Sad news to start off the year. I’ll miss him. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay healthy longer.
I don’t know that there’s ever been an athlete where my opinion of them on and off the court are so radically different. Off court, Murray always seemed thoughtful, interesting, and had a dry, caustic wit. On court, his matches—at least against other top players—often devolved to him standing 5+ feet behind the baseline hitting backhand slices until his opponent hit a winner or made an error. This was doubly frustrating since he clearly had the ability to play differently. Perhaps this was understandable considering who he had to play against, but it was rarely a joy to watch him. Still, tennis is worse for him soon no longer having as easy a platform to call out stuff like the sport’s sexism.
I thought he might not come back from a hip injury. Lleyton Hewitt had something similar and never came back to win consistently again after the injury.
I’m surprised he’s even playing in the Australian. Why not withdraw and heal a bit longer and focus on playing Wimbledon one last time?
I was always ambivalent at best about Murray — his behavior on court reminded me too much of the acting we see in futbol when someone pretends to be hurt — but he was a talented player with more success ahead of him. It’s a shame to see him go out this way.
Tsitsipas and Tiafoe are in the fourth round, Zverev and Coric should be joining them later today, Medvedev and Shapovalov might, but have trickier opponents (an understatement in Shapovalov’s case). The young guys finally seem to be making progress at slams.
On the women’s side, I saw 17-year old Anisimova totally bludgeon trendy-pick-to-win Sabalenka last night with hard backhands and good service angles. She’s the first player (man or woman) born in the 2000s to make a fourth-round at a slam.There have been a few young women’s players to make deep slam runs the past several years before disappearing completely (remember Melanie Oudin?), but she looks different. She’ll probably lose next round (playing Kvitova), but she has tremendous upside.