My thoughts on the final a.k.a. why I think Mandy failed to capture his first Slam title
I suppose that, as a “tennis blogger”, it is my job to write about the final. Fucking hell.
Before Sunday, I would have said Murray was the favourite. The quality of the tennis he had been playing up until the final was higher than Federer‘s. He was moving well (Rafa well, The Flash well) and playing very consistently. He was even coming up with some magical passing shots that we counterpunching fans love so much. But what was really making Andy clutch his wins has the ability to transit from defense to attack. It’s what made him dominate Rafa Nadal. He was coming to the net at unexpected moments, making his opponent feel at a constant unease.
In the final match, Murray had a few (understatement, oy) problems. We could start by the serve. In the first set, he had a first serve percentage as low as 45% and no aces at all. Not only he wasn’t being able to do damage with his first serve, but he could hardly get it in. In that same set he did 11 unforced errors, which in the Mandy scale of UEs, is enough for a whole match. He was playing solely on the defense and made only 5 winners. “It’s ok, it’s the nerves, he’ll wake up in the second set.”
Well, he didn’t. But it did get better. He made the same number of UEs and winners — which, for a player with Mandy’s playing style, is a quite shitty stat.
Third set, the serve improved. 60% in and 8 aces. With that, he managed to get a lead. He served for the set at 5-3 but was broken at love. The set went to the tiebreak: game, set and match, Mr. Federer.
I’d like to show the stat that, for me, defined the match. No, it wasn’t Mandy’s awful serving.
|Net Approaches||31 of 43 = 72 %||14 of 23 = 61 %|
The crazy netplay that Mandy had showed us in his previous match wasn’t present in the final. And don’t let the stat trick you, he didn’t even go to the net “that much”. Most of them were due to Federer‘s dropshots. It seems like, in the final, Mandy forgot what the word attacking meant.
Now, I’ll do something that I love to do: blame the British media. Dear British journalists, how about you guys think why such a rich country like yours haven’t won a slam in 73 years? Did Henman really not have what it takes to win a slam? I mean, even Andy Roddick won one. Was Henman worse on grass than Ferrero, Moya or Gaudio on clay? They all won Slams. It’s pointless to hype up players*. It’s even more pointless to dump a country’s expectations on just one person. I realize the money they invested on this boy is ridiculous — but he’s only human. This is tennis, a sport where the mental part is as important as the physical. If not more.
I hate the idea that all that talent might be waste due to media pressure. Federer himself said these two weeks were perhaps the best of his career. Why? He played loose. Now that he has won all four Slams and already surpassed Sampras‘ record, he says he’s playing without pressure on himself. Let’s recall something here. Federer, last year, didn’t manage to win his 14th Slam at the Australian Open and, in front of Rod Laver and other Slam champions, cracked. This year, Mandy failed to win his maiden title. What happened? Boy crying in the microphone, excusing himself for not being able to win the title for his people.
A lesson learned, ladies and gents: pressure can work as motivation. Or it can do the exact opposite. Cheers.
*PLS LEAVE LAURA ROBSON ALONE.