This is my First Sensible Rant, so I won’t be messing about on this one, I’m just going to get straight to the point…
Andy Murray is an excellent tennis player and he will win a Grand Slam.
So what is getting me so het up?
Well it’s the attitude of the British sporting public towards this undoubtedly talented tennis player. I simply don’t understand why we hold players such as ‘Tiger’ Tim Henman in such high regard, but a wonderful talent like Andy Murray gets lambasted, even though he is a proven winner.
The argument from many observers is that he lacks the skill to win a Grand Slam, while others insist he freezes in the big games, a bottler if you will and others just don’t like him (Nothing I can do to help with that).
The most popular view appears to be that Andy Murray just isn’t able to deliver when it really counts; this is magnified when many tennis fans only get to see him play at the major open tournaments, which up until this point have proved illusive. [Although he has competed in the Final of three Grand Slams (US Open 2008, Australian Open 2010 & 2011) and has reached at least the Semi Finals of each Open event this season].
More perplexing for his doubters is the fact that Murray is a consistent performer on the ATP Tour, which has seen him win a total of 21 career Titles so far, earn a reported $18m and taking into account that Murray has only been a Top 10 ranked player since 2008, this then makes quite impressive reading, but why can’t he transfer this form in to Grand Slam Victories?
One reason for the lack of a major title is that Murray is in an strangely unique position; he is in the top four Male Tennis players in the World; It’s not an exaggeration to insist that the other 6 top 10 players are nowhere near his standard of consistency, fitness and determination; But Murray has peaked at the same time as three of the best male tennis player to have ever picked up a racket, leaving him truly as the fourth best player in the world, a lonely place.
This is an issue, more so for Murray than any of his legion of part time fans, as the three top ranked players Roger Federer (16 Grand Slam Victories), Rafael Nadal (10 grand Slams) and Novak Djokovic (4 Grand Slams) have dominated the four major open tournaments since 2004, between them winning a total of 29 out of the 32 titles available, with only Gaston Gaudio (2004 French Open), Marat Safin (2005 Australian Open) and Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open) able to break the strangle hold of these players.
So where does this leave Murray, who after a terrific run of form on the hard courts of Asia, has now managed to move into 3rd place on the world list? Well, it suggests that Murray is going to have to be on top form if he is going to win a Grand Slam, this is without a doubt, but he has the game and is fortunate that he is a much better player on the faster hard courts used in both the Australian and the US Opens, this suits his ‘counter punching’ style of play. An added bonus to this is that while he is playing in these tournaments he is away from the pressure and vitriol of the European Opens, especially Wimbledon, where for over several years the British public have rather than willed Murray to victory, have instead demanded it.
Finally, it was questioned in a number of media outlets how Andy Murray could possibly be ranked as World Number 3 because he has never won a Grand Slam. The stupidity of this statement is as much staggering as it is amusing. It’s on par with saying Manchester City cannot be top of the Premier League because they have never won the European Cup.
Players are judged on the number of Grand Slams they win, much like in golf, there is no doubt that Colin Montgomerie was a wonderful player at his peak, he consistently won the European Order of Merit, but he never won an Open Tournament, so gets labelled by this alone, but would anybody argue that 1999 Open Winner Paul Lawrie was a better player?
But in letting these narrow minded individuals have their way I have reassessed the World Rankings and plan to lobby the ATP to ensure that Andy Murray is moved down to World Number 8, with the following players still on the ATP Tour who have previously won a Grand Slam moving up in the rankings, therefore Roger Federer moves from 4th to 3rd; Andy Roddick goes from 13th to 4th; Juan Martin Del Potro climbs from 15th to 5th; Juan Carlos Ferrero jumps from 59th to 6th and finally the ever green Leyton Hewitt amazingly leaps from 194th to 7th place – a result he will no doubt be pleased with.
So there we have it, the reason we have world rankings without actually explaining why.
Follow @sensisuperstar on Twitter