After Andy Murray’s emphatic triumph at Queens it is of no surprise that most of the British media has gone into “Murray mania” in the run-up to the worlds most coveted tennis title at Wimbledon. But it’s surprising that no-one has publicly acknowledged the feeling of dèja vu that tennis fans must be experiencing at the moment as the same thing happens every year. Murray is always in fantastic form heading into Wimbledon and then decides that the prestigious tournament is the perfect opportunity to have an annual “crash and burn” campaign in which he struggles through the early rounds until he meets one of the big guns like Nadal or Federer and then surrenders to them in more or less straight sets. Lets take a closer look at his Wimbledon record:
It is noticeable that, bar the start of his professional career, Murray has exited in straight sets. For me this is further evidence of his poor mentality when it comes to bringing games back from the dead. When you watch players such as Nadal and Federer you always expect them to win regardless of how much they are losing by. They are renowned, especially Nadal for picking themselves back up after losing sets. When Murray starts to lose to an equal or superior player he invariably does because he resigns himself to losing. Lest we forget the French Open Semi Final only a couple of weeks ago where Murray, despite quite a valiant effort, was dismantled by Nadal (again in straight sets). After Murray lost the first set, and I even commented on this in my Liveblog, he never looked like winning or even getting a set back. This is the sort of thing that keeps him from winning championships. Players in the later stages of the competition are going to be on the top of their game and so when Murray’s facing them he is going to lose a set or two. He can’t just capitulate when this happens.
So my plea is that the media don’t go through the same charade again of making Murray the favourite for tournament before a ball has been hit as this does nothing to ease the pressure on him and will almost certainly leave the British public disappointed. Yes, he played well at Queens, but it’s alright beating players like Roddick and Tsonga in that sort of environment where there is less to play for. When the real grand slam competitions start do you really think that Roddick will surrender as easily as he did in the Queens Semi Finals? Or that Nadal will have a bad day so that Tsonga can knock him out?
If Murray wants to win Wimbledon then he will almost definitely need to face one or two of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at some point in the competition. It does remain to be seen whether he can ever beat, or really even challenge, them in the Grand Slam environment.