On Sunday, Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 and fetched his first clay Masters title. Murray had fallen short against Nadal in six other games, so this weekend’s win took just about everyone by surprise.
The Mallorcan was aiming to break his record and secure a fifth consecutive win in Madrid, but the Briton was keener. On Monday, Murray lifted his first clay-court crown in Munich, so he has currently two clay titles in less than a week.
“It’s one of the hardest things in tennis to try and win against Rafa on clay, so I’m glad I’ve managed to do it,”
he told reporters.
Murray also said that he managed to keep errors at a minimum and change the ball’s height extremely well, which forced Nadal to mistime a few shots. Surprisingly, Nadal somehow lost momentum before of this match, since he didn’t miss a single set before the final and seemed to be in his best shape before the French Open.
This defeat will place him on the seven spot in world rankings, depriving him of the top five first time in a decade. Also, for some of his top-seeded contestants, he may become an unwelcome opponent.
Nadal is currently preparing for Roland Garos where he will try to win a 10th title. But Murray looks like a serious contender after Madrid.
The Scot argued that he had had experience with Roland Garos. He recalled that last year he was not prepared to win, but two years ago, when he faced Nadal, he played “well.” He acknowledged that he was not one of the French Open favorites but if he would manage to play as well as he did a couple of years ago against Nadal he would give himself an opportunity.
Still, he may need more than just determination to win the French Open since he may meet there a fully-rested and fully-energized Novak Djokovic.
But last week’s first win on clay seems to have boosted his confidence – he was able to secure 12 of the first 14 points and a 3-0 lead in no time. He was both aggressive but also patient while trying to defend three break points before stealing the first set from Nadal.
In the second set, Murray did not allow his Spanish opponent to regain focus. He continued his powerful play from the first set and showed the same focus and confidence he displayed at start. One tennis correspondent said he managed to keep the ball “deep in the court,” while looking “comfortable” when launching his attacks.
Murray also said that his balanced personal life had much to do with his recent Madrid victory. He married his 10 year girlfriend Kim Sears on April 11 and attached his wedding ring to his left shoe before the match. He also wrote “Marriage works” on a camera lens shortly after the win.
However, although he said “happy personal stuff” had much to do with his performance, he acknowledged that he trained more this year and felt healthier and in better shape than he did the previous years when he played on clay.
Image Source: Deadspin