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Dear Andy Murray

by  Monk  25 Aug 2011

They say you have underachieved since you have only reached Number 2 in the world and are currently number 4. 

I write in praise of Andy Murray, and note what your critics have said for some years, and  continue to say today, that Andy Murray is too passive. The Sky TV pundits were still saying that last week, in Cincinnati, and at the same time failed to predict that you would win against Djokovic and also Mardy Fish.

So common was the perception that you were too passive, and I recall that a novice journalist once asked you why you used, “so many silly drop shots”. You replied with a question, asking the journalist why she asked “so many silly questions”. (You may have been less polite than that.)

When you tore a tendon in your ankle while playing against Michael Berrer at Roland Garros, your renowned movement about the court was clearly compromised. You addressed this problem by adopting the high risk strategy of attacking every ball that came your way. This was a spectacular win, but it did not stop some embittered critics suggesting that you may have faked the injury.

Roger Federer said, some years ago, when he was Number one, that you would never win against the top players if you continued to play passively. I am not at all sure that you are always a passive counter puncher, and occasionally you have in fact lost a match by being too aggressive. You and I know that you can succeed with an aggressive high risk strategy if at all necessary, but you must rue the day when you did so unnecessarily against Nadal at Wimbledon, allowing Nadal to succeed with your plentiful gifts of unforced errors, and did so when Nadal was playing badly.

You did not invent the drop shot, but you have certainly employed it more than most and drew criticism for doing so. Your single handed sliced backhand is also now an established part of your game, particularly against the big sluggers who camp out on the baseline.

And if imitation is the highest form of flattery, you only have to check out the number of players following your lead, including Roger Federer. Now, no longer No 1, Roger Federer and the drop shot are close friends.

On a technical note, I am not at all convinced that a deft drop shot is in fact a “passive” shot, since it is usually a high risk attempted winner. It is however a difficult shot that most top ten players have added to their repertoire, and have done so, because of you.

Respect.

Surprisingly this now applies to all surfaces.

the single handed sliced backhand

and the drop shot

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