The first time Andy Murray made it to the final of a Major was in 2008, at the US Open. Back then, he was thoroughly overpowered by Roger Federer – who had had his own motivation to win the last major of the season – and it took a few more attempts and around four years for him to win his first Major, fittingly, at Flushing Meadows.
Since then, the Scot’s had several ups and downs, winning the coveted Wimbledon title ending a nation’s 77-year drought, a couple of Olympic medals and taking his place, deservedly as the world’s second-best player behind Novak Djokovic.
On the surface of it, being the ‘next-to-best’ player isn’t bad at all. Especially when considered in light of how Murray’s handled pressure and expectations to reach where he currently is. But this aspect of him standing so close to the world no.
1, has further affected the individualistic nature of Murray’s performance, making it continuously comparative with Djokovic’s. The negligible age-gap between the two and their near-coinciding breakthroughs made their career trajectories a parallel than two separate professional narrations, at its start.
But the underlying similarity of their style of play emphasised the parallel nature of their careers, going on to give a slight edge to the Serbian. But going by the happenings at the French Open, it’s high time that these comparisons between the two are put to an end.
Not to connote the dominance of Djokovic over Murray, but because despite his inability to get a win over the Serbian, the Briton marked an important milestone. That of marking a definite transition as an all-court player by being tenacious – despite the drop in form in the final – on a surface that had long been considered his weakest.
Much like himself, the assertion of Andy Murray’s dominance on clay too had been underrated, though not entirely under the radar.
It was noteworthy to see him win two back-to-back titles in Munich and Madrid last year, the latter over Rafael Nadal as it was eye-opening to see his inspired performance against Djokovic in the semi-final of the French Open.
It was this last performance that showed that Murray could do more. And he indeed did so this year, starting with his opening two matches against Radek Stepanek and Mathias Bourgue at Roland Garros. With a slew of tournaments left ahead this season, this turning point couldn’t have been timely enough for the world no.
2. Even more so, given the imminence – or rather the start – of the grass swing, where Murray’s always been in the proverbial zone. It’s true that the results at times haven’t reflected his ease on the surface, but the end results aren’t always indicative of how the matches actually progress.
In Murray’s case, adding credibility to this facet is the fact that he’s been anything but at his best while playing on grass. And as poignantly as he signed off from Paris, it’s now time for Murray to be as unrelenting as he can be.
To not only challenge, but also to further separate himself from his rivals.
Also Read: The Unrelenting Quest of Novak Djokovic's French Open Win! .