Andy Murray's Biggest Keys to Defending US Open Crown
Andy Murray may be one of the hottest players in men’s tennis right now, but defending his U.S. Open crown will still be an uphill battle.
Murray will have to focus on the following three keys to have any chance at repeating as champion in New York.
It may be easy to overlook Murray’s serve, but it’s actually one of the bigger parts of his arsenal.
At this year’s Wimbledon, Murray was able to get his serve speed up to 133 miles per hour, placing him 16th in the field.
He’s experienced similar success in the early going at the U.S. Open, as his fastest serve clocked in at 135 miles per hour.
If Murray can keep this serving excellence up, opponents will have a tough time dispatching the tenacious Scot.
Murray certainly isn’t the fastest player on the court, but his speed can still be an advantage.
Someone like Rafael Nadal may be better equipped to cover long distances quickly, yet Murray has quickness in space that’s equally valuable.
He put that speed on display in his first-round match against Michael Llodra, when he was able to end this rally with some impressive moves up close.
Murray will need to stay fast in order to stay competitive at Flushing Meadows.
The most important key to Murray’s title defense may be the rest of the field he’s competing against.
Murray was able to outlast Novak Djokovic to win the title last year, but the Serbian is back with the top seed and is ready to win.
Nadal and David Ferrer are also worthy opponents. Although they may have lower seeds, guys like Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych can’t be discounted.
There’s also been some drama regarding when Murray has had to play compared to the other favorites.
STV Sports explains the minor controversy:
Murray swiftly defeated Michael Llodra 6-2 6-4 6-3 in his first match on Arthur Ashe but was not happy at waiting until Wednesday evening to get his first taste of action.
The Scot's title rivals all began their tilt at the title earlier, with Rafael Nadal playing more than 48 hours earlier but rain on Monday meant that Nadal's second round match against Rogerio Dutra Silva was pushed back, with Murray forced to wait until Wednesday's evening session for his first match.
However, it’s clear that a player of Murray’s caliber won’t let an unfavorable start affect him too much.
Easy for Andy Murray even if he was still on court at close to midnight - http://t.co/gDbtMHy3dt— ESPN.co.uk (@ESPNUK) August 29, 2013
As Murray gears up for his second-round match against Leonardo Mayer, it seems more and more likely that the Scotsman has the talent to at least reach the finals of the Open.
Once he’s there, another contender like Djokovic or Nadal will very likely thwart his repeat efforts. But if he can capitalize on these keys, he may yet come through.
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