One of the biggest stories of the ATP Tour this year has been the difficulties that Andy Murray, who has been the world number one since last November, has faced throughout the past few months.
It has certainly not been all negative for the Brit, with Murray having won an ATP Title and reaching a Grand Slam semifinal, though his results have overall been below his usually high standards, with the world number suffering some surprising losses; injury troubles have also helped make this a disappointing season.
It will undoubtedly be interesting see if there is any improvement in Murray’s fortune in the next few months, or whether he’ll continue to struggle.
Despite some of his more disappointing results attracting more attention, it is important to note that there have been some high points for the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Perhaps the best moment of Murray’s season came in Dubai, where he won his sole title of the season; he famously saved seven match points in the last eight against Philipp Kohlschreiber, before eventually beating Fernando Verdasco in the final. Murray also made the final of his very first tournament of the season back in Doha, beating the likes of Nicolas Almagro and Tomas Berdych before falling to Novak Djokovic.
Furthermore, Murray made the semifinal in Barcelona, losing to Dominic Thiem, and also made the last four at the French Open, beating the likes of Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori before losing to Stan Wawrinka. The Brit also reached the last eight of Wimbledon, beating the likes of Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire before falling to Sam Querrey.
As previously mentioned, this has been a disappointing season by Murray’s standards, with the Brit suffering several surprise losses.
Perhaps the worst part of the season for Murray was his clay court build up to Roland Garros. His loss in the last four in Barcelona came to someone he had never lost to before, and he struggled further in three Masters 1000 events; he lost his second match in Monte-Carlo to Albert Ramos Vinolas (despite having a 4-0 lead in the third set), lost his second match in Madrid to Borna Coric, and then lost his first match in Rome to Fabio Fognini.
The Brit also had a disappointing Australian Open, suffering a surprise defeat to the unseeded Mischa Zverev in the fourth round, and also lost in the first round of Indian Wells to Vasek Pospisil before missing the Miami Open with an elbow injury. Furthermore, he fell in straight sets to Jordan Thompson in the opening round of Queens, and was clearly bothered by his persistent hip injury during his SW19 defeat to Querrey.
It will be interesting to see how Murray plays the rest of the season, especially considering his recent injury issues and the fact that both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are close to potentially usurping him from the top of the rankings.
Worryingly for the world number one, he has a large number of points to defend; he has finalist points to defend in Cincinnati, quarterfinal points at the US Open, and at five tournaments he won which helped push him towards number one; among them are two Masters 1000 events in Shanghai and Paris, and the ATP World Tour Finals.
Midseason Grade: C
It is unfair to say that this has been a poor season for the Brit, considering he is still the world number one and has had some success, though there is no doubt that he has struggled more than he has in recent years and is far from his best. It will certainly be intriguing to see what choices he makes in terms of the remainder of the season.