it happening at the French unless he has a cupcake draw and manages to avoid the hard core clay elite who will expose his weakness on dirt, eg his movement and possibly stamina.

  6. chipnputt said

    I think Murray gets a major in 2011. Against Fed he was all business and had very positive body language. Even his reaction on winning has very subdued — like he expected it. He does have a marvelous game; so much variety with a lot of subtle changes. But something has been missing. On Sunday, he attacked. If he keeps doing that… I think he will surprise a lot of people next year.

    • Jenny said

      Good points, Chip, I hope you’re right. I don’t think Murray has a naturally aggressive game as he displayed on Sunday, he is in danger of being blasted off the court by an opponent who has a big serve, power, variety and a tennis brain. He also has to keep the positive mindset going because it took him far too long to get over his loss to Fed at the AO. Most other players beaten by Fed in Finals or before, have got themselves up, dusted themselves down and competed in a following tourney almost immediately.

  7. kitty said

    Did anyone also think that Fed’s feet were not moving in the finale and also his shots lacked the zip?

    • kitty said

      I just thought he felt tired or jaded somehow, not fresh like his earlier matches, consecutive matches taking their toll somehow?/

      • TGiT said

        I agree with you Kitty.

        The peRFect foot work of the first four rounds did not show against Murray.

        I got the feeling from Feds presser that Murray took it to him and he never had that small window to press back.

        I do think Murray is very good player but I tend to believe he had the fresher draw. This is my new way to describe an easy or cupcake draw. That said Murray was smart to make sure Fed never got in sync.

        I wonder what the game plan was from Annacone and Fed? I did not see one.

      • Jenny said

        “I tend to believe he had the fresher draw. This is my new way to describe an easy or cupcake draw”


  8. mateo said

    Is there a stat like “the one that got the least loser H2H against their opponent”? wonder who would that be?

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