Murray shot down by The Missile

By for MurraysWorld.com on
Lose your serve to The Maple Leaf Missile and you can kiss goodbye to the set. When you have only three sets to play with, that can prove fatal. Although Murray engineered two match points, a service break in the very first game set the tone for a 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(4) defeat to Milos Raonic in this Japan Open semi-final.

Murray had taken apart the young Canadian on his way to the US Open title last month. On that occasion, he’d been millpond calm. But last night in Tokyo, Murray was as frazzled as a working mum asked to prepare tea while solving a Rubik’s Cube.

The puzzle seemed beyond him. A racket died an ugly death. Murray A screamed at Murray B. Murray B misplaced his A game. Perhaps it was off around the city, taking one of the rickshaw rides that have kept Raonic amused this week.

There was nothing amusing in the way the Scot surrendered his first service game to love, shanking a backhand wildly into the crowd. After that, with Raonic consistently serving scuds, the opening set was a formality.

Murray again faced break points in the second set, with the sixth seed adding a steady supply of groundshot winners to his arsenal. But the US Open champion dug in to seal a tense tiebreak 7-5 with a backhand that fizzed onto Raonic’s shoelaces.

The top seed seemed to have the match in his hands when he opened up a 3-1 lead in the third, but Raonic, who served 13 aces, broke back in game seven and saved a match point at 5-6, 30-40 with a gutsy smash.

The Canadian then double-faulted to gift Murray a second match point, but the Scot failed to capitalise and Raonic took two points on Murray’s serve in the deciding tiebreak, as his booming serve saw him over the finish line.

“He started the match well and I was slow to get off the mark," Murray said later. "He played well behind his first serve. That made it tough for me. There was always going to be a bit of residue from the last few months.”
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I didn't see him break a racket. I'd thought he managed to stop short of that.
October 06, 2012, 09:25 AM
By adb..OH

Disappointing. Andy particularly in set 3 resorted to cursing and swearing out loud and to verbally attacking his support team. I thought these mannerisms were of the past, but what a time to regress.

Thus ended his 8 succesfull tie-breaks and 10 matches in a row.

Shame as his poor attitude could have a negative effect on his chasing his Shanghai title defence.
October 06, 2012, 09:32 AM
By OldScotSupport

Disappointing. Andy particularly in set 3 resorted to cursing and swearing out loud and to verbally attacking his support team. I thought these mannerisms were of the past, but what a time to regress.

Thus ended his 8 succesfull tie-breaks and 10 matches in a row.

Shame as his poor attitude could have a negative effect on his chasing his Shanghai title defence.
Give the lad a break. I just think he is physically and mentally exhausted at te moment. I think his back is also giving him grief. He hasn't looked comfortable in either of the two matches we have seen. I know from my own experience that when I am tired and in pain I get very fractious, and can throw tantrums that would be the envy of your average toddler. I am lot older than Mr M and do have even less excuse. He is really improving in that area, but inevitably he is going to lapse sometimes. That's just him.
October 06, 2012, 09:54 AM
By Masaka

OSS I'd have thought it was his tiredness and back problem -which may help explain the negative attitude - that could have a negative effect on the Shanghai title.
It is of course disappointing but I see Andy  has said that last few months were going to catch up on him at some point and he sounds like he was perhaps fairly philosophical about the loss.  
While of course it would be perfect if he could defend his titles on the Asian Swing, I'd sacrifice them for what he's achieved this summer.  Even if he dips now, he has that GS title and gold medal and I'm quite sure, back permitting, he'll 'regroup' ok for the new season and I think it's a smart move to concentrate on US hard courts rather than fly back and forth across the world prior to them, which is what is being reported today.
And just read Masaka  clap
October 06, 2012, 09:55 AM
By Ruthie

Excellent report Nigel - as always. Didn't see the first set = woke up half way through the second and watched an inspired and very determined Raonic lose a second set tie break and then win the third. Andy was playing extremely well too and trying not to let his obvious frustration get in the way of many winning points. Pity he lost the advantage he had of a break of serve against his opponent in the third set and a pity he played two poor shots which gave Raonic the match. He can't win them all you know and when he berates like that it is himself he is berating not anyone else. He will be all the more determined to do well in Shanghai, which could include a match against Fed I believe.
October 06, 2012, 09:56 AM
By janscribe

Give the lad a break. I just think he is physically and mentally exhausted at te moment. I think his back is also giving him grief. He hasn't looked comfortable in either of the two matches we have seen. I know from my own experience that when I am tired and in pain I get very fractious, and can throw tantrums that would be the envy of your average toddler. I am lot older than Mr M and do have even less excuse. He is really improving in that area, but inevitably he is going to lapse sometimes. That's just him.
Well said Masaka - us two girls at least agree with your point of view!
October 06, 2012, 09:59 AM
By janscribe

Frown
October 06, 2012, 10:18 AM
By ProdigyEng

He's still got the big titles that matter: USO - the slam he always wanted. Olympics Gold to deny Federer the Golden Career Slam. Losing in an ATP500 I can live with. More time to prepare for Shanghai.

