x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Andy Murray likelier than ever to win a grand slam title this year

The Scotsman's game has evolved and although 2012 is still nascent, recent form in Melbourne and Dubai suggests a major is not far away.

Andy Murray, who was runner up at the Dubai Tennis Championships this year, has looked in good form in 2012 so far.
Andy Murray, who was runner up at the Dubai Tennis Championships this year, has looked in good form in 2012 so far.

So, will Andy Murray win a grand slam tournament someday? The guess last year: a wobbly yes. The guess this year: a sturdier yes.

Viewing Australia and Dubai in the Scot's 14-2 nascent year, it does seem ever more that his game contains sufficient capabilities. In some two-week period sometime, he either will win the here-and-there points that rigidly decide these matters or hit a patch of scaling so close to his utmost that he barrels through.

Rafael Nadal kindly said as much to Murray at the Roland Garros net last year, furthering Nadal's litany of decency. Of course, Nadal also stopped Murray in the last three 2011 slam semi-finals, so that's one muscly mountain to overcome.

In going to 5-5 in the fifth with the No 1 Novak Djokovic in Australia, and in besting Djokovic in Dubai, the No 4 Murray seems to have achieved further shoring up. How much that owes to his new coach Ivan Lendl, who knows, but Murray's game looks ever more realised.

It will be interesting as he makes off for favourable slower courts at Indian Wells (California) and Miami. He barely had lunch in those last year with first match losses to the No 143 Donald Young and the No 118 Alex Bogomolov Jr. Last week in Dubai he weathered a first match thicket, adapted to faster courts, beat Superman, reached a taut final and said: "Turned out to be a very good week."

And while the US Open that has always suited him best lies well up the calendar, it could turn out to be a very good year.

cculpepper@thenational.ae