What went wrong for Andy Murray?
The ATP World Tour Finals in London were supposed to be Andy Murray’s comeback after a mixed year, but it has ultimately been the lowest of lows. So, what went wrong?
London was expecting the return of the Andy Murray that shined at last year’s Wimbledon, where he became the first male British tennis player to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936. Instead he won only one of his Round Robin matches, against seventh seed Milos Raonic. Murray lost against rising star Kei Nishikori and was trounced in 56 minutes by a rejuvenated Roger Federer 6-0, 6-1, his worst loss in seven years.
Eventually Novak Djokovic won the Final by default after Federer pulled out due to injury.
The result against Federer sparked many a conversation about Murray’s season as a whole and what the reasons were for his downfall. Many have attributed it to his back injury suffered soon after his Wimbledon victory, which ruined the end of his 2013 season and kept him out for four months.
Andy Murray only just recovered in time for the Australian Open, but fel at the Quarter Final stage, the first time he hadn’t reached the semi-final of the Grand Slam since 2009.
Murray was never able to completely recover the standards of his Wimbledon success and only made it to one Grand Slam semi-final, the French Open, losing against the eventual winner Rafael Nadal.
There’s also a case to be made that Murray has been too pro-active in trying to gain his ATP Finals place. Between the Shenzhen Open on September 22nd and his loss at the BNP (9th November) Murray competed in six tournaments. Whilst he did win three of them, he didn’t have a single day off in the process, which must have affected him going into the ATP Tour Finals.
Another reasoning behind Murray’s form in 2014 could also be attributed with his surprise split with coach Ivan Lendl. The eight-time Grand Slam winner become Murray’s right-hand man in 2011 and oversaw the Brit becoming one of the world’s best tennis players by winning the Olympic Gold medal in 2012 against Roger Federer and Wimbledon, his first Grand Slam, in 2013.
With Lendl, Murray’s performances showed passion and fight, something many previously noted he didn’t have with any of his previous coaches. Now without Lendl he doesn’t look like he has the same drive forward he had last year.
There also appears to a lack of faith in his new coach, two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo, by not only Murray, but also critics outside of his camp.
Former World No. 1 John McEnroe, who played with Murray in a doubles exhibition match yesterday, believes their partnership hasn’t been “a roaring success” and feels the Brit looked tired “needs a break” from tennis to regain his focus.
It appears to be a combination of all three reasons, with a change of coach and an extended break needed for Murray to potentially regain the form that helped him win his first Grand Slam in 2013.
Credits: Francisco Diez, Doha Stadium Plus Qatar, Charlie Cowins