Don't forget he doesn't have any points to defend at WTF.
October 06, 2012, 10:24 AM
By syc23

The loss is annoying but I will feel a lot happier if he has less points to defend at this time of year. Look how few Nadal has, and how he has benefitted from that. I imagine that Lendl will be being far more ruthless over his schedule now, and manipulating it to ensure the best possible outcomes for both of  their new goals,  ie the number one ranking and more GS's.  It will be much better to have his points spread out over the year, so he can be selective about what tournaments he takes part in, and can take time off if he needs to. I hate to make the point but he is not quite as young as he was, and its a tough game. If he wants to keep going for another 5 or 6 years, he needs to maintain the machine properly. He is currently changing his methodology from "a GS or bust" to "more GS's and push for the No 1 ranking". Once he gets that we would want him to keep it for a while.
October 06, 2012, 10:40 AM
By Masaka

He was 4-1 up in the final set and lost it - can't believe it. I hope it doesn't knock his emerging self belief. I saw him break the racket - these tennis players have got to stop doing that. These rackets cost hundreds of pounds and it shows real contempt for their suppliers and a shocking arrogance ie I'm so rich I can destroy a tennis racket worth hundreds of pounds in a temper tantrum. Very disappointing. Canadian did play well though. 
October 06, 2012, 11:10 AM
By MT

There was an interview with Andy this week, can't remember where I read it, but he was talking about his back which is still stiff, takes time to loosen up. His fitness training is trying to strengthen that area to protect his back. If he stands or walks about too much he gets pain. I think it was obvious that he wasn't moving well between points yesterday, so I for one am glad he is not playing in the final and will have a few days to rest both physically and mentally. The court at Shanghai is slower and will suit him better.
October 06, 2012, 11:20 AM
By michelle

He was 4-1 up in the final set and lost it - can't believe it. I hope it doesn't knock his emerging self belief. I saw him break the racket - these tennis players have got to stop doing that. These rackets cost hundreds of pounds and it shows real contempt for their suppliers and a shocking arrogance ie I'm so rich I can destroy a tennis racket worth hundreds of pounds in a temper tantrum. Very disappointing. Canadian did play well though. 

Surely better the rackets, which are their property and which they pay for, than the officials, as has happened at Queen's this year, with Nalbandian:-)
October 06, 2012, 11:23 AM
By Masaka

Watched the whole match and so agree with every single word of the very metaphorically written match report. I liked that. I myself prefer an Andy who is still alive concerning his body language to an Andy dragging himself over the court in despair. And I hate players with the same facial expression throughout a match. Tomorrow's final will certainly set an example of boredom against monotony in this respect. Though, I am afraid Raonic will win this clash with his overpowering tennis unless he doesn't make too many mistakes, which he unfortunately didn't do today. Obviously, he has learnt his lesson from NYC and Andy was firstly not fully on spot from the start, secondly not ruthless enough in the final stages. Now the focus should be on Shanghai, Paris and London to round up an already wonderful achievement this. Nothing can spoil that for me.
October 06, 2012, 11:27 AM
By counter_ puncher

Hi All,

I think too much is being made out of Andy getting frustrated. He smashed a racquet? So what. Baggy smashed half a dozen in a match at the AO (I think) and no one gets on his case. What happened today is not a return to 'bad habits', it's just a man who got frustrated and edgy in a tight match against a tennis equivalent of a brick wall, and a brick wall with a big serve and no obvious personality at that.

The fact is that Andy had match points. Losing them would have been frustrating. What's he supposed to do in a three set match when there is no room for manouvre, stand there and go 'oh well, never mind, silly me'? He's human. Unlike Raonic, Andy shows his feelings on court. Personally I don't want him to be a robot.

My concern is Andy's back right now, not his game. He did look a bit stiff at times against Wawrinka, so maybe it is troubling him again. He's also bound to be feeling some reaction from all of his success this summer, success which hasn't suddenly vanished because he's lost a match to an upstart. Andy has already been quoted as saying there was bound to be some reaction at some point, and I'm sure Lendl would say the same. It happens.

I do think Andy needs a win over Raonic in a best of three soon, to put Raonic in his place, but Andy doesn't need to worry about that now. All he needs to think about is being as right as he can be for the rest of the season. I'd love him to win the WTF, more than Shanghai to be honest, although both would be nice. However, what will be will be at this point. I'm not about to worry about ranking points, although I am convinced Andy will finish the year at three or above.

