When we first saw the promise that Latvian tennis player Ernests Gulbis showed; we purred, we exclaimed, "That's the up-and-coming Federer. Watch out for him. Don't take your eyes off him."
Well, we watched in vain.
The mountaintop reaches of his talent has been the polar opposite of his hunger, drive and desire. I don't know what can be salvaged from him.
I do know though, what can be salvaged from Andy Murray: a Grand Slam title. When we saw the promise that Murray showed; we purred, we exclaimed, "That's an up-and-coming slam champion. Watch out for him." Well, it seems we have watched in vain.
But have we?
When I saw tears trickling down Murray's face after his loss at the Australian Open final in 2010—something clicked. For the first time in his career, I fully appreciated Andy Murray. In that moment, I was able to differentiate the human from the player, and put them back together again—I took the ultimate journey of a tennis fan.
Not only has Murray got the talent; he has got the heart, hunger, drive, desire and respect of his peers.
"I can cry like Roger, it's a shame I can't play like him," he said.
That touched me. Being a stout doubter of him in the past, those words disintegrated the heart of stone.
Murray's current problems can essentially be seen as passivity, stretching even to a breakdown in clarity of thought from a player who is so tennis-savvy that it muddies his focus on his objectives. Still, I think this is fixable.
I'd gladly accept this guy as a champion.
He has got everything you need to beat the best and to win big tournaments. You know, sometimes it just doesn't happen when you want. Sometimes it all of a sudden happens without you knowing that it did.
He's not the favorite for this year's French Open—but he has a shot, and sometimes that's all one needs.
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