After Andy Murray’s Australian Open triumph over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, Sports Reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan ponders whether the Scotsman can end 2013 as top seed.
Andy Murray doesn’t have to do anything this year – but it’s his best chance to become number one. I’m an Andy Murray fan and always have been. I think he’s a fantastic athlete, technically world class and good value to the sport.
People say he’s miserable, stand-offish and unfriendly. I disagree. Just because a guy doesn’t smile every two seconds and seek the media limelight, that doesn’t mean he deserves this ogre-like persona.
He clearly doesn’t feel comfortable doing press, having his picture taken and the attention that being a world star brings. You can see that any time he does an interview – constantly touching his face, looking away, short answers and doesn’t initiate jokes. But who cares? I don’t. He’s a great tennis player. End of.
Just because a guy doesn’t smile every two seconds and seek the media limelight, that doesn’t mean he deserves this ogre-like persona
However, I digress before I even start. Having now got the “monkey off his back” by winning last year’s US Open – his first major grand slam – he’s now competing at the Australian Open. Murray can do so with a little less pressure than before, and providing he doesn’t get knocked out in the first couple of rounds of this year’s major tournaments, as far as I’m concerned he doesn’t have to win anything this year. Almost a free pass for 2013.
I was worried 12 months ago, that he was going down the same road as previous British number one Tim Henman. A road to being a loser. Not a major to his name, not a top three ranking, and just not good enough.
Many had almost excused Murray’s lack of winning a grand slam trophy by saying, “oh, he’s just unlucky that he’s around in the same era as three of the best tennis players in history”.
Absolute poo! Current number one Novak Djokovic was kept out of the top three for years. It wasn’t until 2008, when he won his first major, the Australian Open, that he made that stepped up from nearly man to the world’s best. And a year ago I hoped Andy Murray would do the same.
It was never about his ability. It was pure mental. It would’ve been so easy for the Scotsman to bask in the perverse glory that being beaten by greats such as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer brings. But in 2012 he clearly made a decision to man up and make it his year. And that’s exactly what he did.
I actually think he will win another major this year and think it’ll be the Australian Open. But if he wants to be build a legacy and mentioned decades from now in the same breath as Sampras, Borg and Federer, his best chance is climbing to the top of the current pile of greats – while they’re at their peak.
If he can end the year as number one, he’ll earn a place alongside the legends of the game. This year is the year for Andy Murray to do it, though. With Roger Federer, who many call the greatest player of all time, now 31, and with Rafael Nadal’s chronic knee problem a serious threat to his playing career, Murray will want to be the best while his rivals are still at their best.