Andy Murray: Seven Grand Slam finals, the highs and lows
Andy Murray lost another grand slam final in a white-wash of a match against Novak Djokovic. The Serbian wiped out Murray in straight sets and is reaching another level in his ability on a tennis court.
You cannot deny that the Scotsmen has had a fantastic career having won two grand slams titles and claiming gold at the Olympics in London 2012. Murray also managed to shake off the weight of a nation and get over the line at Wimbledon.
Although Murray lost in Melbourne and became only the second player to lose five finals at the same slam in the modern era, he is still a tennis hero. Despite his now cult status, Andy had a difficult start to his tennis career, never sharing a positive relationship with the English press.
Jokingly admitting that he would ’Support whoever England were playing’ at the 2006 football world cup caused huge issues for Murray. This comment would come to haunt him for many years and he lost the support of a host of England fans. It was slightly unfair on the young man who was only 19 at the time; the comment was pulled out of him in an interview with Tim Henman.
There came a point when Murray had to release a statement saying he wasn’t ‘Anti English.’ This was after troubling messages. ‘’I was still a kid, getting things sent to my locker like: I hope you lose every match of your life.’’ Said Murray.
This was certainly a low point for Murray who had struggled at his first Wimbledon going down with cramp. People were beginning to question his commitment and ability.
It wasn’t until 2012 when things really turned round for the Olympic champion. After two grand slam final defeats, Murray made the decision to hire coach Ivan Lendl as his mental ability to handle big game points had come into question. Lendl had a big influence on his game as Murray became the first British player to reach a Wimbledon final since Benny Austin in 1938.
Murray suffered what was perhaps his worst ever loss. After going a set up against Rodger Federer he went on to lose the next three as he couldn’t hold out against the wizardry of the Swiss star. It was heart breaking for the Andy as he broke down in his post-match interview. ‘’I just feel like I’ve let everyone down.’’
It had been an agonising three years for Murray who had come so close, yet so far losing three grand slam finals, two against Federer.
Despite the agony of Wimbledon, 2012 would in some ways be the best year of Murrays Career. Two months after losing the final, Murray was back in SW19 on Centre court competing in the London Olympics. After beating Djokovic in the semis, Murray would be competing against nemesis Federer for the only title which had eluded his him entire career. Fortunately for Great Britain, Murray came out triumphant beating Federer for the first time in a best-of-five sets match. ‘’ It’s number one for me – the biggest win of my life.’’
Murray would go from strength to strength after the incredible Olympics win. He won a silver medal in the mixed doubles alongside Laura Robson and then went on to become US Open champion. Murray was up against another combative performer in the presence of Novak Djokovic and would eventually overcome the Serbian in five sets , including the longest tie-break game in a final (12-10).
It was a whirlwind 2012 with arguably his worst loss and best wins coming in the same year. An OBE marked an incredible year for Murray who went into 2013 in some of the best form of his career and reached his third Australian Open final. Once again though he was up against a formidable opponent in Djokovic and lost to the Serbian once more in Melbourne.
Despite another grand slam final defeat Murray entered into Wimbledon in fine form, having won the Queen’s Club tournament for a third time and was undefeated in his previous 11 matches on grass. Murray would continue that streak reaching the Wimbledon final where he would play Djokovic once more in the finale. It was a very tense game with neither player really being able to take control, as the pair continually broke each other. Despite the nerve racking tension and unpredictability of the game it was Murray who came out on top, beating Djokovic in straight sets.
His win sparked wild celebrations which saw Murray turn and celebrate to the press box, claiming it was for all the ‘stick’ he had been given in previous years.
Even though Murray was unable to defeat the all-conquering Novak Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final, with fatherhood on the way, it will be fascinating to see how Murray does in 2016 and if another grand slam title isn’t beyond the realms of possibility .