Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Murray's first match at Aus Open 2015...

It's always interesting getting the view of another country's media on a Grand Slam. Here all the pressure is on local boy Nick Kyrgios who at 55-1 with the Australian bookmakers is an unlikely winner although the national press would have you believe otherwise.

All the better for our national hero who can more or less fly under the radar here although he is writing a column for The Age, Melbourne's answer to the Glasgow Herald.

His first column of the championship entitled, "New year, new season, new coach - new beginning?" is infused with a positivity about changes to this team and developing relationship with coach Amelie Mauresmo. He also says he feels good physically and the images that have circulated social media and the press in Australia have showcased his six pack and athleticism.

So what else is new? First of all he is playing his opening match on the newly upgraded Margaret Court Arena. I am lucky enough to get my ground pass upgraded to watch the match and I take my seat with the usual measure of excitement and intrepidation that Andy Murray seems to evoke.

Watching tennis in Australia is not quite the same reverent experience as in SW19 and today the crowd do not disappoint. The stadium commentator introduces the players and then draws our attention to the "royal" guests who have turned out to support Andy and indeed there is a Queen impersonator as well as a Pope in attendance. Only the best for Andy.

He is looking slick in green under armour gear, a new clothing sponsor. He wears same coloured sweatbands. Did he not used to wear a different colour on each arm? He looks relaxed and assured in the warm up and the match gets under way.

I won't pretend that I was relaxed throughout this straight sets win especially when Andy seemed to be moaning at himself and signalling in a negative fashion towards his team. However there was something about his manner as he went about his business that meant his fans need not be worried for long. He only looks disgruntled because he himself has set the bar so high. His expectations of himself are such that he can't bear to be broken on serve or miss shots that fellow professionals would never dream possible to make.

In his column he hinted that a few changes had been made and it was up to us to see what we thought. Did I just imagine it or was there more topspin on his forehand, more conviction on his first serve, more points won on his second? Is it because I'm a such a big fan that I thought he was moving faster than ever, that he has some of the best hands in the game exemplified in a death defying forehand topspin winner round the net post and a short back hand angle winner both at crucial points of respective sets?

I think not. This was no trick of the imagination. There is an air of resurgence about Andy Murray. Like every great champion, he is not without flaws but who doesn't love a flawed hero? For what it's worth, I'm going to put myself on the line and pick Andy to win this year. There's a long way to go but I have a feeling that I haven't had since I backed Amelie Mauresmo to win Wimbledon at 10-1 back in 2006. They're the pair to watch: Andy and Amelie, the new He-man and She-Ra of tennis.

1 comment: