Tuesday, 24 June 2008
The drop shot: the true test for Murray
I'm a big fan of the drop shot. The well constructed point and the sudden change in play. The surprise and disguise. The grace and skill of the shot. And the helplessness of the player stranded at the back of the court, or yanked out of position.
Andy Murray also loves the shot and is one of best (the best?) in the business at pulling it off. But you can have too much of a good thing. Just ask Michael Stich and Todd Woodbridge, pundits on BBC Radio, who both criticised Murray today for over using his favourite shot, especially on big points.
There's a danger of over analysis here but the more I think about the drop shot the more symbolic it becomes. I think it's rapidly becoming a test of how serious Murray is about getting to the very top and winning the big tournaments.
What matters more to him, the pursuit of the perfect shot, or the accumulation of Grand Slam titles?
As Stich said today, you can get away with it against Santoro in the first round (it won Andy plenty of points today) but it will be Murray's undoing in bigger games when more is at stake. When you are 2 sets to 1 down in a Grand Slam semi and things are getting tight, it's the drop shot which crumbles first.
So if Murray really wants it - I'm sure he does - he's going to have to put his pride to one side, listen to the former champions and start playing the percentages
I only caught the last four games plus the decisive tie break on the radio on the way home from work, but the match (including the drop shots) was a bit special. Murray overcame a potential first round banana skin 6-3 7-5 7-6. You can read the BBC as it happened here.