Andy Murray Presser: Relief Is Probably The Best Word To Describe How I’m Feeling Right Now [Video]

by Tom Gainey | September 10th, 2012, 11:41 pm

What a memorable night for Andy Murray and his fans. The Scot ended a 76-year British Grand Slam drought by winning the US Open title tonight in magnificent fashion, defeating defending champion Novak Djokovic 76(10), 75, 26, 36, 62 in a 4 hour, 54 minute marathon.

Like his coach Ivan Lendl, Murray was 0-4 lifetime in Grand Slam finals and near the end it appeared destined to continue. But after dropping the third and fourth sets in decided fashion Murray roared back in the fifth.

Murray’s title in his third of the year after Brisbane and the Olympic gold in London last month. He’ll also move up a spot to No. 3 in the new ATP World Tour rankings.

Djokovic still leads Murray in their head-to-head 8-7. The two split two incredible 5-set Grand Slam matches this year.

The Scot finished the match with 31 winners, 56 unforced errors and he was 8 of 17 on break points.

Afterward, an elated and relieved Murray spoke to the press:

On court ceremony:

Sky sports:

Interview room presser:

Q. First of all, congratulations. From my perspective, it looked like you played like a man just possessed out there. Just talk about the fight that you had and the feeling of having this trophy in front of you.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, it was obviously a very tough match. You know, mentally, the last three, four days have been pretty tiring. You know, when the conditions have been like they have been, you need to focus so hard, you know, on almost every shot because, you know, the ball is very hard to control. So mentally it was challenging, you know, aside from it being, you know, a slam final and having not won one before, playing against Novak who, you know, on this surface is ­­ I mean, in the slams I don’t think he’s lost for, you know, a couple of years. So it was an incredibly tough match, and, yeah, obviously it felt great at the end. “Relief” is probably the best word I would use to, you know, describe how I’m feeling just now. Yeah, very, very happy that I managed to come through because if I had lost this one from two sets up, that would have been a tough one to take.

Q. You just said “relief.” Is there a moment where you thought, “exultation” too?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know what that means. (Laughter.)

Q. Thrilled, you know, excitement.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, obviously you’re feeling a lot of things. You know, like I was obviously very emotional. You know, I cried, you know, a little bit on the court. You’re not sad; you’re incredibly happy. You’re in a little bit of disbelief because when I have been in that position many times before and not won, you do think, you know, Is it ever going to happen? Then when it finally does, you just ­­ yeah, you’re obviously very, very excited. But, yeah, mainly relieved to have got over that, that last hurdle.

Q. For 76 years British players have carried a millstone around their neck. What is it like to have finally done it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, when you’re on the court, you don’t necessarily feel it, but I know when I was serving for the match, there’s a sense of how, you know, how big a moment that is in British tennis history really. So, you know, that obviously adds to it. I know more than most, you know, British players, I have been asked about it many times when I got close to winning Grand Slams before. I get asked about it more and more even after I won the Olympics. I still got asked, When are you going to win a Grand Slam? So, yeah, it’s great to have finally done it, and I said in one of the interviews after the match, I hope now, you know, it inspires some kids to play tennis and also takes away the notion that British tennis players choke or don’t win or it’s not a good sport. You know, it’s in a very good place in the UK right now. Obviously Laura has done very well. The Olympics was great for us. Liam Broady was in the final here in the juniors. It’s in a good place. I hope it stays that way.

Q. When Novak took that timeout, what was going through your mind? And how did you keep focused on doing the job?
ANDY MURRAY: Actually, I felt fine after I got that break to serve for it at 5­2. I was still obviously very nervous around sort of 3­2, 4­2. You still are a long way from the finish line. When the conditions are like that, really anything can happen. You know, I got myself up after a minute or so of sitting down and just went to the back of the court and thought, you know, Where are you going to serve, first point? Once I got that first point, I settled down and felt fine. I have served matches very well my whole career. I have never really had a problem with it. Yeah, today was the same.

Q. How tough was it at the start of the fifth set when he had come back? Did the other finals go through your mind at all?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I wasn’t thinking about the other finals. I was thinking a bit more about what happened the last couple of sets and the situation I kind of found myself in after I guess it was nearly four hours of play by that stage. I went to the toilet after the fourth set and just, you know, had a think and, you know, said, It’s just one more set. Give everything. You don’t want to come off this court with any regrets. Don’t get too down on yourself. Just try and fight. I got a bit fortunate to get the break at the beginning of the set, and that helped. I got a net cord on the slice backhand. Then I settled down a bit after that.

Q. I’m sure you’re going to be asked this question a lot: Can you give us a sense how different this was to winning the gold medal in the Olympics? One, a huge victory for the country; the other, a huge victory for you, vindication. How do you compare and contrast them a bit?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s definitely different. You know, at the Olympics there was so much going on, you know, with all of the other sports and everyone was doing really well. There was a lot of momentum and stuff. You know, I had also the mixed doubles to focus on a bit. When you know you’re guaranteed a couple of silver medals, that also maybe helped me a little bit going into the final there. Whereas here, you know, I was still doubting myself right up to a few minutes before you go on to play the match. You’re thinking, you know, Are you going to be able to do this? This is going to be tough. The match against him always is going to hurt, you know, as well. Physically it’s challenging. Yeah, it’s something I have never done before. I have been in this position many times and not managed to get through. So there is a lot of things you’re thinking about before you go out on the court. I am just so relieved, like I said, to finally have got through and can put this one behind me and hopefully win more.

Q. What are your thoughts now on just how difficult the personal road has been for you to get to this first Grand Slam championship?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, it’s been tough because, you know, I have lost a lot of tight matches and semifinals and lost comfortably in my first few slam finals, as well. I mean, obviously not everyone in here sees all of the stuff that goes on away from the court in terms of the training that you do and, you know, I guess the physical sort of suffering, the stuff you put your body through on a weekly basis to try and prepare for these moments so you can play for four­and­a­half hours at a high intensity. That’s what’s tough. I mean, my life is still very, very good. Still very fortunate to be able to do this for a living. But, you know, when you get so close to achieving really my last goal I had left to achieve in tennis in winning a Grand Slam, and when you have been there many times and not done it, it is easy to doubt yourself. You know, I’m just, like I say, glad I managed to finally do it. Happy I was able to do it for all the guys I work with, as well, because they have been with me pretty much from the start and seen all of those things that go on away from the court.

Q. How old were you when you first felt that weight of, you know, the British history? Secondly, when it was slipping away a bit, two sets to Love lead, did you get scared and think, Oh, my God, I’m going to let this slip away from me?
ANDY MURRAY: I didn’t feel scared, but it’s something that you do ­­ like I said, at the end of the fourth set, you are thinking, What’s gone on here the last couple of sets? What can I do to try and change it? Obviously when you’re playing against someone like Novak who he has come back in a lot of matches, especially here, and he is in very good shape, you’re going to have to match him right up until the end. So, yeah, even during the match you’re still questioning yourself a bit and you’re still doubting yourself a little bit. Yeah, I just managed to stay tough enough today and get through.

Q. How old were you when you first felt that weight?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I don’t know exactly. I mean, probably when I lost in the Aussie Open final, that may be the first time really, you know, I was starting to feel like, you know, something that kind of everyone was maybe expecting to happen. But I knew deep down how tough it was to do it because of the people you were competing against. So I started to question whether I was going to be able to do it, you know, around that age. But I always worked hard and tried to do all the right things. I’m glad it finally happened.

Q. You have obviously had this fabulous tournament, this fabulous summer, but looking back on the process you just talked about, you may have shared this before, but what was the toughest stretch, the toughest moment or when you had the most doubt?
ANDY MURRAY: After I lost to Novak in Australia last year, I wasn’t feeling good at all for pretty much into the clay court season. So that was a good three­month stretch, three­, four­month stretch where I really struggled with my game. I struggled, you know, for motivation. I lost and I think I lost in the first round of Indian Wells and Miami. You know, I really wasn’t playing well, wasn’t enjoying it so much, and I stopped working with Alex Corretja around that time, as well. That was also hard. I mean, since I come on the tour, that was probably the hardest part.

Q. Having four different winners this year in the slams and having you won the Olympics and being in the final of Wimbledon, do you consider yourself the most successful player of the year until now, more or less? Another question: I remember you didn’t like to play in wind. You told us many, many times. Did you attend a navigation college in South Hampton to improve your attitude towards playing in the wind?
ANDY MURRAY: No, I didn’t. I don’t think I have had the best year on the tour, no. I think the last few months have been great for me, but, you know, there is more to the tennis tour than just the Grand Slams. You know, Novak has played great tennis in most of the Masters Series, as well. Roger has got himself back to No. 1. You know, I think it is important to remember the tennis season. It starts in January, finishes in November, there is four slams, but there is also many other tournaments to get to No. 1 in the world, which I think if you’re No. 1 you deserve to be the player of the year. You can’t just rely on only playing the Grand Slams. You need to do well at the other events, as well. I haven’t done as well as I have needed to get to No. 1 in the world. I would say Novak or Roger would be the best players this year. But there is still a few months left. And, no, I didn’t do the South Hampton thing.

