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Cincinnati F: Andy Murray vs Marin Cilic

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@Aran
Liked your philosophical post very much. I'm halfway between you and boogers I guess.

Sounds dangerously close to sanity - be careful there!

*no whiskey required*

No whisky required?!  That's worrying talk...
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I know a lot of people are worrying about Andy being tired mentally and physically for the USO, but I'm quite concerned about his court positioning of late.

Seems to me that he's been drifting further and further behind the baseline in recent months - it was particularly noticable in Rio, and very poor last night. Bit disappoiunting given how much his court positioning improved in the last two years.

It was evident in some of the very short clips of his training in Mallorca, but you can't tell much from a couple of minutes. But having now seen him play two weeks of matches I have genuine concerns about court positioning and net play. Two areas he massively improved, but those improvements have been largely awol the last few weeks, and he seems to be a little too content to play longer points, something his court positioning is kind of forcing him to do - can't play short points several metres behind the baseline.

Is it just to do with surface/ball changes? Or is it to do with increased struggles on hardcourts? Or something else?
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The courts in Rio were incredibly slow, and he had no time to really acclimatise to the courts in Cinci. I wouldn't worry too much just yet.
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plj
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It was to do with the wind. When it got very gusty the mic kept catching the sound of the gusts and amplifying it to the whole stadium, which Andy found distracting/annoying. Andy asked Fergus Murphy to turn the mic off because of that, Fergus said no because he needed it on, Andy then got annoyed and complained that Fergus always argues with him - Fergus was probably thinking that Andy always argues with him! - and of course Andy kept it going at the sit down.

ATL,
Fergus DOES always argue with Andy. Whenever I see him in the chair I know there will be at least one problem during the match. And why is he still around after the USO scandal?
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deb
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Also Andy did have jet lag and a sore shoulder , we should be cherishing just what he has achieved this last 2 months , roll on the USO it's going to be epic  yay
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This is one of those times when i'd of been happier if Andy had lost earlier than the final. Once he made the final i wanted him to win it. Ah well, no tennis player wins everything, and his run of 22 matches must be congratulated. It was an awesome run. Also, i wonder how going into the USO on a winning streak would have affected him. At least now the streak has ended so he doesn't have to worry about it.
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ATL,
Fergus DOES always argue with Andy. Whenever I see him in the chair I know there will be at least one problem during the match. And why is he still around after the USO scandal?

Fergus Murphy is the worse umpire in the game right now - the guy has a bee in his bonnet and he always seem to have it in for Andy. I seem to remember Andy was handed a code violation for accidentally tapping the TV camera while scrambling off court to retrieve a ball.
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I know a lot of people are worrying about Andy being tired mentally and physically for the USO, but I'm quite concerned about his court positioning of late.

Seems to me that he's been drifting further and further behind the baseline in recent months - it was particularly noticable in Rio, and very poor last night. Bit disappoiunting given how much his court positioning improved in the last two years.

It was evident in some of the very short clips of his training in Mallorca, but you can't tell much from a couple of minutes. But having now seen him play two weeks of matches I have genuine concerns about court positioning and net play. Two areas he massively improved, but those improvements have been largely awol the last few weeks, and he seems to be a little too content to play longer points, something his court positioning is kind of forcing him to do - can't play short points several metres behind the baseline.

Is it just to do with surface/ball changes? Or is it to do with increased struggles on hardcourts? Or something else?
I'm not sure if this was a problem in Cincinnati until Andy got to Cilic. In his earlier matches he basically won pretty easily and didn't have to do too much to put the opponents away. Against Cilic, I think he was still operating on those assumptions, and when Cilic pulled himself together after a couple of games and started really spanking the ball deep and on the lines, Andy had to recalibrate and couldn't. So he ended up too far back, just trying to get the racket on Cilic's deep shots. I felt all along that he came into Cincinnati with something of the same mentality we all had for him—it was an obligation, and he didn't mind if he lost early. Once he kept winning and found himself in the final, of course he—and we—wanted to win, but I think part of the problem was that he hadn't been gradually honing his attitude through the tournament. He was suddenly there, physically, but his brain wasn't in the right place.

