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Andy Murray Is Back in the Top 3: Is a Grand Slam Title Finally Imminent?

Van Sias@@Van_SiasContributor IIIOctober 17, 2011

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 16:  Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates his win over David Ferrer of Spain during the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center on October 16, 2011 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The ATP rankings sure have a different feel to them today with Andy Murray overtaking Roger Federer for the No. 3 spot.

Now that Murray is back among the top three, a couple of questions arise: Can he stay there? And perhaps more importantly, will this bode well for his chances in 2012 of winning that elusive first Grand Slam title?

Despite the fact that only 45 points, as of today, separate Murray and Federer in the rankings, you would have to like Murray's chances of staying at No. 3 (Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are first  and second, respectively).

Murray successfully defended his title at this weekend's Shanghai Masters event, while Federer lost points for his runner-up appearance there a year ago. Federer is also losing points this week by not defending his title at the indoor tournament in Stockholm.

You would have to say with the form that Murray displayed over the past few weeks, which includes three consecutive titles in Asia, that winning a Grand Slam title is well within his abilities.

It isn't like he hasn't advanced far at a major before.

This year alone, he finished as the runner-up at the Australian Open and made the semifinals at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. He also has two other Grand Slam final appearances on his resume, the Australian Open in 2010 and the U.S. Open in 2008.

Essentially, the game has always been there, and it's been a shock to many observers that he hasn't won a Slam event up to this point. But perhaps the biggest sign that he's ready to win one is how he made it public knowledge that his goal was to finish the year in the top three.

Federer may have had a down year in 2011, but he's still arguably the greatest player of all time, and was at No. 3 when Murray made his intentions known.

Saying you want something that a legend has is about as huge as it gets when it comes to setting goals.

Murray set that upon himself and he still has some steps to go before accomplishing it.

The first step has been taken, and if he pulled off that feat, perhaps the pressure that goes into winning a first major might be a little less so.

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