Australian Open 2010: Murray's Claim To The Throne?

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIFebruary 1, 2010

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31:  Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts after a point in his men's final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during day fourteen of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images


Andy Murray’s relatively comfortable defeat has brought up the question of whether Roger Federer really needs to carry on claiming every grand slam in sight, or whether he can do other players a favour and retire from the sport a few years prematurely.

Does he really have the impetus inside of him after he has already claimed a momentous tally of Grand Slam victories ?

Yet such a viewpoint seems indeed misguided and simply appears to be portraying a jealous opinion of the Swiss player’s previously unimaginable credentials.

A sportsman competes in a sport, asides from the financial rewards, to elevate themselves to the top of the rostrum and talent in their field. They are fierce competitors who thrive upon high levels of action, accompanied by adrenaline rushes we can only but dream of. Losing is therefore rarely an option, and victory is the epitome of expectation for anyone who chooses sport as a career.

From a statistical point of view Murray wasn't as far away as the three set score would lead you to believe; he actually only scored twenty points less than Roger across the match. Although it looked as though his fitness would not be able to comprehend further sets there is obvious positivity that can be drawn from Murray’s display.

It seems that a major factor in the calls for Federer to retire though have sadly come from the UK media. Desperate for a British star to end the decades of no grand slam victories for a home grown player they want Roger to move aside and give the likes of Murray a fighting chance.

Henman had the same issue with Sampras – how do you beat someone who is evidently a world apart from the rest of the pack?

Champions can always be beaten however. Look at Michael Schumacher, Valentino Rossi and Tiger Woods, all who at points in their career stumbled, allowing for others to take advantage.

Novak Djokovic, Del Porto and Rafael Nadal have all proved this in the world of tennis, by winning Grand Slam’s at Federer’s expense.

Even Tim Henman was provided a marvelous opportunity to fight his way to grand slam glory, and if it had not been for the intervention of rain and a rejuvenated Ivanisevic in the aftermath he would have claimed the Slam we all crave as British spectators.

And Murray’s display in recent Grand Slam’s, as much as it pains me to say as a previous Tiger Tim fanatic, eclipses all that Tim had done. To reach two Grand Slam finals is a massive achievement in itself.

The last two weeks have shown that Murray is willing and able to take the fight with a dogged determination and glorious appetite for success that you feel could be the inspiration he will in future require and use to his advantage.

The question is now where he goes from here.

Now that he has lost two Grand Slam finals to Federer the easy answer would be to wait until Federer’s game begins to slide as his age begins to become a factor. After all if Murray comes up against anyone other than Federer in a final, he’d be able to go in all guns blazing in the hunt for victory and our expectations of impending victory would be all the more founded.

To this viewpoint however I say no.

Murray’s display in this final was many levels better than his US Open final disaster, and whilst Federer was seemingly able to knock back whatever Murray threw at him and more, there is definite improvement from the Scottish player.

We have to remember that Murray has defeated Federer on many occasions outside of Grand Slam tournaments and is capable of producing the tennis required to defeat such a giant force. It would therefore be so much more satisfying to see Murray achieve what the  likes of Nadal and Djokovic have done whilst Roger is regarded as the worlds greatest, as opposed to tasting the sweet smells of success after Federer’s credentials start to wain.

What we saw from Federer on the Rod Laver court was a champion who had to use every one of his illustrious array of weapons in order to defeat Murray. We have to remember that this was not a Federer we have sometimes seen when his heart and soul is not all encompassed within his performance. He knew he had to perform at such a stunning level to defeat Andy, so he produced what became unequivocal excellence on court.

So although the score says otherwise, for those willing to take the result on the improvements made by Murray and the optimism that we can detract from his tournament’s display as a whole, we can predict bigger and better results in the future.

Murray will have won an army of fans with his tearful and honest display of emotion in the events after Federer knocked the wind out of his sails. His mention of being able to cry like Federer but sadly not play like the world number one gave shivers down the spine and made the smallest of hairs rise up upon our bodies.

Murray’s time is years away from nearing an end, and he will undoubtedly have his chance again.

Imagine if this chance was against the mighty Federer again, and Murray was able to take the Swiss player out in dramatic fashion ; Britain would have the strongest moment of passion and inspiration in tennis not seen since the 1930’s.