Tennis Prose



Can Andy Murray Bounce Back From A Torrid 2020 at AO?

2020 is drawing to a close. However, that doesn’t mean a quick fix to the upcoming tennis schedule! The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on last year’s sporting calendar, with many tennis tournaments being pushed back to a later date or, in some cases, cancelled all together – Wimbledon included. And, with the Australian Open 2021 just around the corner, government ministers have confirmed that a short delay to the first Grand Slam of 2021 is ‘likely’.

One man who will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season last term is Andy Murray. The former World No. 1 is now rarely fancied in the Grand Slam betting exchange, and the 2020 season was certainly a year to forget for the Scottish player.

Murray sat out of January’s Australian Open, which was won by Novak Djokovic, as he was nursing a pelvic injury, and his big comeback at March’s Miami Open was put on hold, due to the coronavirus.

When he eventually did get back on the court, at the Western & Southern Open in New York, back in August, the 33-year-old notched an impressive victory over fifth seed Alexander Zverev in the second round. However, he was pegged back with a straight-sets defeat to Milos Raonic in the next round.

Murray started the US Open with a bang, coming back from two sets down to beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round. However, Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime made easy work of the 33-year-old Scot in the following round, progressing with a straight-sets victory.

That emphatic victory over Nishioka at Flushing Meadows was his final win of the year, with 35-year-old Stan Wawrinka knocking him out in the first round of the French Open, and as a result, inflicting Murray’s career heaviest defeat in a Grand Slam.

Murray’s season was brought to a conclusion in the opening round of the Bett1Hulks Indoors in Cologne, Germany. The Scot lost in straight sets to 37-year-old Spaniard Fernando Verdasco – who punished Andy with a fourth defeat in his last five ATP World Tour matches.

However, despite a lacklustre 2020, Murray is still upbeat ahead of the upcoming season, which includes the added Tokyo Olympics, which were also postponed last summer.

“I haven’t forgotten how to play tennis,” the current World No. 119 said.

“I’ve seen enough in the limited amount I have played in the last year – basically from Asia through until Antwerp last year – and then the matches I played over in New York.

“I was beating a top-10 player in Cincinnati, top-50 players, and then obviously at the end of last year I was still winning against guys like Stan.

“So, I know I will perform and win big matches if I can get properly fit and healthy for an extended period of time. And that’s why I’m doing the work just now to try and avoid having any issues next year.”

As things stand, Murray would need to apply for wildcards to secure a place in next year’s Grand Slam tournaments, which many tennis observers think the former world no. 1 should stop receiving, due to his mediocre performances. And, whilst Murray remains upbeat about getting his career back on track next season, challenging for the Australian Open, or any of the Grand Slams, seems a bit far-fetched.

But of course, it would be folly to discount the chances of a man who has won the Olympics, US Open and Wimbledon.

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