Q. There is a term in American sports, ‘act like you’ve been there before. Is this utter fatigue you’re going through? You appear as if you’re coming in here after a big loss, not like the culmination ­­ there is the first smile. That’s what I’m looking for. You showed so much personality after the loss in Wimbledon and winning the Olympics. Emotionally, what level of euphoria are you going through now that you have this huge accomplishment behind you as opposed to in front of you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s hard to describe because I’m thinking a lot just now. I’m thinking a lot about a lot of different things. I have obviously just seen the guys that I work with, I saw my girlfriend, my mom, you know, all those people. I think everyone is just in a little bit of shock, to be honest, that it’s kind of happened. I see my mom after I have lost in slam finals and stuff, and she’s been really upset. Everyone is really, really happy, but…

Q. This would be a good time to show it.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. (Laughter.) Exactly. I think we’re sort of learning from Lendl a little bit. (Laughter.)

Q. Learn the on­the­court stuff, not the off.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. He doesn’t smile a whole lot. (Laughter.) Yeah, it’s hard to explain. It’s been a long, long journey to this point. So I’m just ­­ I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s disbelief or whatever. I’m very, very happy on the inside. I’m sorry if I’m not showing it as you would like.

Q. Back to 1936 for a minute. I have been in this room many, many times. I have heard the topic, the drought brought up with Tim Henman many times and with you. It’s a topic you have had to endure. With this profession comes a ton of pressure. How much pressure has it been, the hopes Britain has had upon you? And it was that way with Tim before and others. Talk about that. And also how great a relief is it to finally have shed that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I did get asked about that all of the time for the last few years. Most press conferences I would do I would get asked a question along those sort of lines, and it does build pressure a little bit. You try not to think about it much when you’re playing, but like I said, when I was serving for the match, it’s something that you ­­ you know, I realized how important that moment was, and, you know, for British tennis or British sport. It’s something that hasn’t happened for a long time obviously in our country. And, yeah, I’m obviously proud that I managed to, you know, to achieve it, and, yeah, I don’t have to get asked that stupid question again. (Laughter.)

Q. As a follow­up, I want to ask: Did the Olympic victory help, too? A stepping stone?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think even after Wimbledon this year, I felt much better after losing that match than I had after other slams. The support I had afterwards was something I hadn’t really experienced before. That also helped me to get over it quickly. The Olympics was ­­ I mean, it was obviously huge for me. It was the biggest week of my life, for sure. But still today, you know, before the match, when I was sitting in the locker room beforehand, like I say, there are still doubts. You’re still thinking, If I lose this one, you know, no one’s ever lost their first five finals. You know, I just didn’t really want to be that person. It was good to win.

Q. You talked about feeling different going into the Olympic final after Wimbledon. Going into this US Open final, did it feel different? If so, how?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, going into the Olympic final I felt different than going into the Wimbledon final. I think I dealt with both situations fairly well. I wasn’t too nervous. But like I say, today I was very nervous before the match. You know, like I say, I was doubting myself a bit. I mean, I don’t know whether winning the Olympics helped me today or not, but, you know, I don’t think the Olympics victory, when I got into the fifth set there, that wasn’t something I was thinking about, you know, at all.

Q. But your mentality going in. You said the mentality going in after Wimbledon…
ANDY MURRAY: No, I felt ­­ coming to this tournament I felt much better than I had done maybe going into slams in the past. I felt more comfortable with myself. But today when you’re playing for a Grand Slam and it’s something I haven’t done before, my mentality wasn’t, Well, I won the Olympics, so today is going to be a breeze and I’m going to deal with the situation really well. You know, I was very nervous in a couple of hours leading up to the match.

Q. The fact you had to fight so hard, the quarters, the semis, beating three tough opponents in a row, and then Novak, does that make the win any more sweet?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think ­­ well, I mean, however I got my first slam after the losses I have had, it was going to feel great. But this tournament, I didn’t really feel like I played my best. I felt like, you know, the matches maybe sometimes because of the conditions, you just have to try and find a way and get through. But, yeah, I mean, the final today, I think it meant more to me winning it in four­and­a­half hours and the five­set match and having been up two sets to nothing and him coming back, you know, will have meant more to me because of that.

Q. You have ticked off various things obviously with two massive wins. Would becoming world No. 1 about be the next target in your only personal performance?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, all players, once you get near to the top of the game, that’s one of the goals is to try and get to the world No. 1. I can’t say this year it’s necessarily possible for me to do it because I didn’t have a particularly good clay court season and I didn’t do well in the Masters Series in Cincinnati and Montreal and also in Indian Wells. I had too many losses early in those tournaments. But that is the next step. To do that, you need to be consistent throughout the whole year. That’s something that Novak and Roger and Rafa have done incredibly well the last few years. He made it very, very difficult for guys to get up there. I’m definitely going to try. It’s something I’d love to do, to get to No. 1. It’s a very tough thing to do.

Q. Other than the fan support that you get at Wimbledon and the Olympics, have you ever had this much support on the road? And were you prepared for Djokovic perhaps to be the fan favorite tonight?
ANDY MURRAY: I always had very good support in New York since I came the first time. I mean, I was 18 at the time when I played the seniors here the first time. I always had really good support. Tonight I didn’t ­­you know, I had no real expectations of who they would rather win, you know, but I think they wanted to see a great match. You know, they wanted to see a long match. At the start, they were supporting us fairly equally. Then the third and fourth sets they seemed to be going for him a bit more. Then the beginning of the fifth, you know, the support was back with me. It was, yeah, it was just quite up and down. I think they have obviously seen a lot of tennis here. They wanted to see a great match. Yeah, the support at the end and the atmosphere we got to play in tonight was incredible.

Q. Since you’re dreaming about winning your Grand Slam, did you make any promise to yourself what happened if I won a Grand Slam? Can you share it? When you started the coach­athlete’s relationship, did you make a promise to Ivan if I win a Grand Slam…
ANDY MURRAY: No. Knowing him, you know, after we will have a chat about the match tonight and then we will be discussing, unfortunately, the practice schedule for the next few weeks before the tournaments in China. (Laughter.) But, I mean, in the past before some of the slams, like in Australia and stuff, I had spoken to the guys I worked with and said, you know, If I win, we will do this. One of them was jumping out of a plane. One of them was everyone had to shave their heads. But, yeah, for this one, we had none, unfortunately.

Q. The late great Fred Perry was a great earthy guy; didn’t exactly come through in a traditional British way. If you could be magically sitting down with him in a back room over here chatting for a moment or two, what would you say to him and what do you think he’d say to you?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, obviously I don’t know. I never got the chance to meet him. But it would have been nice to have spoken to someone from Britain that had, you know, won major tournaments before. That definitely would have helped me if I would have got the chance. But, you know, I used to wear his clothing line when I was growing up. Yeah, I mean, I’m sure he’s smiling from up there that someone has finally managed to do it from Britain. Yeah, I’m very, very happy, and I just hope it’s not a long, long way ­­ I hope I can see another British player in my lifetime win a Grand Slam.

Q. You never heard about BBC radio? He was on the radio. That was before your time?
ANDY MURRAY: I think so, or I may have been a very young kid. But I haven’t heard him on the radio.

Q. Talking about smiles, there was a moment when you and Ivan Lendl were able to smile together after the match. Did he tell you anything that you can tell us after this match?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I saw all of the guys in the locker room afterwards, and, yeah, I saw him. He just said, you know, I’m proud of you; well done. We had a hug. Then someone sprayed champagne all down my back and over him. I think it was Danny. That kind of ended that. He started swearing. (Laughter.) Yeah, and that was that.

Q. During the past two weeks I don’t know if anyone worked harder than you on the practice courts. What drives you to work so hard?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, moments like this, I think. That’s why we do it. It’s why we play the game and put all the work in off the court. You know, if I hadn’t trained hard I wouldn’t have been able to last. My match a couple of days ago was four hours; today it was four and a half hours. So that’s really what it’s for, for moments like this. Sometimes you question whether it’s all worth it ­ and I have done that a few times ­ but after the summer that I have had, you realize that it is worth it. There’s only one way to get where you want to be, and that’s with hard work and dedication.

Q. You talked about the doubts that you have had. What have you proved to yourself today?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I proved that, you know, I can win the Grand Slams. I proved that I can last four­and­a­half hours and come out on top against, you know, one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen especially on this surface. So they would probably be the things that I would say I have learned tonight. But, you know, to not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on. You know, I’m sure that would have a positive impact in the future.

Q. The easy play for us is to say that Ivan was a game changer for you. Was he? If so, how? What do you think was the key?
ANDY MURRAY: I think he definitely helped, that’s for sure. I mean, it’s hard to say in terms of a percentage how much difference he will have made. There was a lot of people that around the middle part of this year didn’t think that it was working well and I wasn’t learning from him that it wasn’t just, you know, a good situation. But, you know, I have enjoyed working with him. I have listened to him a lot. You know, he’s definitely, definitely helped. Having him in your corner for any player would be a big bonus. Not many guys have won as much as he did want to go into coaching or want to be around tennis. I think because he had such a long break after he finished, you know, he wanted to get back into it. I think he’s enjoying it. You know, he was obviously one of the most successful tennis players ever. You know, I’m sure it gave a little boost to his ego tonight, as well, that I won today, you know, after just sort of nine months with him. (Laughter.) It’s been great so far, and I hope we can keep working well together.

