Murray goes from geriatric to ballistic

By for on
Nursing a back injury that rendered him virtually immobile in the early stages, Andy Murray today completed an unlikely turnaround to defeat Finland's Jarrko Nieminen 1-6, 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the second round of the French Open.

In the first set, Murray looked about as mobile as a garden gnome. But the stubborn Scot did at least treat his fans to a glittering array of cable-wristed groundshot winners on which no opponent could have laid a racket.

With his back in spasm, Murray called on the trainer three times and inevitably lost an excruciating first set that was as painful for his fans to watch as it was for the Scot to play.

Nieminen did well to hold his focus but, for Murray's admirers, this was like watching a slow-motion train crash. With Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and the US Open looming large on the horizon, fans wondered if the Scot's injury could turn the most sparkling summer of his life into a disheartening washout.

But early in the second set, the British number one began to show some signs of loosening up sufficiently to make a fist of it. While his movement wasn't completely fluid, it was at least less treacle-like and enough to take the set from 2-4 down.

The fourth seed took that form into set three, his shot selection benefiting from the legacy of his gung-ho mentality during the opening set. The Scot opened up a 3-0 lead that he defended until he killed off the set, at which point he was shifting like a gazelle across an African plain.

When Murray fired a scorching forehand to wrap up the third set, it seemed his transformation from the orthopaedic to the ballistic was complete. But if Murray was geriatric, the Finn was psychiatric. Throughout the entire French farce, Nieminen looked like a man in a straitjacket with a fly on his face.

The Finn's anguish continued into set four. An early break for Murray killed off any resistance from the left-hander, whose shots repeatedly found the wrong Parisian arrondissement.

As Murray's scorching array of shots bought him a cheap double break, and the Finn's unforced errors pushed 50, the crowd were left to wonder if they'd witnessed a miracle or just another piece of theatre in the repertory that seems part and parcel of the Scot's career.

Murray will take his place in round three against Santiago Giraldo, and spectators will feel that the Scot undoubtedly won a battle here. However, when the adrenalin wears off, the Brit might ponder whether his fortunes in the war – this iconic tennis season and beyond – have been dramatically impaired.
Spot on with some brilliant analogies yes I especially like the description of Nieminen lol

A lucky win in many ways as Nieminen fell apart and Murray was able to improve enough to put in a good game.
Lets see what comes out of Andy's camp later today.
May 31, 2012, 12:53 PM
By Hazybear

Excellent write up. Thank you.
Some brilliant play too, though Niemenam undoubtedly helped a lot.
Plucky fight back or stupid stubborness? Take your pick.
Do hope those people on MW who claimed Andy did not have a back problem, are now prepared to eat a huge public portion of humble pie.
May 31, 2012, 01:10 PM
By blueberryhill

A miracle.  The next 48 hours will be kill or cure.
May 31, 2012, 01:21 PM

Nigel I just love your match reports - this one was a classic as was the match though not in the conventional sense of the term.  While I think Andy was mad to continue I can't help but admire his sheer guts and refusal to give up.  If anyone EVER again calls him a wimp or words to that effect I will personally come round and stick a tennis ball in their mouth  w00t
But I think his team has to think hard now about whether it makes sense for Andy to try to continue.  I guess alot will depend on how the back feels tomorrow morning.  But regardless I can't see the sense of continuing.  Even if he somehow staggers through the next round I don't see how he could get past Ferrer in the QF and lord knows what further damage he could do if he plays on.
May 31, 2012, 01:32 PM
By Ruthie

Murray buried Giraldo in the dirt this year in Barcelona, so I'm thinking he might be wanting to turn up for that one.

I can only assume that he's trying to minimise the damage to his ranking points at this event. He might then be planning on grabbing treatment in between tournaments where he can, and then taking a few months off after the USO.
May 31, 2012, 01:59 PM
By Grabcopy

Great report Nigel, still can't make up my mind whether Andy was gutsy or stupid, probably a bit of both.  I just hope he hasn't done further damage which will affect his chances at Wimbledon, etc.  nervous
May 31, 2012, 02:40 PM
By Iris

Dear Nigel.. thanks for the great report. there anyway you could retract your April Fool, please?
May 31, 2012, 02:58 PM
By scotnadian

Straight jacket with fly on nose, LOL!

Seriously though - am worried about Murray. Don't want him to be injured going forward, want him healed up well!!
May 31, 2012, 02:59 PM
By janetx

I hope he pulls out, he has proved he is made of strong stuff, has the balls & guts to win but with pain there is no gain!!
May 31, 2012, 03:00 PM
By Murray Magic

Neil Harman has tweeted that the AM said the back spasm he had today is not the same as his back injury.
May 31, 2012, 03:27 PM
By michelle

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