What We Should Expect
3 of the 4 matches have gone deep into the 3rd set. 2 of those matches went to 3rd set tiebreaks. The player with the better ranking won 3 of 4 matches to this point. World #1 Novak Djokovic struggled with Thomas Berdych, but held up under pressure better than the big Czech. World #2 Rafael Nadal had problems with Mardy Fish and his stomach. Roger Federer out-dueled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. More or less on point. Top 8 players should be able to win sets and demonstrate their strengths, but the top guys should win out in the end.
David Ferrer d. Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5
I know Murray had an injury in Basel. I know he was hurt during his match with David Ferrer. I know Ferrer is the worst type of opponent to play when struggling physically due to the long punishing points he likes to play. Still, after Murray’s Triple Crown in Asia, I thought he might be ready to make a move and get into the mix as a true threat to Nadal and Djokovic. Instead, Federer wins back-to-back events and Murray plays phlegmatic injury-prone tennis.
Murray’s Big Move?
Federer is clearly no worse than #3 in the minds of the fans and players right now. Andy Murray is still not in that elite pantheon that he so clearly desires to join. The setting of London only places added pressure on Murray. World #5 David Ferrer keeps adding to his career haul as well. The beauty of the round robin format for Murray is that he can get back into this event if his health and game are there. If London does not go well for Murray, I might suggest something crazy. He might want to approach Lleyton Hewitt to be a player-coach in the same manner that Andre Agassi approached Brad Gilbert during Gilbert’s final year or so on tour. Hewitt might help Murray thumb his nose at all of the respectable people unintentionally putting unwanted pressure on him. Murray against the world may be the only way a man from his part of the world meets the expectations placed upon him. Meet the expectations by disdaining those expectations and the entire tennis world. It is a crazy plan, but it might also work.
Here is a good take on Murray’s demonstrative ways.