Andy Murray needs an epiphany.
Or alternatively, he could watch last night’s episode of Today at Wimbledon and listen to Boris Becker, the mastermind behind Novak Djokovic’s inexorable rise to tennis domination.
“Obviously you are not going to win a Wimbledon final by waiting for the other guy to lose it…you have to go for your shots, you have to be aggressive, you have to just do a little bit more than the other guy.”
In an individual sport, your greatest opponent is not the guy standing on the other side, but your own fallible self. As I have stated on this blog before, Andy’s greatest nemesis has always been his own passivity. Too often, he has been content to plant himself at the back of the court, trading endless ground strokes and waiting for the other guy to make a mistake. Far too often, the other guy, being Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, hasn’t made a mistake but gone for the winner and made it.
To win in tennis, you must be prepared to evolve. To change. Andy must change his mentality permanently if he wants to be a serial Grand Slam winner. He must accept the need to be aggressive and ruthless, and kill points off at the first opportunity.
Andy will never have a better chance to win a third Grand Slam. For the first time he is not playing a GOAT (greatest of all time rather than the animal variety!). For the first time, he is playing a player ranked below him, who has never been in a final before, and dare I say it, someone who, although he is playing the best tennis of his life, is not as good a tennis player as Andy.
This Wimbledon final is Andy Murray’s to lose. But he has to go out there and win it, not wait passively for Milos Raonic to bottle it. He has to go into the match with an aggressive mindset. Yes, his return of serve will be important, but more significantly, he needs to stop Raonic from coming forward and dictating the match. Raonic is in the same boat as Andy as he too has a need to be more aggressive, which is why he has recently called on John McEnroe, one of the greatest serve and volleyers of all time, to help him develop a more offensive game. Like I said, you need to embrace change if you want to be a winner.
The outcome of this match will be decided by who is prepared to be more daring and aggressive when the opportunity arises. I would like to think that player will be Andy. Ultimately, his game is superior to Raonic, and if he can play with confidence (and why shouldn’t he when there is no GOAT – still of the sporting variety – staring back at him?), and look to come forward and take his chances (yes, they are all cliches, but for a very good reason), he will beat Raonic, just as did at Queen’s a few weeks ago, and at the Australian Open semi-final in January.
If Andy can win Wimbledon tomorrow, he could go on to win a few more Grand Slams. There is still time, and there is no one below him who is better than him.
Less caution, more opportunism. That is the way for Andy Murry to win Grand Slams.