Sam Querrey painted lines all day, as he aggressively attacked Andy Murray into submission.
Samurai Sam Querrey, on his Southern California home turf, successfully defended today as Farmers Classic champion, with an exciting victory over wild card entrant and top seed, world # 4, Andy Murray, on the campus of UCLA. Querrey defeated Murray today for the first time in 5 tries, with his most recent loss coming in straight sets on the lawns at Wimbledon last month. For Querrey, it was also the first time he took a set off Murray in the American’s career.
Querrey, America’s most successful male player this year to date, won his fourth tournament of the year and his 6th career title, and denied Murray his first title of the year in the process. Murray, who is now 0-2 in finals this year (Farmers Classic, Australian Open), plays his best tennis on hardcourts but is always succeptible to the power game on fast hardcourts, which prevail at UCLA.
Querrey gutted out today’s win on the strength of big serves and huge forehands, and had a chance to make shorter work of Murray, as he found himself out to an early break lead in the first set. Murray took the break back, and another, and found himself up a set. But Querrey was not broken again in the match, taking Murray to a 2nd set tie break where he blitzed the hope of Britain. To Pam Shriver’s credit, she called the result of the tie break, and her commentary has seemed to be very insightful, to the point where I may put her in the category of top tennis announcers with John McEnroe, Ted Robinson, Patrick McEnroe, Chris Fowler, and Mary Carillo, who I have not really loved of late but usually do. Querrey then collected an early break in the third set, for a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory in 2 hours and 23 minutes.
To his credit Murray, in the words of Cliff Drysdale, “looked like a jackrabbit out there” and truly wanted this final, but big Sam Q kept on coming, despite Murray’s phenomenal defense. Though Murray got a lot of balls back, in trademark fashion, Querrey dictated the match with his huge game. Here on American hards, that now play the fastest of any surface, including grass, in my humble opinion, Querrey was able to finish off way more points and Murray, the “jackrabbit”, was not able to run them down for passing shots the way he did so many times in their Wimbledon quarter-final. And far too many times did Murray have a short ball or off pace ball to work with, and did little with them. He was hitting drop shots like he was on clay, but drop shots on this type of court turn into waist high forehands for Querrey. It used to be a good play to try and draw Querrey in with a drop shot because he was uncomfortable at net–a few years ago. Querrey has played a lot of doubles with John Isner of late, and his coordination is better developed. Now, drawing in a guy who is 6’6 and can jump a little is a dumb tactic, unless Querrey is far back of the court, which is not usually where he is. Still not the best volleyer, Querrey is extremely tough to pass.
As for Murray, this isn’t some case of Murray being more comfortable on grass, as is some people’s notion, that because he’s British and Wimbledon is in Britain, that he must be great on grass. As a member of Britain’s Davis Cup team, he gets to play more matches and gets more practice time around SW-19 than just about anyone, but he definitely disappointed in semi-finals the past two years against Roddick and Nadal. He is best on hards, which he has played on for his entire life. Like so many foreign tennis kids, and domestic, for that matter, Murray moved to Florida as a youth to pursue his career. When he was a little older, he began to split his training between Florida and Spain. Speaking of Murray on clay, though he has spent a lot of time training in Spain on red clay, he isn’t the best mover on clay. Surprising, considering his movement is his only real weapon, having an otherwise popgun game. I’d also think that a guy like that could conquer such an inadequacy, the way that guys like Agassi and Courier did.
The whispers on Murray are that he is lazy. I’ve heard many rumors that Murray is a video game addict, and that it cuts down on his practice time, and may have cost him his relationship with girlfriend Kim Sears.
I heard that Murray’s coach, Myles Maclagan, and Murray were at odds over how much time he devoted to Playstation. Murray fired Maclagan earlier this week, citing Maclagan’s differences with Murray’s part time coach, former Spanish player, and a pretty good one, Alex Corretja. But Murray, who hired Maclagan because he wanted a yes man, did not like when Maclagan tried to have a more active voice in regard to Murray’s training. After Murray lost to Roddick at Wimbledon last year, Murray blamed Maclagan in the press conference afterward for not having scouted Roddick well. That’s a ridiculous assertion, considering the 2 Andies have played 9 times, with Murray holding a 6-3 edge in the h2h.
Then Maclagan took issue with Murray’s training regimen when Murray famously took his act to South Beach to train for the hardcourt season last summer, boasting that he was acclimating himself to playing in conditions far more gruelling than Flushing. Murray supposedly played tennis and ran 5 miles a day on the beach, but still managed to devote 7-8 hours to video games a day.
Since Murray already has the “finesse” coach, in Corretja, his next hire needs to be a guy who will beef up his serve, if possible, and get him into more of an aggressive mode. His mentality is too passive, and that’s why he is always going to have a hard time on the prevailing surface of the tour with hot players whoo have big games–like Querrey. Roddick’s coach, Larry Stefanki, who refused to coach Murray before he hired Maclagan because Murray did not call him personally, but rather had a lackey do it, said last year after Roddick’s defeat of Murray at Wimbledon that Murray will never realize his potential until he takes a more aggressive countenace.
And that’s not drop shotting Sam Querrey on hardcourts. As for Sam, the world # 20 should move up in tomorrow’s new rankings. An impressive week, winning 3 straight matches after losing the first set to keep his crown. And mention should be made of Sam’s coach, David Nainken, who in addition to seeing Querrey into the top 20, has also coached and continues to coach Mardy Fish on to impressive accomplishments.