French Open 2012: Why This Will Be Andy Murray's Year
The French Open has not been kind to Andy Murray. In five attempts at capturing the Coupe des Mousquetaires, Murray has only once made the semifinal.
That instance came last year, and Rafael Nadal ousted the Brit in three sets. Of the four major tournaments, Murray has the least success at Roland Garros, exhibiting a 14-5 record, or a 73.7 win percentage.
This French Open could be different, however.
There are concerns about a nagging back injury suffered by Murray; however, he is quick to deflect those worries, giving examples of other top players who have fought through injury.
“I’ve had a problem with my back, Rafa [Nadal] has had problems with his knees; Novak [Djokovic] had a problem with his back last year. But you miss a tournament, you have one bad tournament afterwards, then they say, ‘oh, he’s got back problems’, or suddenly it’s threatening my career. But it’s not. It’s just a problem I’ve got to deal with and, at the end of the year, I’ll get time to rest and recover and let it get better.”
Djokovic, of course, was phenomenal in 2011, losing only six matches all year en route to one of the best seasons in men’s tennis history. He began the year with a 43-match winning streak before losing in last year’s French Open semifinals.
Djokovic won 10 tournaments in total, and while every back injury is different, it certainly gives Murray hope that he, too, can battle through the pain.
He has made five consecutive major semifinals, only emerging victorious once at the 2011 Australian Open. In the final, Djokovic defeated Murray in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Can Andy Murray Overcome His Back Injury and Win the French Open?
Murray’s new coach, Ivan Lendl, could play a significant role in a French Open turnaround in 2012.
Lendl, an eight-time major champion, has reportedly helped his newest student immensely since being entrusted with revamping the game of one of the world’s top players. This excerpt was taken from a February interview:
“I spent five days with him before the Australian Open and I feel like I improved just in those days,” Murray said. “I’ll go and spend a lot more time with him and work harder, and that’s really all that you can do.”
The Scottish-born Murray will have a chance to avenge last year’s semifinal loss to Nadal, as they are slated to meet once again in the semis, should both men get that far.
But first, he could face David Ferrer, whom he defeated in the semis of last January’s Australian Open, in the third round. Murray again defeated Ferrer in October at the final of the Shanghai Masters, after which he became the world’s No. 3 player. He has since dropped to No. 4 in the world, losing the spot to Roger Federer.
After Ferrer could be Richard Gasquet. Murray defeated Gasquet at the French Open in 2010. Down two sets, he came back to defeat the Frenchman on his own court in the opening round, but would make it no further than the fourth round, as Tomas Berdych would defeat him in straight sets.
Murray’s recent success in reaching five consecutive major semis, his new coach and some familiar foes will benefit the world’s No. 4 at Roland Garros. It begins with Japan’s Tatsumo Ita, the No. 69 player in the world.
Will Murray flex his muscles and take down the world's best on his way to his first major championship?
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