Q. Is there a certain message he gave you, Be more aggressive? Toughness? What?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think it was the thing just to try to keep going for my shots and giving 110%, you know, not leave anything out there on the court, because, you know, he knows how hard Grand Slams are to come by and how hard you need to work to give yourself a chance to win them. You don’t want to, you know, step off the court not doing yourself justice. I felt maybe couple years ago in Australia a couple of years ago when I played Novak in the final there I didn’t necessarily do, and that hurt me a lot. That’s probably why I struggled for a few months afterwards. If I had lost tonight it would have hurt a lot, but I would have known I would have tried my best and given it 110%. That’s what he asks of me. If I do that, then he’s happy.

Q. You spoke a lot about the enormous relief you’re feeling at the moment. How do you think this might change you either as a person or in the way you do business on the court?
ANDY MURRAY: I hope it doesn’t change me as a person. That would be a bad thing. I think on the court, you know, hopefully if I get into situations like this in the future I won’t be having all the doubts that I was having before the match today. I will maybe just be a little more confident than I was before this tournament. That’s actually it. You know, I hope it doesn’t change too much. You know, I’m still gonna going to have all the same friends and family and stay in the same house and train in the same places. Nothing much is going to change in that respect. There may be a few more busy press conferences now and a little bit more demands on my time, but that’s part of the job and that’s worth it.

Q. Getting married?
ANDY MURRAY: Justin’s told me all about married life, and he said it’s not all that…

Q. It’s way tougher.
ANDY MURRAY: No. Well, I don’t have any plans for it just now.

Q. Yesterday Victoria Azarenka said after losing to Serena that she felt blessed to play in the era of Serena Williams, a woman who has beaten her 10 out of 11 times. She said the reason she felt blessed was because it drove her to raise her level of tennis beyond what she was otherwise. You are playing in an era of greatness as well. There has been conversation about you breaking into the strata of Roger and Rafa and Novak. Novak said he felt privileged to play in this era. Talk about that and what it means to do what you have had to do to crack into what you have done tonight?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I have always said that, you know, playing against these guys makes you much better. When you see physically how strong someone like Rafa is, I played him many times, you know, that drives you. You see also how hard he works. That makes you realize what you have to do nowadays, I think, to get to the top of the game and to compete with those guys. You know, I obviously played Roger many times, as well. You know, just the way that he plays, the consistency that he’s shown over the last whatever, seven, eight, nine, ten years, I think it’s going to be tough to see that again. Obviously Novak, the last few years, you know, you see the way he moves around the court. He took things I think especially on a hard court to a new level. Yeah, I’m very happy to be part of this era in tennis. I think everyone probably in here would agree it’s one of the best ever. I think playing against them has made me improve so much. You know, I always said that maybe if I played another era maybe I would have won more, but I wouldn’t have been as good a tennis player. I think that’s how you should be judged at the end of your career, not just on how much you’re winning but on the people you’re competing against and how good a player you actually were. Those guys are some of the best of all time.

Q. A few minutes ago you spoke of this being a long journey. What gives you the most satisfaction now of what you have overcome during that journey?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I mean, I think probably, I mean, proving to myself that I could do it. Like I said, there are times where you don’t really think ­­ you know, I’m sure there are a lot of people that thought ­­you know, I have been questioned when I was younger. I didn’t work hard enough and, you know, that I wasn’t mentally strong enough and I didn’t listen to my coaches and stuff. You know, I always did listen to my coaches. I just was very immature sometimes on the court. I have tried to improve that side of things. Yeah, I think I just proving to myself is probably the most pleasing part about tonight, because there are times when I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it.

Q. There were a lot of extraordinary points, sort of another aspect of this era, all the great defense. How does the body feel after four­and­a­half hours of that?
ANDY MURRAY: It definitely feels a lot better when you win. (Laughter.) You know, on this surface especially things hurt a lot in the morning. I actually normally when I play on hard courts take painkillers most days before matches. Actually today was the only day I took any painkillers during the tournament. I felt really good for the most part in terms of, you know, my joints and stuff. But it does take a lot out of the body, and this is for sure the most demanding surface. You know, you can wake up with stiff back, hips, knees. I can’t do it, but the way Novak slides on the court I’m sure his ankles and stuff are pretty sore in the morning. But, yeah, I actually feel fine just now. I think maybe because it wasn’t that warm out there. I feel fine just now. I felt fine at the end of the match. Hopefully I would have been able to go a little bit longer.


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46 Comments for Andy Murray Presser: Relief Is Probably The Best Word To Describe How I’m Feeling Right Now [Video]

harry Says:

Great! Now Murray & Nole are “the ones who have got the funk” :)

Danica Says:

Congrats Andy!!!

jane Says:

“And, yeah, I’m obviously proud that I managed to, you know, to achieve it, and, yeah, I don’t have to get asked that stupid question again. (Laughter.)”

He’s referring to the 76 years – LOL! Well said Andy. A very thoughtful interview, and some funny comments about them not showing too many smiles just now because they’re learning from Lendl.

Michael Says:

Murray has candidly admitted that he does not deserve be to No.1 just by winning the Olympics and US Open.

harry Says:

Some interesting pictures from the match (torygraph):

Margot Says:

Lol, never wants to be asked about Fed Perry EVER again.
What a horrible monkey to have on your back.
Finally shakes it off. YAY!
Love him to bits :)

Nirmal Kumar Says:

So far this season Andy had beaten the best Grass court player at Olympics final and best HC player at USO for both his titles. I’m not sure if he would get enough credit for this achievement. It’s stupendous.

I’m thinking he may go on a tear for the rest of the season, where typically he performs very well. It’s going to be a fantastic season till WTF with all the 3 in best shape and will go toe to toe in their favorite surface.

If one of these 3 win the WTF then probably they can rightfully claim this as their year. I think the best player of the year is hanging in balance.

Brando Says:

Well done andy. Best tennis player in the world ATM ? IMHO, YES. Player of the year? NOT QUITE. He’s right- seasons still to finish, but for the moment that is between fed and nole (very close race). Ultimately as if andy cares- he just won a GS title baby!:-))))))))))

Michael Says:

What is Andy’s overall performance this year ? He got to the semis of Australian Open, was beaten early in the French Open, made the finals of Wimbledon and now won the US Open. He also won the Olympic Gold. Other than this, I do not think he won any Masters series tournament this year. On the other hand, if you see Roger’s record this year, he made the Semis of Australian Open, semis of French, won Wimbledon, made the quarters of US Open, won the Olympic silver medal, won Indian Wells, Madrid, Cincinnati Masters as well as a couple of other important 500 tournaments. As regards Novak, he made the finals of every slam other than Wimbledon where he lost in the semis. Won the Australian Open plus Miami and Toronto Masters. He also made the finals of many other Master series tournaments. All this leads to quick conclusion that so far this year, the race for No.1 is between Roger and Novak with Roger heading at the moment. Andy is much behind despite his current slam win.

alison Says:

TBH im worn out as ive had very little sleep,went to bed as high as a kite,and have to go to work at 3 to run around after 27 old people,but it was well worth it,im am absolutely thrilled for Andy Murray,but especially for all his die hard fans Colin,Raquet,Jane(half happy but half sad though too),but especially to the best Murray fan on this forum AKA Maaaargooot,who must be crying tears of joy enjoy your moment and enjoy your day you deserve it,sorry for the lovely Nole fans too Jane,Nina,Wogboy,Mat4,Courbon etc etc,your guys an amazing player and competitor who im sure will bounce back soon,after seeing my other favorite Rafa pull out due to injury i was so dissapointed,and been a Brit put all my emotional investment into Andy and im so pleased to say that it paid off,now my two favorites both have a GS this year im over the moon,ANDY MURRAY USO GRAND SLAM CHAMPION has a lovely ring to it,yippee what a great day in tennis.

alison Says:

Tennis could start to get even more interesting,its not the top 3 anymore its the top 4 now,Roger,Rafa,Nole have company now,wonder if Nole will now start to feel how Rafa did last year,Andy could do to Nole what Nole did to Rafa,and what Rafa did Roger and what Roger did to Sampras and so on and so forth,interesting times lie ahead in tennis,just hoping Rafa will return soon too to see where hes at now in terms of his tennis.

alison Says:

Michael i very much doubt Murray or his fans actually care about the number 1 ranking,i think they are just delighted hes bagged his 1st GS,and finally got the monkey of his back,all the nonsence about him been lucky that he didnt have to face Roger,he had to face Berdych and came through with flying colours,Berdych beat Roger because Roger was not good enough sorry,wasnt Novak a tad lucky against Ferrer with the weather when Ferrer had all the momentum on his side,and im sorry your second favorite player lost,and he will bounce back im sure but this is Andys day let him and his fans enjoy his moment without putting what ifs and astericks against him.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Murray should have realised after seeing Roger last year that if he has a strong finish to the year, then probably he has a chance to get to No 1 next year. If he can win WTF and a masters then it will be a big boost to his points. He hardly has points to defend next year till wimbledon except the AO semis.

Normally he is very strong in the later part of the year. Let’s see if he relaxes after this win or goes for a kill.

Maso Says:

This is the best thing that could happen to tennis right now. Congratulations to Murray, team and fans, this is fantastic! What an exciting season. Almost like a fairy tale, having the top 4 with a slam each. I’m a huge Federer fan and was sad to see him lose in the quarters, but Andy winning the US Open definitely makes me happy. What an absolutely amazing time for tennis! The end of season should be most interesting.

jamie Says:

Murray will be #1 next year. 2013 will be the best year of his career.

grendel Says:

A few thoughts and impressions of the last two weeks. Sorry if some of the stuff I touch on has already been discussed exhaustively on the site. This is compiled from stuff I jotted down as the tourney progressed. Why do it this way? Well, I just had an urge to write about the tournament, but I didn’t want to get mixed up in the hurly burly of comment because a) I hadn’t posted for ages and b) I shan’t be posting again for ages either since I have a time consuming project on hand (nothing special – except to me), and I know how addictive posting on tennisx becomes, and how it pinches the time. That must sound all a bit solemn and self-regarding – but there it is.

