Why is Murray's clay record so poor?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Mainad, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    12,773
    Location:
    Manchester, UK.
    That is by comparison with his records on hardcourt and grass.

    Of his 24 titles:

    20 are on hardcourt including one Grand Slam and 8 Masters.
    3 are on grass including one biggie, the Olympic gold medal.
    1 is on the now defunct carpet.

    Clay titles = 0.

    Best showings on clay to date are 4 semi-finals: 1 at the FO (2011), 2 at Monte Carlo (2009 & 2011) and 1 at Rome (2011).

    2011 was obviously his best year so far on clay but looks to have regressed in 2012 and seems no nearer picking up a title on one of the game's 3 most important surfaces.

    Considering he spent 7 of his formative years training on the clay courts of Spain, this is really surprising. Just why cannot he perform as well on it?

    Thoughts (serious ones please)?
     
    #1
  2. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,627
    Easy. He is not a fleet-footed mover.

    He has explosiveness yes, but he doesn't have that hover above he surface, light footed, quick footwork
     
    #2
  3. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    10,688
    Location:
    NL, Canada
    Good question. Ignoring the fact that he'd probably lose to Nadal (and has), and still have very few clay titles even if he constantly played Nadal, I would say the main problem is his movement. He doesn't slide as well as the other 3, and Ferrer also has a superior record against him on clay (no shame in this) so this is another player he has to deal with. I think at RG this year Brad Gilbert (now to be clear I'm not a huge fan of his) termed it the "California Slide." Making fun of Americans not being very good on clay, a habit Murray seems to have picked up. He was basically illustrating how Murray was sliding after he was hitting the ball, thus getting out of position as opposed to sliding into the ball as all good clay court movers do. As it is, you can play more defence on clay, but I think Murray needs to adopt his new aggressiveness to the clay as well. Finish points much earlier even on clay, because you don't want to be dragging out points unneccessarily on any surface. This is why I'm interested to see what happens in 2013 in the clay season. He obviously has the talent. He has a good slice, and can evidently hit a dropshot. So I think Murray's main problem is the movement.
     
    #3
  4. citybert

    citybert Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Messages:
    892
    Per Wikipedia, apparently this is a very big deal for clay at the level pros play.:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Murray
     
    #4
  5. The Bawss

    The Bawss Banned

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,829
    Location:
    Lyon, France.
    Maybe he has too much talent to be able to play on such a hacker's surface.
     
    #5
  6. ivan_the_terrible

    ivan_the_terrible Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    Messages:
    1,669
    Rafa was born with a broken foot and look at his clay titles. Murray should man up.
     
    #6
  7. norbac

    norbac Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    8,487
    His movement when recovering from a shot and running for the next one isn't as good as it is on other surfaces.
     
    #7
  8. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    14,565

    I thought it was 2 years from the age of 15. Most of his formative years would have been on hardcourts.

    The short answer is movement - he has to think about it on clay; less so on grass and hardcourt.
     
    #8
  9. 6-1 6-3 6-0

    6-1 6-3 6-0 Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2012
    Messages:
    4,657
    It's because of Nadal. Notice that three of those four losses were to Nadal. That's Rafael Nadal, thwarting Murray's clay-court resume.
     
    #9
  10. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    12,773
    Location:
    Manchester, UK.
    Strange because you would have thought that hardcourts would have been a more difficult surface for someone with a knee problem than slidey clay. Nadal, for instance, constantly blames the wear and tear on his damaged knee from playing so many hardcourt events. On clay, of course, he is in his element.

    I wonder why that doesn't seem to be the same for Murray?
     
    #10
  11. citybert

    citybert Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Messages:
    892
    And Novak was born with a long neck, extremely poor vision and a chia pet hair that doesn't seem to ever change and is beyond repair. I guess that's why Feds is GOAT. Imagine if these guys were healthy:)
     
    #11
  12. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    12,773
    Location:
    Manchester, UK.
    That's true of course and playing the King of Clay on his chosen surface is obviously a major obstacle in itself. But Murray falls short against other players on clay too eg. Djokovic, Ferrer and Berdych whereas he has a winning or equal H2H against them on hardcourt. His one ever loss to Del Potro came on clay too.

    So important as the Nadal factor is, it's obviously not the only one.
     
    #12
  13. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    12,773
    Location:
    Manchester, UK.
    Sorry. Seem to have got it into my head that it was 7 from somewhere. Still, those 2 years training on clay as he transitioned into a main tour player does not seem to have given him any special facility for that surface.

    But he is one of the game's best movers IMO. Just why is moving on clay proving to be such a problem for him in contrast to the other top players?
     
    #13
  14. fps

    fps Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Messages:
    5,358
    Location:
    Brighton, England
    Very different bodies, and I guess Murray's condition is one he was born with, with hurts most when he's flexing and sliding, whereas for Rafa it's the wear and tear he's put on his body, the impact.
     
    #14
  15. Homeboy Hotel

    Homeboy Hotel Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,781
    Location:
    London
    2009 - saw some decent improvements with Alex Correja
    2010 - AO slump mood from January - June, fail.
    2011 -Good improvements with Darren Cahill. Solid SF's, pushed Djokovic 2.0 in Rome and 6-2 set vs Nadal in Monte Carlo

    2012 - (Serious comment) - Wasn't Murray suffering from some back issues? He withdrew from Madrid because of it, quite sketchy movement from what I saw at RG also.

