Spotlight on Andy Murray
Following an unfortunate and unexpected early exit from the ATP World Tour Finals, we take a look at Andy Murray's 2009 season and his career so far.
Andy Murray picked up his first tennis racquet when he was just 2 years old, and soon started playing with his older brother Jamie. He states that his abilities are a direct result from the motivation gained from losing to Jamie, who had been the second-best junior player in the world. He first beat Jamie in an under 12's final in Solihull, afterwards teasing Jamie until his brother hit him hard enough to lose a nail on his left hand. At 12, Murray won the Orange Bowl, a prestigious event for under-12s.
Murray began 2005 ranked at number 407 in the world but finished as number 64. Out Of the nineteen singles tournaments he entered that year, ten were either futures or challenger tournaments. His performances through the year didn't go un-noticed gaining praise from John McEnroe amongst others, who stated that Murray would overtake Tim Henman as the top ranked British player in 2006. "With Murray the sky's the limit" He said.
In March 2005, Murray was asked to play doubles for Great Britain's Davis Cup team against Israel and became the youngest Briton to ever play in the Davis Cup. Murray and David Sherwood defeated the Israeli doubles team, who were ranked World No. 8 at the time, this helped the British team to a 3-2 victory.
The following month Murray turned professional and played his first senior tournament when he was given a wild card to the Open SEAT clay court tournament in Barcelona. Unfortunately he lost in the first round to Jan Hernych, but it gave him his first ranking point from a senior tournament, and he was soon handed a second wild card, this time at the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's Club in London. He lost his third round match there, at least partly because of muscle cramp. Murray was then awarded a wildcard for Wimbledon. He went into his first senior Grand Slam tournament ranked World No. 312 and caused a major upset by defeating fourteenth-seeded Radek Štěpánek in the second round in straight sets. He was the first Scottish man in the open era to reach the third round at Wimbledon and was the only Briton remaining in the men's or ladies' singles championship. Murray's run ended when he was beaten by David Nalbandian in the third round after Murray won the first two sets.
Murray played seven main tour and challenger tournaments during the U.S. summer hard court season. After losing in the second round of the main tour tournament in Newport, Rhode Island, he won his first title at the Aptos, California challenger hard court event without dropping a set. Two weeks later, he lost in the second round of the tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana to Mardy Fish. A wildcard afforded him entry to the ATP Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he played his first match against a top-ten player, Marat Safin, in the second round. Murray lost the match in three sets. Because Murray was ranked World No. 122 and was not given a wildcard, he had to qualify for the US Open. When the main draw started, he lost in the second round to Arnaud Clément 6-2, 7-6, 2-6, 6-7, 6-0. On 3 October, his ranking reached the top 100 at World No. 72 after losing to World No. 1 Roger Federer in the final of the Thailand Open. Federer was on a 30-match winning streak coming into the match while Murray was playing in his first senior final.
After playing a challenger event in Mons, Belgium, Murray played the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basel in October 2005. He played the top ranked British player, World No. 28 Tim Henman, for the first time in a professional match, with Murray winning 6-2, 5-7, 7-6. He defeated Tomas Berdych in the second round before losing in the quarterfinals to World No. 17 Fernando González 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Murray's year ended with this tournament and a world ranking of 64.
2009, Andy Murray's Year in Review
Murray started the year by beating James Blake, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal to win the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi. He followed this by successfully defending his title at the Qatar Open in Doha, defeating Andy Roddick in the final.
Seeded fourth at the Australian Open, Murray lost in the fourth round to Fernando Verdasco. Prior to the tournament, Murray had been named by some bookmakers and journalists as one of the favourites to win the title. These assertions irritated Federer and Novak Djokovic, who were quick to cite Murray's lack of Grand Slam titles when questioned about his ability to win the Australian Open. Murray himself said that, while he did not "understand the whole thing", he thought that he had been playing well enough recently "to be in that sort of group".
Murray won his next tournament, the ABN AMRO Tournament in Rotterdam, beating World No. 1 Nadal in the final. Murray withdrew from the Marseille Open, which he won in 2008, because of an injury to his right ankle sustained in Rotterdam. He next competed in the Dubai Tennis Championships, reaching the quarterfinals before withdrawing from his match with Richard Gasquet citing a virus. This virus also forced Murray's withdrawal from Great Britain's Davis Cup tie against Ukraine.