First week.
For Britons, the breakthrough of Laura Robson was undoubtedly the highlight. I wonder, though, if the rest of the world took much note. I first saw Laura when she won Junior Wimbledon 4 years ago. My heart sang, not so much because she won, though that was welcome, but because of the carefree style of her play. You can’t be carefree AND good unless you have a natural sense of timing. There are few things more moving in sport, any sport, than watching a player who seems to have time to spare. It’s a subtle thing, isn’t it, easy to spot but difficult to analyse or even comprehend since we are talking milliseconds here. Berdych is often accused of being mechanical, by which is meant, presumably, that he doesn’t vary his pattern of play much. Players like Murray and Federer are natural opportunists – at their best, they can improvise, sometimes startlingly, as occasion demands. That is not Berdych’s forte. And yet he is a beautiful player to watch, and in my opinion that is because he has this wonderful timing. He purrs the ball into oblivion. So that when he is on, really on, he looks unbeatable.

At any rate, it was immediately obvious that the 14 year old Robson was a star in the making. It took longer than I thought – it generally does, we,the spectators,are so impatient, we want everything at once – and a couple of years ago, I watched with great interest as Laura took on Jankovic at Wimbledon. She absolutely held her own to begin with, and again those languid forehands exploding out of nowhere . And that lovely lefty serve, swerving beyond the receiver’s flailing racket, for ever out of reach. There was no consistency, though, and Jankovic simply stood her ground and waited for the storm to subside. And she exploited the lumpiness that was Robson then. Time and again Jankovic would find a spot, and Robson would be rooted, staring hopelessly, like a person reading yesterday’s newspaper and wondering why everything seems slightly out of kilter.
Not any more. It is extraordinary how Robson’s movement has improved – and given her youth, this will continue to sharpen and who knows what the limits might be. And her serve, which could be a weapon or a calamity at any time, has begun to take shape. She’s not there yet, but there is a very formidable serve shaping up which threatens, to my untutored eye, to being even better than Kivtova’s.

At her presser after the defeat by Stosur, she was asked:”You came off court feeling disappointed or satisfied with the performance that was quite strong at the end ?” and she replied:”Definitely disappointed”. This was a relief to hear. We have become accustomed to the plucky Brit who takes a set off some highly ranked player, and apparently expects to be installed in the hall of fame for ever after. ( this actually happens; in the year when Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon, Barry Cowan took two sets off him, and he was headline news, and that is what people still remember of Cowan the player. Andrew Castle took Mats Wilander to 4 or 5 sets at Wimbledon, and he has been dining on that accomplishment ever since. And so on – absolutely). But Laura Robson was, wonderfully, annoyed with herself. This means she wants and expects much more of herself in the coming months. She also gave a cool account of where she went wrong. There were far too many unforced errors, and that to some degree because “… a few times today I just tried to go for it a bit too early..” This was screamingly obvious to the viewer, but how often do players admit to the obvious if it appears to be to their detriment.? Meanwhile, Robson gave due credit to the difficulties Stosur’s game, especially her serve, posed for her.

Laura looks composed on court, and it is no surprise to learn that whilst she knows she is good, she has little idea how unusually good she is – despite years of hype – or perhaps she just doesn’t let it affect her. There are other things in life sort of thing, quite unusual in the hothouse atmosphere of women’s tennis. Her sense of humour is delightful and unforced. For instance: “This morning actually there was a camera crew outside my hotel. I got really excited because I thought they were waiting for someone who was actually famous”. And in response to this question:”This shopping expedition, anything particular you’re looking for?” Robson :”I find if you go out with an open mind, you find a lot more” (and her mouth curls into the slightest of smiles). Incidentally, don’t you ever wonder just how aware a player is of what’s going on in the crowd? Laura remarked:” I think James Corden [a British actor currently on Broadway] was watching me play…I spotted him in the first set, and then spent the rest of the time trying not to wave.”

“I felt weird before the match….I played well and I don’t know why”. Thus Roddick on his amazingly free and loose performance against Tomic. In the postmatch interview, Gilbert said how relaxed Roddick was, only to be immediately interrupted:”I wasn’t relaxed!” That was a humorous moment. Nobody likes being contradicted, especially not in public, and especially not a compulsive know all like Gilbert. He showed commendable self-restraint, I must say, in recognizing this was not the moment to do his alpha-male stuff with another even bigger alpha-male . Roddick’s state of mind and play was indeed interesting in this and the Fognini match. He did play with a sort of abandon, almost as if he was at last free of the burdens of responsibility. At the handshake, Tomic gave him the customary little pat on the stomach, but Roddick studiously ignored him, making only the briefest of eye contacts. Roddick is the ultimate pro, and he knew better than anyone that Tomic had tanked the 3rd set – the unforgiveable sin,really, for a professional. Someone remarked that Tomic swans around like a superstar, and meanwhile his development has come more or less to a fullstop. He is a player with immense potential, but that will dissipate if his caste of mind remains stuck in the adolescent groove. At the end of the entertaining Fognini match both players showed warm respect for each other – Tomic might have cared to consider the difference.

Meanwhile, his compatriot Hewitt showed how you conduct yourself in adversity. Hewitt had set point on his serve in the first set tiebreak against Ferrer, he executed the perfect serve which elicited one of the best returns I’ve ever seen. Ferrer won the set – but the mental effort must have been supreme. Just a little relaxation at the beginning of the 2nd, Hewitt pounced, and that was the set. At the beginning of the third set, Hewitt was cruising to a service hold when chance intervened in devastating fashion. First, there was a a net chord with the ball landing dead. Concentration perhaps disturbed, Hewitt muffed a simple volley and then doublefaulted. The match turned, and it was conclusive. But Hewitt had given his all. His latest operation has entailed the insertion of pieces of lead into his toes. Apart from anything else, this constrains his ability to stretch upwards to provide leverage for his serve. But still, he ploughs on, his rationale being that he wants to retire on his terms and not on terms dictated by injury. He had warm words for Roddick on his impending retirement, apparently they are quite matey these days. Roddick was reported to have been unable to stand Hewitt when they were young rivals. Not hard to see why. Talk about alpha males in a pit. But time (and decline)dims old animosities, eh?

“That might just be one of the best points ever!” screamed Petch – “not to mention one of the best HUGE points ever” added a smiling Peter Fleming (funny how you can hear a smile in a voice sometimes). This was at the end of a 23 shot rally which had taken the entire court as its theatre, including the net, and which had more than its fair share of the impossible. If Lopez had won the point, he would have been serving for the 4th set. He was entirely secure on his serve, not least the second which had troubled Murray right from the start. And Murray was almost gone. Difficult to see how he could have pulled out a fifth.

Due to the Olympics, Murray had missed his 3 week training block in Miami. Maybe this accounted for the strange lethargy which suddenly overtook him in the 3rd set when he had already broken and appeared to be coasting to victory. He simply wilted in the heat. Falling apart, he was too exhausted to summon the energy to rant. Like a prize fighter, he kept going through the motions, waiting for the second wind. Holding serve in the 4th had been heroic, and also kind of shrewd. He must have been counting on the lottery of a tiebreak – but getting there was a matter of patiently negotiating each point. It was kind of thrilling stuff in an oddly perverse way. In the tiebreak, Murray’s fighting instincts were abundantly on display. At 4-4, he hit a quite untypical off forehand to draw the error and then at 5-4 another excellent 2nd serve from Lopez gave the Spaniard the chance to hit a very fine approach shot. But Murray came up with the pass of the match to earn a mini-break and effectively the match. Phew! If Murray has one thing in common with Tim Henman – well, all Britons will know what I have in mind.

Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez was a revelation. He was very unfortunate to lose the first two sets – where he was at least Murray’s equal, he never gave up, he was getting stronger and would surely have taken the 5th. His smile when Murray won that point of the tournament (so far) was very far from the slick and suave Lopez, the proud strutter of the courts, that we are accustomed to. It was a kind of wild smile, that of a warrior who had been thwarted yet again in the most unlikely circumstance but who knew that the battle was still to wage and rage. Lopez’ stature at the end of that match was immense. I can’t believe he has ever played with such consistent skill and heart. Is there a way forward for him at this stage in his career?

2nd week.
Kvitova and Bartoli traded blows with a kind of manic intensity. They both hit the ball incredibly hard, shot after shot, as if this was completely normal and was how all people played. In the first set, Kvitova was absolutely on song, none of the usual spraying of the ball to all points of the compass. She hit just a little too heavily for Bartoli, executed some nice net play – she does have good hands, the best of the giants imo – and took the 1st set 6-1 .

This was a misleading scoreline, though. Most of the games were highly competitive, with Kvitova just edging them. Bartoli would, as it were, take a punch to the chin, hit the deck, leap up and back she’d come blasting away and again just miss. Yet I read a couple of reports asserting that the first set was a sort of whitewash. This was such manifest nonsense that you have to assume the reporter didn’t actually watch the game, but was simply constructing a story on the basis of the score. I wonder how often this happens. The year Soderling beat Nadal at the RG, he met Nadal in Rome and was beaten something like 6-0, 6-1. Some of those who watched the match – I didn’t – report that each game was hotly contested even though in the end Nadal won almost all of them. And this makes some sense of Soderling’s sensational victory in Paris. Similarly, Bartoli’s competitive showing in the first set against Kvitova paved the way for what was to happen.

