Andy Murray – The Player Who Marked 2016 As His Year

Overrated-Underrated, Lucky-Unlucky, Fortunate-Unfortunate – you may have your opinion about Andy Murray, but it would be mind-numbingly stupid to deny him the stellar year that he had. Midway through the year, with the Australian and the French Open wins, Djoko’s reign at the top seemed unassailable. With Federer out of the running with an injury and Nadal struggling for form and eventually going out injured, the onus of giving the Djoker a run for his money came down to Wawrinka and Murray. The former didn’t have the best season by his previous high set standards. But Andy Murray shone through like a bright star in the night sky.

Murray’s career so far has been somewhat a mixed bag. A lot of the critics back him for having made his way to the top of the pile. But there also exist cynics who are of the opinion that being British, he’s a tad bit over hyped and overrated. Though 2016 put the latter argument to bed harder than a desperate 40 year old virgin does a hooker.

His year began on a sour note when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final. Ever since beating him at the 2013 Wimbledon finals, Murray had lost the next 12 of 13 clashes against his Serbian nemesis. The course of events did not seem abound to change. Then following yet another loss to Djokovic, Murray parted ways with then coach Amélie Mauresmo.

However, an instant sign of revival was shown when Murray overcame Djokovic in straight sets at the Rome masters. Full of confidence and high on self-esteem, Murray entered his first Roland Garros final where he eventually succumbed to Djokovic in 4 sets. Right then Djokovic held all 4 grand slams at the same time. At this point there wasn’t a person on the face of this earth who could deny him his undisputed standing.

Ivan Lendl made his way back to Murray’s camp as his coach just before the start of the grass season. The tide was about to take a very sharp turn for the good. With Wawrinka and Djokovic suffering exits, Murray faced an in form Raonic in the finals who had overcome Roger Federer in the semis. Murray was the odds on favourite and wasted little time as he raced to a straight sets victory to claim his second Wimbledon and his 3rd GrandSlam.

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He then headed to Rio with a record of just 1 defeat in 24 matches. A Murray-culious year was just taking shape. The returning Del Potro dispatched Novak in the semis to set up a final clash with the Scotsman. Then followed a marathon exhilarating final. Murray eventually came through in 4 sets to win his second Olympic Gold.

A near miss in the Cincinnati masters with a defeat against Cilic and an early exit at the hands of Nishikori at the US Open tainted an otherwise impressive season. But with Djokovic having a mid-season crisis of his own, his invincibility was cast into doubt. Murray smelled blood. With back to back victories in Shanghai and Vienna, the Paris Masters presented itself to Murray with the world #1 ranking in striking distance. Meanwhile Djokovic struggled to hang on to his throne. Djokovic faltered and Murray stormed to victory in the French capital thereby stomping his authority as the new world #1.

This was la-la land for all the Federer and Nadal fans. Afterall they had waited years for someone to displace the Serbian off of his perch. It’s kind of like if you can’t marry the hottest girl around, at least your close friends don’t get to marry her either. Even if she ends up with someone else. The cherry on the cake was a thumping straight sets victory against Djokovic at the ATP finals event in London. This further reiterated that the Scottsman rise to the top was no fluke.

Image Courtesy: Daily Mail

Image Courtesy: Daily Mail

Andy Murray became the first man to win a grand slam, the Olympic gold medal, a Masters 1000 event, and the ATP World Tour Finals in the same calendar year. Murray ended the season with a tally of 78 victories and a 24-match winning streak. This is quite a stunning feat for someone who has only played in 17 tournaments during the calendar year. He reached 13 finals and was victorious in 9 out of those.

He’s had a brilliant season and with Federer on the wrong side of the 30s, Nadal not at his fitness best and Wawrinka being off his consistent best in recent times, it remains to be seen if Djokovic has the mental strength to regain the top spot.

If not, King Murray has announced his arrival and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if he’s here to stay.

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