Late on 14th August, Andy Murray wrote another historic note in his book of achievements by becoming the first ever male #Tennis player to successfully defend the Olympic title he won in London 4 years ago. Add that to the Wimbledon title won in July, he is the main man on the ATP World Tour and looks almost unbeatable. With Novak Djokovic seemingly out of form, Roger Federer sidelined for the year, and others faltering around him, is this Andy’s chance for yet further glory? Memories of 2012 will surely be remembered, with Murray winning his first major at the US Open after Olympic Gold.
Can he rekindle that magic one more time and come full circle?
He is in the form of his life
Having only lost twice since 9th May, it would be an understatement to say Andy Murray is playing well. His magnificent clay court season being halted at the final hurdle by Novak did not deter him one bit. Getting Ivan Lendl back in his corner looks like it has given him an extra dimension and helped him to rediscover his midas touch. Winning both grass court tournaments without any major scares was testament to the excellence he has portrayed. Finally, after a few years of losing in the biggest matches, he was able to get over the line to win his 3rd Grand Slam title. The Olympic Gold medal match was probably the most emotional match of his career, yet he was able to win to highlight what an outstanding champion he has become. Surely, at the present moment, he must be considered as the favourite in New York?
Is Novak losing it?
After the French Open, if you told anyone that Novak would enter the US Open with real question marks over his form and fitness, you would be thought of as crazy.
But, that is the situation the Serb finds himself in now. He was not able to escape what happens to champions after achieving a rare feat. Inevitable let downs came in the form of surprise shocks at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. Of course, champions like Novak should never be discounted and he has not lost a hard court major match since 2014. He will still likely fool us all and make the final at least, but there are now serious doubts over his game. Furthermore, with the wrist injury that ruled him out of Cincinnati, that will be another concern for Boris Becker’s charge. It will be fascinating to see how he reacts to his slump in form.
Rafa - back to peak performance?
Despite not winning a medal for Spain in Rio, his match against Del Potro signalled a return to the old aura of invincibility for Rafa. However, it would be helpful for him if he was able to win some of these big matches rather than narrowly miss out to gain that confidence. That is why he is still not at a 100%, but the competitive fire is back. For fans around the world, a healthy Rafa will mean a winning Rafa.
Time will tell whether he can get back to his victorious best. Other than Rafa, Del Potro, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic will be major contenders at Flushing Meadows. They will provide stern tests for the best players in the world, but whether they can come out on top is still yet to be seen. This all makes for a really exciting tournament to finish the Grand Slam season.
As players make their final preparations for New York, the question on everyone’s lips is whether Andy can win a 4th Grand Slam title or will Novak come back?