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Murray's missing ingredient

Posted 07-19-2010 at 09:59 AM by Philip Oliver
It is universally agreed amongst tennis betting pundits that Andy Murray will one day win a Grand Slam tournament. Fellow players, commentators and the man himself agree that it is just a matter of time, as if the two final and two semi final appearances in majors are a natural precursor to success in one of the big four events.

As Tim Henman will confirm – six times a Grand Slam semi finalist – this is not necessarily the case. Top 10 players need all the ingredients to go all the way in majors, a special something that allows them to beat fellow elite players when it really matters.

Murray has had an unfortunate habit of running into players in peak form in these crucial matches. It is encouraging that he is now forcing the very best to play their top tennis in the latter stages of majors – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in this year’s Australian Open final and Wimbledon semi final respectively.

He once was slipping up in earlier rounds due to inspired displays from the likes of Fernando Verdasco (Australian Open fourth round 2009) and Fernando Gonzalez (French Open quarter final 2009).

There is a suspicion that this is partly because Murray’s style of play allows others to dictate matches, and whilst he is certainly more than a counter-puncher who waits for the mistakes of others – he controls rallies without apparently being the aggressor – plenty of US Open betting experts think he should impose himself on matches more.

This is easier said than done, especially against Nadal and Federer, the major stumbling blocks to Grand Slam success. They are, in different ways, intimidating presences, but Murray has proved he can beat them regularly away from the Slams.

However, the two modern greats raise their game for majors and Murray must do the same, as his meetings with them in the four biggest tournaments have generally been on-sided, despite Murray’s apparent excellent form going into the matches. Once Murray discovers that magic ingredient and breaks his Grand Slam duck, the floodgates might open, with the starting point perhaps being the forthcoming US Open.
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