Murray will be ready when another Grand chance comes his way
Andy Murray has continued the form of his ceiling-smashing 2012 campaign and the Scot is giving all the right impressions that 6/4 on him adding a second Grand Slam to his mantelpiece in 2013 could be a generous price.
The significance of that maiden Major cannot be underestimated when judging his prospects for this season and beyond. Murray has not only banished the doubts that were sabotaging him at the most crucial moments but has made himself available for more success on the biggest stage, just at the time when the landscape has changed in his favour.
The return of Rafael Nadal will naturally have a massive impression on the outcome of the French Open but his participation, voluntary or otherwise, in the latter stages of Wimbledon and the US Open is highly questionable. The Pearl of Manacor has already suggested his days on the hard court will be few and far between.
Roger Federer continues to deceive many pundits’ settings of his own body clock with the Swiss maestro reaching the semi-finals in five of his large six Slams. However, the last-four has become the most regular finishing point for the world number three, with only one of those runs continuing on to the final.
The reality is that despite Federer being as adept as ever at navigating the first week and weaker opposition, those journeys to the later phases are taking more of a toll than ever.
Murray on the other hand is having no problem conserving enough during the two weeks to triumph at the very end.
In the last three years Murray has only been defeated twice by players outside of the golden trio of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal – both times at the French Open and to the best of the bunch in David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych.
Murray’s most likely opponent in the last-four will be Federer and although he trails the master 3-1 in Slams, crucially, since that seminal Flushing Meadow’s victory Murray has won their two big clashes, at the Olympics and the Australian Open this year.
This all leads to Murray being a warm favourite to reach finals both in London and New York with Novak Djokovic just as likely, if not, more of being his company when he gets there.
The all-conquering Serb will be favourite for both those events and justifiably so, but Murray will fancy his chances of wining one of those. He beat the world number one when it looked like another opportunity had been wasted at the US last year and has the confidence required to win.
It is unlikely that Murray would be able to win both their matches should they meet in both finals, but one victory is well within compass. The Serb’s presence in both is not written in law either and if that happens, Murray should be there to take full advantage.