Murray’s conqueror Tsonga proves Grand Slam run is no fluke

I sincerely hope any Andy Murray detractors tuned in to see Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s demolition of world number two Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open this morning.

On hearing that the Frenchman was two sets to love up and already had a break in the third set, I allowed myself a half hour’s break from the computer screen to watch the climax to the engrossing match. (the BBC Interactive red button coverage is tremendous, isn’t it?)

I was utterly amazed to see the previously unknown (at least unknown to non-Tennis afficionados like myself) Tsonga make Nadal look completely ordinary as he destroyed him 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 to set up his first Grand Slam final.

It wasn’t as if Nadal had come into the match on a poor run of form. He hadn’t dropped a set in the tournament up until that point and was many pundits’ tip for the title. This makes the annhiliation all the more incredible.

All of which must be music to Murray’s ears. The Scot was criticised in some quarters for failing to beat unseeded Tsonga in the first round, like it was his God-given right to march straight into the latter stages of the tournament because he had the number nine next to his name in the seedings.

Some asked whether Murray took Tsonga too lightly, whether his preparations were what they should have been and whether or not he simply bottled it because it was a Grand Slam. I had also wondered whether his decision last year to ditch Brad Gilbert as coach had a negative effect.

Thankfully Tsonga has put those questions to bed because he has proved he is a top player and, on this form, it is no disgrace for Murray to have lost – although there is no question that he played below par in the match.

After Murray’s loss, some of his fans also claimed that Tsonga’s victory was a fluke. That he played out of his skin for one match that would never be repeated. Those words are now being swallowed down along with a large helping of Humble Pie.

Tsonga will now likely face Roger Federer in the final – although Novak Djokovic will have something to say about that in the semis.

I am a big fan of Federer -anyone who dominates a sport as he does commands respect. However, it would be great to see another name on a Grand Slam trophy for once.

I had hoped it would be Murray’s name this time, but his shot will definitely come. This particular tournament belongs to Tsonga and I would love to see him add Federer’s name to his collection of scalps in the final.

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2 Responses

  1. You’re a bit previous, aintcha? As if Federer had a god given right to march straight into the final because he had the number one next to his name in the seedings!
    Fair play on the other point though. It certainly puts Murray’s defeat into perspective. Radio 5 Live were citing some interview with Tsonga, in which he said the Murray match was by far his hardest of the tournament.
    In fairness this guy is ranked no 38 and us mere mortals tend to dismiss that as if he’s pants.
    Personally I suspect that outside the truly gifted top five (and Federer is one of those freaks of nature), there’s probably not too much to distinguish between the next 45 in terms of actual skill and ability. The movement in rankings s more about who’s training harder, who’s got the best mental toughness and the vagaries of the various surfaces.
    You see, I’m well known for my expansive tennis knowledge!

  2. I suppose I got what I was after in that there’s now a new name on a Grand Slam trophy, however after his earlier heroics I would have loved to have seen Tsonga have a go at Federer.
    Unlike Murray, Federer has actually achieved something in the game which merits the presumption that he will win through the every Grand Slam final going – because he regularly does so!
    However, well done to Djokovic for (temporarily at least) ending Federer’s reign.
    I also see Murray is now out of the top 10 following his showing in Melbourne. I think, barring injury, we will see him climb back up again and finish the year just outside the top 5. Here’s hoping anyway.
    ps – impressed by your tennis knowledge!

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