This article was written by me for the website http://essentiallysports.com/ . The following is the link to the original article : http://essentiallysports.com/andy-murrays-best-season/
Andy Murray has been a rightful member of the ‘Big Four’ for last 6 to 7 years, and yet fans of the other members seldom give him the recognition he deserves. Many tennis buffs have considered the idea of the ‘Big Three’ or the ‘Trivalry’ between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, leaving Andy Murray on the sidelines.
This year too Andy has been in the shadows, but to his defense, every other player on tour has been in shadows as one man ( yes, you know whom I am talking about) dominated every big tournament. However, Andy too marked the finest and most convincing season of his career in 2015.
The Dunblane native, after spending most of 2014 recovering from back injury, enjoyed a perfect start to the season, reaching the Australian Open finals for the fourth time in his career. Even though he ended up on the losing side there were loads of positives that Andy could take from his performance into the rest of the season. One of which was that he entered the Top 4 rankings for the first time in 12 months.
His impressive performances continued as he won matches at the Miami masters. In the process, Andy recorded the 500th match win of his career, becoming the first British to do so in Open era. In the finals, he again lost to Novak, being bageled in the deciding set.
Fun Fact 1: Andy won all of his 59 matches in which he won the first set this year.
The premier taste of success came at the Munich Open, where Andy collected first ever ATP title on clay. At Madrid masters, the Scot broke free from the shackles of doubt as he defeated the ‘King of Clay’ , Rafael Nadal to claim his second consecutive clay court title. Back to back victories on clay court had helped Andy by bolstering his confidence. At the French Open, Andy found Novak standing in his way yet again. Trying to make it third time lucky for the season against the Serbian, Andy mustered strength to drag the semi-finals to a fifth set. However, Novak upped his game at just the right time to record his 8th consecutive win against Andy Murray.
Andy ended the clay court season with a 15-1 win loss record implying a winning percentage of 93.8% which is a quantum leap from his 67.2% career win percentage on clay.
Some stats on clay are given below. Note the comparison between his career performances and 2015 performances on clay.
|1st Serve Points Won||70 %||75%|
|2nd Serve Points Won||49%||53%|
|Service games won||76%||86%|
|Break points saved||62%||68%|
|Break points converted||44%||51%|
|2nd Serve return points won||54%||57%|
Switching over to grass from clay, Andy had a glorious start, winning the title at Queen’s club. He had won the title here multiple times before, more importantly, he went on to win the biggest tournament of his life, Wimbledon, in 2013. This year at Wimbledon, Andy faced the seven time champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals. Andy was totally outclassed as he went down in straight sets 7-5 7-5 6-4.
Andy finally recorded a win against Novak, as he took out the Serbian 6-4 4-6 6-3 in the finals of the Canada masters. This victory came with an added bonus as it took Andy back to the second spot in world rankings.
Fun Fact 2: Andy won all of his 12 matches against left-handers this season.
The rest of the season saw its ups and downs but held no more titles for Andy. Andy finished the year with a 69-14 win-loss record with 9 of those 14 losses coming to the other members of the ‘Big Four’. He reached 7 finals in total losing 3 of them, all to world number 1 Novak Djokovic.
But that can change as Andy leads Great Britain in the Davis Cup finals against Belgium next week. The British number 1, Andy had undoubtedly set the Davis Cup at the top of his priority list at the start of the season, as he has, almost single-handedly, dragged Britain into the finals. In the semi-finals against Australia, Andy won both of his singles matches and a doubles match pairing with his brother, Jamie Murray to take Britain into the finals. This could be the year Britain finally sees its prayers answered, after waiting for 79 years.
If Andy can produce a string of good performances in the final, it would be a perfect way to end the most convincing year of his career so far.