Andy Murray: The Next Step

‘If I were his coach, I would definitely take a break – he needs a break”. This was the view of John McEnroe after Andy’s catastrophic loss at the hands of Roger Federer. In the final tournament before the ATP tennis curtain draws its blinds, Andy Murray needed to win in two sets to advance into the knockout phase. Instead, the 17-time Grand Slam Champion from Switzerland taught the Brit a lesson, handing the man from Dunblane a 6-0 6-1 thrashing. Murray was made to pack his bags and trudge out of a shocked 02 Arena crowd and into the cold London night.

This match represented an inordinately spaced gap between a man who has won this tournament twice, also being ranked two in the world; and a man that had to win three titles, in as many weeks, just to qualify. Murray look beleaguered, Federer imperious. The Scot showing off sluggish double faults, the Swiss delivering aces that boomed the court and maybe this iconic arena. One could safely say that at no point did Murray look like he was posing a threat.

But was it entirely his fault? Murray may have had an inconsistent serve, he may have been tiring physically after a gruelling schedule leading into the Greenwich event. But emphasis must and should be placed on the unstoppable Federer. Even at the mature age of 33, he can still power serves down the T, pick off even the finest of athletes with his ground strokes and can leave opponents stranded in No-Man’s Land when executing one of his perfect drop shots. Whoever still questions his age should now reconsider.

Anyway enough on the past, what does Andy’s future hold? I personally believe he has to take a little break. He has played so many matches recently and, having won three titles in the past two months, they have been long tournaments for him. He is best man at his friend Ross Hutchins’ wedding; hopefully a calm and collected speech will ensue. Then he needs to go to Miami and train, excruciatingly hard. He needs to wake up, look in the mirror and say, “I am going to get better than all the guys ahead of me.” His time off has made the top 10 dangerously good. He needs to improve, and quickly.