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Sunday
Jan312010

2010 Australian Open Men's Final 

      The Andy Murray camp has to feel let down in their gameplanning and/or his execution. He was tight and tentative for the first two sets. Brad Gilbert touted a conservative strategy early, and Darren Cahill said there was no way it would work. Cahill was right. I thought he looked good when he overloaded Federer on the backhand side. Yes, he had some success when he went to the forehand, but the only sustained pressure he put on Federer was when he hit him 75% backhands.There were numerous times that he could have moved in, especially to Fed’s backhand, where he didn’t pull the trigger. And he never serve-and-volleyed. Federer followed Andy Roddick’s lead from his victory over Murray in the Wimbledon semis last year by playing a lot of balls deep and to the center of the court, especially in the first few games. By doing this, he took away a lot of Murray’s counter-punching, quickness, and athleticism.
       Roger played like a front-runner all day. Nothing too flashy, very controlled emotionally. Extremely well done, I think. The first time I remember him expressing any emotion was when he went down 3-1 in the third-set tiebreak, when he gave a big “Come on!” after a mishit. He then ran off 4 or 5 points in a row. This is a great example of using emotional energy only in an emergency. Great points by both players down the stretch.
       Another cool moment was when Fed was leading 3-2, 40-30 in the second and hit an out of position drop shot that got caught by the top of the net. It was not very good shot selection, the kind of thing that he might get away with and win the game, but it was risky. Some well-respected coaches regard trying to get away with something as a very bad sign, like the player is trying to avoid the hard work needed to get though on their own merits. Interestingly, the commentator (I believe Patrick McEnroe) said, “He’s not going to make that mistake again,” which I think is a great insight into high level competitors. They know that one mistake like that is OK, but that they need to get right back to their “A” game. I didn’t see Roger play that kind of shot again for at least a set.

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