Part I: What Ever Happened To Andy Murray?
Tennis is nearing the end of its greatest generation. The Big 3 – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – have dominated the game for nearly two decades but father time is catching up with them. Federer recently retired at 41. Nadal is 36 and while he still at the top of the game and capable of winning majors, injuries have taken their toll. Only Djokovic looks poised to remain at the top of the game for the next couple years.
But often forgotten is that The Big 3 was once The Big 4. Britain’s Andy Murray was a member of the elite in tennis in the mid-2010s, winning three Grand Slam titles (US Open 2012, Wimbledon 2013 & 2016) and reaching number one in the world before hip injuries derailed him.
But despite never being able to fully recover from his injuries – and contemplating retirement at the Australian Open four years ago due to overwhelming pain (see the YouTube of his press conference below) – Murray (35) has not given up. He has been toiling away on the tour the last few years hoping to recapture his previous form (“Is Andy Murray About To Become Andy Murray Again?”, Mathew Futterman, New York Times, September 2, 2022). In fact I just watched Murray beat the 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in a thrilling 5th set tiebreak in the first round of the Australian Open – his biggest win in years.
While Andy Murray is mostly an afterthought in tennis today, for a few magical years a decade ago he stood shoulder to shoulder with the three greatest players of all time. And today he recaptured a bit of that old magic.
UPDATE (Thursday January 19, 3:29pm)
Part II: Reminiscences Of Former Greatness: Andy Murray At The Australian Open
Incredibly Andy Murray won another five set epic today in his second round match at the Australian Open, coming back from 2 sets to none down against the Australian Kokkinakis – who was playing terrific tennis. This is clearly the highest moment for Murray in the last few years amidst the saga with the hip.
The question now is whether he can recover for his 3rd round match against the 24th seed Bautista Agut. It’s a big ask at Murray’s age, with everything he’s been through with his hip, and especially all the work he’s had to put in to win his first two matches. Today’s match lasted almost six hours and didn’t finish until 4am Friday in Australia.
One thing is for sure though: there are a lot of tennis fans around the world who know what Andy’s been through the last bunch of years and are pulling for him. I’m one of them.