Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dissent Of The Week

England's Andy Murray returns a ball to Serbia's Viktor Troicki during their match on Day 6 at the 2009 Wimbledon tennis championships at the All England Club on June 27, 2009. The event, the third Grand Slam tournament of 2009, runs from June 22  to  July  5, 2009. Murray won 6/2,6/3,6/4.

MMT said...


I beg to differ. Power, like talent and luck, in tennis is vastly overrated. There are a lot of ways to win a point, game, set and match in tennis. To me, that's the beauty of the game.

I rather enjoy Murray's game on grass - the points don't last as long as they do with him on hard courts, and I find his game to be quite creative and interesting. I've never been a big fan of his, but I really enjoyed watching him at Queen's this year, and I think he's a favorite to win Wimbledon...and that's not just because of the media hype.

I myself have relatively little power for my level, but I try every chance I get to use spin, placement and my legs to win points particularly against players that could blow me off the court with power. I attack the net as often as I can when I feel I can't get it done from the back, which is my preference.

I don't think there's much honor in losing a tennis match playing the same way, particularly if it isn't working! Just ask James Blake. He plays his game all the time and you see the results.

Spotty at best.

I say kudos to Murray for developing a game with a lot of options. It will help him win a lot of matches, and there are a lot of players on tour that would do well to learn from his versatility both in shot selection and tactics.

I for one, am not remotely interested in big babe tennis, regardless of who's playing it.

From: Wimbledon 2009 Day 4 Open Thread


kraa said...

Well said, but I wouldn't want everyone (or even a majority) to play like him.

Karen said...

@mmt, I still find it looks like rinky dink junior tennis. I am all for variety in a player's game. Like you, I dont have a big game and so I use a lot of spin, especially on the backhand side, to get my opponent out of position in order to set up my forehand, but what I have seen Murray doing is slicing the ball on the forehand, backhand, forehand, backhand and waiting on his opponent to make error. As a tactic I can see it, but if that is the way he intends to play his game, I am sorry, but as soon as other players catch on, it will be bye bye. Murray has always been a defensive minded player and to my mind while he may be a brilliant tactician on court, it would have been good if he used that brilliant mind of his to display a more aggressive style of play. I just dont appreciate players who play so that their opponent's lose, rather than playing so that they win (if that makes any sense)

MMT said...

The thing about Murray is that he doesn't just use slice and loopers - he hits winners and comes to net as well - especially on grass.

I've always felt that a player who loses to a player who doesn't hit that hard has been outwitted because after all, what's the alternative.

I've never been a huge fan of Murray, but there is something to be said for the intelligence of staying in the point and not rushing into a denouement like...I don't know...every big babe tennis player on tour.

Because I'm old school, and I liked it better when a good player had to have 3 different option of what to do on every shot to have a hope of winning consistently, Murray's game for me is a throwback to when tennis was more tactical and cerebral.

Mental toughness aside, I think tennis has become a game of power to its detriment. For the same reasons some enjoy the nature of grass court tennis, I enjoy a heady player like Murray on the surface.

Now if he can just stop cheering his opponents errors I might be able to contain my gag reflex and cheer for him (and the UK) to win his first slam.

dapxin said...

What is the point you people are trying to make about Murray?

I am never going to be his fan, especially for my dear brit friends who likes to think someone has won it b4 he even starts.

But I respect the hardwork that's gone to the guy.

How is he a dissent? wondering :rollseyes

Craig Hickman said...

dapxin, Murray himself isn't a dissent.

MMT's comment about Murray's game presented here is a dissenting opinion to the one I expressed in the same thread from which this came.

Graf_sampras said...

DAPXIN -- that is such a CUTE picture of the kid in your post.

Karen said...

The thing is MMT is that I think he is toying with his opponent, and that is what turns me off his game. I am all for variety (big fan of Roger Federer), but I also like to see a player who takes control of a point and win or lose make the attempt. Each time I play, I ensure that I play to my strengths and not necesarily to my opponent's weakness. I will exploit a weakness, i.e. my return of serve is the most lethal aspect of my game. I have to say that I have very good hand to eye combo and as such my return is my strength, must as Murray's is. However, that is where the similarities end. Instead of Murray taking control of the point after he gets the return in play, he starts to rinky dink the ball, forehand slice, backhand slice, and on and on until the opponent trying to get under and over the ball makes the error at which point you hear a Come On. The Come on should be when he Murray hits a winner, not because his opponent has lost patience and decided to go for his shot. He has stated that he will be No. 1 by the end of the year if he continues to hold serve and break serve. It would be the height of irony if the ATP finally got a No. 1 who had never won a major. I wonder what the tennis writers would say then. They better hope and pray he wins Wimbledon (over Roger's dead body) or he does not get to be No.1. On the one hand I would be happy if he becomes No.1 without winning a major because I would dearly love to hear what people would say about that.