Murray then headed to the United States for the first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events of the year. In Indian Wells, he reached the final for the first time in his career, where he again lost to World No. 1 Nadal At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, he defeated Djokovic in the final to win the tournament. With that victory, Murray equaled the eleven career titles won by Tim Henman.
Murray started the clay court season at the Monte-Carlo Masters, the third Masters Series event of the year. He lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Nadal after earlier in the day defeating Nikolay Davydenko.
After receiving a bye in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Murray lost to Argentine qualifier Juan Monaco 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the second round. This was Murray's first opening-round loss since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Despite the loss, his ranking rose to World No. 3 on 11 May 2009 because Djokovic failed to defend his title in Rome. He became the first British player in the open era to achieve this ranking, with both Greg Rusedski and Henman having reached career highs of World No. 4.
At the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, Murray received a first-round bye and defeated Simone Bolelli and Tommy Robredo in subsequent rounds. However, he lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Martin del Potro 7-6, 6-3 despite being ahead 5-2, with a break, in the first set.
In the first round of the French Open, Murray beat Juan Ignacio Chela, a quarterfinalist there in 2004. He followed up with a victory over Potito Starace in the second round. He beat Janko Tipsarevic in the third round and 13th-seeded Marin Cilic in the fourth round 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-1. Murray's tournament ended when he lost in the quarterfinals to 12th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. This was Murray's best result at the French Open, having reached the third round in 2008.
Murray started the grass court season by winning the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club in London. He defeated Andreas Seppi in the second round after receiving a first round bye. He reached the semifinals by beating Spaniard Guillermo García-López in the third round and Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals. Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former World No. 1 player and 2003 French Open champion, lost to Murray in the semifinals 6-2, 6-4. Murray then became the first British winner of the tournament since 1938 when he defeated Blake in the final. This was Murray's first tournament win on grass.This was also Murray's first win on home soil.
Murray was seeded third at Wimbledon; however, the withdrawal of defending champion Nadal caused Murray to became the second highest seeded player, after Federer, and made Murray the highest seeded player in his half of the draw. In the fourth round, Murray beat 19th-seeded, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. The match finished at 22:39BST, which made it the latest ever finish at Wimbledon. It was also the first male singles match, and the first five-set match, to take place with the new Centre Court roof closed. Murray beat wildcard entry Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarterfinals 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 before falling to sixth-seeded Roddick in the semifinals 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5). This was the furthest Murray had ever reached at Wimbledon.
Murray returned to competitive tennis at the Montreal Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. As Murray was seeded third, he received a bye for the first round. In the second round he beat Frenchman Jérémy Chardy in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. He beat Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero in the third round in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. Murray set up a semi-final with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga by beating Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-4. Murray reached the final by beating Tsonga in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6(8). In the final, Murray beat Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro in three sets, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-1. By reaching the final, he guaranteed himself the world number 2 ranking, due to Rafael Nadal's exit in the quarter finals. He became the first player since 18 July 2005, besides Nadal and Roger Federer, to be ranked inside the top two in the world. At the 2009 US Open, Murray was the second seed but was defeated by Marin Cilic in the 4th round. He was suffering a wrist injury and missed the Asian season. Because of that, his ranking dropped to fourth in the world. He returned at the Valencia Open and eventually won the tournament by defeating Fernando Verdasco in the semi-final and Mikhail Youzhny in the final. Being fourth seed for the Paris Masters, Murray received a bye to the second round where he beat James Blake but lost to Radek Stepanek in the second round 1-6 6-3 6-4, with exhaustion being cited as the main reason for defeat.
Murray qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals for the second year in a row, and this year for the first time, in London. With a partisan home crowd cheering him on in all matches, Murray won 2 of his 3 round robin matches. He defeated Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in his first match. He then lost to Roger Federer 6-3, 3-6, 1-6. In his final match, he defeate Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(3). With a 2-1 record, Murray was tied in wins and sets with Federer and del Potro in his group. Federer and del Potro advanced however, because a better percentage of games won. del Potro narrowly advanced with a 45-43 games record, while Murray had a 44-43 record. Murray thus was eliminated in the round robin stage.