At first, Kvitova went off only slightly and Bartoli, maintaining her own level, pounced to break twice. Some people can’t abide Bartoli, with all her eccentric mannerisms. I belong to the they –are- rather-endearing camp. Furthermore, she is always herself, no mean achievement in a sport where you can sometimes have trouble recalling which particular production line a female player has sprung from. And doesn’t she make a wonderful duo with that nervous, twitching dad of hers?

And such energy. How can any one resist it? An “allez” here, a “come on” there, sometimes roared out and accompanied by a charge to somewhere or other. She can give the impression of a lion which has escaped its cage but is at a loss as to where exactly it is meant to go. And sometimes she just runs around in circles, pointing a finger in various directions, keen to impress upon anyone who hadn’t noticed just how dominant she has been. But all this is conducted with a curious innocence.

Anyway, at the backend of the 2nd set, Kvitova broke to love with some characteristic magic, the tide was turning and normality about to be restored you couldn’t help thinking when Bartoli instantly returned the compliment before serving out the set 6-2, and Kvitova by no means playing badly.
She was just, I don’t know, outhustled. She would smack the ball with tremendous power and timing only to have it coming straight back. She was outfoxed, too. In one amusing rally, the players moonballed each other for 3 or4 shots, and whereas the first two were justified in terms of the ball’s initial position, I had the feeling Kvitova was momentarily hypnotised. She was snapped out of her dream by Bartoli suddenly unleashing a ferocious smash. Was there a reproachful look on Kvitova’s face, as if Bartoli had welched out of an unwritten agreement….

Kvitova was clearly very shaken, and she left the court for ages, to the derision of the crowd. The 3rd set loomed as an exciting prospect. It was in a way, but it proved to be no longer a contest. Kvitova appearing terminally baffled, double-faulted twice whilst the crowd slowhandclapped her – and roared with approval when Bartoli broke. Some even started a football style chant, “lets go Bartoli, lets go Bartoli”.
Kvitova was being outplayed, out thought, out psyched and even, astonishingly, outhit. She did try – Bartoli’s energy having seemed momentarily to ebb –but, false alarm! Bartoli not only held but broke Kvitova to love again with some inspirational tennis. You have to think there was guile in all this intensity, because the adrenalin flow ensured pinpoint accuracy in apparently outlandishly ambitious shots. And this, in turn, was only possible because Bartoli had put in more hours on the court than possibly another woman on the tour. She was just tuned in. Anyway, Kvitova was 0-3 down, including two breaks.

Kvitova with a towel over her head at changeover, bowed low. Despondency oozing from the huddled heap on the chair. She makes her way stoically to the service line, looking curiously pale. She prepares to take the Bartoli serve with a modestly clenched fist whilst nodding her head. It seems this nodding incorporated a wealth of meaning. For instance: Look, I’ve done crap so far, I know. You don’t need to tell me. I’m the one who’s suffering. Well, you are too, having to watch this rubbish, I admit that. But don’t worry. That’s all in the past. I’ve put it behind me. I’ve learnt my lesson. We all need lessons sometimes, don’t we. Painful, but there it is. You’re going to see the real me now. You just watch. Ha, I’m glad I’m not Bartoli. But somehow, it was not convincing. And in fact, Bartoli proceeded to hold with ease, the clinching shot of the game being a terrific running lob in response to what had looked for all the world a Kvitova winner. And this essentially continued to the end, a couple of minor wobbles being brushed aside by the rampant Frenchwoman. There was no commentary, so I don’t know how the experts regarded all this, but the crowd was delirious and I kind of went along with them even though I’ve supported Kvitova for the last year or two.

Bartoli was simply exhilarating, a whirring, buzzing little storm of electricity. She couldn’t quite repeat the performance against Sharapova, though she came close. You could see that Sharapova resented the fact that little Bartoli was completely immune to her quasi regal presence. Bigger, stronger players with more ammunition, such as Petrova, can be bluffed out of victory when playing Sharapova, but Bartoli cares nothing for reputation. Still, biology tells, and Bartoli didn’t quite have the fire power. She was in with a chance right to the end, however, and she was denied the critical break by a quite fantastic serve, hit wide to the sidelines with pace and spin. Sharapova made her usual stately progress back to the service line (you don’t quite expect the royal wave…), and in so doing she generally tries to maintain a neutral facade. This for once is not for the benefit of her opponent, since obviously her opponent cannot see her. The idea, I assume, is to blank out what has just happened, good or bad, in order to focus entirely on the next serve. Even so, she gives stuff away, perhaps without realising it. For instance after a double fault at a critical juncture, she has this pained look. It is as if she has been defied by an obstreperous and annoying underling whom for the time being she is not at liberty to chastise in a manner befitting the offence, but you can be certain that when the lights are out, and nobody is looking…..Well, after this amazing serve, which really clinched the match for her, there crept into her eyes a gleam of satisfaction, as if she’d finally landed the cream which everyone had , incomprehensibly, been concealing from her.

The Stosur/Azarenka match was very high quality. I was sorry Stosur lost. There is a touch of the manufactured in Azarenka’s game, smacking of the hours and days and weeks and months and years caged in the tennis hothouse – wonderfully clever and even sometimes imaginative though it is. Whilst Stosur, you feel, is one of life’s natural athletes. She plays tennis, she boxes, she’ll kayak down dangerous rapids, will tread the surf boards with Philippoussis on the highest waves, she’s summer’s girl. What a story. A great doubles player – the best, maybe, with her partner Raymond – she’s struck down by a career threatening illness. She decides to pay more attention to singles, and she ends up beating the greatest female tennis player in history on one of the two greatest stages. And when people say to her, candidly old fruit, I never gave you a chance, she just laughs. Her serve is unique and she has turned a weak back hand into a potent force. According to British commentator Sam Smith, such a transformation is virtually unheard of – she can think only of James Blake. But it is somehow typical of a great amateur. Of course, Stosur is not an amateur and Azarenka is not a robot. But Stosur has a hint of the amateur about her – and Azarenka a hint of the robot.

In the rain interval during the Roddick/Delpo match, they showed excerpts from Henman’s great run in the Paris Masters. Roddick (who was shown doing a successful hot dog,b.t.w.) was one of Henman’s opponents, and he commented on the excellence of Henman’s low volleys. It was noticeable that Roddick managed a few himself in this match, and you do wonder why he didn’t add the shot to his repertoire in a consistent manner.

Whilst Murray’s dismantling of the Raonic serve was impressive, perhaps too much was made of his victory. The Cilic match was a return to reality. I have never known such tension (in a 5 setter) in a second set tiebreak. Rusedski claimed after the match that even if Murray had lost it, he would have won the match, but of course he can’t know that. Having lost such an enormous lead, Cilic was demoralised. But if he had somehow held on, confidence to a degree must have returned, whilst the fact that Murray’s great effort after all counted for nothing would surely have have been debilitating. At any rate, at the time, one didn’t know, and it sure felt like life and death. Strangely, by the 4th set, the whole thing had become a bit of a procession and the tennis was, frankly, boring. And one was left with an odd conundrum. The boredom entailed security – Murray was going to win, it was as simple as that. And that was a good thing. On the other hand, Cilic was in the grip of a nightmare and was offering no opposition. And as a spectacle, this was a bad thing. So what did one want, Murray’s level to drop a bit? Surely not. Cilic’s to rise? Well, yes, up to a point, but – er –by how much? Clearly not enough to actually threaten Murray’s ascendancy. But in that case, one basically still wants absolute security, with just the simulacrum of opposition. You want to have your cake and eat it, in short. A puzzling business. No wonder some people can’t bear to watch their favourites in tight matches.

The early part of the Federer/Berdych match posed a different sort of puzzle. He was spraying the ball alarmingly, shanking and so on – and yet this didn’t at all look like the woeful Federer we occasionally saw over the last two years. To my eye, he was hitting the ball nicely often enough, there was something frustrating about his inability to find any consistency. And this suggested, to me, that he was just not match tight. The fact that he came back quite well later in the match served to confirm this impression. Annabelle Croft who, with the Sky Sports team of Becker and Rusedski was perched above the practice courts, tells how they had the privilege of watching the players practise at close quarters, and generally Federer was his usual affable, chatty and relaxed self. But on the day of the Berdych match he appeared withdrawn and sombre, avoiding eye contact. Someone who prepares so meticulously as Federer must, one would have thought, have been conscious of a gap in the preparations. A player like Mardy Fish, hard hitting and very, very good without really being a big threat to Federer, would have been an ideal opponent to sharpen him up.

But there it is, you have to take life as it comes, sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not, and Federer has certainly had his share of good luck in grand slams. This time he didn’t. I should add that before the withdrawal of Fish, I thought Berdych was a very dangerous opponent for Federer, feeling their encounter would be touch and go. Having seen Berdych play – and he was magnificent – I suspect he might have won anyway. But it could have been a lot closer. One of Federer’s comments was revealing and interesting:”I wish I could have played better, you know, so many moments, I thought man, it’s just not happening for me, just a very disappointing match for me”.Federer at his best, like Murray – and in contrast to Djokovic and Nadal – lives on the margins. Always, when he’s soaring, he’s a hair’s breadth from catastrophe. That’s surely part of the charm.