I think next year's schedule will be interesting to see from Andy's point of view. I'm sure Lendl will advise and guide him to do the right things to get the best out of himself. That's good enough for me.
October 06, 2012, 11:41 AM
By teejay1

The thing I forgot to say is that in my view anyone who thinks Raonic is going to be top five any time soon is having a laugh. He has never won a Masters and not got remotely close to winning a major. He is promising, don't get me wrong, but top five in the immediate future? No chance.
October 06, 2012, 11:45 AM
By teejay1

Hi All,

I think too much is being made out of Andy getting frustrated. He smashed a racquet? So what. Baggy smashed half a dozen in a match at the AO (I think) and no one gets on his case. What happened today is not a return to 'bad habits', it's just a man who got frustrated and edgy in a tight match against a tennis equivalent of a brick wall, and a brick wall with a big serve and no obvious personality at that.

The fact is that Andy had match points. Losing them would have been frustrating. What's he supposed to do in a three set match when there is no room for manouvre, stand there and go 'oh well, never mind, silly me'? He's human. Unlike Raonic, Andy shows his feelings on court. Personally I don't want him to be a robot.

My concern is Andy's back right now, not his game. He did look a bit stiff at times against Wawrinka, so maybe it is troubling him again. He's also bound to be feeling some reaction from all of his success this summer, success which hasn't suddenly vanished because he's lost a match to an upstart. Andy has already been quoted as saying there was bound to be some reaction at some point, and I'm sure Lendl would say the same. It happens.

I do think Andy needs a win over Raonic in a best of three soon, to put Raonic in his place, but Andy doesn't need to worry about that now. All he needs to think about is being as right as he can be for the rest of the season. I'd love him to win the WTF, more than Shanghai to be honest, although both would be nice. However, what will be will be at this point. I'm not about to worry about ranking points, although I am convinced Andy will finish the year at three or above.

I think next year's schedule will be interesting to see from Andy's point of view. I'm sure Lendl will advise and guide him to do the right things to get the best out of himself. That's good enough for me.
Well said Teejay. I could see yesterday that his movement between points was poor and that he was having trouble with his back. So hopefully his physio can work on his back and do some accupunture on it as well. I wish those who come down on Andy would give him some slack. I will like to see how they would react if they were in Andy's shoes. I've a feeling we'd all have to take cover!
October 06, 2012, 11:50 AM
By michelle

Brilliat Teejay. My feelings exactly.  I am surprised at how many on this site are now down on him when only 4 weeks ago the young man beat Djoko in five tight sets and played the equivalent of 3 football matches back to back.  He has had a wonderful year and we should get off his back.
October 06, 2012, 12:13 PM
By tamila

Keh, Murray really needs to pick up his game in the racquet smashing department:

October 06, 2012, 01:00 PM
By boogers

Hear hear tj, michelle and tamila.  We shouldn't allow our own disappointment at a loss to warp our appreciation of what he's achieved this year.   If failure to defend his titles in the Asian swing is the price he pays for his achievements this summer, so be it.  As tj said, we should be more concerned about his physical state ie his back than his mental state and his game.
Re reviewing his schedule: there was a piece in the paper today which said he plans to spend time in Miami after AO practising and preparing for US hard courts (with possible addition of  a US tournament) rather than fly back and forth across the world like he's done in past.  Sounds smart to me.

Just looked at the stats - interesting that his first serve % was 68 which better than previously in the tournament and slightly better than Raonic's.
October 06, 2012, 01:02 PM
By Ruthie

Hi Ruthie and all,

I agree with you, it makes sense for Andy not to fly back and forth across the world in the early part of next year. If I remember rightly, he has struggled, at least over the last couple of years, in that early American run on the hard courts, so it makes sense to me for him to spend the time in Miami preparing himself. To my mind it all comes down to him managing himself, making sensible decisions now, if he is going to make that move upwards.

His stats in the semi with Raonic, as you say, aren't that bad, in fact I think they are pretty good. His FSP, as you say, was the best it has been all week, it was up considerably on the quarter final. I just honestly think he got tired, sore and frustrated, and just didn't have anything left to give today.

People will analyse it to death, but I don't think it's a big deal. I am disappointed, don't get me wrong, but it will only be a big deal if it is allowed to be. At the end of the day, irrespective of what happened before, and I know he had match points and all that, Andy lost in the gamble that is a tiebreak. As long as he is physically all right, and ready to finish off the year reasonably well, I can live with that.
October 06, 2012, 01:41 PM
By teejay1

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