To the delight of Great Britain, Andy Murray has arrived. Today, non-verbally, he announced his arrival to the entire tennis world with a popular semifinal victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Murray methodically and for the most part, calmly became the first British man to reach the finals of Wimbledon in 74 years, since Bunny Austin in 1938.
Andy Murray has truly arrived.
He withstood the immense pressure and a very game Tsonga to accomplish what the gallant Tim Henman worked in vain to do.
Henman Hill can now officially be renamed “Murray Mound”
With the exception of an occasional, “Come on” from Murray, little else was said. He let his game do the talking.
Oh, he had a few moments of negativity, particularly in the fourth set while two sets-to-one up but serving 1-3 down. Tsonga hit a one-handed cross court topspin backhand that landed on the line. The Murray of old briefly emerged as he rattled off a few expletives.
But impressively, he vented and moved forward. There was no descent into a cesspool of negativity. Such behavior, which had been a hallmark of the Murray persona was noticeably ameliorated.
On February 3, 2012, I posted my thoughts about the newly formed partnership of Murray and Ivan Lendl as coach. To me, it was abundantly clear that Lendl was the missing piece to the Murray Puzzle.
Clear positive changes began to manifest immediately.
A gradual metamorphosis was evident in a very high quality semifinal match against Novak Djokovic in the first slam of 2012, the Australian Open.
Though Djokovic prevailed, it took five hard fought sets for him to get the job done and the match was still up for grabs at 5-5 in the fifth. At that critical juncture, Murray was less negatively demonstrative than I had ever seen him in the past when in situations of a similar nature. Rather, he appeared composed, focused, hell bent on winning the match.
That same focus, tenacity and resiliency was on display today.
Andy Murray has positively arrived and the engineer, the man at the helm is Ivan Lendl.
Who better to have assisting in the orchestration of becoming a champion, a slam winner, than a man who is an eight-time slam winner himself.
Lendl brings so very much to the table. Not only is he a rock of stabilization but he is altering Murray’s propensity for defensive play towards a more offensive approach.
It’s working. He’s now utilizing his vast repertoire of weapons in a more expeditious manner.
Murray is a changed man, a man with greater control of his emotions, a smarter, calmer man, a far more complete player.
Andy Murray now believes, and he has good reason to do so.
Ivan Lendl is an integral part of the equation. But it’s still Murray who must step out on court and execute.
He did just that today and, in so doing, has given himself the chance to win his first slam and deliver the most coveted title in tennis to British fans who have been wishing and waiting 76 long years for this time to come.
Murray has one more match to win…just one.
He’ll face six time Wimbledon winner, the great Roger Federer on Sunday. If Federer wins, he will add a 17th notch to his belt and will equal Pete Sampra’s record of seven Wimbledon titles.
If that alone isn’t enough, at the age of 30, with a victory, Federer can also reclaim the number one ranking in the world.
If Murray wins…oh man!
Regardless of the outcome, Andy Murray has genuinely arrived.