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Wimbledon 2013: Gunning for Wimbledon, the Murray Way

954   //    07 Jul 2013, 19:09 IST

The Championships - Wimbledon 2013: Day Thirteen
Of the two men’s singles finalists at Wimbledon 2013, it’s Andy Murray who remains a tough nut to crack. His visage has continued to be impassive as ever. With no laugh lines to blur his stoicism while play’s in progress. He’s not exactly demonstrative, unless one were to count his rambunctious yells and grimaces when he misses points and commits errors; which are few and spaced too far apart in a match. In all honesty, he hasn’t transformed himself to a more flamboyant self and has yet caused a great deal of fluttering among the crowds – countrymen and the rest of the world alike.

Calling Murray a favourite to win the Wimbledon this year then doesn’t look misplaced at all. The huge cloud of expectancy that hovered over him in the years past, whenever he made it to a grand slam final has been cast aside forever with one momentous victory at the US Open in 2012. That was a moment that would be etched poignantly in the minds of his fans and detractors alike. It was a moment when Andy Murray finally came of age. Indeed later than foreseen, but emphatic nonetheless.

It’s thus a different kind of appeal that Andy Murray has brought to the heady Wimbledon mixture this time round. The hopes of the nation continue to swirl around him as before, but now the pressure seems to be bearable. In the years previously, where he often allowed the crowd and his opponent to over-power him mentally, these days Andy Murray projects a completely different self while playing. His composure and behaviour reflects that as seen in his match against Verdasco. The Murray of the past, when playing at two-sets-to-love down would have played with an attitude of the brow-beaten. Hunched shoulders, lackadaisical shot-making with complete disinterest and passivity. But against Verdasco, the loss of the first two sets acted almost as a catalyst to spur him on to take the match to decider. It seemed to be the same against Janowicz, though the match was wrapped convincingly in the fourth set itself in the end.

A winner’s attitude, that’s what Murray sports these days. Maybe it is Ivan Lendl’s doing or maybe it’s something that the Scot himself has realised and invoked at the Wimbledon to his advantage. No one will ever know for sure. But what’s evident and tangible is Murray’s ferocity while playing. A ferocity that’s never been muted so far in the tournament and will probably come out in full force in the all-important match taking place on the hallowed Second Sunday.

Djokovic wouldn’t let go of the reins of course. He went the distance in his semi-final against Del Potro, winning an over four-hour long marathon to make it to his third Wimbledon final. Looking at their journey to the final, a five-setter thus is definitely in the offing. The last five-setter that these players contested, it was Murray who ended up winning amidst really see-sawing conditions. With the crescendo of the crowd gunning behind him, the conditions would be as see-sawing as ever. But a lot has changed between that final and this one, nearly a year ago.

This time, Murray comes in at par with Djokovic. Not in terms of numbers of slams won but in terms of soaking up the ambience and being able to pull it off in the end. He’s seen it all; from both perspectives to give him that advantage over his opponent who started off his grand slam tally with an early win, over six years ago.

This then is the difference in Andy Murray from the one the world has seen in the previous years. At the 2013 Wimbledon final, Andy Murray isn’t playing to re-carve a former Briton’s name with his own. He’s playing to win for his own sake, what’s perhaps the most coveted of grand slam titles. A title each player aspires and dreams of lifting before the world, but one that only a few manage to do so.

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A girl with a die-hard passion for sports, any sport for that matter but tennis, cricket and football (European) primarily. Trying to understand the complexities of baseball and the difference between scrum and scrimmage..but till then sticking with baseline and serve-and-volley, offside and onside, and free-kicks and penalty shoot-outs. Love reading books, have a flair for writing. An author and a poet.
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