Just before the 2012 US Open final I was listening to an interview by Jonathan Overend with Ivan Lendl – he asked him whether he could sum up his coaching philosophy in a few words – his answer “to win the last point of the match” – a simple but potent statement and at just after 9pm in New York City on Monday 10th September (post 2am on September 11 for us peeps in Britain) – his charge Andy Murray did just that as he won his FIRST gland slam at Flushing Meadows in a brilliant match that ebbed and flowed, even at 7-6 4-0 to Murray – at that stage I was thinking a midnight (GMT) finish – though somewhere in the back of my mind I did not really believe that.
Firstly a word on his opponent. I used to think that no one could get anywhere near the mentality that Rafa Nadal has (i.e. 2 sets down 5-0 down he would still think he could win) ok slight exaggeration but you know what I mean. But Novak Djokovic deserves so much credit for his battling performance. As I said earlier even at 7-6 4-0, I knew there was still a way to go and Djoko promptly broke Murray to make it 4-1 and then again to eventually make it 5-5 and that’s were Murray winning the set 7-5 showed he has the potential to reach a similar mentality. John Lloyd on 5live was spot on in how he so eloquently put it – Murray “GAGGED” the game at 5-3 second set but praised him for coming back to win that set – as if he had not the outcome could have been so different – but Murray stepped up big time at that crucial point 🙂
Anyways back to the match, four losses in grand slam finals and then two sets up – a lay person watching tennis for the first time would have thought – job done lets go to bed. Not me – as mentioned Novak has a mentality of steel and worked his way back – firstly a quick demolition in the third set and then a tighter fourth but both with 2 breaks of serve, you’d think – THATS IT – Murray has crumbled and cracked under the pressure (0-4 in slams being the foremost thought in his mind). But what happened was the complete opposite – he was ready and prepared for this (under the tutelage of his coach who also lost his first four grand slam finals) and was by far the best player (physically and mentally) and it was him who broke Djokovic’s heart by breaking the Serbian’s serve twice and there was no gagging at 5-2 this time and the title was won on his second match-point – cue scenes of joy in the stadium and in various places around Great Britain – especially in his beloved Scotland – A JOB WELL DONE and membership to the GRAND SLAM CLUB 🙂
So what now for Murray – becoming world number one is an obvious goal but the main thing has to be multiple slams – Lendl ended up with 8 from 19 finals – and Murray would easily take another 14 finals now whatever results he got – however if he did make that many looking at his form, fitness and improved mentality you’d suspect a few more slams will be going his way. Well done Andy – a Briton but most definitely a proud Scot