The long-term injury absence of Rafael Nadal and the slight but perceived weakness of over-30 Roger Federer have some in the British press writing off the world’s tennis power duo and replacing that rivalry with the latest greatest thing: Andy Murray versus Novak Djokovic.
Between them the young guns have won six Grand Slam titles compared to a combined 28 for the senior pair, who have dominated the sport for much of the past decade. Murray and Nadal have been on an upward track for a few seasons, with the Scot finally breaking through with a US Open and Olympic title in 2012, the year after Djokovic won three of the four majors.
London’s Mail on Sunday has been putting the boot into Federer-Nadal while hyping the prospects of Murray, now something of a junior ironman after a year of coaching from no-nonsense Ivan Lendl.
Florida real estate agent and one time Davis Cup captain John Lloyd, whose major claim to fame as a player was a marriage to Chris Evert three decades ago, was quick to tout the Murray-Djokovic chances. “I think the Grand Slams are Djokovic’s or Murray’s to lose this year.
“If Andy’s not the best player in the world, he’s right on the shoulder of Djokovic. I don’t see any draw tough for him until the semis now. Guys know that to break Murray down over five sets they will be under pressure on every point, and they will have to step outside their comfort zone.”
While the injured Nadal – he has not played for going on seven months – is currently written off, British broadcaster Mark Petchey, a former Murray coach, still appreciates the danger of a Federer,
“I’d be loath to say Roger won’t have a voice in the majors. He is a unique sportsman, a unique champion who plays in a unique way.
‘His technique has allowed him to stay injury-free alongside all the hard work we don’t see, like the days when he sticks his feet in buckets of ice after training on burning hot courts in Dubai where he lives part of the year. I didn’t sense any lack of motivation or desire when I was with him at the ATP Tour Championships in November (where he lost the final to Nadal).”
©Daily Tennis News Wire