Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Now that his 2013 season is over, what
should we expect from Andy Murray next year?
The British star was forced to shut it down for the year after undergoing back
surgery earlier this week.
Murray announced last week that he would skip the current Asian swing on the
ATP World Tour in order to address the back problems that forced him to miss
the French Open back in June.
He may have skipped Roland Garros, but that didn't stop the Scottish native
from becoming the first British men's singles champion at Wimbledon in 77
years the following month.
The mighty Murray is also the reigning Olympic gold medalist, a trick he
turned last year at the All England Club, which played host to the tennis
portion of the wildly successful 2012 London Games.
Now the 26-year-old Murray can set his sights on the Australian Open, where
he's been the runner-up three of the last four years, including this year
against current world No. 1 star Novak Djokovic, who also bested the Brit in
the Down Under final in 2011.
The world No. 3 Murray actually hasn't ruled out playing in the ATP World Tour
Finals in London in November, although it would probably be a big risk to
return so soon from back surgery, on a hardcourt no less.
Maybe he should just follow Rafael Nadal's lead, which is, take seven months
off from the tour and then simply dominate upon your return. Having said that,
Andy is no Rafa (13 Grand Slam titles)... at least not at this point.
Just when we thought that Murray was the best player in the world after
he won Wimbledon (after all, he held the Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Olympic
titles at that point), Nadal promptly re-inserted himself as the top dog on
the planet by capturing just about everything in sight, including the U.S.
Open a couple weeks ago.
Note: Nadal captured the U.S. and French Opens while competing in only three
of the four Slams this year.
So what is Murray missing that keeps him from reaching No. 1?
Well, it's a couple of things.
Murray doesn't quite seem to be able to physically handle the grueling 11-
month schedule (he's never reached a final at the prestigious season-ending
Tour Finals), and he still has not peaked mentally, even under the tutelage
of the great Ivan Drago, I mean Ivan Lendl. And, by most accounts, Murray
still spends too much time playing PS3, just ask his lovely long-time
girlfriend, Kim Sears.
Sure, Murray has the ability/skill to win any tennis tournament, with the
exception of the French Open as long as Nadal and Djokovic are around and
firing on most cylinders. But will he claim as many as six major titles like
his good friend Djokovic? He's already 26 and has still secured only two
Grand Slam titles. And Djokovic and Nadal don't appear to be going away any
So what will it take for Murray to get over the proverbial hump? He has
officially surpassed Roger Federer in the current ranks inside the "Big Four,"
but until he's accomplished something like Djokovic has, AM still might be in
the category of "slightly disappointing." And don't forget, he's still only
2-5 in his career major finals, a far cry from making him one of the game's
all-time greats, which Federer, Nadal and Djokovic certainly are.
The Sports Network