Why Andy Murray must take time out to enjoy his achievements following US Open defeat
7 Sep 2013 16:19 http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/andy-murray-must-take-time-2258517
Will Ralston reflects on a disappointing tournament for the Brit, insisting he must rest up ahead of his next challenge
The Arthur Ashe Stadium has seen a succession of one-sided matches in this year’s U.S Open Championships, but I doubt anybody could have foreseen that Thursday’s quarter final would have been another. This was not so much the loss of a US Open title but complete surrender from Andy Murray as he gave it away with barely a fight.
The easy explanation is Warwinka - make no mistake, he was absolutely superb. He had the U.S Open defending champion in knots all afternoon. He hit three times as many winners as Murray and never faced a break point throughotut the course of the three sets.
But as good as the Swiss was, Murray was equally poor. The Scot is no quitter and while we all waited for the notorious fightback in the third, it just never came. This was simply not a performance we were accustomed to witnessing.
Murray’s post-match assessment was to the point and honest. He had chosen the wrong time to play ‘a bad match,’ he said, adding: ‘If I am meant to win every Grand Slam I play or be in the final...it’s just very, very difficult now.’ While true as that may be, I think the problem runs far deeper.
What Murray has achieved in the last year has been remarkable. It had been a long, hard summer and it had come on the back of a long, hard year. Before Flushing Meadows, he had reached the final of the last four Grand Slam tournaments he had entered and won two of them along with the Olympic Gold medal. He had also ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon champion, surviving two weeks of unbearable pressure - the sort of pressure his compatriots can only imagine.
His Wimbledon win is part of tennis folklore and as the Scot stood there, trophy aloft on a packed out Centre Court, he will have known that whatever else happened in his career, he was now part of history. Never again would the phrase ‘Not since Fred Perry..‘ be used in British tennis. He had shaken free 77 years of unwanted history, removed the dark shadow from over the All England Club and finally ditched that monkey from his back.
But after such a high, there is inevitably a low. The Murray at Flushing Meadows this week has been a shadow of his former self. Murray was simply exhausted, both mentally and physically. It is not that he does not still have the ambition - far from it - but after working so hard, after sacrificing so much and after achieving a life’s dream, returning to the tennis court to start all over again will have been one of the hardest challenges the Scot will have faced - and unfortunately against a top quality opponent on Thursday night the evidence was there for all to see.
It is no wonder that he has struggled to find motivation in practice in Wimbledon or that he could not fire himself up in New York. He has acheived all could ever have hoped to achieve in tennis at this point last year. It has been a very emotional 18 months and I question whether he has taken to time to digest his achievements. He took few weeks holiday after Wimbledon but that simply does not suffice when the demands of the game are so notoriously high.
But what next for the Scot? Where does he go from here? The answer is rest and relaxation. Currently he is scheduled to play for Great Britain against Croatia in the Davis Cup next week, with his next tournament scheduled to be the Thailand Open in Bangkok from 23rd September. For me - this must change.
Time is his friend at the moment. It is imperative that the take some space to enjoy his achievements - he must reset his body, reset his mind and refresh his soul. He is clearly very weary after the events of the past 12 months and is wondering, ‘What next?.’ He needs to sit down with his team, evaluate his goals and return to the court with the fires burning once again. Hopefully, then, he will refind his form. Hopefully, then, he will refind that motivation and hopefully, then, the real Andy Murray will return to our courts.