Dominic Cole said...

"As soon as the other players catch on it will be bye bye."

Sorry, no.

Andy Murray is here to stay and is likely to become one of the greats. Part of the point being he is continually improving as a player, adding facets to his game. At 22 he is far ahead of where he was at 21. Murray (and to some extent Djokovic) is a real threat to Federer.

Here is a potential world number 1 - part of the reason no doubt why Federer loses no opportunity to diss him. His crushingly poor record against Nadal can perhaps be dismissed as an aberration, but he can't afford to fall behind Murray as well. Rather sadly I think he has begun to believe that he might be the best of all time.

When you criticise the Murray game you are falling for the Federer badmouthing of a year back. What you are missing is the year on year, month on month improvement in the Murray game - compare him to the player he was 12 months ago and he is twice the player: he can force and he can wait. The only player with comparable variation in his game and as many shots is Federer.

Nowadays there is a misty-eyed glorification of Federer; does anyone remember him as he came up through the ranks? He was the serial loser in slams: the player who couldn't put it together when it mattered. If anything Murray is ahead of Federer at the same stage of their careers - it was only in his fifth year on tour that Federer won a slam. It was then that he started to put all the phases of his game together and to learn when to stay back as well as go forward. Murray is now at the exact same stage, learning when to force and when to wait.

An Andy Roddick power game can be carried through from rinky dink junior tennis. Big forehand, big serve, little chance of progression. From rinky dink to bash bash. Boring as hell and ineffective at the top level. A Federer/Murray sophistication and variation takes time to mature. If all you really see are the slices, I'm with MMT. Check out the backhand down the line and the cross court forehand.

Oh and by the way Marcelo Rios never won a slam and was number 1. Not to mention one slam wonders such as Roddick and Ferrero who were up there for a few weeks. Were they the real deal? Come off it.

Craig Hickman said...

Dominic Cole,

Of course, Roddick is the real deal. You may not like him or his game, you may find it boring, you may diss it as ineffective at the top level and I suppose one could argue his lack of multiple Slams proves your point, but Roddick is not Ferrero and every ATP player with an Andy Roddick power game hasn't achieved what Roddick has achieved.

Since you also refer to results, take a look at his. Name another player who has remained in the Top 10 since 2002 save four weeks. There's only one player you can name. And since results matter, not future potential, Andy Roddick has a few things Andy Murray doesn't: a Slam title and a year-end world No. 1 ranking. Now if Murray wins on Sunday, part of that will change, but unless he wins a Slam title, unless he becomes a world No. 1 , he's still just a potential champion and a potential world No. 1.

In other words, he's still trying to get where Andy Roddick has been.

As for Ferrero, after his run to the top, he became sick and injured. When a grown man suffers the chicken pox, it can drain his core energy about as much as mono. And I've already forgotten what injuries it were that stalled his comebacks even more. But look at his results in 2009. Just look at them. And you wanna dismiss him as not being the real deal? A player who can return to form at his age after being gone from top-level competition for so long is certainly the real deal.

Murray may become one of the greats. He may not. But from where I sit, his game is boring as hell. He's a passive aggressive tennis player and I don't like his style of play, no matter how many shots he possesses. Quite frankly and quiet as it's kept, every player in the Top 10 can hit any shot in the book. If talent is overrated, as MMT argues, then so is shotmaking, since that's a part of talent.

I'm playing wait and see on whether or not Murray has what it takes to become a champion. Comparing him to Federer doesn't convince.

I, for one, need to see the results.

And you need to come off it. If nothing else, treat people with whom you disagree on this blog with a little more respect and save such condescending imperatives for elsewhere.


PeytonAllen said...

Agree with Cole and MMT. Love Murray's game. I think people are off put on Murray because of how he looks. He's a good enough looking guy but he doesn't have movie star good looks. Compound that with the antics of his teenage years and its easy to see why some fans think he's a bit cold.