Sorry, this is rather long-winded and doesn't really address the issue, ATL, except that I think over a tournament like the US Open Andy will in fact get his game on track, look at where he's been on the court and work his way in to a court position, and forms of attack, that are appropriate to who he's playing. In Cincinnati—and actually to some extent at the Olympics, where the slow court probably exacerbated things—the flow of the tournament wasn't conducive to that. And at both tournaments he ended up playing finals against guys with enormous forehands and serves.
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Thanks for explanation about 'mike gate' atl.  I wish Andy wouldn't let these things get to him but I can see how it all builds up when he has history with a particular umpire such as this one.
I hope you're not right that Andy has reverted to playing further back as a modus vivendi. Certainly last night the Sky comms explicitly said it was Cilic pushing him back behind the line rather than Andy choosing to be there.
As for number of tournaments played since Wimbledon bignose, once again I think you fail to take into account that it's not a simple issue of number of matches. When two of those matches had enormous emotional impact and the second one was one of the hardest Andy said he'd ever played because of the way it went back and forth physically and emotionally, was followed by a long flight and no real rest time, there is every reason as to why he was knackered in Cinci.  And as you say add a cold.... It's amazing he made the final. I sure didn't expect it so am not that disappointed he lost.  As far as I'm concerned it signifies nothing in the context of what he's achieved in recent months other than he's not a superhuman machine (as it seems some members of MW would like him to be). 
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As for number of tournaments played since Wimbledon bignose, once again I think you fail to take into account that it's not a simple issue of number of matches. When two of those matches had enormous emotional impact and the second one was one of the hardest Andy said he'd ever played because of the way it went back and forth physically and emotionally, was followed by a long flight and no real rest time, there is every reason as to why he was knackered in Cinci.  And as you say add a cold.... It's amazing he made the final. I sure didn't expect it so am not that disappointed he lost.  As far as I'm concerned it signifies nothing in the context of what he's achieved in recent months other than he's not a superhuman machine (as it seems some members of MW would like him to be). 
I couldn't agree more, Ruthie. Some of the expectations around here seem grotesque. Any time Andy loses, it's all his fault, never because the opponent played a great game or because for other kinds of reasons Andy wasn't at his best. I sometimes avoid MW during his matches because the negativists can be so awful.
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The man was exhausted all you had to do was look at him. Those why critisise him should be ashamed he gave his all in Rio and at Cincinatti . I was amazed he reached the final there after such a hard won match against Delpotro.

We should be happy for him this country will never have another like him and British Tennis will never ever be the same when he retires.

We should be grateful that he always gives of his best and is a good example for all the young tennis players in GB.

He is the finest player GB has ever had and we should be very proud of him.
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I wasn;t a bit suprised about his loss,the guy is exhausted and who can blame him ,He is a brilliant player. he is not a machine .I hope he rests well and reconnects with Sophia.Thanks Andy for some great tennis.
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Sounds dangerously close to sanity - be careful there!

How very dare you.... Sword fight
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The courts in Rio were incredibly slow, and he had no time to really acclimatise to the courts in Cinci. I wouldn't worry too much just yet.

He had as much time to acclimatise to the courts in Cincy as he would usually have, had he gone deep in Canada. Slow courts don't really explain playing that far back that much. It isn't something that suddenly happened in Rio either. There are always going to be sections of matches where the opponent pushes Andy back, but there have been big chunks of matches where this has happened going back to the clay season, matches where he's flirted with disaster and then clawed himself through on willpower. That's just going to wear him down more than anything else. Then we see him in finals where he hasn't got the legs to attack the very best players over best of five.

ATL,
Fergus DOES always argue with Andy. Whenever I see him in the chair I know there will be at least one problem during the match. And why is he still around after the USO scandal?

Fergus does it with everyone to be fair, he isn't the best umpire on tour by any means, but he has taken note of a few of Andy's past complaints about giving players a heads up if they are getting close to the time limit before going for a time violation with no warning. Andy argues back about stuff because that is what he does - this year with more different umpires more than before I think, seems like he's had on court 'spats' since March with at least Layhani, Dumusois x2, Ramos, and Murphy. I've said before that I think Andy has an 'umpire issue' this year, going back to the AO final. Like Ruthie, I wish Andy wouldn't let these things get to him, but at the same time I've seen some very bad umpiring this year.

Sorry, this is rather long-winded and doesn't really address the issue, ATL, except that I think over a tournament like the US Open Andy will in fact get his game on track

I do understand what you're saying. My concerns go back quite far this season. If we're concerned about Andy getting burned out, or fatigued, or injured, one of the factors at play there is how he's playing. If he's playing deep behind the baseline, playing long defensive points, then that is going to take its toll.

It isn't that I'm critising Andy for the Cincy final result - I don't care that much about it. He's had a great summer - 7 finals in the last 7 tournaments is a fantastic for Andy. My concern really is if he continues to play long points, that deep, that defensively, then he won't be able to keep up the amazing level of consistency he's displayed of late, and he might get properly injured. That's my concern.

I hope you're not right that Andy has reverted to playing further back as a modus vivendi. Certainly last night the Sky comms explicitly said it was Cilic pushing him back behind the line rather than Andy choosing to be there.

I hope I'm wrong as well Ruthie. After all the work Andy put into improving his court position, I'd hate for him to go backwards.
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Andy is not goingbackwards.If a player pushes you back there is nothing you can do.Littlebudda I totally agree what you say about Andy he is the best player we have ever had.I get very annoyed with negativity members say about his game. He has won 600 matches three Grand Salems not forgetting two gold medals plus many masters. What more do you want.No.2 in the world.He has worked so hard  and achieved so much, he must be delighted with himself.I sometimes wonder how many of you play the game and  understand itbecause some of your statements are very strange.
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