Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

James Lawton: Stats not adding up for Murray

Destiny called to Andy Murray again in Melbourne today but not in overtime, we are reassured by the statistics.

Yet how placated should he be the fact that the great Roger Federer went into his 17th Grand Slam, as Murray did today, without a major victory?

One worry, though it is one which perhaps shouldn't be exaggerated in the light of Murray's secure hold of a place around the top of the rankings, is that he does seem to have a tendency to seek out the precedents most favourable to his long-term prospects.

The trouble is that there comes a time when the stats have to be thrown out of the window. Murray waged a mostly brilliant campaign at Wimbledon last summer and handled himself with great maturity.

Unfortunately, this only compounded the disappointment when he fell to an Andy Roddick who was moving towards one of the great performances of his career.

Rightly or wrongly, the suspicion was born that the best British talent since Fred Perry might be suffering from an innate conservatism, a refusal to commit all of his ability at any one time.

Murray is obliged to push all the analysis to one side and remember that the great champions learn the habit of living from shot to shot. It may, after all, be just a little later than he thinks.