Column: A look back at 2005 - part 2
December 04, 2005, 04:18 PM | Community Column | kundaliniEarly April saw another first round defeat in qualifying, this time to Luzzi at the ATP event in Valencia. There followed a somewhat surprising defeat to the Irish player Kevin Sorensen in the semi-final of a Futures event in Italy. Andy's ranking was little changed from the start of the year and hopes of getting into qualifying for Roland Garros were fading away.
But one opportunity had come Andy's way - his first match on the main ATP tour. Sanchez-Casal had used their influence to acquire a wildcard for Andy into the maindraw at the prestigious ATP tour event at Barcelona. In the first round Andy would face Jan Hernych, a steady, if unspectacular, top 100 player.
Court 4 was perhaps not the most glamourous of settings for this occasion - no seating meant spectators had to use their imagination. With reigning US Open champion and fellow Sanchez-Casal academy member Svetlana Kuznetsova cheering from the sidelines, mum Judy sat on a dustbin lid and the video analyst on a step ladder, Andy began in determined fashion.
The first set was fiercely contested. Breakpoint opportunities were missed by both players in the early games until Andy eventually struck to lead 4-2 then broke again to win the set 6-3. At the start of the second set Hernych broke and looked in control at 4-2 only for Andy to recover the break then lose it again and the set 4-6.
By the time of the third set fitness was beginning to play a part. After almost 2hrs of play Andy was suffering from cramp and yet he broke to lead 3-1, was broken, then had to 2 break points to regain control of the set. He could take neither. Hernych got the decisive break in the next game and won the match 3-6 6-4 6-4 despite winning fewer points overall.
So another defeat for Andy but one that would reassure him that he still had the ability to make it as a tennis player. Typically Andy was furious with himself for wasting so many opportunities.
"I probably played well for about six or seven points of the entire match," Murray said. "That was a terrible, terrible performance from me. I had plenty of chances in that match, and just didn't take them. That was probably down to inexperience from me. I was too defensive and played some stupid shots on the big points. I had expected to win. Hernych is nothing special."
"I've got a very good chance to get to the top, as I'm only 17 and this guy was about 75 in the world," he said. "I didn¿t play my best match and I still could have won. I didn't play well at all today. I need to improve my physical strength because that let me down a bit toward the end of the third set."
The rest of April and May was dominated by the disintegrating relationship between player and coach. The lack of results leading to continual disagreements about the style of play Andy should adopt. Pato Alvarez's motivational criticism produced a response, though perhaps not the desired one; Andy fired him.
“We were arguing a lot,” Murray revealed. “The last week we were together, it got a bit nasty. He was saying bad things about my tennis and bad things about me. I don’t really need somebody that negative in my corner just now. So I thought the best thing for me to do was to stop with him. He said if I continue like I have been the last two months, I’m not going to be any good.”
The junior event at Roland Garros was viewed with mixed feelings by Andy who had been anticipating playing against the best players in the world, not having to return to a world he thought he had left behind. He made it through a couple of close matches in the early rounds before finding his form to beat Juan Martin Del Potro, a rising star at junior level.
In the semi-final against Cilic, Andy served for the first set, got broken and proceeded to lose both his temper and the match in a spectacular meltdown packed full of bad language and broken racquets.
Community Column | kundalini