This week sees Andy Murray begin his build up to the U.S. Open at the Citi Open in Washington.
Murray isn't the first Brit in history to try and storm the American capital. But are his performances and results, strong enough to launch a serious attack on Novak Djokovic's domination of the men’s game.
It’s funny how history can repeat itself. Just over 200 years ago the British army marched on Washington and infamously burned much of the city and most importantly the White House, to the ground.
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Just before this attack, Great Britain had defeated the French and with the exile of Napoleon, they were able to launch a sizeable campaign against the U.S.A.
Fast forward to 2015 and this time, rather than an army, the British will try to take Washington in a far more civilised way, in the form of Andy Murray and the sport of tennis. Not only will Murray hope to set Washington on fire using his racquet, but he does so on the back of defeating the French and reach the Davis Cup semi-finals, a stage that Great Britain haven’t reached for 34 years.
Surely then, the omens favour a Murray victory and a clear signal that he intends to tame the former colony again? Forgive me for my fanciful play on the links between history and tennis but the fact remains that so far this year, Murray has been building, slowly but surely, to what would seemingly be a return to the form that enabled him to capture his maiden Grand Slam title in the 2012 U.S. Open?
To get a true grasp on what Murray has achieved this year, you need to go back to the September of 2013.
After finally shrugging off the ghost of Fred Perry in winning Wimbledon, his season ground to a halt and ended up in an operation to his back which left him spending the whole of 2014 trying to reach his best.
Throw in the split from his coach Ivan Lendl, the controversy of his appointment of a female coach in Amelie Mauresmo and the subsequent failure at the Slams, the picture being painted was beginning to look bleak. To an expert’s eye, Murray had reverted to his pre Lendl ways of the counter attacker.
However, 2015 heralded a new charge from Murray. The Australian Open announced his return to the “big four club” where he narrowly lost in the final to Djokovic.
A couple of clay court titles were added, before a highly creditable run at the French Open was again ended by the Serbian. Wimbledon was next and only an unplayable Roger Federer thwarted the man from Dunblane having another crack at the Wimbledon crown.
Davis Cup heroics, on the grass courts of The Queen’s Club quickly followed. Not since the magical gold medal win in the London Olympics in 2012 had Murray been so British.
So we arrive at the U.S hard court swing with Murray primed to make the U.S. Open the place where, nearly 24 months of hard work, sweat and toil finally pay off and returns to the Grand Slam winners circle. Washington will be the first test as he tries to wrestle the crown from last year’s winner, Milos Raonic.
While it’s highly unlikely that winning this tournament will make Murray favourite to lift the final slam of 2015, a certain Mr Djokovic might well begin to look over his shoulder, especially if this version of the British lighting up America’s capital just happens to be successful.
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