The guy has some major wheels. He doesn't look like an athlete but he can fly.

I think Andy falls in love with his legs too much, and stays on the defensive at times. Variety is wonderful, but he has to step up and be more aggressive day in and day out.

I like that story.

Fed struggles against players who can return serve and play defense. Murray proves Fed's record against Nadal should not be easily explained away.

To me it would be the most compelling Final without Nadal in the draw. Sure, if you could promise me Hewitt or Roddick could play the match of their lives and push Roger for once, then I'd be all for that. But, IMHO, the worst case for next Sunday is Fed vs anyone but Murray. And worst case for Friday is Fed vs. anyone but Novak.

I'm all for him breaking Pete's record. Just, let him do it against the two guys nipping at his heels.

But that's up to Murray and Djoke, not Fed.

Murray/Fed played two really high level matches last fall indoors. I think he's started to get in Roger's head a little this year, but can he do it in a slam final?

Dominic Cole said...

Okay no offence meant.

Please look at my comment re Ferrero and Roddick in the clear context of being number 1 in the world.

Do you really believe that either player was the real deal as world number 1? Fine players both of course, but their status for me was largely a trick of history - filling the post Sampras Agassi void. In point of fact I have a great deal of time for both of them - but as top ten players, not number 1s.

Not every number 1 is equal. Ivanisevic never made it to the top, Becker and Rafter were there for the briefest time and I would hope that you would agree their achievements were the greater - they just happened to be born in much more competitive eras. Nor yet is every slam winner equal. Gaudio, Chang, Krajicek better players than Rios, Davydenko, Nalbandian, Mecir (and very nearly Ivanisevic)?

Another way of looking at my Federer Murray analogy is to recall how Federer matched up to Sampras circa 2001/2. At that point it seemed preposterous to compare the two: one a serial winner, the other a serial loser at the top level. It was only when Federer learned that he didn't have to serve volley but could play from the back court that he started winning slams.

Federer grew as a player, he wasn't simply born the best: his results and game pre 2003 were not world beating. Likewise, Murray shows every sign of growing as a player in much the same way. In his case learning how to dictate and force the game, not just do the irritating sit and wait.

Sadly for you, Roddick has not grown as a player. Do you see any real difference between Roddick 2009 and Roddick 2001? I can't. And more than that, I don't for one moment believe that he has the shots of a Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray - he lacks their hands, touch and movement.

Incidentally, did you enjoy Federer beating Soderling with the backhand slice? Dare I say it encouraging his opponent into mistakes.

Craig Hickman said...

It's my opinion that Roddick was a better player when he hit a flatter forehand, wasn't afraid to hit a backhand down the line, didn't think so much about approaching the net, and didn't hang his head when things weren't going his way. Roddick has improved some aspects of his game, but let his core game go to waste. In other words, the Roddick who won the 2003 Melbourne quarterfinal is a better player than the one who lost the 2009 Melbourne semifinal. And El Aynaoui played better tennis than Federer.

So, no. Roddick hasn't grown as a player. Since losing the 2004 Wimbledon final, he has tried to play a counterpunching game when that's simply not his forte.

But yes, he was the real deal as the best player in the world, for however long it lasted. And then he was the real deal as the second best player in thew world, for however long that lasted.

But enough about this Andy.


Until your Andy wins a Slam, he's still over-hyped potential. I'm not saying he'll never win a Slam, but I still don't trust his game through 7 best of five matches. So far, he's always hit a physical/mental wall, not to mention a better player on the day.

Let's see what he brings during this second week as one of the title favorites.

Craig Hickman said...

peyton, I'm not put off by Murray's looks. I simply don't like the way he executes his game. It's really that simple.

Craig Hickman said...

Heaven knows if Wawrinka can maintain, but the first 5 games of this match underscore my view of Murray's game perfectly.

Wawrinka is serving big and hitting the cover off the ball from the ground. He's not allowing Murray to play dinky doo tennis and every time Murray tries to hit a power shot, he misses. He's down 1-4 and two breaks.

Murray will likely find a way to turn this set around and if not the set then certainly the match (I trust Wawrinka even less than I trust Murray) but power can trump variety when executed well.

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, how I wish Andy Roddick had a better return of serve. This first set would already be over.