Murray has time to think, to rest and to win
“I WILL give it everything,” Andy Murray said. “I will leave it all out there.” As a battle cry the Scot’s declaration ahead of his fifth grand slam final today, his second in New York, his second against Novak Djokovic, rang with Caledonian grit.
Having embraced two Scottish knights, Sean Connery and Alex Ferguson, as well as his mother, Judy, after winning his semi-final over Tomas Berdych on Stormy Saturday, Murray immediately turned his sensible head to the job in hand.
Emotion is fine; execution riding on the force of it is all that matters and Murray, who lost here in the final four years ago to Roger Federer in the first of his four failed tilts at tennis’s biggest prize, knows not to let feelings blur the purpose.
He will be reminded of this by his hard-headed coach, Ivan Lendl.
“This is a semi-final,” he said before Murray played Berdych. “We did not come here for semi-finals.”
As for more distant history Murray said last night: “I remember very little about the 2008 final. It just felt like it came around so quickly. It’s still a bit of a blur. It was the first time I had been in the semis and final [of a grand slam tournament] and it just seemed to go in the blink of an eye.
“I know how I will deal with it now. I’ve had an extra day to practise and rest and think about it. I am sure I will deal with it all better this time. I’ve got four more years of experience and quite a lot of that experience has come this year, so that helps.”
Then Murray had to beat Rafael Nadal on the Sunday before playing Federer on the Monday.
“I didn’t get the day off then,” he said, “and maybe it hurt me a little bit. This time I have been able to rest.”
Murray has recollections of not only that experience logged but another title contest against Federer, in 2010 in Melbourne, the final against Djokovic there again the following year and, most recently, his next big contest with Federer, when he lost in four sets at Wimbledon only two months ago.
There is pain as well as education in such a CV.
Murray, at 25, is mentally better equipped to handle the former and, tennis-wise, mature enough now to use the latter to best advantage.
Federer is gone.
Nadal, the other gatekeeper of this exclusive club, is absent, injured.
But Djokovic remains, the conqueror yesterday of David Ferrer in four sets, and standing in Murray’s way for a second time.
Murray, who beat Djokovic in straight sets at the semi-finals of the Olympic tennis tournament at Wimbledon, knows this is his best chance of the five he has been presented with to make history for himself and, at the scene of Fred Perry’s final grand slam triumph, in 1936, an opportunity to rid the nation of a venerable but very heavy ghost.