Women’s semis soon. How extraordinary that a player like Errani, who essentially doesn’t have a serve, can progress so far. And there are others – Vinci, Jankovic, even Radwanska – who get by despite merely perfunctory serves. That can’t happen in the mens’ game. Way back in the first round – seems like a hundred years ago – David Goffin outplayed Berdych in the first set, but he just couldn’t quite do it on account of a very weak serve. I hope he can do something about that, because he’s a terrific player to watch (my first time, actually), the most imaginative and resourceful of the youngsters, and boy, what movement. Errani, too, is fun to watch, and talk about indomitable. She looks a bit like a street urchin, one can imagine her working the back alleys with the Artful Dodger of Oliver Twist. Apparently her father was mistaken by an inquiring journalist for a grocer, and if he’s anything like his daughter, one can see why.

Djokovic crouching to receive serve is a surreal sight. A mixture of kangaroo (haunches) and greyhound (torso). And the upper half sways as if it were independent of the solidly rooted base. He looked in frightening nick against del potro. I mean, in the first set, 83% on first serve – and a very good first serve too – and yet to gain only two games. Del Potro is notoriously hard to hit through (as is Berdych, as Federer found to his cost and we hope Murray isn’t so foolish as to try that one) and yet Djokovic was confident enough to try it on in that first set and succeed too, especially in one monstrous 30 plus stroke rally. But this macho approach failed Djokovic in the 2nd set, he lost 10 straight points, so he sensibly changed tactics and was rewarded. But I thought the key point came when del Potro was pushing for a double break (achieving which surely would have given him the set). Following delPo’s tremendous shot into the corner, Djokovic put up an enormous defensive lob, the sort which only he and possibly Nadal can execute, and what did delPo do? He calmly waited for it to bounce; a nice high bounce ; good, good, as you can see, lots of time and space to do more or less what he wants. And what does he want? He wants to win the point, doesn’t he? So he puts himself in position – he has lots and lots of time, remember – and smashes the living hell out of the ball. Yes? Nope. He taps the bloody thing back. Can you imagine that? He taps the ball to Djokovic, as if they were in the middle of a knock up or something and Djokovic says:”Thanks very much, Gov” and starts off what is effectively a fresh rally in complete charge. And the rest is silence.

Remarkable slugfest between Sharapova and Azarenka. Sort of the same point played over and over again, but highly compelling viewing all the same. These two young women are very polite about each other in their interviews, but don’t believe a word of it. They detest each other. That is one reason why their matches are so gripping. I don’t know quite what that says about us, the viewers. Something damn primitive going on here. Petchey revealed that the 2 women spent 4 hours on the same plane without saying a word to each other. When asked to account for this odd behaviour, Azarenka airily replied:”Oh, I meant to talk to her, but there was this really cool documentary on”

Sharapova said this today:” We both have many years ahead of us. I’m sure we will be facing against each other many more times in Grand Slams and other tournaments. You know, she has the better record right now against me. Hopefully when I’m done I can change that around.” I think so far as slams are concerned, Sharapova may be disappointed. She can hardly hope to get much better herself, whilst Azarenka is improving all the time – including getting stronger physically ( very occasionally, Sharapova threatened to overpower her opponent ). But the key thing is mental. Sharapova often makes up for any deficiencies in her game by intimidating her opponents – even her aloof locker room behaviour adds to this aura. But Azarenka cannot be intimidated, those days are gone, and Sharapova must rely on her tennis.

I thought Azarenka came quite close at Wimbledon to catching up with Serena Williams. She missed one crucial sitter – and that, effectively, was the match. But she must have been encouraged by her performance. It was not without grit. She remarked apropos tomorrow’s final:” But you definitely know that it’s gonna be, you know, a big adversity there on the court against you”. Makes you think of Kurt Russell preparing to do battle with the unknown horror lurking in the arctic wastes….Serena Williams has that effect on you. In a strange way, these days, you feel that there is the women’s field (including Venus), and then there is – Serena.

Berdych says, on the eve of the semi:” “If my game is well and I’m able to play my game, then I have a quite dangerous game to beat anyone,” . Definitely the game to beat Murray, and in my mind he is slight favourite. On the other hand, I feel Murray has a much better game to beat Djokovic than does Berdych. Ah, the vagaries of match ups!

Well, just watched 1st semi. As Berdych was struggling to control the ball in the wind when he opened up serving in the 2nd set, Petchy asked if there was a point in which the game might be suspended. Becker responded:”when people are flying through the air”. I won’t add much to the layers of print which have no doubt been expended on this match. But in retrospect, the match provided a spotlight for different kinds of strength and weakness, physical and mental. Berdych simply disappeared for 2 sets – unforgiveable, really. Murray is not known for handling windy conditions well – Nadal took him apart one windy day in Miami or was it Indian Wells – so he deserves credit for knuckling down and adapting his game. Then Berdych, on the verge of being 2 breaks down in the 4th set, announced his return with some big second serves. Confidence restored, he ripped through Murray with ease. Here, his formidable physical strength stood him in good stead. Because he was relaxed, he had nothing to lose but his temper,and his beautiful game at last came to the fore. It was much too much for Murray, and I believe would be too much for anybody if only he could keep it up. But of course, he can’t. Murray showed great strength of character coming back in the tiebreak, but he was helped by a certain return to tentativeness on the part of Berdych.

Berdych is a true enigma. Is it possible that someone with such an utterly formidable game can be so mentally fragile that he can never attain even a modicum of the game’s top honours? Actually, his career in dithering rather parallels Murray’s. Both these players, so different in every other way, have matched each other in their painful ascenscion of the heights, step by step confronting their demons. Murray has thus far made rather a better fist of this than Berdych, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Czech, nevertheless, is the first of the two to win a grand slam.

2nd semi, Djokovic and Ferrer: Comment: Nadal is much missed. Also, Lendl refers to it as “easy match for Djokovic”.

Womens’ final: Towards the end, Azarenka had a chance for a double break. For me, this was effectively match point. Azarenka faltered, as she had done in that point at Wimbledon mentioned above, and I reckoned it was all over. No one who knows me takes takes this kind of opinion at all seriously, since I’ve always been a doom and gloom merchant. Nevertheless, whilst pessimism is evidence sometimes of little more than a sort of compulsive tic, there can be rational grounds for it. All the signs were that Serena Williams was in determined mood. She is a complicated woman, and phrases like “mentally tough” or mentally weak” – with anyone just a little too generalising – are especially futile where Serena is concerned. Her mind can hover on the edge of a disintegrating fragility. On another occasion her resolve is ironclad. And then there’s all the stuff in between. Today, I sensed great strength lurking, but not quite on centre stage. She needed a push, and it was the danger from a great player – and Azarenka certainly proved herself to be that today – which gave her what she needed. Two breaks down against most players would not necessarily galvanize Williams. But she knew it was too much against today’s opponent and so, she eased into a higher gear. These higher gears are not summonable at will. I have the feeling she has something going with her mother, who is an icon of calm and somehow conveys this serenity to her on the court. When she slips into that icy state of mind, no one can withstand her. In her interview, Azarenka said:” Could it have gone my way? Probably, yes. But it didn’t. It really, really hurts.” This is to misundertand what she was up against. It really had little to do with her. Later, Azarenka said:” But I have to say, you know, Serena produced some amazing tennis. I feel like I could have done a little bit better, but there was nothing that I did absolutely wrong.” That’s a bit more like it. When Serena finds this strange mode of being, she is both extremely calm and extremely intense – generally oppositional states of mind, you might think, but not with the very greatest. Everything she does seems to be perfect, though of course there is the odd mistake which is impatiently shrugged off. Twice Azarenka served corkers, aces to most players. Serena returned them as unplayable winners.
Nevertheless, we don’t want to sound mystical, eh? By definition, a certain level of play will defeat Serena, higher gears and all. The question is: can anyone reach such a level of play? On the evidence of today, my slight hunch is that Azarenka can. She was truly impressive, and I believe her when she says much in her game is improvable. Particularly, I would say, the serve.

Mens final: I was among the late converts to the idea that Murray would probably do it some day. I thought Djokovic would win today, and went on thinking so until the 5th when it became obvious that he was blown. What was most impressive for me about Murray was not his cleverness, which we know about, but his patience, maintained throughout a long match. Peter Fleming remarked (in the 5th game of the 3rd set):”That was an interesting forehand, Murray unleashing on the fh”. And Boris Becker responded “The question is, why doesn’t he do it more often? He ca-an.” Them was my sentiments too, but Murray, always a stubborn fellow, stolidly pursued his own path, his own vision. Occasionally he lapsed into irritating passivity, but although he rarely pulled the trigger, the way he carefully pulled Djokovic from side to side at the back of the court was not passive, imo, but an example of exquisite control. And in the end, it wore Djokovic down.

Murray, along with Federer, must have the most unsuccessful hawkeye record, and that’s because they both tend to resort to the technology on emotional rather than hopeful grounds. But the serve which took him to 30-love in the final game was confirmed in by 1mm. The camera shot to the Djokovic box, and I now realised where Djokovic gets that sarcastic, self-berating smile. For there it was in Papa Djokovic, a wry smile which his son has inherited and, so to speak, evolved into a higher and more potent example of the species. Mama Djokovic, too, allowed a little crinkling about the eyes and mouth whilst the girl friend, not to be out done, was giving a wide eyed look which turned into a kind of beam as she glanced at mama and papa in law. Somewhat inappropriate in the circumstances, it occurred to me, but on the other hand completing a fine display of tribal unity.

