Andy Murray – Sony Ericsson Open – Miami Masters – 2010

Posted on April 7, 2010

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Andy Murray lost 6-4 6-4 to American Mardy Fish in the second round of the Miami Masters, leaving little doubt that, if his current poor form persists, it will threaten his position among the tennis elite. Since mid 2008, Murray has continually improved his game, winning numerous Masters Events and contesting 2 grand-slam finals, however, his form at present is woeful and he needs to improve if he wants to continue his ascent in the men’s game.

Outside of the 4 Grand-Slam events, Miami is the most prestigious title in tennis, and was the scene of Murray’s greatest career triumph to date, when he swept to victory here in 2009. The difference between his form of 12 months ago when compared with now is quite astonishing, and his decision to take a wild-card at the Monte Carlo Masters, an event he had not originally intended to enter, is a wise one given he needs some victories in order to restore some much-needed confidence. Murray had become somewhat of an expert at winning Masters Titles, with wins in Cincinnati, Madrid, Miami and Toronto in recent times, but this was the second Masters Event of this year and Murray has now performed poorly in both.

Anyone who has followed closely Murray’s time on tour will acknowledge that he is a superb player; one who is equipped with a breathtaking variety of shots and excellent tactical awareness. It is these very qualities that have seen Murray perform to such a high level in recent years that he reached number 2 in the world rankings and became one of the most feared players on tour. Opponents struggled to handle him. His superb movement around the court and his ability to produce the impossible at crucial times meant that, average players were being dispatched with ease, and the top players had to produce their very best to stand any chance beating him. Right now though, he is struggling to muster up victories with any kind of regularity and one sincerely hopes he can quickly return to the kind of form he was showing only a few months ago at the Australian Open. If he can do that, he will maintain his current high standing in the game, failure to do so may result in a crisis.

Andy Roddick became the successor to Murray here in Miami, winning his first Masters Series title since 2006, beating Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-4 in the final. Roddick is having a fine season and looks determined to improve his position of world number 7. Murray was not the only top-4 player who struggled for form at this event, as Novak Djokovic was beaten at the same stage as Murray by Olivier Rochus, and Roger Federer lost to Berdych in round 4. Rafael Nadal was the only one of the games top stars to perform commendably, beating Dent, Nalbadian, Ferrer and Tsonga, before losing to the impressive Roddick in the semi-final. The erratic form of the world’s top players is making the game much more unpredictable in 2010, and means that, for now, Murray has not lost too much ground in the rankings. He dropped a place to 4th after this event but still has Nadal (3) and Djokovic (2) in his sights. World number 1 Roger Federer is comfortably in the lead at the top of the pile and it will be a little while longer until his dominance comes under threat.

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Posted in: Tennis