Somewhat ironic that Boris Becker should accuse Andy Murray of being too passive when last year at the O2, I watched him be so recklessly aggressive attacking Federer, a high risk strategy that may well have been correct, but nevertheless failed spectacularly on the day. This summer he was able to adopt the same strategy against Nadal and beat him comprehensively, in a match that included that notable 6:0 bagel set.
Nadal said about Andy Murray that on that day he would have beaten anybody. That may be so but Murray rues another day when he met Nadal at Wimbledon, played aggressively, and lost.
I am one of Andy Murray’s admirers both as a player and as a man. I cannot help finding positive attributes where virtually every one else finds negative, and it can get extremely personal.
He may well have to deal with this strange English snobby thing of objecting to the overly competitive, and the overly clever. We are also known to object to overly demonstrative body language, either of the triumphant kind or of the despairing? All of the top four players are guilty of the triumphant fist pump, but I would argue that Djokovic, Nadal, and particularly Federer, are far worse offenders of this sin of triumphant display, whereas Murray is usually found guilty of the lesser sin of getting down on himself.
It is of course not just the English who have this opinion of the Scotsman, since I have felt this antipathy against him in foreign parts. In Europe there may be a Eurovision TV thing against the British which we all have to live with. I watched a state TV promotion in Portugal for last years Roland Garros that featured all the top ten players, but pointedly left out the then world number 4.
Murray can also let rip with the expletives on court but usually this is directed at himself when he makes an unforced error, but in any event I doubt that any of my tennis friends that dislike Murray are qualified to criticise him on those grounds. This talent for on-court effing and blinding, Murray has shared with John McEnro, with whom he also shares an intelligence and a tennis brain that some are offended by?
Murray’s tactical awareness make the Sky TV pundits look foolish whenever he appears. I am an avid watcher of all on court interviews, and Murray is streets ahead of all others. He is not just articulate but he is also genuine and mercifully free of platitude and sound bites and false charm. In time he may well be a tennis pundit in the McEnroe mould.
Like McEnroe who gave us the head band, which has an important function in tennis terms, Murray has no sartorial awareness. In Cincinnati he was contractually obliged to wear Adidas kit, and his shorts took a beating since they did not seem capable of efficiently delivering the second service ball out of the pocket. He is also frequently tearing at his ill fitting hats and shirts and arm bands. Somehow I could not imagine any other player showing public contempt for dysfunctional kit provided by their sponsor.
Murray has little vanity, and that is rare if not unique amongst the worlds top four. His failure to shave at Wimbledon made the news, so he now shaves. He addressed the problem of not smiling by smiling a lot. This was so untypical of Murray that the Sky commentators speculated that it might be “sarcastic” smiling. I like to think that he was smiling because he was winning when Sky pundits said he would lose if he did not adopt the strategy they recommended.
Someone should fix his rubbish kit, but Andy Murray has to fix the tennis and I believe he may well be the favourite to win at the O2 this week.
Tennis pundit Wilco does not like Murray, and even he thinks that Murray will win this week’s O2.