Despite battling shingles, an elbow injury and various other illnesses, Andy Murray decided to take part in the French Open and ended up being beaten out by Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals, in a close match that was a serious back and forth between the two players when it came to winning sets. Wawrinka just edged out with wins in three out of the five sets played, not a whitewash at all on Murray’s part. But it still begs the question of why Murray, the world’s current number one tennis player, has fallen from winning victory after victory from 2014-2016, to a measly couple of wins since February so far this year.
Murray arrived at the French Opens with only four victories since February and just 16 wins to his name overall this year. He will keep his number one ranking going into grass-court season but requires a new aggressive edge if he hopes to keep those points defending his title at Wimbledon. Murray was still proud of this result due to the tough year he suffered previously and was glad he put himself in the position to play in the competition. He has a newfound level of confidence preparing himself for Wimbledon and winning a third title there. Despite this, as the world’s current number one in tennis, and even prior to these various ailments, Murray still was losing out to people he won easily to in previous years, so what’s changed?
With Murray having said himself that his serve is something he has “struggled with the last couple of months”, but in games I’ve watched of him playing in the French Open, he has lost his sense of aggression and power that you could see in him competing in previous years. Excuses were made by him that it is clay-court season at the moment and he tends to work better on the grass, his serves were letting him down as well as the injuries and illnesses clearly taking a toll, as he starts off strong in the Wawrinka match and falls in the final sets losing 6-1 in the end, as tiredness and frustration got the better of him. Murray does have the potential to bring back success on the court going into Queen’s club, a title he has won five times, but Rafael Nadal is close on his heels, winning his match against Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open. He won by a landslide, winning all three sets against Wawrinka. This is Nadal’s tenth victory in the French Open, and Nadal is the first man to win a single Slam on ten occasions in the Open era. The stats for Nadal are incredible; he won 83 per cent of the points on his first serve, as well as not losing a set in the whole tournament.
With these stats backing Nadal, it’s no question that Murray would start feeling the heat from the current world number four, as he gains some much needed points taking him up the leader board. With Murray struggling, its obvious that people would start to wonder about his chances of taking the Wimbledon title again. I wouldn’t want to tempt fate and make assumptions, but if I was a betting woman, I would bet an usually high likelihood on Nadal being in the final against Murray this year, and definitely a higher likelihood than usual of him winning the match outright. Even without thinking that Nadal will win Wimbledon, I think there is reason for Murray to be nervous.