Tennis Prose



Murray Fierce Fight Vs Ruud Falls Short Again in San Diego

Andy Murray came out guns blazing vs Casper Ruud in San Diego last night. From the first ball of the match, Murray was grunting. I have never seen him start a match by grunting on the first shot, so this match was clearly vitally important for his psyche and his career.

Murray is 34 now and ranked 109 with an 8-8 record on the year. He’s said many times he feels he’s been close in some key matches this year but simply failed to get over the hump. The five set loss vs Tsitsipas at US Open was his best performance.

So Murray was clearly locked in to try to get over his mental hump and slay a top ten player like Ruud. This match was a very important measuring stick for Murray to prove to the ATP and himself that he can still beat top ten players and eventually he will not need charity wildcards to get back to the top ten status.

Murray’s early high intensity paid quick dividends in the form of a 3-1 early break lead. Murray was sharp from the baseline and his Grand Slam champion arsenal stunned Ruud several times.

But Ruud adapted to the situation and got the break back and eventually won the set 75. Ruud then won the second set.

Murray was understandably livid – it was another golden opportunity vs a top player that he let slip through his fingers. To the naked eye Murray is still an elite player – he still has all the shots, the desire, the will – except in the clutch moments of a match he falters and finds a way to lose. He can no longer close the show against the ATP elites.

Perhaps it’s more than mental. Perhaps it’s that slight lack of mobility and push off from that hip surgery he endured. Perhaps deep down, Murray feels like his movement and coordination are still slightly off and that fraction of self doubt manifests in the late set errors and failures.

“On the opposite side of the net from me was a legend of the game [from] the past decade or so. Even what he’s done now the past [few] years, fighting his way back from a very serious injury, it’s been an inspiration for me,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “Also for the [past] ten-fifteen years, he’s been an inspiration to watch on TV the way he fights and always finds a way to never give up.”

“It’s been an unfortunate couple of years for him, but it’s great to see him back and I think he was playing at a high level today.”

Yes, Murray is playing high level tennis but he’s not winning these matches he used to win along the way to a 684-208 career record and 46 ATP singles titles.

Murray will keep fighting and trying to regain what he’s lost… the magic touch and level of ability to be a dominant, elite ATP player. The wildcards will keep coming from tournaments happy to host and give a boost to a living legend who is not ready to fade away.

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  • catherine · October 3, 2021 at 2:33 am

    Looks as if Murray intends hanging around for the forseeable future on and off the court as a figurehead in British tennis – maybe eventually on to coaching ?

    On that topic – Emma R is now in IW and this from the Telegraph is interesting – especially the suggestion of multiple coaches – can you imagine the packed courtside boxes if that caught on ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 3, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Catherine, If Murray’s leg falls off he will enter the wheelchair tour. You have to feel bad for Andrew Richardson, he got dumped after doing all the hard work. There’s no way you can tell me Jeremy Bates is a better coach for Raducanu than Richardson. Want to hear her reasoning for this decision.

  • catherine · October 3, 2021 at 11:06 am

    I don’t think Bates is her actual new coach – as Briggs suggests Jeremy is there as part of the LTA squad. Emma would know him well. I suspect she’ll take her time making a decision and we’ll find out before the AO. Richardson has a young family and wouldn’t have wanted the full time job – I’ve seen that mentioned. I wonder also how much input IMG will have – one of the their agents travels with her team.

    Just hope the expectations on Emma don’t get too much and she becomes another Bianca…or one of those players who gets on the coaching merry-go-round and can’t get off.

    IW have had bad luck with the women’s draw – Barty, Osaka and now Sabalenka.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 3, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Catherine, I can’t see how Richardson would not want to keep going along for the Emma rollercoaster ride, a lot of money can be made if she keeps winning big titles which she likely will. It could be the best job in the wta right now. Sounds like damage control. Only a fool would believe a coach would rather work with fourteen year olds than a Grand Slam champion and probably future world no. 1. The expectations for Emma will be huge now, anything less than more Grand Slams will be viewed as failure. She has set a high bar.

  • catherine · October 5, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Hard working Emma obviously feels she’s not getting enough match practice – currently she’s playing IW, Moscow,Roumania and Linz in Austria.

    She’s fit but she’s not made of iron. That’s more tournaments than Andreescu has played in a year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 5, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Appearance fees matter Catherine. Right now Emma Raducanu is the hottest ticket in tennis.



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