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Many held high hopes for Andy Murray at the 2022 Australian Open, myself included. He had performed well in the build-up to the event, and people started to wonder – were we witnessing a rebirth of the Andy Murray of old? Of course, we knew it wouldn’t be easy with his injury woes over the past few years. But since this was the slam where Murray hinted heavily at his own retirement in 2019, it would seem appropriate that the Aussie was the place where he put all that behind him.
He managed to squeeze through in five against Basilashvili, which was impressive. However, in the second round, he was then dismantled by Taro Daniel. Bear in mind Daniel was a qualifier, ranked 120 in the world. Sure, Murray was no doubt somewhat fatigued from his round one efforts. However, does this really make his second-round loss a surprise, or should we have expected it?
Why His Early Exit Was Predictable
Please don’t get me wrong – Murray is still a fantastic player. Talent never leaves, and Murray is one of the most talented out there. But from what I’ve seen in recent years, he just cannot replicate the same level and intensity of play anymore. For that reason, I believe that his early exit was predictable. Here is a more detailed breakdown:
Time on Court
In order for Murray to make it to the second round, he needed almost 4 hours on court – 3 hours and 52 minutes to be exact. It’s not like this was an easy time either, as Basilashvili ran Murray ragged throughout. Of course, nobody would want to take on Basilashvili in the first round of a slam, as he is one of the biggest hitters on tour. However, Murray did manage to squeeze past him, at a significant cost on his body. If you watch the highlights, Murray was knocked from side to side for the entire match.
This is obviously a credit to Murray’s fighting prowess, and to be honest, I think it’s amazing that he won given the way that Basilasvhvili was playing.
It’s not just the time on court that we must consider here. It’s also his overall physical status. People tend to forget that the guy has a metal hip, which cannot be easy to play with at the best of times. This, combined with the fatigue that Murray was clearly feeling in his legs, basically cemented the fact that he would lose on the day. Having watched the game, I’d say that this was apparent from early on in the first set. At the same time, Taro Daniel played pretty much the match of his career.
But regardless, a fully fit Murray would still likely overcome a player like Daniel, even with the way he was hitting the ball. Sadly, I believe this is becoming a predictable trend with Murray. He can play awesomely in one round. But the impact on his body moving through all proceeding rounds really does show.