Archive for July, 2012

Lose the British Murray


If you’re in need of a publicist, employ the services of a Briton. One preferably working in the Press, and watch yourself be a hovering thought in the consciousness of millions. Whether in a good way or bad, don’t complain, the publicist has nonetheless put you in their consciousness.

The British Press’ use of adjectives, puns, personifications and whatever other literary devices is legendary with Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Linford Christie, the Premier League, their national teams, the female tennis player… a ton of them; deservedly or (mostly) otherwise.

For a long time, Andy Murray has been the subject of their hype machine much so that many would think he’s English when he actually is Scottish. Being labelled “British” makes you that after a while.

After Pete Sampras retired, along with the likes of Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter, Cédric Pioline, Marat Safin and Mark Philippoussis (sadly due to injuries), Jonas Björkman, Richard Krajicek, Lleyton Hewitt, Michael Chang, Goran Ivanišević, Greg Rusedski and of course Tim Henman as time went, Roger Federer became the monopoly.

And it was an annoying monopoly. No one can be that good and be winning the Slams, defending them and defending them again at will but the Swiss did just that.

Then Rafael Nadal started coming of age and steadily became Fedex’s nuisance. The sport became a two-man monopoly; annoying still but oh well, Federer had to work a bit then.

Then came Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Finally… some competition, and one happened to be a Scotsman. A few “upsets” and he became the new Tim Henman. Long live the Queen.

Murray however has always cracked when it comes to winning a Grand Slam and just when you thought he’d win one at the Australian Open last year when he came up against his friend Djokovic… the Serb swept the Brit aside.

By that time, the DjokerNole was no more the new, upcoming nuisance to Roger and Rafa that he was along with Murray… he was the man who would go an entire year with just a handful of defeats; winning 41 consecutive matches in 2011 before Federer reminded us of Djokovic being mortal and ending the year with a 70-6 record.

Djokovic had tailored his game such that he wasn’t playing differently from the times of being an underdog, but had made his temperament a weapon rather than a hindrance.

You see how Roger got into the fourth round when two points away from being massively upset out of SW19 by Benneteau? He was composed. He is always composed.

You see how Nadal wins the French Open as if it was Barcelona in la Liga without Real Madrid? With a rage funneled to the bat rather than the veins and muscles.

Djokovic found his release when he learnt to let go of the clown when on the court. It’s why he’s 8 out of 10 times capable of winning matches from two sets down, he’s become focused.

Murray’s problem, which he can turn to a strength, is the distraction of being British. Years ago I always felt if Tim Henman was anything but British, Sampras and Agassi would’ve had an even tougher time (I consider their time to be tennis’ most competitive) being the top players.

So Murray can either put aside the “first Brit in Wimbledon final in 74 years” distraction aside and try to be a Rafter or live up to being another Henman; who never won a Slam.

I hope Murray wins on Sunday. He’s been through quite a tournament with wins over proven players Nikolai Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic, Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer and the hard hitting hulk Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on his way to facing Federer who, in my opinion, is the one out of the top three he most likely can defeat.

And the stats back him, for Murray is the only player apart from Nadal to be leading the Maestro on head-to-head record with the score currently 8-7.

And if he does win… you will hate the British press for a fortnight at least! Then we’ll have the Oympics and Premier League to our rescue.

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