Column: Andy Murray's year in review, 2009 - Part 2

December 03, 2009, 07:53 PM | Community Column | Andrew Hunter
The Wimbledon draw was relatively kind to Murray, after Rafael Nadal had confirmed his withdrawal from the tournament. Routine wins over Robert Kendrick, Ernests Gulbis and Viktor Troicki before a nailbiting, five set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka was the order of the first week.

In the quarter-finals, Murray saw off former world number one, Juan Carlos Ferrero to set up a match with Andy Roddick in the semi finals. The two players had opposed each other at Wimbledon back in 2006, when Murray won convincingly in straight sets. With the home favourite now a top class player, many expected a similar outcome. Roddick waxed lyrical about a pre-match gameplan to stifle Murray, and it was executed to perfection. Murray had a glaring opportunity at set point in the third set tie-break to seize control of the match, but it was not to be. Roddick went on to take the third set, and eventually, the match. As he sank to his knees in elation, so did the hearts of the whole country, albeit in despair.

Andy Murray has never really had a poor summer hardcourt season, it is usually a time of year that yields ranking points and wins aplenty. In 2008, it was here where Murray accelerated his development from top ten player to the fourth best player in the world.

In Montreal, Murray powered through yet another robust field to claim his fourth Masters title, winning in three sets over Juan Martin Del Potro in the final. It was a momentous week for British tennis yet again, as victory over Jo-Wilifred Tsonga in the semi final had secured Murray's place at number 2 in the world rankings, a first for any British male.

There was to be no rest for the weary however, and Murray catapulted straight over to Ohio for the Cincinnati Masters. After a gritty victory against Julien Benneteau in the quarter-finals, Murray faced Federer in the semi-finals. Despite serving poorly and turning in a sub-par performance, the Briton had a set point to level the match, but could not convert, and instead, crashed out in straight sets.

After a scintillating last few months, many felt that it was finally Murray's time to win at his favourite slam, the US Open. As second seed, there was considerable pressure for the 22 year old to go one stage further than last year. The inconsistent Ernests Gulbis was the first opponent, and Murray swatted him aside with ease. Paul Capdeville and Taylor Dent posed few problems either. However, Murray's excellent summer was ruined by Marin Cilic. The Croat yet again proved that attacking tennis could pick the Brit apart as he triumphed in straight sets. Murray seemed troubled with a wrist injury, but did not blame it for his loss. It had been a very disappointing year for Murray at the grand slams.

The wrist injury sustained clearly was quite a troublesome one, as it forced Murray to miss the entire Asian indoor swing. Valencia marked his return to the tour, 7 weeks after the loss to Cilic, and it was a successful return. Victory over the temperamental Mikhail Youzhny in the final ensured yet another indoor title, an impressive feat, considering the lengthy lay-off that Murray had endured.

A poor week under the lights in Paris followed, as Radek Stepanek came back from a set down, to stun the Scot. It was a match that Murray seemed in full control of, but the crafty Stepanek finally managed to notch his first victory in their head-to-head.

Having qualified in August, Murray had been looking forward to the ATP Finals for quite some time. It was the first year that the flagship event was being hosted in London, and Murray was very much the promotional poster boy for the tournament. He was drawn in Group A with Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, and Fernando Verdasco. The Briton had to dig deep to stave off Del Potro in three sets. In his second match, Murray succumbed to Roger Federer for the second consecutive time, after taking the first set. This threw up all sorts of permutations for the final round of matches.

Murray scraped through in three sets against the unlucky Verdasco, but it was not enough to seal automatic qualification; he would need to wait until after Federer and Del Potro had played. It was to be a night of high drama and high misfortune for Murray, as Del Potro crawled past the finishing line, racking up just one more decisive game than Murray over the course of the round robin stage. Conspiracy theorists started spouting at the nature of the match, but there is no doubt that Murray could have booked his place himself in his own three matches.

