You lost this time, kid, but you don’t have to like it.

The treasure hunter who inspired the young Indiana Jones said that at the beginning of the ‘Last Crusade’. I’ve just watched the beginning of what should prove a magnificent tennis rivalry and the same words should be being said to Andy Murray by his coach, Brad Gilbert.

Murray, 15th seed, lost in 5 sets to Rafael Nadal, 2nd seed. It was 6-1 in the decider which was a margin too large given the effort and sheer skill of Murray. People might say he couldn’t live with Nadal in the last set. They’d be wrong. He had break points in two Nadal service games and should have held all his own. What was the difference? Simple really, Nadal isn’t no.2 in the world for nothing. He’s a brilliant tennis player. Murray matched him. Indeed I thought Murray would win in four sets but the Spaniard was able to cut down errors and up his level. That’s why he’s no.2. Murray is still learning and growing. It was a quite fantastic match of tennis. 3hrs 50 minutes of skill and stamina by both men. It was exhausting and breath-taking to watch. And at the end, the respect between the two men and the sheer relief on Nadal’s face said everything about how close the match was. I cannot wait to see them play each other again.

Murray is only 19. A year younger than Nadal. And if the Scot plays at that level consistently over the next 12 months, he’ll be going to the ATP masters series final with a realistic chance of winning it. Make no mistake, Murray was magnificent. He has all the shots to be a champion and he has the fitness level now, as well. But just as importantly, even at three match points down he hit a service return forehand winner. And that was because he believed he could still win the match. Mental toughness will take him anywhere he wants to go.

My prediction… Andy Murray, world no.1 at 21.

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One Response to “You lost this time, kid, but you don’t have to like it.”

  1. Ariel says:

    Yeah, but it will all count for nothing if he doesn’t actually win at Wimbledon… ;)

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• January 22nd, 2007 • Posted in Tennis • Comments: 1