US Open 2011: Why This Is Andy Murray's Best Chance in NY so Far
Underachiever, not enough mental strength, best player ever without a slam. Andy Murray is described in this way all the time.
He has all the talent somebody could ask for, yet, at the age of 24, he has yet to win a Grand Slam title.
Murray has made the semifinals at every major and has appeared in three finals at two different majors. In 2008, he shocked top ranked Rafael Nadal in the US Open semifinals before getting crushed in the final by Roger Federer.
In 2010, he had another good run at a major (Australian Open), beating Nadal handily in the quarterfinals, and then Marin Cilic in the semis. Once again, in the final, he was no match for Federer, as the Swiss once again needed only three sets to finish the Brit off.
The rest of 2010 was a disappointment. He had another shortcoming in the Wimbledon semifinals and lost early in both the US and French Opens.
Something needed to happen before Andy became too discouraged, and all his talent went to waste.
Something did happen. During the next Australian Open, Murray found his groove. Through six rounds, he did not drop a set. In the final, instead of having to face Federer again, he instead ran into Novak Djokovic, who, much like himself, had tons of talent, but it had produced only one Grand Slam title.
Who will win US Open 2011?
This was Murray's best chance. He blew it.
Djokovic delivered him another straight-set loss in a major final, as the Serb conceded nine games en route to his second win in Melbourne.
Murray has been relatively good this year, making a career-best semifinal at the French Open, and a third consecutive run to the final four at Wimbledon.
Next on the major calendar is the US Open, where Murray lost in the fourth round last year.
This year, all the talk has been about the "Big 3"—Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. However, I would not be quick to write off Murray from the list of contenders.
Murray has been playing good, aggressive tennis so far, and as long as his forehand remains consistent, he is a threat.
Nadal and Federer have not been at their 100 percent best this season.
Especially Federer, who is coming off a disappointing quarterfinal loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon. He has won only one tournament and made the final of one of the three majors. At the US Open, he should not be considered a true favorite unless he makes drastic changes before September.
His whole game has been below his par, and at the All-England Club, he blew a two sets to love lead to lose. Although the Open may be his final true chance at a Slam, with other players primed to defeat him, an aging Federer more than likely will not produce.
Although Nadal has had a very good year, a good portion of the results have been discouraging. He has barely lost to anyone not named Novak Djokovic, but the Serb has beaten him five consecutive times. Nadal has still found no formula to beat him.
This is the first time that someone has consistently beat him on all surfaces. Djokovic's best surface is hard, as is Nadal's worst. However, he might not even make the final if he runs in to Juan Martin Del Potro or someone of the sort earlier on.
Djokovic, obviously, heads in as the heavy chalk. He has compiled a 48-1 record and won two majors. However, the last player to win his first Slam as No. 1 was Jim Courier at the 1992 French Open.
I'm not saying that Murray is the favorite to win this year. I just don't think that people should think it is a two or three horse race.
I see Murray taking out Djokovic in a tough four-setter in the semis.
The other side should be a mess, but if Juan Martin Del Potro finds himself in that side he will make serious damage.
Don't be surprised if Andy Murray is still standing on the final Sunday.
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