Andy Murray’s semi against Tomas Berdych was a brutal encounter which seemed to leave even the balls bruised and battered. But Andy held firm and repulsed the Czech’s rocket-launcher ground strokes. You could see from Andy’s expression at the close of play how much the victory meant to him.
He’s had a tough time since winning Wimbledon. Back surgery must be difficult and stressful for anyone in professional sport, but particularly so for a tennis player. His form slumped, and at one stage it looked as though he might be heading for the top ten exit door. A forced change of coach didn’t help either. But an intensive training schedule and an iron determination have seen him overcome these obstacles and put him firmly back in the mix.
But his other achievements shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s had the misfortune to be around at a time of three great players, one of them (Federer) probably the greatest player ever to grace a tennis court. With this trio in close proximity, the fact Andy managed to win any Grand Slam at all is a remarkable achievement in itself. And we shouldn’t forget the way he overcame the deadening weight of public expectation to triumph at Wimbledon, following what must have been some hugely disappointing defeats, not to mention doubts, on the way.
Whatever happens in the final against Djokovic tomorrow, Andy Murray has had a great career, one of which he should be very proud. And, on the strength of his performance against Berdych, he could yet tuck more Grand Slams under his belt. With all this praise, however, I’d like to lob in one small criticism. I wish he’d stop the girning and grumping, and focus 100 per cent on the game.