The renaissance of Andy Murray feels like it has taken a very long time. Whilst the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have suffered setbacks but returned quickly to a high level, Murray has had to work long and hard to see some new success to come his way. For anyone who has fully understood his physical problems though, it continues to be fairly miraculous that the Scotsman continues to play the game at all.
Grass Court Season Brings The Best Out Of Murray Once More
Murray is, of course, well known as one of the best grass court players of all-time. His two Wimbledon titles and Olympic Gold Medal won on the surface, combined with his record five Queens Club titles, mean that cannot be in question. Therefore it is perhaps of little surprise that it is this time of year that Murray finally seems to be reaping some rewards to his work.
This combines with the reunion between Murray and coach Ivan Lendl. It is likely that Lendl has been able to help Murray find one or two missing pieces as well. The Czech former world #1 has worked with Murray in three spells now and always seems to be able to unlock the Scot in a way that few others can.
On the evidence of Stuttgart this week Lendl has been able to help Murray enhance his serve, both in speed and in potency. Murray’s forehand also looked like more of a weapon than over the last 18 months, whilst the backhand remains as solid and consistent as almost any on tour. The innate familiarity with the surface certainly seemed to help though.
Top 50 Return, Four Britons in the Top 100
Murray’s run to the final, ended by Matteo Berrettini, also returning from injury, has earned him a much awaited return to the ATP Top 50. Now at #47 Murray is unlikely to require any further wild card help to enter any tournaments, avoiding controversy as found after accepting a Madrid Masters wildcard in April.
After Dan Evans won the Nottingham Challenger this week that means that there are once again three Brits inside the world top 50. Big British prospect Jack Draper has also entered the top 100 for the first time this week at #99. However, the big serving lefty is defending a lot of points at Queens this week so his stay may well be short-lived on this occasion.
What next for Murray?
Murray is, of course, in the draw for ATP London, aka Queen’s Club. Undoubtedly the tournament schedulers will attempt to give both he and Berrettini enough time to recover from their Stuttgart exploits, however they have been drawn in the same mini-section. Murray even has a tough opening round draw against another Italian Lorenzo Sonego. Sonego took Berrettini to three sets last week and played really well against finalist Casper Ruud in the French Open as well.
However, Murray will be concerned about an injury that he felt in the Stuttgart final. It may well be more likely, depending on the results of a scan on Monday, that the Scot skips one of his favorite tournaments in order to be ready to attempt to play Wimbledon.
If the injury proves to be nothing serious then Murray has put himself into second week contention at SW19. The last time he turned up to Wimbledon feeling somewhere close to fit he went on to win it. That was 2016 though, the intervening six years haven’t been totally kind to Murray’s body, but his tennis this week was certainly close to the standard required to make the latter stages.
Whilst a seeding of any kind would’ve been gladly received by Murray, he would feel confident of taking on almost anyone in what looks to be a wide open renewal, especially without the Russian and Belarussian players involved. There yet remains a chance of further Grand Slam glory for Murray in his career though, something that seemed so far away not so very long ago.
Main Photo from Getty.