2011 US Open: Andy Murray Should Be Installed as the Top Favorite

Vee JayAnalyst IAugust 23, 2011

The last grand slam of the year starts on the 29th of August.

As expected, the players ranked in the top four are the favorites, with Novak Djokovic being the heavy favorite and Andy Murray the fourth favorite.

But I strongly suspect that Murray will win his first grand slam title three weeks from now on the courts of Flushing Meadows, where he reached his first finals in 2008.

He just won the Cincinnati Masters and he would be riding the high into Flushing Meadows.

There is no doubt that the top four are all very talented. But while the top three are multiple Grand Slam winners, Murray has no slam titles. He has a complete game and huge variety. He really should have won a slam by now. His cupboard being bare of grand slam trophies is inexplicable to me.

Earlier we could find excuses for him. He is still young. He has time. But now he is 24 and he is supposed to not only be in his prime, but at his peak.

It is quite possible that the "Dunblane massacre" in his school, when he was a kid, has traumatized him in ways we cannot imagine. Maybe at some subconscious level he feels guilty for having survived and by avoiding mounting the winner's podium, he is atoning for his sin. The human mind is complex. But if that were the case, wouldn't hesurely have undergone therapy?

Maybe it is just that he has been unfortunate enough to come of age in an era dominated by Federer and Nadal?

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The Favorites: (L-R) Andy Murray of Great Britain, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain
The Favorites: (L-R) Andy Murray of Great Britain, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain

But Djokovic is his age and despite suffering the same constraint of trying to make a mark when Federer and Nadal are still around, he has succeeded in having a fantastic season with two grand slams and five Masters this year.

Really there is no excuse for Murray. He has to step up to the plate and win his first grand slam trophy now.

His three principal rivals don't seem to be in prime condition.

Roger Federer is 30 and showing clear signs of decline.

Rafael Nadal seems to be suffering from a crisis of confidence after five successive defeats to Djokovic in finals, two of which were on clay Masters and one at Wimbledon.

What is more, I suspect a recurrence of the foot injury which had almost ended his career in 2005. As revealed in his book, Rafa by John Carlin and Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard has a rare congenital bone problem in his foot which isn't cured but kept under control by wearing shoes with specially designed soles.

He injured his foot at Wimbledon and after a month's break, lost in his first match at Montreal. He admitted his training was not satisfactory because of the foot injury sustained at Wimbledon.

He then lost at Cincinnati in the Quarter Finals to Mardy Fish after struggling mightily to prevail over Fernando Verdasco in the previous round. Frankly, the Spaniard looked out of sorts to me.

Djokovic has had a long season and not only does he look tired and mentally fried, he has a shoulder injury which forced him to retire in the Cincinnati finals against Andy Murray.

This is Murray's best chance in a long while to win a grand slam title.

He is far superior to the rest of the field. So if he could keep in check his desire to make seemingly earnest efforts to lose in the early rounds to a lowly player, he should be holding aloft the trophy at Flushing Meadows.

If he could do that, I am sure the talented young man would finally slay his inner demons and go on to win many more slams.