Tennis

Andy Murray will be a failure if he loses Australian Open final

Published 3 Comments

Football News
24/7

I've been wrong about many things in the past and I was certainly wrong about Andy Murray as recently as at the ATP World Tour Finals. I wouldn't be the first sports journalist that set themselves up for a fall.

Less than two/three months ago – not good with dates either – I wrote that the Briton should no longer be considered a great player. In my own head I banished him from tennis' traditional big four, of course, on the evidence of the last fortnight, I was wrong.

The British number one has returned to the form that saw him win his two Grand Slam titles and Olympic Gold; he has been simply sublime at the Australian Open.

RESURGENCE

The British number one has returned to the form that saw him win his two Grand Slam titles and Olympic Gold; he has been simply sublime at the Australian Open.

Whether it was my article that he read before Christmas (joke, calm down), whether it was a trigger in his own mind or whether it has come from the guidance of those around him, Andy Murray has woken up a smelt the coffee – he's guzzled it down too.

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The former world number three now stands the best chance he's ever had, or ever will have, to finally win the Melbourne major and move to just a French Open title away from a Career Slam.

GREAT OPPORTUNITY

'Why is this the best chance?', I hear you think; he's been in this position three times already and has messed every opportunity up. Besides, his final opponent, Novak Djokovic, has been different gravy over the last few months.

I'll tell you why: there is simply nothing to lose for Murray, he can play with complete freedom.

In his previous final losses, Murray has had the monkey on his back having never won a Grand Slam title, and in 2013 the pressure was great to make it two Grand Slams in two following a triumph at Flushing Meadows in the previous season.

FREEDOM

This time is completely different though, from his personal point of view. He's had an awful 18 months or so since the ultimate glory of finally winning Wimbledon and had been written off by many more people and many more important people than me.

He's playing with a new found sense of freedom and actually looks and acts like a champion on-court. In 2014, by contrast, he looked sluggish, mopey and generally downbeat.

So what about Djokovic, how on earth is Murray supposed to beat him? - Well, the Serbian undisputed world no.1 has the pressure of everybody expecting him to steamroller his British opponent, like he has done many times before.

Stan Wawrinka took him to five sets in their semi-final and, as a result, Djokovic will have had a whole day less of rest by the time they step out on to the court for what will hopefully be an epic finale. Doesn't sound like a lot I know, but margins are extremely fine in elite sport – it will make a difference.

CHANCE

If Murray doesn't win this tournament you will have to have a serious look and wonder if he can ever win another one. This is a huge test of his mettle and failure will not be an option – it could be the end of him.

I know I'm doing that horrible thing that we often do in this country, and that is to over-pressurise and over-hype our top sports stars, but Murray simply has to deliver.

Lets all get up bright and early on Sunday and watch Murray prove me and everybody else wrong even more than he already has. Good on him if he does.

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Topics:
Australian Open
Tennis
Andy Murray

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