Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer being out,
Rafael Nadal being tired and full of self-doubt... all of these have made for a
very happy Andy Murray right now.
The Scotsman was able to take his chance during
the Asian Swing and so claimed three titles: the ATP 250 in Bangkok, the ATP
500 in Tokyo and ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai.
But for Murray those victories are about more
than just winning a lot of points, and becoming world number three by
leapfrogging Roger Federer (who is slowly but surely going on in his fall in the
rankings). The wins have filled Murray with confidence.
I've always banged on about how there's no
substitute for winning. After all, it's how Novak Djokovic became the player he
is right now: his amazing streak was born out of consistent victories, and was
reinforced by continuing wins. It's a virtuous circle that has given him outstanding
So Andy fully deserves the congratulations after
his hat-trick of wins, despite the circumstances that have led others to
question their worth. Winning three tournaments in a row requires a huge amount
of focus and will, no matter who is on the other side of the net.
That fact is vitally important for the new world
number three. Murray is a player who has often fallen victim to losing his concentration
for spells during a match, but he has shown in the clearest possible manner that
he is overcoming that weakness.
He will, without any doubt, find new strength
and belief after this spell of success. The effect of the 2011 Asian Swing will
be a defining moment for his level of play, his consistency, and his entire career.
His technical and tactical abilities have always
been a match for those of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Not so his consistency,
confidence and ability to deal with frustration.
And that's exactly what these three titles will
help him address. He will move forward from here with more confidence, greater serenity
and enhanced mental toughness. It's a real step towards his first Grand Slam