Andy Murray – BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells – 2010

Posted on March 29, 2010


After a disappointing performance last time out in Dubai, Andy Murray was looking to improve greatly here at the first Masters 1000 event of 2010, in the Coachella Valley, California. However, his progress was halted at the quarter-final stage by the big-hitting Swede Robin Soderling and Murray now heads to Miami with some serious thinking to do.

Since the Australian Open in January, Murray’s form has dipped considerably. Indeed, he is not playing anywhere close to the level he was at this stage last season and he is well aware of that fact. He was runner-up here in 2009, playing some great tennis en-route to a final with Rafael Nadal, but he never looked like repeating that performance this week. He beat Seppi, Russell and Almagro with relative ease but it is against the top players that you have to perform at your best, and he was made to look second-rate by the in-form Soderling. Soderling, who had a much tougher run to the quarter-final stage than Murray, swept aside the British number 1, winning 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

The ease with which Soderling won the first set will be of great concern to Murray and his team. Soderling dictated almost every point and his power was too much for Murray to handle. Time and again the Swede controlled the points and Murray could not come up with any answers. Admittedly, Soderling is one of the games top players. His run to the final of last year’s Roland Garros and his win the ATP World Tour Finals in London confirmed that he is a force to be reckoned with. However, Murray expects to beat almost every player on tour but right now he seems short of belief.

Somewhat surprisingly, Indian Wells is a tournament which has a great recent history of British success. As well as Murray’s run to the 2009 final, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman (twice ) both finished runner-up here during their distinguished careers and it was hoped that Andy Murray could go one better this time and win the coveted prize, but, at present, he lacks the mental strength required to win a fiercely contested tournament such as this. It seems Britain will have to wait a while longer before getting its hands on this trophy.

It was a strange year for results in Indian Wells. This is a tournament that attracts record attendances for an event outside of the grand-slams and it is usually dominated by the games big names. However, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray were all beaten before the final this year. Ivan Ljubicic was the surprise winner, beating Andy Roddick in the final and lifting his world ranking from 26th to 13th in the process.

With tournaments coming thick and fast Murray must improve – and quickly. Next week he plays another Masters Event, this time in Miami, a tournament he won in 2009. A better showing than the ones he has produced here and in Dubai is a must if he is to continue his quest to become world number 1.

Posted in: Tennis