    So, to be honest. Murray HAS been improving all along, just some other obstacles have been in his way. I'd say 2013 is a year to correct that, possibly pick up a clay title. If he plays more minors on clay he'd probably pick a title up.
     
    #15
  16. kaku

    kaku Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    1,137
    Maybe it's because Murray has no knee cap to actually injure:shock:
     
    #16
  17. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    14,565
    Oh he's got a kneecap alright - it's just that it's in 2 pieces.
     
    #17
  18. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Messages:
    10,688
    Location:
    NL, Canada
    He is one of the games best movers. His problem is sliding, and subsequent recovery.
     
    #18
  19. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    11,630
    I think even Murray struggles to finish points on clay and the movement is less intuitive than it is on firmer surfaces. I think he would have done better on the old 'concrete clay'.
     
    #19
  20. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    2,837
    To my eye, one of Murray's greatest assets is his foot speed and, by extension, his retrieving skills. He is abnormally fast, even for an elite tennis player. I imagine that Murray, if he ran a 200 meter race against an elite decathlete, could actually hold his own. He seems to have the kind of foot speed advantage over the men that Steffi Graf had over the women, a kind of first step combined with pull-away-acceleration which truly does stand out to the naked eye. I think that clay to a meaningful extent may be diminishing not only Murray's push-off but more importantly his plant-stop, hindering his best use of the ground forces on which his brand of movement relies. His first step may not be quite as effective as Rafa's but I think Murray's acceleration afterwards is greater which means Murray would be more reliant on planting hard in stopping himself once he got going than Rafa; I think Rafa sort of hops more than he sprints while Andy sprints more than he hops, if I had to qualify my impressions regarding what makes each man's movement special compared to the other's. I only mention Rafa because he is the gold standard on clay and seems to have mastered every aspect of playing on it, including movement.
     
    #20
  21. Sim

    Sim Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    431
    Like many others have already said, his movement on clay is probably the biggest factor. He moves incredibly well on hard court (best retriever currently imo), but unfortunately, the same can't be said for clay.
     
    #21
  22. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest


    -Nadal is unbeatable on clay so nobody wins events on clay which he is in, this includes Federer and Djokovic (apart from a bit of Djokovic in 2011).

    -He may not have quite enough extra power to hit through the clay nor heavy enough spin to make a really heavy ball hard to handle.

    -He doesnt seem to move as well on clay as he does hard courts and grass. Dont know why given growing up playing on clay some, but he doesnt seem to slide that well.
     
    #22
  23. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,298
    His 400 meter time is 57 seconds by his account, which isn't too special. He certainly would get blown out of the water by a decathlete. I would say Nadal and possibly Djokovic have more raw speed, but Murray is probably just as good a mover (on hardcourts and grass).

    Graf was an elite sprinter by any standard. She trained with the German national team.
     
    #23
  24. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,251
    Murray's court coverage is made possible because he anticipates better than anyone in tennis. He speed isn't off-the-charts. Hingis is similar. She anticipates better than anyone.

    And, Murray would probably have won Roland Garros in 2011 if there was no Rafa Nadal. He had 18 breakpoints on Nadal in that semi. And the only reason why Murray doesn't do as well in the other clay events is because he's worn out from the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. He's not a machine like Federer is.
     
    #24
  25. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    11,630
    'a decathlete' - meaning most aren't special in the 400m.
    Graf's athleticism is much more questionable than Murray's precisely because she trained with the German national team.
     
    #25
  26. Down_the_line

    Down_the_line Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Messages:
    6,756
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    Shut up already about Nadal. Just shut up. You somehow manage to divert every thread you post in into a Nadal circle jerk, or at least try to.
     
    #26
  27. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,119
    Second that !!
     
    #27
  28. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,202
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    6-16-36-0 isn't as bad as before Rafa2005RG has now taken the lead
     
    #28
  29. Mainad

    Mainad G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    12,773
    Location:
    Manchester, UK.
    Nadal is understandable. But as I said, he's not the only player to thwart him on clay. Ferrer and Berdych do also and Del Potro's only win against him was on clay. Even Raonic managed to straight set him on clay earlier this year. The other top guys only seem to have Nadal as an obstacle.

    That seems to be the consensus here, that he just doesn't move well enough on clay which is so surprising for someone who moves so well on the other surfaces. Maybe it has something to do with his knee condition, maybe not. It's a bit of a puzzler to me.
     
    #29
  30. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,298
    Still, you'd reckon they'd be much faster than 57 seconds. And the poster was using that to demonstrate Murrays speed, so he obviously put some stock into it.

    The latter point, that's pretty speculative but whatever.
     
    #30
  31. batz

    batz G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    14,565
    As I've said before buddy, it's because he needs to think about what to do with his feet on clay - he simply doesn't need to do that on hards or grass. That additonal thinking time slightly effects the time it takes for him to move from a to b - which makes his moment slightly less effective on clay, and as excellent movement is one of Murray's weapons, he loses some overall effectiveness on that surface.

    Hope that makes sense.
     
    #31
  32. tacou

    tacou Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Messages:
    6,999
    Listen, I hate when threads are (constantly) hijacked into Nadal/Fed/Djok land, but this is a valid point.

    Murray has only made 4 clay semis, and lost 3 of them to Nadal. If he'd been lucky enough to play someone else all 4 semis and advance to the finals, his record would still be pretty poor but he might have at least one title.

    Obviously Nadal is not THE reason for Murray's clay record, but he's beaten Murray at the important stages several times.

    I think other poster's analysis of Murray's game on clay are much more telling.
     
    #32

Share This Page