Tennis

Andy Murray can make a good year great against Novak Djokovic

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What an amazing and unexpected year Andy Murray is having. It has been said before but I’ll say it again; well done to Judy Murray for starters, well done to Amelie Mauresmo and especially well done to Kim Sears.

Around Christmas last year everything was doom and gloom for the British no.1, his amusing and grumpy Christmas Day Twitter picture was enough evidence of that. What a difference a few months make though.

A Grand Slam runners-up medal, his first title on Clay and then, even better, his first Masters title on Clay put Murray in a great place heading into the French Open and he has certainly built on that momentum in Paris so far.

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Of all those who have reached the semi-finals this year, Murray has surely had the hardest path. His route has seen him meet the unpredictable and hugely dangerous Nick Kyrgios in round three, local favourite Jeremy Chardy in round four and Clay-court specialist David Ferrer in Wednesday’s last eight match.

Victory over the latter puts him into the semis equals Murray’s best performance at Roland Garros, his reward is a daunting task against the seemingly unstoppable Novak Djokovic. The Serbian world no.1 has won his last 26 matches and destroyed ‘The King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal, to ensure his match with Murray.

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Bad omens

The omens aren’t good for Murray; he’s lost all of their last seven matches since 2013 and is tasked with stopping a hell-bent Djokovic from finally completing his Career Slam.

It isn’t all bad news for Murray though. Anybody who has played the world no.3 in the last few weeks will vouch for the fact that the females in his life are helping him to a new level, a level that means that we can compete with the very best in the world. He alluded to it after downing Ferrer.

“I feel like to put yourself in a position to win against the best players in the world, it's not just about one day before the match,' he said. “It's about what you do in the whole of the build-up to it.

“Going into the match having not lost on clay this year and having some big wins on the surface is important for me.

“I will just keep doing what I have been doing.”

Female influence

It seemingly all started with Sears. Their marriage in the spring has coincided with a unprecedented levels of form for Murray. He looks to have more control over his temper and remains calmer in the key moments of matches – both things that cannot be trained into him, it’s happened naturally and the big change is the fact that he now has a ring on his finger.

Maursemo deserves credit too. Their coaching partnership was questioned thoroughly, myself included, following Murray’s disastrous showing at the ATP World Tour Finals. They stayed together and now the results are finally showing.

Djokovic may well be blowing away all in his path right now, but the new improved Murray is a player that he would take lightly at his peril. Imagine the satisfaction the underdog Murray would get from denying the Serb and taking the title himself for the first time.

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Topics:
French Open
Tennis
Andy Murray

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