Friday, September 14, 2012

Murray must kick on

After a scintillating grand slam victory at Flushing Meadows on Monday night to claim his first grand slam title, Andy Murray will be floating on air right now, but he cannot rest on his laurels.

He has waited a long time for this moment to come, and there were many that thought the Scotsman might never win a slam due to the company that he keeps at the top of the world tennis rankings. But after a near five-hour thriller to muster a 3-2 victory over Novak Djokovic, the 25-year-old has finally put that to bed.

But now the new US Open champion’s biggest challenge awaits him; to become a great.

His mental fragility is finally behind him. He  held a commanding 2-0 lead over Djokovic in New York only to let the next two sets slip, but unlike the Murray of old, this time around he was never going to give up.

When all watching feared that the momentum had swung, Murray wrestled it back to take the final set 6-2.

Now is just the start for Murray. He is playing tennis in the most competitive time since the open era began. There has never been a stronger quarter than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Murray himself.

The trio that is in esteemed company with holds 33 grand slam titles between them, nothing short of staggering.

But Murray has the ability to become a great and he must start to dominate while the legs are still young and the desire is still there. His stoic coach, Ivan Lendl, who won eight grand slams as a player – the joint fifth most of any in the open era – believes his prodigy has much more to offer.

Under Lendl Murray looks to have a steely side and must now kick on with victory at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2013, a slam that he has twice reached the final in but failed to win a set.

What happens in Melbourne will let us know just how far Murray has come.

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