Much has been made of star support for Murray, especially certain British knights. Sean Connery was in the stands looking remarkably dapper in a light brown jacket and panama hat and sporting a lady on his arm who, I was pleased to see, was approximately as ancient as him. Not always the case with the Hollywood brigade, eh?. And Alex Ferguson was there, and what I wanted to know was this: every time you see Ferguson on the box when Manchester United is playing, he is furiously chewing gum, a disagreeable habit I have always thought. But not today he wasn’t. Someone had a word with him? Or perhaps it’s a sort of football ritual.
After the match, Murray came up to the Sky studio for an interview, and old Annabelle got a couple of hugs. Given what she has to put up with from Rusedski (he constantly contradicts her in a manner which would outrage him if anyone did it to him), I thought they were well deserved. Surprisingly, Murray launched into a panegyric on the quality of the Sky presentation of tennis. Well, it’s not bad…Boris Becker wasn’t there, unfortunately, having had to fly to Europe for a poker match. The Becker/Rusedski duo is quite instructive, because in Becker you have a genuinely funny man who has a nice quirky sense of humour whilst Rusedski simply flashes his teeth, and apparently imagines that he is thereby demonstrating wit. Murray was anxious to make the point, a fair one, relating to all those slam finals without a win. The other top 3 had had Philippoussis, Keurten and Tsonga as their first opponents – whilst Murray had had them, or 2 of them at any rate.

Murray is a likeable chap, I think, as well as a great tennis player, and I hope it is true that getting this slamless burden thing off his back will release him for greater things to come – a Wimbledon crown for sure, and maybe #1 before too very long. I think Murray’s style of play, which is kind of cerebral, will always tend to be tantalising, and is unlikely to engender complacency in his fans.

Brando Says:


Grendel! Nice to see you back posting!

‘ whilst Rusedski simply flashes his teeth, and apparently imagines that he is thereby demonstrating wit. ‘

LOL, such comments and spot on observations were much missed!

I agree with you re andy- i think a wimby slam win is very much a strong possibility for him.

But, at the same time, I expect the others – especially nole and rafa- to come back strong and hard. The task for andy, and others, to win a slam will become a tougher one in the future i imagine.

Huh Says:

holy cow, what a way to comeback grendel, with your trademark informative n though-provokin post!! i was just misssin you!

WELCOM BACK GRENDEL, n stay here please!!! :D

Huh Says:

only grendel can write these damn perfect, well-analysed,scientific-obsevation based posts with the most methodical n systematic presentation.

grendel’s brain should be made an element of research methodology tools.

SG1 Says:

As a Canadian, I am pleased that Andy achieved heights Rusedski never did. Rusedski is not a particularly admired figure up here. Murray on the other hand, is a humble, classy champion. Yes, he can say some interesting things on a court when he’s frustrated, but that just makes him all the more human. Great Britain once again has a champion to be proud of.

I never sensed this kind of thing from Rusedski. A friend of mine from high school had the opportunity to play Rusedski several times many years ago. His analysis of Rusedski’s game was pretty simple. He’s a big serve, full of himself and not much else. I think Rusedski will be more remembered for his comments about Sampras in the 2002 Open than his run to the USO finals in 1998. A sad legacy. Anyway, if Murray’s win irks Rusedski, even in the slightest way, I say GOOD!

Tim Henman may have never won Wimbledon, but he was a class act. Being a Sampras fan, I never wanted Henman to beat Sampras. But, if Sampras couldn’t win it, Henman was next in line for me. He had a beautiful game to watch. Just lacking the firepower needed to push through. Nonetheless, he did things the right way. And while he couldn’t win Wimbledon, he has a hill unofficially named after him which is a consolation prize of a sort. A statement of respect for the man if you will.

Michael Says:


I never underrated Andy. It was a mystery to me actually that such a talented player was not able to win a Grand slam. Now he has done it with some luck ofcourse. You need luck to win such big tournaments. Roger was lucky many times in his grand slam matches, Nadal and Novak too were lucky. What I said was a big “if” ? But “ifs” and “bufs” hardly matter. What matters is success and Andy has achieved it and I am happy for him. I was rooting for Andy all along in his match against Novak although the latter is my favourite player next to Roger. But watching Andy play with variety, I am slowly becoming a big admirer of him just like Nadal. I have my favourites and you have it too. But in the end it is Tennis that we love and it is players like Andy who make it more interesting with his tremendous variety of play. This is his moment of glory and let him enjoy the cup of success. I am sure he is not going to rest with this and will be winning more majors in the years to come.

Michael Says:

Grendel @ 4.19 PM,

Wonderful analysis !! Keep it up !! I expect you to keep posting despite your stiff schedule.

skeezer Says:


You have charmed us all as usual. You make Tennis X GOAT. I will now grab a full glass of old vine Zin and take in your post, for praise or critique. Thanks for being a part of Tennis fans abroad.

harry Says:

@grendel —

Loved your writeup as usual. You even have a word of the day: simulacrum :)

I agree with your views on Berdych. Both he and Tsonga look awesome & mesmerizing when their games are on.

Liked the bits of gossip you threw in about Fed & Sharapova/Azarenka.

I am surprised that you like Becker’s commentary; i thought he (at least during Wimby) intimidates his fellow commentary team to silence. May be Henman is polite, and Castle is too “oleaginous” :) That was the word that you used in a post a while back.

Actually, I too noticed Djokovic’s team’s reaction on that challenge too — and i thought their facial expression was interesting :)

Fun reading all your other analysis :)

Hope you had a good trip to the US?

Chico Says:

Hear hear, Grendel :).

Funny that I even thought that there was something “twisty” to it before you mentioned.. ;). Beautiful, when not drawn overboard.
Having english as my second or third language, you had me to switch my “thinking-language” to english for a while, and provoked the idea that if I wanted to further brush up, you would be the person to ask for recommendation on a contemporary book.

On the insights one can not think of any creative criticism, maybe skeezer will find something :), but the overall class was such that putting Kuerten instead of Puerta feels almost planned (?).

On the we want more side: After seeing Ferrer totally brush Novak in the windy first set I was left wondering if there really were people flying around when they stopped the match, and what was the story there.

Thank you G.

alison Says:

Fantatic post from Grendel i miss his posts,but boy oh boy,when he returns he returns with a bang,his posts are similar to Daves as both are very clever and knowledgeable men backing up their posts with statistics,but i have to say as much as i like Daves posts i think i prefer Grendels as they are more balanced and unbiased and always with a dry sense of wit attached to them,(sorry Dave no offence),anyway i loved the bit about the Brits im so proud of Andy Murray that he managed to bag his 1st GS,but on the whole i never doubted he would sooner or later anyway,and what an amazing two weeks it was for Laura Robson taking down two veterans of the game in Clijsters and Li Na,Heather Watson had a fantastic fortnight at wimbledon this year,so its been a great year in tennis for the Brits,and im hoping like Andy these two girls will use Andy as inspiration and go from strength to strength,great post Grendel thanks again.

Huh Says:


completely agree about grendel, and yeah grendel>dave, and dave’s perhaps the second most knowledgeable guy here, n not to mention, polite too!

that said, again congrats to your long awaited brit GS victory, and it is, m sure very sweet for you as muzz is your second fave(mine too btw). :)

alison Says:

Huh thanks so much im delighted my two favs both have a GS this year,in tennis i couldnt have asked for anymore TBH,and if next year is the same as this one then all the better,however we will see,i also loved our Brit gals doing some damage to the veterans of the game too.

Huh Says:

sorry alison, i’m not Ajet.

I’m Huh, a very old poster (since 2009) who has been postin here. I’m from chinese manchuria, stayin in myanmar, but will soon move to hongkong where my engineer dad’s to get an assignment of project construction.

i’ve not been here for some months, so don’t know much about that guy, but i know my fellow older posters, some of them stopped postin here, but they were awesome.i miss them bad. they were fair posters too(best of whom was mrs.von). now few posters like you, brando, Kimberly, dave are fantastic, i am comin to know. but it’s my fate and also habit to vanish for days together coz our net is restricted by our government. may be movin outside’ll make me keep contact with this site forever, uncut. God save us if were caught doin net durin the banned period!

And the world is too damn big for two people not to have similar likes or dislikes. May be that’s the case here. But it’s actually funny that you’d notice here many posters think that a certain poster is same as another poster, and the abuses start, lol ;) even you, brando sound similar, lol, the only noticeabl differenc is the CAPS lock often used by brando, lol ;)

I hope ajet comes back so that we may have chat together, if he’s indeed the same likes as me, that’s quite interesting!

grendel Says:

Hi Huh, nice to see you posting again. Wondered where you’d got to. Finished college, I take it? Got what you wanted? I have to say, when I saw your post at 5.38 pm. of the 11th, I thought:”this is some mickey take”. There’s a chap who posts here from time to time who can’t stand me and who’s had a go at satirising me a couple of times. Satire is more difficult to do effectively than he perhaps realises, but still, I could see where he was coming from and he did have a point. But then I realised that you are not like that, you are full of generous and impulsive enthusiasms and uncomplicated anger when you feel the need to vent it. So whilst being grateful for your words, I hope you don’t mind if I dissent a little.

