Sick of the election B.S.? Ready for a different kind of B.S.? Let’s go! Let’s talk about Andy Murray’s ascension to No. 1. First, as I said this weekend he deserves it and congrats to him for his perseverance and hard work the last 10 years to finally make it, BUT…
Let’s be real here. The only reason he’s on top is because a perfect storm happened:
Novak Djokovic – family issues (more on that tomorrow)
Roger Federer – injured
Rafael Nadal – injured
And, right now there’s no one who’s a threat otherwise to the top than Murray. Stan Wawrinka? Kei Nishikori? Milos Raonic? Not really. So it’s advantage Murray, and he’s taken advantage.
That said, there’s a famous quote in sports, “To be the best, you have to beat the best,” which brings me to my issue with Murray.
I know that you can only beat those who you play in the draw, but gosh, during this recent 18-match post-US Open win streak Murray hasn’t even faced anyone in the Top 10!!! Full credit to him, it’s not easy putting together an 18-match win streak at any level – Futures, Challenger or Tour, so it’s quite an accomplishment – but Murray hasn’t faced anyone higher than No. 11 Tomas Berdych who unremarkably gagged a 6-1 first set tiebreaker lead this past weekend in Paris.
Not interested, you say? OK, what if I told you Murray hasn’t beaten a Top 5 player since defeating Wawrinka in the French Open semifinals. Heck, he hasn’t even played anyone in the Top since the French! That’s five months! Go head, look it up, it’s true.
Again, to be the best you have to beat the best? Is that what Murray’s done? Um, not exactly.
So here we have the best player in the world – and right now, honestly he is – who hasn’t even beaten a Top 10 player in two months or a Top 5 player in five months.
How can a guy play a full schedule for five months and reach No. 1 without facing anyone in the Top 5? Incredible, right?
Of course he can prove me wrong next week in London. But to me bottom line is I don’t think he’s that great of a No. 1, nor do I even think he’s as good as he was a few years ago when he won the Olympics, the US Open and then Wimbledon the following year. He has the ranking yes, but he doesn’t have the wins like he did back then.
And I think deep down Murray knows he didn’t exactly beat his rivals to earn No. 1 like many before him did. Then again, not his fault Federer and Nadal got injury or Djokovic no longer puts tennis first.
But in sports, timing and luck can be everything. We know that.
Anyway, so what’s this say about the state men’s tennis? Well, it says it’s clearly not a strong as it was four, five years ago when all the Big 4 were in form and close to, if not at the peak of their powers.
Look at today, we have Milos Raonic on the verge of the Top 3!! TOP THREE!!! Think about that, is Raonic really the future when the Big 4 fully fade? No offense to Milos, but that sounds truly horrific.
It also quite telling that 8 players in the Top 15 are at career-highs this week. That’s right, Eight! And that’s a product of the tour at the top not being as strong as it once was.
So we’ve been spoiled the last 10 years or so and sadly it’s coming to an end, Murray rise is almost a perfect bookend.
Federer and Nadal aren’t getting back to No. 1 ever again. Djokovic and Murray will play hot potato with the top ranking a little longer (maybe another year), but right now the tour is there for the taking. Slam titles are up for grabs again. So who’s going to take them? Who will take advantage?
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