September 6, 2013
Stan Wawrinka in this kind of form he presents a huge problem for Novak Djokovic. I still take Novak to beat him, but it could be just the kind of gruelling clash that Novak doesn’t want before facing a probable final against Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard should have a much easier time of it against Richard Gasquet in the other semi.
Andy must target Australia to get back to the future.
We had hoped Andy Murray was going to retain his US Open title. We did not think he would lose quite like that.
The result wasn’t a huge shock. But the manner of defeat was extraordinary.
We had watched Murray grow up, leave the childish tantrums behind, become a great champion.
Suddenly there he was, smashing his racquet like a kid again, screaming in frustration.
Let’s not take anything away from Stan The Man Wawrinka. He played the perfect match. For Murray it must have been like taking on a computer that had been programmed to a higher level.
But why didn’t Andy take more risks on his super-soft second serve and try to send something over that might not have attracted a bullet return? Why didn’t he try to change his plan of attack when Plan A clearly wasn’t working? Ivan Lendl couldn’t possibly have told him to adopt the tactics we saw out there.
So we can only conclude that Murray’s mind is all over the place. And understandably so, after his amazing Wimbledon triumph.
I have a solution for Andy. Focus on Australia, a Slam you have never won. There is time to go back to the drawing board and come back with your best game.
Look at next year. The French on clay will be beyond him, retaining Wimbledon will create the same problems as the US did this year, and then it’s back to New York which he has already won.
So where will Andy be hungriest, free of tricky psychological clutter, and have the best chance of winning? Australia is the answer for Murray. Targeting that one will put the glories of the past behind Andy and bring him back to the future.
Once again, it’s going to be an intriguing denouement to a hugely enjoyable Slam.