Simon Reed

Trying to make sense of Murray’s loss

Simon Reed

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It has to be said that Andy Murray's defeat to Kevin Anderson, particularly the manner of it, was a big surprise and it is a tough one to make sense of.

The first thing I think that needs to be said is that Anderson has such a big game that when he is on form he can be a nightmare for any player in the world to deal it.

Murray said himself that he felt slow and couldn't really get going but there is also a danger with Murray that when he is forced to play on the back foot, like he was against Anderson, he is always going to struggle.

No matter how good a return player Murray is, the old adage applies - a good attacking player will always beat a good defensive player.

I think Murray has changed his game for the better in recent years; he has come out of his shell more and more and is willing to attack more aggressively, especially in the big matches.

However, when he is forced into a near total defensive strategy, which he was against Anderson, these lopsided defeats can happen - we've seen it happen to him before.

The next point I'd make, and I'll probably get criticised for making this point by those readers who think I'm Murray's best friend and cheerleader (which I'm not), is something that Murray has not mentioned at all but I think may be factor.

Murray has just come back from a training camp in Miami where he really pushed himself to the limit. Did he overdo it and is this a bit of payback? I have an inkling that he may not have restored full strength yet because you can imagine how hard he goes at it.

He did not say this was a factor, and it may not be true, but it is in the back of my mind that it might have had something to do with the defeat. He may have needed just another two or three days before returning to competitive action.

The extreme optimists might say that it is a good thing he has lost because it reverses the trend of his US Open build-up of recent years when he has done so well in Canada but faded in New York but I can't subscribe to that. Ask Novak Djokovic if winning so many build-up matches this year has had a negative effect on him?

Winning is winning and it becomes habit, and we have to accept that when it comes to the ATP Tour, Murray has lost his last two matches.

At this time of the year, Murray would like to be playing as much as he can. He played Davis Cup a few weeks back, but other than that it has been a big break for him since Wimbledon.

Everybody goes on about how crowded the tennis calendar is, but it sure is pretty quiet at the moment. After Wimbledon there is plenty of time for the top players to rest-up and get ready for the US Open.

So there are two elements of concern after this match for Murray. The first is of course that he was beaten so easily by a player who is much lower down the rankings than him. And the second is that he is now short of match practice - so he needs to have a big run next week in Cincinnati to find his touch back.

One thing you have to say in Murray's defence is that he will do anything there is to try and reach the highest level.

In the run-up to this event that he was talking about changing his diet and I feel that is more of a psychological move than anything else, as he feels he needs to do something to try and catch up with the top guys.

You hear him say the same thing after every big defeat: "I'll try even harder" - well I don't think he can try any harder - nobody works as hard as him off the court.

It might just be a case of bad luck that he has grown up in an era where three of the best players of all-time have been playing the game.

If he was around at the time when the likes of Andy Roddick and Leyton Hewitt were winning Grand Slams then Murray could have won three of four Slams by now.

Is he better than Roddick? Absolutely in my opinion, and I feel same with Hewitt; I'd even say that Murray is a much better player than someone like Jim Courier was - and he won four Grand Slams.

But you just wonder if there is anything that Murray can do to make the small, yet significant step, from making Grand Slam finals to winning them.

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