Will Murray ever win a Grand Slam?


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It was hardly a surprise to see Andy Murray crash out in the quarter-finals of the French Open, but the manner of his defeat was extremely concerning to his supporters.

David Ferrer is a very fine player on clay and represented a tough test for the Brit, but he hardly needed to produce a vintage display as a frustrated Murray imploded.

The fourth seed failed to reach the semi-finals but, after committing a staggering 59 unforced errors in the match, it was surely not a shock to anyone. Ferrer made just 32.

Such a poor performance can easily be put down to a simple 'off day' or 'aberration' - perhaps even down to the fact that clay is not Murray's favoured surface - but it's fast becoming a trend for Murray that he folds under pressure from a stern examination by one of the top players.

Murray won only 39 per cent of points when his first serve failed to find the target, and his statistics bore out the fact that he struggled to muster any confidence or conviction on his delivery.

Murray's frustration on court was evident from the expletive-laden running commentary he provided as the match slipped away, with his forehand in particular letting him down, and it was once again the familiar tell-tale signs of his body language and despondent demeanour on court that was most alarming.

Will Murray ever win a Grand Slam? The perennial question continues to hang over the 25-year-old.

Reflecting mournfully upon another frustrating defeat for the British number one seems slightly irrelevant in many respects, given that six-time champion Rafael Nadal was lurking ominously in the semi-finals.

It would hardly be disingenuous to suggest that Nadal would have been the overwhelming favourite to beat Murray in the last four if he had made it through, which all adds to the feeling of defeatism.

While the usual hype and expectation will surround him ahead of Wimbledon this summer, how can anyone have confidence or real belief that a maiden Grand Slam triumph is possible given the players that stand in his way?

The fact remains that Murray is the undisputed world number four, and there is no impossible to suggest that he should be any higher up the rankings.

Roger Federer may not be around in a few years' time, but the prospect of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal continuing to dominate the top tournaments on the ATP Tour for many years to come is very real.

Indeed, Murray has never quite been able to find a way past the pair on the biggest stage as he has found his Grand Slam duck impossible to break.

It is becoming increasingly tedious to run over the same ground with coach after coach unable to help Murray make that elusive breakthrough, Ivan Lendl being the most recent. Lendl has only been in charge six months, so he may yet make his voice heard, but so far there appears no great progress from the Murray of 2011.

The Brit will continue to be touted as a potential winner of the top four tournaments, but is it in hope more than anticipation?

Every time a pundit or former player is interviewed in the British press, the answer is always the same: 'Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam one day'.

Is it down to psychological weakness in comparison to the world's top three? Is it down to technical flaws or a lack of self-belief in the big points?

One aspect that is constantly dismissed out of hand by the top coaches and players in the game is that Murray is lacking in the talent required to win a Slam: he is richly blessed in that regard.

And in a sense, there is a tragedy in the idea that his career has to be defined by whether he wins a Grand Slam or not. There is no shame in being second-best to three players who have all been touted at various points as arguably playing the greatest tennis of anyone in history, is there? He is already regarded by many as the best player never to win a Grand Slam title; it is a compliment and a burdensome tag at the same time.

But the longer that he fails to break through and claim his first Slam, however, the more likely it becomes that he will never quite fulfil his undoubted potential.

Do you think Murray will ever win a Grand Slam, or will he go down as one of the best players not to? Post your views and comments below...

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