Tennis 2019: Tennis without Andy Murray


#1

Sad news to start off the year. I’ll miss him. It’s a shame he couldn’t stay healthy longer.


#2

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.


#3

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?


#4

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.


#5

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.


#6

Tsitsipas beat Federer, and this morning he beat his next opponent as well. He’s 20 years old, he’s in the Semifinal of a grand slam. Good stuff. I hope he continues to do well throughout the year.


#7

He does look good, though I think he got a bit lucky against Bautista Agut. Roberto broke him early in three straight sets, and I think he would have won the third set and gone up 2-1 if he had not started cramping. Bautista Agut had already played 3 five-set matches before facing Tsitsipas. I don’t think Tsitsipas will be able to hit through Nadal, he’s going to have to play a smarter match than that.

Djokovic looks strong, as does Nadal. I’m not a believer in Raonic, but he’s playing better right now than he has in a couple of years.


#8

Tsitsipas has a big serve so that’s his best chance against Nadal, to hold and hope for a break. He’s got a pretty big wingspan, too. Maybe he will to serve and volley once in awhile. Nadal receives so far back he might be vulnerable.

I keep thinking someone should do this to Nadal to get him to move up.


#9

Maybe lost in the shuffle of Murray’s retirement and the youngsters making runs, at least it was for me: Federer says he’s playing the French Open. Makes me think there’s a strong likelihood he retires at the Basel tournament this year, especially if he doesn’t win Wimbledon. Has the look of a farewell tour. . .


#10

Yeah, if he’s playing clay it feels like a farewell, I think, though I could see him saying goodbye to the clay courts this year and playing a limited farewell tour in 2020.

I don’t see him not playing the US Open one last time. So maybe he skips the Sunshine Double this year, does clay, Wimbledon, the run ups to the US Open, the USO and year end Masters, and then the Sunshine double in 2020, Wimbledon one last time, and Basel as his last.

I wonder if he might try some doubles after he retires from singles?

I will be sad to see him go. He’s been a magnificent player, the GOAT in my book.


#11

Hmm, I assumed that it was because he’s losing so many points this week, and has a bunch to gain with any success at all in the clay season; but you may be right.


#12

Wow, Serena was up 5-1 in the third set against Pliskova and lost. I went to bed when she was up 4-1 and rolling. It seemed a sure win for her the way she was playing.


#13

For real? Yeah, I went to bed at 5-1. I can’t believe it!


#14

I just watched the highlights. Man, Pliskova played really well. I’m sorry I missed the rest of that match.

Also, Pouille played really well and won against Raonic.


#15

Yeah, I’m glad I put my Raonic unbelief on the record before that match.

Djokovic more or less got a walkover today.


#16

Yeah, most Djokovic matches are disappointing to watch as a viewer anyway, if he’s playing well, but that one was especially disappointing.


#17

So the Big Four, er Three, er Two? are likely to meet in the final? Let’s hope Tsitsipas has a chance against Nadal. Otherwise it’s just a variation on the finals we’ve seen for the last 15 years.


#18

So who’s this American lady named Collins that’s playing right now in the semifinals? Did she get this far in a grand slam before and I just forgot about her, or is she new?

Edit: Yep, she’s new

Turned pro in mid-2016, and she reached the first round of 3 majors in 2018 for the first time. And now suddenly she beat Kerber in the Round of 16, and she’s in the semifinal. Very cool.


#19

Yeah, it’s looking like Nadal / Djokovic final. I suppose Pouille could upset that (big hitters on great days are the guys who occasionally beat Djokovic) but I doubt it.


#20

At the top of his game it seemed like no one could beat Djokovic. It was finally winning the French that seemed to take his foot off the gas. And some nagging injuries.

It will be interesting if it’s he and Nadal. He has beaten Nadal consistently in recent years.