US Open could be Murray’s moment
To find the last British male to have won a Grand Slam, one is required to trace back as far as 1936 when Fred Perry claimed the Wimbledon title.
To find the only ever British winner of the US Open, you have to travel a further three years back, when Perry beat Australia’s Jack Crawford in 1933.
The former world number one of five years boasts a glittering record having won eight slams and in the process, completed a career Grand Slam. In light of such achievements, Perry set a precedent in not only world tennis but most notably in British tennis – a feat that has yet to be matched by any other player in over 70 years.
The player hailing from Stockport was described by three time grand slam winner Jack Kramer, as the ‘world’s worst good player’ – fast, aggressive and arrogant. According to the American, Perry’s one weakness was his backhand which opponents learnt to exploit.
In stark contrast, Britain’s current number one Andy Murray possesses one of the best two-handed backhands in the game today and is currently preparing to take on tennis’ elite in the final Grand Slam of the year at Flushing Meadows next week.
Much has been made of Murray’s recent rise to the summit of the game as he was crowned world number 2 recently. It sparked a fresh wave of ‘Murray mania’ amongst the English media, all eager to predict the end of a long barren spell for men’s tennis in Britain.
The Scot has a phenomenal record on the hard courts but arguably lacks experience when it comes to overcoming that final hurdle and claiming a maiden Slam title. He can certainly match the best on his day, but will he be consistent enough to avoid defeat as he tackles six matches in a fortnight?
He has numerous critics. Many laud the fact that Murray -as good as he is – hasn’t won a slam, and until such a time that he does, he shouldn’t be ranked world number two or considered a real threat. If any additional motivation is required for the Scottish player, surely silencing the doubters will spur the player on.
Murray will have reflected upon the lessons learnt at Flushing Meadows last year. A tired, lethargic Murray endured a torrid display in the final against Federer, losing 6-2 7-5 6-2, after depleting all his energy in sensational display to defeat Rafa Nadal in the semi-final.
This year has seen Murray improve his endurance which is exemplified when you glimpse at his fantastic record on hard courts. ‘Muzza’ has featured in every Masters final this year on the hard courts, winning two and losing two.
The player’s stamina will be fully tested in New York after the number two seed was handed the hardest draw of the top four seeds as he looks to claim that first Grand Slam and mute the mud-slingers.
Ernests Gublis will be Murray’s first opponent at Flushing Meadows. The Latvian was tipped as a future world number one, but has failed to live up to that billing and now sits at 95 in the rankings. A potentially difficult match-up, but one would expect Murray to sail through.
On his path to a potential final the British number one may have to face the serving specialist Ivo Karlovic, hard hitting Stanislas Wawrinka – who Murray struggled to overcome at Wimbledon, followed by the in-form Juan Martin Del Potro with a possible semi final clash against Nadal.
Should Murray overcome these difficult obstacles blocking his path to the Arthur Ash court on September 13th, he can reasonably expect to meet Roger Federer in the final.
The real test of Murray’s progress in the last twelve months lies in his ability to play consistently throughout the tournament, maintain his energy levels and ultimately seize upon the chance to create his own piece of history.
Glasgow may not have a street named ‘Andy Murray Way’ quite yet, but the Scottish sensation is without the doubt Britain’s greatest talent since the legendary Perry. It’s time for the Murray to justify his world ranking.
It makes for an interesting two weeks for tennis fans across the globe. Roger Federer will be looking to go one step closer to a winning all four Slams consecutively. Rafa Nadal will be looking to reclaim his old ranking. And Novak Djokovic will be looking to build on the impressive form he showed at the Cinncinati Masters.
But this could be Andy Murray’s moment. Carpe Diem.