What Andy Murray's Loss to Novak Djokovic Means for Wimbledon 2015

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIJune 6, 2015

Andy Murray, of Britain, returns the ball to Jeremy Chardy, of France, during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

Andy Murray entered the 2015 French Open without having made a final at Roland Garros—the only Grand Slam event in which he'd never advanced to the championship match.

Now that Murray's latest run in Paris is over after a five-set loss to Novak Djokovic on Saturday, he has to shift gears quickly for the grass-court season and sharpen up his game for Wimbledon in June.

This is an unfortunate end to Murray's run on clay. It's a surface he has improved a lot on in recent years, having made the semifinals for the second time at Roland Garros last year.

Murray was 10-0 on clay this year with two titles in Munich and Madrid. In the latter final, he defeated the King of Clay himself, nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, on the Spaniard's home soil.

Sky Sports documented how Murray wrote "Marriage Works" on one of the TV cameras following his triumph over Nadal. Murray married Kim Sears earlier this year and went on to fare better on clay than he has at just about any point in his career.

After winning his first match to start the Rome Masters, Murray opted to pull out of the draw due to fatigue. Murray addressed the matter on Twitter and explained his reasoning:

... I always feel bad after making decisions like this but my body Is extremely tired and fatigued right now having played 10 matches in the last 12 days. I wanted to try to compete in the event but after Warming up today I didn't feel able to compete. I hope next year I can comeback to Rome and do better. Sorry Andy.

The strategy likely helped him in his preparation for Roland Garros, but Murray ultimately didn't notch the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What Murray's loss means for Wimbledon isn't significant, to be frank. He didn't even play the French Open in 2013, when he finally broke through at the All England Club, much to the delight of UK fans everywhere.

The turnaround from playing on clay to grass is rather swift, which is the biggest factor Murray has to be concerned about. It's something every player has to deal with, but the faster grass courts pander better to Murray's style of play—an enviable combination of power and fitness to thrive on quick-playing surfaces.

Clay is slower and plays into Murray's favor because of how well he's able to track down the ball, but his groundstrokes aren't as punishing on his opponents. It's harder for him to counterpunch and end points on blistering returns, which are cornerstones of Murray's game.

If anything, Murray should welcome the chance to redeem his loss to Djokovic in Paris by putting on a show in London and hopefully delivering a title for the second time in three years.


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