You Need More Than Slams, Andy!

DUBAI — After the sublime Roger Federer left him in tears at Melbourne Park, Andy Murray, the baseline counter-puncher, was desperate on Wednesday night to show that he too could play elegant tennis.

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Sat 27 Feb 2010, 12:10 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:55 AM

But unfortunately the world number four faced the unpredictable Janko Tipsarevic. The Serbian, who makes fashion statements on tennis courts wearing designer glasses, was in the mood to play some attractive tennis. And it seemed the world number 39 was not bothered about Murray’s tactics.

Well, Tipsarevic may not have been bothered about anything at all, but Murray’s on-court antics too were strange. He was pumping his fists after Tipsarveic played some mesmerizing winners!

“I would have liked to win, but it’s not the end of the world,” Murray later told reporters after the second round defeat.

Well, it was the same Murray who demanded more support from the Centre Court crowd when he was unable to match an inspired Tipsarevic.

“You know, if it was a Slam or something, my tactics and my game style would have been a bit different. You know, like I said, I wasn’t necessarily very well prepared as I had done in previous tournaments.

“You know, I was trying different things. So I made more mistakes than normal, and I went for a lot tonight. Did a lot of winners, lot more than usual, and probably made more mistakes. So it was a different sort of match for me.”

So, did the Australian Open runner-up use this second round match as a practice match?

“I’m not using the match as a practice session. But I said at the start of the year that, you know, when I’m getting ready for the Slams and the big events, you know, that you need to try some things.

“If you ask someone like Roger how he gets himself ready, it’s not necessarily about winning the week before or playing your best the week before. It’s about playing my best at the right times of the year,” said Murray.

The Briton, as we all know, failed to play ‘his best tennis’ when the ‘right times’ came. Federer humiliated him in the finals of the 2008 US Open and 2010 Australian Open.

“You know, I would have liked to have practised and trained a little bit longer. Like I said, after Australia I took quite a long break. So I wasn’t expecting to come and play my best. You know, I’m obviously disappointed to lose, but it’s definitely not the end of the world.”

Murray then revealed what forced him to play more aggressive tennis.

“I was hitting my backhand harder and going for bigger shots. I wasn’t slicing as much as I normally do. I was just taking more chances (smiling).

“You know, people in the last three years have been asking: ‘Why aren’t you playing more aggressively?’

“And then you play more aggressive, make a few more mistakes. That’s kind of what’s going to happen. It’s bound to happen. You can’t play ultra aggressive and not miss balls.

“Like I said, I felt like I was hitting the ball clean tonight. I wasn’t hitting it early. I was not getting to the balls as quickly as I would like, but I will do that in a couple of weeks.”

Murray said he would prepare for the big events in Miami and Indian Wells at home. “We’ll go home, you know, and practise a little bit there. I’m going to Indian Wells on Saturday, the Saturday before the tournament. I’ll play my first match on Friday or Saturday the following week. So I’ll make sure I get five or six days there.

“You know, it’s a long stretch that one. If it goes well, it could be five, five-and-a-half weeks. So I will go home. Get my body right, and get ready to play well over there.”

It seems Andy Murray is very determined to do well only in the big ones. Well, we don’t yet know if Murray will ever win a Slam! But what do know is that you need more than Slams to win the hearts of the neutrals.

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