Andy Murray’s Latest Gripe: The Balls!
by Tom Gainey | October 12th, 2011, 10:44 am

Andy Murray was back on his soapbox yesterday in Shanghai at the Rolex Masters. During a pre-tournament presser, Murray downplayed any talk of a possible strike, adding that the proposed Shanghai player meeting never materialized.

“Me and not any of the players I know want to strike,” Murray said. “But when you’re asked a question, ‘Is there a possibility the players will strike,’ and you say, ‘Yeah, it’s a possibility,’ I don’t expect that to be such a massive — it’s so far away from being at that level. The players haven’t even sat down and spoke. So it’s kind of a bit disappointing from my side.”

Murray’s now also sounds content with prize money he’s making off the tour, unlike Andy Roddick who earlier suggested players should get a bigger cut of the revenues at the Grand Slams.

“I think going into earnings is silly because we make a lot of money and we’re very lucky to be earning the money we do,” Murray said. “I’m hoping most of the players love playing tennis, as well.

“In terms of the earnings, I’m happy with the direction tennis is going. I think every year they’re increasing the prize money. All the tournaments are trying to kind of keep up and compete with each other.”

But Andy’s levied a new gripe: The tournament balls.

“The one comparison I’d like to make, this is on a completely separate note, comparing golf and tennis, is that in tennis the ball situation is that we change balls every single week,” Murray said. “If you asked a golfer to do that and change balls every single week, they’d be hitting balls 20 yards too far, you know, hitting shots all over the place I think. The balls that we played with the last three weeks, every one of them is just completely different. I think that’s something that I would like to see changed, to have more consistency in the balls. It’s like playing a different game almost.”

And there, Murray has a point. The tour should use the same ball for every tournament. Just like they do at the NFL, NBA, MLB and I assume Soccer which probably uses the same ball/ball-maker for every match.

The red-hot Murray had more good news today as he tries for his Asian Hat-trick. His second round opponent Dmitry Tursunov withdrew ahead of their match with right thigh injury. He’ll play Stanislas Wawrinka tomorrow.

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18 Comments for Andy Murray’s Latest Gripe: The Balls!

racquet Says:

Rafa is also perturbed by the balls

“I didn’t play my best match, but is unbelievable the conditions how can change from Tokyo to here. The ball is completely different. Something must change because is too dangerous for the shoulders. For us is a big change.

Tournaments straight must be the same ball. That’s my feeling. And here the ball are completely different than Tokyo.”

Aleksandar Vujic Says:

Regardless of how well these guys are paid, because of the pace of the competition, they risk the injury almost every week of the year. My question is: Why increasing this risk when we love so much to see them in action? Because of some tennis ball brand? Trust me, when I sit behind the screen to watch tennis, I could not care less about the brand name of that ball. I am perfectly fine if they all keep their silly names, just let the players decide about their perfect ball size and weight, so where is the problem???
Yours truly,

jane Says:

I agree: I think “gripe” characterizes this issue (and Murray) in the wrong way; he is not whining petulantly. He is voicing a legitimate concern that has been voiced *many times* by many of the players in the past. Take the clay season this year: the guys played with one ball type/size/weight/brand through all the masters and clay lead-up events, only to be “hit with” a different ball type/size/weight/brand at the French Open. Most if not all the top guys – including, if I recall, Fed, Rafa, Nole and Muzza – spoke about that ball change and how it doesn’t make sense. And it doesn’t! Not only due to risk of injury, but also because they are “grooved” with a particular ball, and then at the most important clay event they are introduced, and thus have to adjust, to a new one. That’s just dumb.

Murray is 100% right to voice this concern imo.

jane Says:

BTW, Tom, I realize you agree, too, as you finish the article as such:

“And there, Murray has a point. The tour should use the same ball for every tournament. Just like they do at the NFL, NBA, MLB and I assume Soccer which probably uses the same ball/ball-maker for every match.”

Hopefully the ATP will take heed.

Kimmi Says:

could they all use the same formula to make them? i mean, how difficult is that? If the companies want to put their own name on them..they can. ah, what do i know!!

Kimmi Says:

first meeting for rafa vs mayer. I dont know how mayer can play rafa. he is a tricky player.

Murray lost to wawa last time they play..was today walkover good for murray? maybe so! lets hope he has played enough tennis to practice in the past two weeks.

traineechemist Says:

Hello, everyone!

skeezerweezer Says:

Just goes to show there is NO consistent authority in the game.

