Andy Murray is quickly becoming a real powerhouse on the ATP circuit. Earlier today the 21-year-old Brit collected his second straight Tennis Masters title defeating the surprising Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6(6) in the Madrid final. ADHEREL
Murray of course has been on an absolute tear since Wimbledon. After dicey first half of the season, credit to Murray for really finding his form and getting in gear, and now who knows just how high he goes. Right now he’s arguably playing the best tennis of anyone out there. You could make a case for Roger Federer or for Juan Martin Del Potro, but Murray avenged his U.S. Open loss to Fed in the Madrid semifinals while Del Potro’s been on fire, but he’s done most of his damage at the smaller events.
Meanwhile, Murray’s now won his last 10 Masters Series matches, winning 20 of 22 sets including a title at Cincinnati. And the kid really is only going to get better, a rather scary proposition when you consider just how much variety he already brings to the game. Is there a shot he can’t hit?
Another player who I think will be here to stay is Simon. Of all the young guns we talk about, especially his countryman Richard Gasquet, JW Tsonga and Gael Monfils, Simon really is the “under the radar” guy. The guy who sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and he did some more of that sneaking this past week.
For such a slight, wiry frame, Simon can really deliver the knockout punch as we saw with those monster forehand down-the-line winners he slapped against Rafael Nadal in an epic win Saturday. And did mention the guy does not tire? But what I like about Simon is his attitude. He’s plays to win and unlike a lot of other guys, he’s not scared of the top players and when given the chance, he knows how to finish. (How many players not named John Isner have ever won three straight third set tiebreaks?)
And I think Simon’s game along with his head will keep him among the Top 15 for many years ahead. He’s very fluid around the court, very quick, very fit and plays good, percentage tennis. And while Murray, Novak Djokovic, Nadal, Gasquet, etc., may have the greater, overall talent, I think Simon is going to be one of those pesky kind of players no one wants to play. I hope he can maintain it because he’s fun to watch.
Ranked No. 9 in the race, Simon is now firmly in the hunt for a berth in Shanghai next month, and with two tournaments in his backyard the next two weeks (Lyon and Paris) I think he gets in. The top four – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray – are already in as is No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko.
No. 6 Andy Roddick’s been playing solid tennis lately as he heads to Lyon as the top seed. And despite a difficult draw (he plays Nicolas Mahut in round one), I think he’ll make it into the Masters Cup. That leaves No. 7 David Ferrer the odd man out. Sorry David.
Regarding Federer and Nadal both losing on the same day Saturday, it was very surprising, but it shouldn’t sound any alarm bells. Yes, the young guys are not just coming anymore, they are here, so Fed’s days are indeed numbered, but he’s still got a lot left in the tank.
Rafa I thought played pretty well against Simon, but he just couldn’t seal it in the end. I think Fed’s loss the match before may have took some bite out of Rafa who no longer needed to beat Simon to clinch the year-end No. 1, it was his once the Swiss lost.
But Fed and Nadal aside, the future sure is looking brighter and brighter, and that’s what I’ll take away from Madrid.
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