ATP Tennis 360

November 9, 2009 6:32 PM

Andre Agassi: "The floodgates will open for Murray"

Andre Agassi believes Andy Murray will win more than one Grand Slam: "The floodgates will open" for the Scot, the only top-5 not to have won a major yet.

After Murray's victory at the Valencia Open, Agassi said: "He has a self-inflicting tortured spirit about him when he's on the court". Torture that comes from two, correlated, reasons.

On the one side, he was force to live up with high expectations since when he was a child. And his frustration when results were not satisfying for his expected standards found way of expressions in his irate grins and sneers.

When he started winning the first top-level tournaments, he commenced a little, gradual and constant transformation, driven by his personal admiration for the Mallorcan champions: become Rafael Nadal. With the Quiet Man he chose as his coach, blessed by the omnipresent Mum, lobs, variations, topspins and volleys, dropshots and acutely angled forehands left space for an excessively prudent and defensive style. He hasn't reach his aim, but masked himself as a losing Lendl (there's nothing amusing down there), as the bad copy of Miroslav Mecir or Manolo Santana.

Finally, when you try to be someone else, to imitate a style that's not proper to you, results are practically never proportional to the efforts. When, in the 2000 Champions League final, Valencia coached by Hector Cuper abandoned his lively style for more prudent position and was defeated 3-0.

In the same way, Andy Murray has only obtained minor successes this year, failing to reach his goals on the main stages of the circuit. His patchwork tennis becomes a "mimesis tennis", that drains physical energies and mental resources as well. A consumption bringing a creeping lack of self-confidence, a fragility that the Scotster exposed in three of the four Slams this year.

In Australia, although he struggled with his illness, he lost in the fourth round to Verdasco (who played really well), before surrendering to Andy Roddick (after the epic nocturnal clash against Wawrinka) and disappointingly lost to Marin Cilic in the Us Open last 16. Why these are signs of scarce self-confidence? Because Murray had a very good record against all the three opponents: 5-0 against the Spanish, 6-2 to the American, 3-0 against the Croat.

Finally, I think Murray could fill up Andy's expectations, unless he could live with his tormented spirit and solve his wrist injuries.

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