By Murrays own statement the money is good, so why wouldn’t most players stay on the down low?

However, Balls changing, no regulation on strings, a “hidden” drug policy that no one ever really knows who and what is governing, and a sh!tty scheduling of Tourneys because “Hey, I have money, come play here!!!!” is a total chaotic mess and I hope the players step up, make some noise, and also take responsibility to better themselves and the Game. They are the tickets that sell.

grendel Says:

There’s something about Wawrinka that bothers Murray, hard to say what it is, I mean, what’s Wawrinka got that Roddick or Ferrer don’t have, for instance? He’s more powerful than Ferrer and has much more variety than Roddick but I’m not sure it’s that. Perhaps it’s just that Wawrinka clearly believes he can beat Murray.

Murray can play as fancy as he likes, but there’s this bulldoggish figure across the net who appears to be completely unimpressed by all that, and who just gets on with his own highly effective (sometimes) game. This seems to get to Murray, a man who has always been much taken by the idea of rank. He always used to say, when he was ranked 50 say, that so and so was obviously a much better player than him since he was ranked 17. And so on. So why isn’t Wawrinka deferring to him? Because he doesn’t.

They say you shuld never let the other fellow see how you’re feeling, but I don’t think that is necessarily true. For instance, when Wawrinka shakes his racket grimacing in disgust, he is letting Murray know that he believes that he (Wawrinka)has every chance of winning. Of course, if Nadal or Federer does the grimacing and shaking – even better, breaking – then naturally Murray will be elated. These things are relative.

So in this match, even when it was 4-0 in the third, there was a degree of tension. Murray pulls out the game for 5-0 and at last you feel, yes, this is probably it. Wrong. Warinka wins the next 3 games, and if he can break in the next game, then it’s even stevens. In fact, the final game proves to be a real dog fight, both men playing exceptionally.

People go on about the Murray serve, what a weapon it is but how inconsistent. Yet in the second set, which he lost, he had 77% first serve in I believe. Only goes to show, treat these sorts of figures which huge caution – they contribute to the story if put in context, they don’t substitute for it.

Early in that 2nd set, Murray managed to miss an amazingly simple smash (of Wimbledon/Nadal proportions), and before you knew where you were, 40-0 became deuce. O-oh, here we go, someone hasn’t yet learnt how to put bad deeds behind him. However, his serving got him out of this hole – a significant game that, I’d guess. Then serving at 2-3, he went down 15-40 following some terrific defence from Wawrinka (and a crippling reluctance on Murray’s part to come to the net on receopt of one of those defensive responses to be presented with a nice juicy volley). Again, he served himself out of trouble.

All in all, good job. Could do better – but, here’s the thing, you strongly suspect he will do better.

Kimmi Says:

Rafa running around his backhand a lot in this match. the foot work is incredible though. mayer cant match those FHs.

Kimmi Says:

mayer not finishing these big points. rafa is good though..never gives up the commentator says.

Kimmi Says:

mayer with his own serve set setpoint..crucial! can he do it?


Kimmi Says:

Lordy! I am so late to work but this match was worth being late for. Congrats Mayer.

grendel Says:

wish I’d watched that, Kimmi. Always been impressed by Mayer, lovely contained player, bit like this young Tomic fellow, lots of change of pace and direction – but didn’t imagine he could beat Nadal. Typical! Always did miss the exciting things in life….

Stella Says:

So the balls are now the problem. Hmmm!

Lovely win by Mayer. I always did like his quiet demeanour on court.A real sweetie!!!

dari Says:

Grendel, I was watching the Murray match here and there as i got ready for work and asked myself the same question about what wawrinka brings to spook Murray.
Definitely his belief, but also what’s the template for wawrinka? A bit erratic, strong on the one hand bh, big serve which he hits somewhat quickly from the hand with mostly the upper body, I don’t know? He’s played him plenty enough to figure out those things… Itbwas quite exciting when I saw stab beat him at USO.
Anyway, hope Andy can have a few effecient matches to prevent fatigue heading toward the next month.
Way to go.Andy

andre Says:

Work it Miss Tennis Balls…

Colin Says:

Maybe the tough first match will be good for Murray. In Tokyo he had a struggle with the Bagster and went on to win the tournament.

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