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Old 11-16-2012, 01:24 AM   #100
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,125

Originally Posted by batz View Post
Thanks Joeri - I accept I'm erring on the side of pessimism, but I'm trying to be realistic. Noel looks like he's at least half a notch above everyone else. Rafa usually does well after a long layoff - he'll be favourite for RG and if he wins that, then he'll take a bundle of momentum into SW19 - which I think is Noel's worst surface. I'm not saying Roger or Murray couldn't compete with Rafa @ Wimbledon - of couse they could, especially Roger - but if the Spaniard wins RG I think he'll be a force to be reckoned with @ SW19. In addtion to this, there's the 'after 1st slam effect' to consider - it doesn't always happen, but it can take time for a 1st time slam winner to bag that second one - and it wouldn't surprise me at all if that happened to Murray.
I think Murray's got the advantage that the after effects of his first Slam victory take place now. Struggling through Shanghai, Tokyo, WTF.. He knows he has to keep working hard and I think he's got every time of the world now to improve further. His game has more fixable weaknesses than Novak's as we saw this year already. Imo, he fixed his predictability (always cross court) and passiveness on the forehand side a lot, and stopped to well and truly 'push' against lower ranked opponents (for an example, see his Wimbledon match with Gulbis a couple of years ago, which he won comfortably, but basically by keeping the ball in play with slice backhands). However, I think Murray still has weaknesses, which Lendl will see and help him improve on.

- Not willing enough to run around the Backhand to attack a neutral rally shot with an inside out forehand.
- Not willing enough to come to the net, one of his main strengths when he actually does come in imo. Even a S&V on his first serve every now and then would not hurt his game at all.
- Lack of ability to turn it around when his first serve % is down.
- An improving, yet still attackable second serve

I think these are more obvious AND fixable flaws, than Nadal's knees, Djokovic's lack of free points on first serve, or Federer's declining movement. I would be surprised if Murray doesn't win a Slam next year. I'd say he's not a >50% favourite anywhere, but stands a good chance at 3 out of 4.
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