Wimbledon 2012 could be Murray’s chance to break his semi-final curse
Every time Andy Murray walks out onto centre court we are reminded that it’s been 76 years since a British player won Wimbledon, but with Rafael Nadal now out, 2012 could be the year when Murray breaks his semi-final curse.
Because it doesn’t happen very often, the pressure on a Brit to become Wimbledon Champion is pretty extreme. After years of watching Tim Henman fail to win the title, we now have a realistic chance of seeing a British winner with Murray. With Nadal already out, Murray’s half of the draw has eased, and with three semi-final appearances in the past three years, Murray will have experience on his side.
This is arguably Murray’s best chance to make it to his first Wimbledon final. In 2009, when Murray faced Andy Roddick (Nadal had withdrawn from the tournament due to injury), he struggled with fitness towards the end of the match. While in 2010 and ’11 he has found Nadal in his way and there hasn’t been a better player on grass in the past five years than him.
The 7th seed David Ferrer or his mum Judy’s crush, 9th seed Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro will be his likely semi-final opponent if he can progress against Marin Cilic followed by (most probably) the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Not players who Murray has traditionally struggled with in the past, but given the way this year’s competition has gone, nothing is a given.
2011 was a brilliant season for Murray, reaching the final of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the French, US and Wimbledon Open’s and 2012 started with a Semi-Final defeat to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open and a Quarter-Final defeat to 6th seed David Ferrer. Despite his form not being great in the run up to Wimbledon, it’s easy to see why many from inside the world of tennis say Murray’s first Grand Slam title isn’t too far away.
So far, Murray has been calm and composed, his impressive victory over the giant Ivo Karlovic sent out a warning shot to his rivals that Murray wasn’t here to just make up the numbers and despite never making a final here, Wimbledon is where Murray has the best win percentage.
As this latest victory against Marcos Baghdatis showed, Murray’s biggest rival might be his mind. At times, his knee injury appeared to be giving him problems, but as soon as momentum swung back his way, it seemed all was forgotten.
Murray certainly struggled in his third round clash, and often looked like he needed reminding just how good he is, but the way he wrapped up the game and the fourth set in just 28 minutes gave everybody an eye-opener into just how good Murray is.
Although it may be easier for Murray to reach the final, winning it may prove more difficult, with the outstanding Novak Djokovic or six-time winner Roger Federer likely to make it through, it’s unfortunate for Murray that he is at the peak of professional tennis in this era with four world class players challenging for titles, but if Murray does make it, and with the whole of Great Britain behind him, something extraordinary may happen in SW19.