Wimbledon draw tough for Murray’s rivals
As another Wimbledon tennis tournament prepares to get underway at SW19, one particular facet of the build-up has caught my attention and, I must admit, mildly irked me!
It comes in the shape of some headlines regarding this year’s Wimbledon draw. This week I’ve read: Murray could face Nadal, Federer and Djokovic after tough draw; Murray handed tough Wimbledon draw and perhaps the best/worst: Andy Murray gets most brutal Wimbledon draw you can imagine.
Put simply my irritation is with the notion that Murray is still viewed by some as one of those (beloved) plucky British sports stars.
Particular umbrage is taken with the last ‘most brutal draw’ headline. In actual fact the worst ‘brutal’ draw would be Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray. But obviously he can’t play himself.
Clearly you don’t have to be an avid student of the game to know that a route to the Wimbledon final will be tough and laden with obstacles, but that is the same for anything you have a desire to reach the top in. So why do the headlines still play on the toughness of the draw for the Brit?
In my view it’s about time we became bolshier about the very top sports talent in this country.
Ok, so some footballers are often hyped up before they’ve really achieved anything. But that’s a sport that trades heavily on its hype.
Murray on the other hand is a proper, integral part of the oft-termed golden era of men’s tennis – a double Grand Slam winner (including a Wimbledon title in 2013), an Olympic champion, and is arguably the second-most on-form player in the world this season. It is HE who should and will worry HIS opponents.
Only Novak Djokovic has been better than Murray this season and that’s not by the proverbial country mile.
Yes Murray is in Rafael Nadal and Djokovic’s half of the draw, but the injury-prone Nadal is seeded 10th for a reason this time around and the harsh reality for every tournament entered is that you will almost always have to beat Djokovic somewhere along the way – he is top of the pile after all. Again for a reason, he is staggeringly consistent.
I’ve been fortunate enough to watch Murray live on a few occasions and also to study his manner in press conferences following matches.
One aspect that always strikes me is his presence. He is taller than you imagine from watching him on television and carries himself in the way a comfortable, confident person with ability in his profession does. In simple terms, he belongs.
It is an inherently British trait – to look at a draw and fear it rather than embracing it and saying what a good draw it is and a fantastic chance it represents.
With all due respect to their solid respective careers, we are not talking about Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski anymore. Murray is a true great of the sport and it’s time we let his opposition do the worrying.