Slip of the tongue (or dagger), or maybe a misquote, Federer’s backhanded compliment can hardly have pleased the Scot, who recently moved past the former world No1 (as he would prefer to be introduced) into third place in the rankings.
“I always try, if I can, to be positive about all the other players,” Murray said, luxuriating on a Union Jack sofa. “Roger is one of the best players ever to play and I’m glad I’ve had the chance to play against him.” Did he think Federer feared him, then? Running around his backhand, Murray set himself for a forehand winner down the line.
“Maybe,” he said. “He’s entitled to say whatever he wants. I hope I get the chance to play against him this week and I can let the tennis do the talking.”
“With the depth of players these days, you can’t just turn up and win a Masters tournament. The week in Tokyo, I played Rafa [in the final], David Ferrer in the semis, David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis. Those are good players, some of them great players, so it’s not an easy thing to do.
“In Paris [where Federer won], Rafa didn’t play, Novak [Djokovic] was injured, I was injured. Every week is different. If you play your best and not everybody’s there, it’s not relevant. You can only beat what’s in front of you.”
It was nice to see Murray make a reply to Roger’s comments. It gives me something to write about. Murray is of course entitled to make a reply, but personally I don’t think he handled the situation well. We can’t know for sure what Roger was trying to achieve with the things he said about Murray, because he said positive as well as negative things. Personally I felt he was just saying it the way he saw it. Murray is not the only one he has to worry about after all. Whatever Roger meant by what he said was not that important, but the way Murray replied is. It is clear to me that Murray took Roger’s words as ‘backhanded compliment’ like the author says. Murray is trying to defend himself here, which in my opinion is the wrong move. If you think someone is attacking you, especially someone as great and experienced as Roger, it is best to keep quiet.
If Roger was trying to get into Murray’s head, then he would be happy with Murray’s reply. He would have been looking for a reaction. The smarter reaction in my opinion would have been no reaction. That way he puts no added pressure on himself. Now that he has made these comments, the pressure is on him to do them justice. It is as if he has fallen into the trap. I mean this is not a first time thing. Roger messed with Murray’s head at the Australian Open last year and it worked. I think it would have been wise from Murray just to shut up this time and let his racquet do the talking. That is what he said he is gonna do, but why say it? It just adds pressure to himself. Actually the more I think about this, the more I think this may be another psyche job by Roger. Roger knows Murray is a threat and he may just be trying to take him out here before play has started.
Roger is good with these psyche jobs. He knows Murray is mentally fragile and likely to take the bait. I bet after these comments by Murray Roger is having a little chuckle by himself. Lets face it, Roger is a much bigger favorite for this title than Murray. He has the resume and the experience behind him. And he is the form player at this point. His form in Basel and especially Paris was impressive. Murray failed in Basel and Paris, and has never been past the semis at the Masters Cup. The smart thing would have been not to take the bait and just go focus on his own game out there. It is about being humble. When you keep quiet you kind of acknowledge Roger’s greatness and past superiority. Even if he thought what Roger said was arrogant, then responding with arrogance is not the way to go.
By being quiet he shows respect to Roger’s greatness and puts no extra pressure on himself. So I think Murray has once again fallen into the trap. One of the reasons he has never won a slam is his arrogance. He has always struck me as very arrogant. Arrogance is a sign of insecurity, especially if you don’t have the results to back it up. Murray acts like someone who has won a slam already. I just don’t have any faith in the guy because of this. The people who reads my posts regularly will know I don’t have much time for Murray. He is all arrogance and no insides. I don’t think he will ever win a slam either. An all time great like Roger insinuates that Murray can win a slam, and what does he do? He spits in his face with backhanded comments. He says he was injured in Paris. Really? Maybe a brain injury?
Sorry folks but I can’t be convinced that Murray will ever be a great champion. He is just the opposite of Roger in so many ways. He is arrogant and full of himself, yet when crunch time arrives he is nowhere to be seen. I find nothing to like about Murray. I don’t like Nadal either, but at least he has the balls to make it happen when it matters. He does not choke. Murray is arrogant, smug, and scared. I am now looking even more forward to the Masters Cup after this little ‘war of words’. It will be interesting to see how things play out. Roger really doesn’t have much to lose. He has achieved everything. But he may just have immobilized one of his biggest threats yet again. Murray now has it all to prove. Can he prove that his run in the east was not just because the big guns were absent, by winning something bigger at last?
Can he prove that Roger was wrong about him? Can he prove that he was right to respond in the manner that he did? I’ll let you decide for yourself. Of course tomorrow Roger will open proceedings against Tsonga in London. The first match in the round robin is always important. Getting off to a winning start takes off a lot of pressure. On the other hand if you lose your first match, you know you probably have to win your remaining two matches to qualify for the semis. The second match tomorrow is Nadal against Fish. Nadal got lucky with the draw as usual. He is usually a slow starter, especially after a long break, and he drew the weak link of the group. If he played Roger or Tsonga, who are both in superb form, he would have had a very difficult match. Now he gets time to play himself into an event where you can’t afford many slip ups.
Ps. Roger won the Stefan Edberg sportsmanship award for the seventh time and the fan favorite award for the ninth consecutive time this year!