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The Murray Muddle

March 29, 2010

Until The Miami Masters first round had passed I didn’t believe there was too much to be concerned about regarding Andy Murray’s recent form. Sure, he lost in Dubai to Janko Tipsaravic and in Indian Wells to Robin Soderling, but they are both dangerous players that can hit their straps and cause upsets. Besides, like it or not (I didn’t), Murray said he was trying things out in Dubai and perhaps there was a lack of match practise for Indian Wells. Miami has always been a place that suits Andy Murray, he won the title in 2009, and as long as all went well there things were in order. Things didn’t go well. Murray crashed out first round to Mardy Fish.

Mardy Fish isn’t in the top 100 and he isn’t known as a dangerous floater. It may have been in America but this isn’t Andy Roddick and Murray was expected to cruise. Instead he played one of the worst matches I have ever seen and went down 6-4 6-4. Credit to Fish for hanging in there but the tennis was terrible. Both Fish and Murray hit more unforced errors than winners and played tennis that represented Fish’s ranking more than Murray’s. Fish was erratic, playing low percentage tennis with balls that went screaming down the line or out of the court.  The one shot that Fish did excel in was his serve. Murray, on the other hand, excelled nowhere except from talking to himself constantly. He hit basic forehands into the net or long (anywhere but in), his first serve went in under 50% of the time, and his backhand, though his best shot, was far from punishing. He also showed an extreme lack of focus, constantly looking at his box as if they could tell him anything he didn’t already know.

I am unsure what happens to Murray regarding rankings now that he is dropping around a thousand points from failing to defend his title. I cannot research it either as I am trying to avoid knowing the Nadal/Nalbandian score (I’m watching it later). Whatever happens, it is now time for concern in the Murray camp. Is he not over his Australian Open loss and lacking confidence and motivation? Has he over-trained in the off-season and is it showing now? Or is it a case of experimenting with a new style (of which I can see no evidence, unless sailing balls just short of the service line has more merit than I realise)? He has remained quiet in interviews and as a result we have no idea what the matter with Murray is.

The hard court season is over after Miami, and whilst Federer managed to change his season on it last year and Djokovic stands a good chance of doing so this year, clay is not Murray’s forte. He probably cannot turn his season around on the dirt and will instead have to look towards the grass season… where Great Britain’s expectations will suddenly rise again.

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