The thing is, I have never claimed to have much knowledge of the technicalities in tennis. I’m your actual armchair critic, and when once or twice genuinely knowledgeable people ask my opinion on some technical point, I sometimes respond out of politeness (they have taken the trouble to get in touch)and possibly a touch of vanity – but you can be sure I always feel a bit of a fraud. Not to mention panicking a bit, wondering what I can possibly put which doesn’t make me sound completely tennis illiterate!

But I don’t feel a tennis blog should be confined to the experts. Ordinary people can enjoy tennis just as much as experts, even if they can’t appreciate as will the expert how much work, say, has gone into refining a particular stroke. To be honest with you, I’m not quite sure about this, but I assume that the experience of beauty may be complete and absolute, so to speak, without any knowledge whatever of how that beauty has been fashioned. If you love a particular poem, do you love it any more if you read an intricate analysis of it? It might actually have the opposite effect. This perhaps is a matter of taste.

Anyway, Huh, most tennis enthusiasts – park players at best – get a feel for good tennis simply because they have watched so much, and they are thereby equipped to appreciate the drama which imbues most decent tennis matches. And it is the drama which gets me, and gets me wanting to write about it. And also, of course – not that you can altogether seperate this from the drama -the quirky displays of character when under pressure. This is always interesting and frequently funny. After all, the gap between intention and reality in any of our lives is the staple food of comedy – how much more so where public figures are concerned.

By the way, although I probably sound quite dogmatic sometimes, it’s only my personal take. But you can’t keep qualifying something a bit contentious by saying: only my opinion, you know; probably wrong; wouldn’t bother to read it if I were you…..

b.t.w. Huh, I agree with this from you on another thread:”one thing that definitely makes me a bit sad is that muzza, though so talented, is nowhere close to nole in terms of aggression, even now! i hope muzz stops playin passiv and adopt a more aggressive game, otherwise he’s very less chances of beating nole in conditions favouring nole, but the vice versa isn’t true!” I think Murray will struggle to beat Djokovic again at the US at any rate if he doesn’t become more aggressive. He had no answer at all to Djokovic of the 3rd and 4th, he was a little fortunate to get away with the first 2 sets. Also, the gap between him and Lopez was paper thin – that sort of nailbitingly close match never seems to happen these days to Djokovic in the early rounds. So a)he can save energy and b)obviously he is not in danger of an early departure. That said, I don’t think this applies so much to Wimbledon – I think Murray is more at home on the surface than is Djokovic.

alison Says:

Huh thanks for filling me in,im still relativly new myself,started posting about a year ago,people come and go shame about the good ones,your right yourself and Ajet are very similar,neither of you take any BS but at the same time your very fair,your both the same age aswell 24 am i right?both are male,and both are diehard Federer fans,Ajets Indian and your chinese though so the similarity ends there,your both great posters,so the forum would be twice as nice if Ajet started posting again (shame),about Brando and myself we are both Brits whose favorite player is Rafa but we both love Murray too,however hes male and im female,and hes 24 i believe, while im 44 but wish i was 24 lol.

grendel Says:


How delicately put! No, believe me, not planned, Pure error. Murray’s error, though, and just because I heard him say Kuerten – even though at some level in my grubby consciousness, I am perfectly well aware that Nadal’s first slam win was against Puerta – I repeated it. I think this is very strange, and of some interest psychologically. It also makes me question myself in a way which is not very comfortable.

So far as contemporary books to brush up your English are concerned, I’m not quite sure what you are looking for. If for tennis books, as you say, probably Skeezer would know. Otherwise, this sort of thing is so personal, what will suit Jim will leave Pete cold. However, here is a possibility: there is a very approachable novelist called Nick Hornby who has some books of criticism with titles like:”The Polysyllabic Spree: A Hilarious and True Account of One Man’s Struggle with the Monthly Tide of the Books He’s Bought and the Books He’s Been Meaning to Read”. At the beginning of each chapter (a chapter for each month), there are two columns: a very long one of books bought, and a much, much shorter ones of books read. And even the ones “read” are often abandoned as being impenetrable etc. Hornby writes like somebody talking, at least that’s how it feels, though of course it’s not really true – it’s actually carefully crafted, but it’s so well done that just about any reader is bound to feel:God, I could do that, I didn’t realise it was so easy. That is a possibility.

grendel Says:


I didn’t catch Becker’s commentary at Wimbledon, but if he managed to shut Andrew Castle up, I for one am prepared to forgive him for all manner of sins. Still, I am surprised at what you say.On Sky, he was mainly in the studio. There was some banter with Rusedski which was boring – anything involving Rusedski is boring – but otherwise he was quite good to listen to. In the commentary box, he was with Peter Fleming – not a man it is possible to intimidate – and either Leif Shiras or Mark Petchey, both quite strong personalities. Shiras once took the mickey out of an outraged McEnroe (when they were both players) so he can look after himself.

Becker did come up with some stuff about his playing days which might bear on what you are saying. He said a lot of sledging went on at changeover – which doesn’t happen now because of the microphones – and this gave a much sharper edge to the matches. Also, he said that in the locker rooms there was much more argy bargy than there is now, and a fascinated Annabelle Croft asked if there was actual fighting. Becker rather hesitated on this one,though he must have known. But at any rate, it is obvious Becker was pretty abrasive as a young man. I thought he’d kind of settled down, but I may be being naive about that. Incidentally, the general feeling was: the players are all too friendly today…

yes, thanks, about US trip.

grendel Says:

alison – you’re never 44! might a man hope…..?
Yes, about Laura Robson, I’d be very disappointed if she’s not in top 10 within a couple of years. I gather she is quite close to Murray, so perhaps his success will be an inspiration to a degree. Heather Watson – an excellent all round player, not sure if she has the weapons to go as far as Laura, although when you look at someone like Errani…..

harry Says:

@grendel —

Thanks! Enjoyed the bit about the sledging, arguments and even the fights. Ah! that is a part of Becker that I did not know about. Also, glad to know that Becker doesnt always get his way with people :) Yeah, Rusedski oozes boredom. If I met him in real life, I would greet him with a yawn instead of a handshake ;)

It is interesting what you say in your original post about Fed missing his Fish match — “But there it is, you have to take life as it comes, sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not, and Federer has certainly had his share of good luck in grand slams. This time he didn’t.”

While I tend to agree your point, statistics do not seem to support it; this link presents an analysis of a “missed/unmissed” match against its subsequent “expected/actual” result, and it finds no statistical difference. Quite a nice read…

moam Says:

The Brits are free of a 76 year old jinx thanks to Andy Murray, a Scott.
Congrats to Great Britain and all of UK.

alison Says:

Grendel ha ha im afraid i am 44,born on December the 7th 1967,so i will soon be 45 eek,but thanks for the compliment anyway you have made my day,and i have dropped Hodge from my moniker now and just go by Alison,anyway a top 10 ranking for Laura Robson would be fantastic,and Heather as you say has a great all round game they are both still young and developing so im sure both will only get better and better,interesting what you said about Errani whos such a fun and exciting player to watch,but lacks killer weapons like a serve,much like Radwanska both are so talented but always struggle against the power hitters like Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova,anyway great to see you posting again,i know your busy but try not to stay away too long,as this forum needs the fair balanced and wise posters like yourself.

grendel Says:

harry – your author remarks:” Perhaps rust does play a small part; considerably more likely is that the walkover simply doesn’t affect the beneficiary.” Even though this is true – say – it is not universal. It’s not like we’re measuring inanimate objects. The circumstances may vary very much according to the individual, and I don’t see how statistics can easily take this into account. Federer himself denied the walkover made any difference, citing his experience at Wimbledon, when another walkover (Tommy Haas?) enforced an even longer break, and yet he still won the title.

However, Federer would surely not have wanted to be seen to be making excuses following a loss to Berdych – given the rumpus which followed when Berdych beat him at Wimbledon, and Federer alluded to an injury in his post match interview. Furthermore, and this is where statistics are problematic imo,the two situations are not necessarily comparable.

When does an explanation turn into an excuse? That’s the difficulty. For that reason, I think not much importance should be attached to the walkover, it should be conceded that Berdych beat Federer fair and square. That doesn’t mean to say, though, that we can’t mention the business. If Federer had played and beaten Fish, the likelihood is he would have been better prepared. That seems to be common sense. But Berdych was playing so well, he probably would have won anyway, if not so decisively.

Huh Says:

alison, dunno why you thought am 24, am younger, am only 22. :)

Huh Says:

my D.O.B. is 30th june, 1990.

Huh Says:

grendel, not at all, why would i mind if you dissent! u r fantastic poster, keep writin here! without u, the forum isn’t the same! :)

alison Says:

Huh so sorry my mistake,i just thought i read it somewhere,anyway 22 or 24 your still way younger than i am,i feel old at 44 lol.

harry Says:

@grendel —

You spotted the flaw in the argument of the author with “It’s not like we’re measuring inanimate objects.”. In statistical terms, what you say is referred to as “stationarity”. It is an issue that should have been acknowledged…

Yeah, i also agree with your take on what the media would have made it out to be if he had brought out his “rustiness”.

On the one hand, Fed had already played a lot of matches this year, and so would have not minded the break to feel mentally fresh. It probably did make him fresher. But it most likely also made him less prepared for Tomas. So if you undo both effects, would it have been sufficient to win against Berd — difficult for me to guess…

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