Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

An Andy Murray repeat can bring a good return

By Robert Fenton

Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates with the trophy after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final.

Andy Murray richly deserves all the euphoria surrounding his historic Wimbledon success and there should be plenty more Grand Slams to come both at SW19 and elsewhere.

But taking 2/1 at this stage to retain his title in 2014 is another matter. That looks too short as those odds or better should be available come next summer, so no need to rush in.

Murray produced the best tennis of his life last Sunday against world number one and favourite Novak Djokovic who made too many uncharateristic unforced errors.

The pair who contested last year's US Open – Murray's Slam breakthrough – are not surprisingly, 13/8 joint-favourites for New York success next month.

Surprisingly there are some who still can't believe a British player has bridged the 77-year gap since Fred Perry was champion but it was always clear the Scot's chances of becoming the first British winner since 1936, had a momentum of inevitability after the tears of defeat 12 months ago, then Olympic and US glory.

Of course he had the added pressure of a nation's hopes resting on his shoulders last week but that has always been the case and there'll be relief the 'monkey' has been lifted off his back. However, Andy was no outsider, not a no-hoper coming in as an unseeded player.

The talent, ability and determination was always there. All it needed was the mental strength to go that extra step and that toughness has been added to his profile by the recruitment of coach Ivan Lendl 18 months ago.

He needed all of that resolve in the close-run encounter in the quarters when two sets down.

Nothing less than a semi-final place was expected for the number two seed and the way the draw worked out, another final was very much on the cards.

A 4/1 pre-tournament quote reflected how strongly he was fancied and his victory cost the layers plenty, especially Paddy Power and BetVictor who returned all losing bets up to £100 following Murray's win.

In the final, Djokovic, the world's number one, was 4/6 favourite but there was plenty of support for Murray to win the first set and the match at a generous 3/1. The one thing that no one anticipated, was the Serb failing to win a set!

The door is wide open for more Murray magic especially as only Juan Martin Del Potro has broken the grip of the big-four (Djokovic, Roger Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal) in majors since 2004. He's 8/11 to win finish his career with five Slams and 10/11 for six or more.

Forget about Andy being world number one before the end of the year. He's 9/2 to achieve that but being 3,000 points behind Djokovic makes it more or less an impossible task and the Serb at 1/3 to be still ahead of the pack come the second week in January, is nothing more than money for lifting.

The same can be said for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year as it's past the post. Betfair go 1/16 and where else are you going to get a guranteed 6% return on investment?

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