Andy Murray has been one of the supreme players in the last decade in tennis. He is often mentioned as a member of the “big four” in the tennis world. This is nothing to scoff at seeing as the other three of the group are often said to be the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Murray has held his own in what is probably the most difficult era of tennis. Not just that, he has thrived and made history with his achievements in the sport. It is near impossible for other players to win a single Major title, but he has managed to win three. Even more impressive, perhaps, is the fact that he won two singles Olympic Gold medals; something that has never been done before in tennis.
The Briton also staved off massive media attention and pressure to win not one, but two Wimbledon Championships.
His hip injury nearly ended his career but for him to come back the way he has done and resumed tennis is a testimony to his grit, determination and love for the sport and his wins at the China Open suggest he could well be back for good.
To pick just a handful of matches from an illustrious career is quite an ask, but here we will try and remember five of his best matches we have seen over the years.
2012, US Open Final
Andy Murray finally validated his potential by capturing his first Grand Slam title of his career with a victory over Novak Djokovic. Murray had a wonderful season up until then, but it was a mixed one emotionally, having lost the Wimbledon final but winning an Olympic Gold medal. The epic match between the childhood rivals lasted about five hours. It was certainly a win worthy of a maiden slam title. Murray defeated the Serb 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.
While a slam final brings with it enormous pressure in itself, Murray had even more of ot piled on him by the fact that Britain had waited 76 long years for a male Grand Slam champion. He had also lost his first four slam finals, equalling his coach Lendl’s record in the Open-era. He had no intention of making it five. Facing the defending champion Djokovic, Murray dug deep and battled the windy conditions to overcome the Serb.
Having won the first two tightly-contested sets, Murray let Djokovic back in the match by losing the next two sets. It was increasingly looking like Djokovic was about to make an epic comeback from 2-0 sets down, but Murray was determined to win his first slam. He made a dream start to the decider by breaking the Serb and then putting on an impressive defensive display to consolidate the break. He broke Djokovic again to go 3-0 up, only to hand him back one break. He held his serve well after that to get himself in a situation to serve for the match.
He served out the match to win his maiden Grand Slam and carve his name in the history of the sport.
2013, Australian Open Semifinal
Andy Murray defeated Roger Federer in the 2013 Australian Open semifinal 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2. The hard-fought match lasted four hours before Murray emerged victorious. This victory put him in his third Australian Open final and his sixth final in Grand Slams. This victory was the first for Murray over Federer in a Grand Slam.
The Brit served rather well in the semis, hitting 21 aces to Federer’s 5 and winning 75% of his first serves. Murray also hit a healthy 62 winners to Federer’s 43. He was ecstatic after his win over the Swiss legend. “It’s big,” said Murray. “I never beat Roger in a Slam before. It definitely will help with the confidence. Just knowing you can win against those guys in big matches definitely helps.”
2008, Wimbledon Round of 16
Andy Murray faced Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2008. The Brit was the third favourite behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to win the Championship. He was almost derailed before the quarters by Gasquet.
Murray had never beaten Gasquet before this, losing two previous meetings at the time. And this time looked no different. The eight seed Gasquet seemed on his way to a straight-sets victory with a 7-5, 6-3 lead against Murray. The third set saw both players hold their respective serves until Gasquet broke to go 5-4 up. But Murray broke back to force a tie-break. The tie-breaker was clinched by Murray, with some help from the crowd to finally get on the board.
Murray, buoyed by his set victory, dominated the fourth set, breaking Gasquet twice to go 5-2 up. He served out the set to 15 and go level with Gasquet at two sets all. Murray was now well confident of winning the match, especially with the home crowd behind him and Gasquet looking somewhat tired. The fifth set was a dream start for Murray, breaking the very first game. He held his serve well throughout the set to serve for the match at 5-4. The crowd was rewarded for sticking with their man through the four hours.
2012 London Olympics Final
Murray was heartbroken in 2012 after his final loss in Wimbledon to Roger Federer. Murray had never beaten Federer in a five-set match before this. The memories of his loss to Federer in that year’s Wimbledon were also quite fresh. But Murray was determined to win a title on the Centre Court, and there was no stopping the man when he faced Federer again just months later.
Murray won his first Olympic Gold medal by beating Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. This victory was possibly helpful in alleviating some of the pressure on him in Britain, enabling him to win his first Wimbledon next year.
The Brit was absolutely class in his encounter and had seemed to have banished his demons from the previous final well. Naturally he was over the moon with his victory. “It’s number one for me – the biggest win of my life,” said Murray. I have had a lot of tough losses in my career and this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final.”
2013 Wimbledon Final
Andy Murray fulfilled his life-long dream of winning the Wimbledon Championship by beating Djokovic in the 2013 final. As a Briton, he was always under enormous pressure at Wimbledon to bring home the first title since Fred Perry 77 years ago.
He had lost last year’s final to Federer, but this time around he was determined to finally win the Championship. While the final was expected to be a very tight contest, it was anything but. Murray played one of the matches of his life to dispatch Djokovic in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
The experience of winning last year’s Olympic Gold on the same court must have surely helped his confidence. He displayed no sign of pressure in the final and after three hours and ten minutes, emerged victorious.