So, how will Murray remember 2009? A successful year on many fronts, but not on the elusive Grand Slam front. A superb 66-11 match record speaks volumes, but it was disappointing, one dimensional performances against Verdasco, Gonzalez and Cilic which will leave a bitter taste. Personally, I don't think he'll get a better chance to reach a Wimbledon final than he did this year. However, there will be plenty more opportunities for Murray to break through and win that first major, but there is no question that it needs to happen soon.

Match of the year - It would have to be that five set tussle with Stanislas Wawrinka. The first match to be played under a roof on Centre Court, and it was a beauty. Pulsating tennis from both players and a huge sigh of relief when Murray struck the winning forehand.

Low point - Tumbling out to Marin Cilic after a dismal showing in New York. After a strong summer, and a high seeding, it had disappointment written all over it.

High point
- Defeating Djokovic convincingly in Miami to take his third Masters shield. Clinching the number two spot also gets an honourable mention.
Community Column | Andrew Hunter
The views expressed in the article above are those of the author and therefore do not necessarily reflect the views of MurraysWorld as an organisation. How do I submit my own column?
Interested in writing your own column for this website? Here's how it works:

1. You write an article and submit it using this online form.

2. A staff member evaluates your article to make sure it complies with our editorial guidelines (see drop-down below).

3. When approved, the article is published on the main website and will receive the following exposure:

* Columns page
* Google News (As a Google News Publisher, our articles are treated like mainstream press)
* Rightside of website (See section on the right panel called 'Latest Columns')
* Appears above the news on the home page for 24 hours.
* Publlished on our Twitter and Facebook accounts, including various other social websites.


Editorial Guidelines 1. Article has minimum word count of 300 words.

2. Article is written in English with good spelling and grammar.

3. Your opinions need to be based on fact but speculation is acceptable to some degree.

4. For Google reasons, we ask that you include 'Andy Murray' in the headline.
add comment | 13 comments
Interesting to refresh the memory of what happened... seems to me that Andy's wrist injury is the primary cause for everything suddenly going downhill, it probably gave him a confidence hit. Then to make things worse, his relationship starts to fall apart... that sort of think can easily last a few months before someone actually has the guts to break-up.
December 03, 2009, 08:15 PM
By Mark

^Well done Andrew, honest but without being defeatist and negitive clap
December 03, 2009, 11:39 PM
By Hazybear

"It had been a very disappointing year for Murray at the grand slams."

I agree with that as a fan because we all know the potential of Murray and what to expect but many outsiders would argue it's been a succesfu year for Murray at the Slams as he has progressed further in 3 of the 4 events.
December 03, 2009, 11:40 PM
By Mark

The defeat to Roddick still hurts me to this day.
December 03, 2009, 11:46 PM
By Sir Panda

Yeah, I so desperately wanted him in the finals... I wouldn't have minded him losing at that stage, I just wanted Britain to see such an amazing occasion. The hype would have been incredible.
December 03, 2009, 11:50 PM
By Mark

Yeah, I so desperatly wanted him in the finals... I wouldn't have minded him losing at that stage, I just wanted Britian to see such an amazing occasion. The hype would have been incredible.

Yeah. Though if Roddick had won I wouldn't have minded as much Smile
December 03, 2009, 11:51 PM
By Hazybear

Super report Andrew - so many chances he was unable to realise. He has a few things to work on but he said some months ago that his best tennis would take 2/3 years to realise - let's hope there will be an upward trend next year.
December 04, 2009, 09:35 AM
By janscribe

Bleacher Report's 2009 review: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/305670-how-he-fared-in-2009-andy-murray-stuck-in-neutral
December 10, 2009, 12:14 AM
By Mark

^^Hmm fairly fair. However, I find that the more I read the more I find myself wanting to defend him and shout about his masters titles this year and the fact that in the slams he still went further than he had before...still progress just not quite at the speed our 'instant' society would like.
December 10, 2009, 01:19 AM
By Hazybear

Well written Andrew. 

December 14, 2009, 09:04 PM
By Philip

add comment | 13 comments