Down Under: Andymonium?
Despite Laura Robson’s inability to actually win a match, Great Britain is closing in on the Hopman Cup final with some suspiciously good rapport between Murray and Robson.
As the tennis was undramatic all round, just a few thoughts on Toothface for the Australian Open:
Will Andy Murray win the Australian Open?
It’s a matter of taste. I prefer craft over power, aesthetics over physics. I’d take a steely mentality over brimming talent. As far as personality’s concerned, it’s not something I care a great deal about, nor is it a missing element in my opinions of a player.
All that leaves Andy Murray falling somewhere in limbo.
He’s crafty. He’s not the most graceful athlete out there, but you’ve got to appreciate the cat-like movement around court. As far as mentality’s concerned, he has probably equal amounts of dedication and talent. He’s never really overawed by the likes of Federer and Nadal. Personality-wise, 80% of the time I find him whiny, prepubescent and down-right miserable.
So let’s just say that he has a few boxes ticked and a few crossed.
My overall opinions of Murray has probably clouded my judgment of his chances at the slams over the past year. But unlike at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open last year, I find myself liking Mandy’s odds at this year in Melbourne.
Unlike last year, he’s not the talk of the town this time – the annointed “Fedal Challenger du jour”. That title, just like the No 4 ranking, will belong to del Poop once he shows his face in the new decade.
But I can’t help but feel that the almost low-key appearance by Murray in Perth will only help him in his preparation. Instead of heading into the Oz Open with a string of Mid-East victories and the full-weight of expectations and betting odds, Murray will now play in Melbourne with a smile and a pair of well-moisturised hands after a week of light-hearted teamwork with Robson. Forgive me for thinking that this might actually rejuvenate him.
On top of that, Murray’s records against Federer, del Potro and Djokovic speak for themselves. At the age of 22, he’ll surely realise that the time for him to step it up on the big stage is now. As his last and sole slam final came at the US Open of 2008, the tennis world is getting impatient for him to make a second splash.
One last thought – no extreme heat forecasted for the Australian Open this year. Make of that what you will.