Expectations for Andy Murray in 2020

Tennis Pilot

Thursday, December 12, 2019 11:13 AM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 11:13 AM UTC

Can an old dog learn some new tricks?
<div><p>In light of the recent release of Andy Murray: Resurfacing, it seems natural to think about our expectations for the Scottish superstar in 2020.</p><p>Firstly, Murray is in a totally different part of his life than before his surgery. Murray’s son was born just a few weeks ago, and he has said explicitly that he doesn’t want to travel outside of Europe as much as in the past. I doubt 2020 will be all about the tennis for Murray, which ironically may aid him on court.</p><p>The biggest priority on court will, without a doubt, be his health. When asked about his Australian Open 2020 expectations, Murray replied, “a good result would be that I can play a best-of-five set match and have no ill effects from that with my hip. That would be a huge step and a really positive thing for me. That means I’d be able to compete and hopefully do well at the grand slams in the future, which is what I would like to do.” The former world number 1 understands that without fitness he has no chance of continuing his tennis career.</p><p>The Antwerp title was followed by a long break for Murray. He clearly peaked physically if not mentally and that process of building up, peaking and recovering seems very likely to be a theme of 2020. It was a huge milestone for Murray to play just one match. Next he played a few. Then he won a title. Murray will keep his schedule light in 2020 and I expect he will have good weeks, bad week and lots of mediocre weeks, but if history is any guide we have reason to be optimistic about his chances of a prolonged comeback.</p><p>On 26 July 2016 Federer announced that he would miss the 2016 Olympics and the remainder of the year due to a knee injury. That would be the first time Federer dropped outside the top 10 in 14 years, so understandably many analysts predicted that his outstanding career was coming to an end. Anyone who follows tennis knows what happened next. Federer came back and won the Australian Open. Then he won Wimbledon. That after not winning a slam since 2012. Statistically it was his best season since 2007.</p><p>It may be hard to get across quite how bizarre this turn of events was to someone not themselves immersed in sport at the highest level. The margins at the top of the game are tiny. A slight off day for a pro can mean losing to a massive outsider. A physical impairment lead the former world number 1, Andy Murray, to lose to world number 227 Matteo Viola in August 2019. So, for Federer to not only come back from major knee surgery at 35, but to win a grand slam in his first event of the year is truly remarkable, even for Federer. How on earth does that happen?</p><p>It’s a question I’ve thought about a lot recently. Federer did it. Nadal did it. Novak kinda did it. Now Murray has come back and won Antwerp – less impressive, but as someone who watched that tournament, I would argue it was still inspired. It is easy to say, with hindsight, that Federer and Nadal are the best players of all time – of course they were able to come back! But plenty of the elite don’t manage it, and even when they do, it is never easy. The question seems to come down to belief, determination and, well, something else that is hard to define.</p><p>With any luck Murray will find that something else once again in 2020 and inspire us by surpassing all expectation. Even if not, as long as he is healthy, Murray has the sense to be happy and see anything else as a bonus.</p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&amp;a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a></p></div>
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