Tennis

Wimbledon 2014: Is pressure too much for Andy Murray?

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The Great British press & public - we are so good at building our sporting heroes up and then knocking them down again; witness the recent experience of Wayne Rooney and the England football team.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that Rooney was the wonderkid who was going to be the saviour of English football. Now he is as reviled as he is revered.

Public pressure

Might Andy Murray go the same way?

The immediate response to this is probably 'no'. Murray has achieved on the world stage. He has broken the 77-year hoodoo, while Rooney and co failed to break the 1966 one yet again this summer.

But is the weight of expectation on Murray too great and unreasonable? History would suggest it is starting to go that way.

Illustrious history

In the Open tennis era (since 1968) only Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer retained the title at SW19 after their first win. And they were all very young when they did it.

If Murray were to join an elite group such as this at 27, it would be some feat. Older first time winners like Jan Kodes, Arthur Ashe and Goran Ivanisevic never won it again.

There is also the question of fitness and mental state. The difference between a very good player and a great champion is mainly mentality. Murray had Ivan Lendl to help him with this and it certainly made the difference in terms of breaking through in Grand Slam tournaments.

Mauresmo influence

The influence of Amelie Mauresmo is obviously yet to be felt and it is unreasonable to think that she could have an impact as soon as this, having only become involved for the short grass court season.

Murray's fitness could be an issue though he seemed in good shape at the French Open, achieving his best outcome to date; and his first round match at Wimbledon passed smoothly enough on Monday.

So - on to the arguments in favour.

Loves grass

Murray simply loves grass. He is a great grass court player. He has always done well at Wimbledon and has built his effort over the years from quarters, to semis to final to winner. That wasn't an accident and is testimony to his effectiveness on the surface.

While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (and Roger Federer, of course) are all great players, neither of the first two favour grass and Federer is past his best. While all remain dangerous and can't be underestimated this is Murray's patch and a preferred surface so he does have an advantage.

- Murray fumes at World Cup questions
- Djokovic shines on day one at SW19

He dismissed Djokovic in the final last year after looking less than imperious in the build-up. He had an awe-inspiring set and a half against Federer in 2012 before the occasion got too much for him and he capitulated. But he blew the Swiss away in the Olympic final at Wimbledon when Federer had no answer to the Scot's all round game.

While Djokovic would look to be the favourite this year, his experience at Roland Garros shows that he is vulnerable to a player at the top of his game playing on his favoured surface (Rafa Nadal on clay in this instance). Maybe Murray on grass offers just as strong a challenge. All British tennis fans will be hoping so. Even if there is a faction waiting for Murray to fail.

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Topics:
Andy Murray
Tennis
Wimbledon

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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