It seems as if the Olympic Gold medal Andy Murray obtained at the London 2012 Summer Olympics have certainly helped him get in the right state of mind to keep on showing that he might just have what it takes to get into the elite trio of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Let’s not forget that just a few weeks earlier, in the same grass courts of the All English Club, Andy Murray had managed his way up to the Wimbledon’s final, were he eventually lost to Roger Federer. But in a nice touch of fate, Murray would go on and face this Swiss Maestro again in the gold medal matchup in the London Olympics. And this time, for the first time in 5 distinct shots, it would be Murray taking the win and his first Olympic medal.
Now, it seems as if he has been able to translate some of that momentum into a solid performance in the US Open that is certainly making him look like one of the favorite to go on and give both Novak Djokovic, the US Open defending Champion, and Roger Federer, in his route to a record-breaking 18th Grand Slam title, a good run for their money. After beating Milos Raonic, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, last night, he made it quite clear that this is the best tennis we’ve seen him play ever, and that he is ready to go and get his first Grand Slam title. His recent performances have been phenomenal and after the surgically precise win over Raonic, Murray has now reached his 8th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Don’t let the overwhelming score make you think for a second that Milos Raonic was not a brilliant contestant. Just consider the following statistics to make up your mind about Raonic. The 21-year-old’s best weapon is his serve. He came into the match with 89 aces in three matches, this is 21 more aces than the Argentinean Nicolas Almagro, who had played four games. His fastest serve was clocked at 143 mph, one off the tournament high established by John Isner. As a matter of fact the Canadian (although born in Montenegro) pro who currently resides in Monte Carlo hit 14 aces for the game. That included one bullet that hit 140 mph on the radar. And yet, Andy Murray made it look real easy as he toyed with the ATP World Tour’s No. 16-ranked player. It looks as if the confidence boost has given Murray the trust he needs to star playing towards the lines under pressure and his artillery seems now much more diverse and effective on the key games.
“I used a lot of variation tonight,” Murray said in the postgame press conference. “Milos has a massive game. I had to guess sometimes. I was lucky, because they fly past you and sometimes you get a racket on it. Tonight I got a racket on it.” Now it’s really up to him to find a way to get back in the game and bring back home his first mayor. He has the motivation, and to make it a bit easier, Rafa Nadal is out resting his sore knee. This looks like his best shot yet. Let’s see if he can get it.