Analysing Andy Murray's chances at the 2015 French Open
With the second Grand Slam of the year just a few days away, the build up to the French Open has already begun with the discussion on the names of possible winners starting to take place. One can say without doubt that in the last 10 years, if there’s been one man that has dominated this particular Grand Slam, it’s definitely the Spaniard – Rafael Nadal.
With 9 titles in 10 attempts, Nadal has definitely made the French Open his own – making him the favorite to win the tournament this year too, considering that he is the defending champion. But, if there’s one player that has caught everyone’s attenton in the last two weeks, it’s Andy Murray.
Murray had a good start to the tennis year 2015, managing to qualify for the finals of the first Grand Slam of the year i.e. the Australian open 2015, losing to Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Crushed Nadal in Madrid
The finals of the Madrid Open 2015 saw Nadal taking on Murray in the finals. If recent form was anything to go by, Nadal could be considered as the favorite. Especially considering the fact that the tournament was being played on a clay court – which is without doubt Nadal’s forte. With the odds against Murray and the pressure to perform and win an ATP tournament playing against arguably the toughest opponent on clay, Murray did have a huge task on his shoulders.
It can be concluded that the Madrid Open 2015 and the May 10th 2015, belonged to the sheer genius of Murray’s play – with the perfect balance between aggressive gameplay and taking advantage of Nadal’s weaknesses post his recovery from injury. Murray definitely molded the little mistakes from Nadal to his advantage and won the match in straight sets.
Going into any Grand Slam, the recent form of each player is to be taken into consideration. If the recent form of Murray is anything to go by, he is looking ready to upset the best of the sport in Paris.
Murray is playing it smart
There’s one more angle to Murray’s gameplay which must be mentioned here. We’ve often seen that due to Murray’s fitness heavy game, he often suffers from fatigue and fails to deliver on the big stage – now this can either be due to lack of fitness or simply because of lack of rest during busy schedules of a Grand Slam. Hence, the few days prior to a Grand Slam are very vital in rejuvenating and making the most of whatever little time that you can get of; that’s exactly what Murray has done.
After a dominant performance in Madrid, Murray decided to skip the Rome Masters to be ready for the French Open. Murray’s dropout was met with criticism from the British press but in his defence came the Swiss master, Roger Federer labelling his dropout from the Italian open as “one of the better pull-outs” that you can make.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist hasn’t lost a match on clay this season and won back to back titles in Munich and Madrid. He is on a 10-match winning streak on the surface.
It is surprising to mention Murray as one of the favorites as he has never been considered as strong a player on clay courts as he is on grass courts. However, he definitely has worked on his game and it’s starting to show on the stage which matters. Beating Nadal in straight sets and that too with great margins on a clay court is in itself a certification of his improved and new found strategy, perhaps “marriage works” is actually true!
Before I conclude the article, below are stages which Murray has reached in all the French Opens that he has played thus far :
First Round (2006), Didn’t play due to injury (2007), Third round (2008), Quarter Finalist (2009), Fourth Round (2010), Semi Finalist (2011), Quarter Finalist (2012), Didn’t play due to injury (2013), Semi Finalist (2014)