Will this be Andy Murray's year? Will he finally hoist his first Grand Slam victory?
It's probably a question on every Brit's mind. The only people likely to prevent Murray from winning that elusive slam is Roger Federer in the semi-finals or Novak Djokovic in the Finals.
If Murray does meet Federer, this meeting would mean much more to Murray than Federer.
Murray definitely has the game to beat Federer.
How much can be read into their last meeting at the Olympics is an unknown. It is a fact that Federer after playing that incredible semi-final against Del Potro was spent physically and emotionally. One also feels that when it comes to Grand Slam stages, Federer almost always has that little bit extra motivation. So in that sense, this is the first real test for Murray since that Wimbledon Final.
I doubt that Murray's game has changed much since the Wimbledon Finals. You can't change someone's game in couple months by much, even if their coach is Ivan Lendl.
Lendl has definitely brought a certain amount of discipline and mental attitude to Murray's game, and it has yielded positive results. But, has the forehand improved enough and is he able to play enough down-the-line quality forehands such that his cross court forehand is then respected that much more? Can he win points off his second serve when it matters against the very best?
These are important questions that are likely to matter and be the difference between victory and defeat, and significantly define Murray's career going forward.
It is perhaps the forehand and not being able to play that with as much variety as Djokovic is what has held Murray back and been the big difference between his and Novak's success. Murray has definitely been far more aggressive than ever this year, and that seems to be the way he should continue to gain success against the very best.
Next year, around the time of the French Open, Murray turns 26. That is not an old age, but it is old for a player of his caliber to still be seeking his first Grand Slam.
This is an urgent situation for him to win one of the next to Grand Slams. I have always thought Murray's best chance to win a major is either at the US Open or the Australian, and not so much Wimbledon due to the immense pressure he feels there. The dirt has never been his favored surface either.
Djokovic has gone off the boil a little bit, but he if he can get to the final, he is still a dangerous competitor. Murray definitely has the ability to beat Djokovic, although he hasn't done that at the biggest stages.
How Murray plays in the next few matches could well define his career. In general, the feeling with Murray is that if he can get over that hump, nobody can stop this great player from winning a bunch of majors.
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