2008 US Open Final Preview – Can Murray Make History?

us open 2008 tennisAndy Murray, the Scottish tennis sensation has just beaten the best player of 2008 and all that stands between him and his first ever grand slam title is the best player of the 21st century. Murray will take on Roger Federer this evening at 5pm (10pm UK time) on the 22,000 all seater Arthur Ashe Stadium Court.

The Swiss number 1 was world number 1 for more than 4 years, 237 consecutive weeks as the best player in the world – he has competed in every semi final of a major for the last 4 and half years and only failed to reach the final once in the last 14 grand slams and only lost a final to one man Rafael Nadal.

He is bidding to win an unbelievable 5th consecutive US open title and set new a record in the sport, an achievement that would go a long way to heal the wounds of a poor season by Roger Federer’s standards.

roger federer us openMurray will of course go into the match as underdog, but the Scot does hold a winning record against Federer, they have met three times and Murray has won their last two encounters.

Their first match was in the Bangkok final in 2005, when a teenage Andy Murray lost 6-3 7-5, they then met in Cincinnati in 2006, Murray this time beating the Swiss ace 7-5 6-4 – it was first real result that proved Murray could mix with best.

Most recently the duo met in Dubai earlier this year and Murray once again won 6-7(8-6) 6-3 6-4, it was after this match that Federer openly criticised Murray for being too negative, an unimpressed Federer said,

I don’t think that he’s changed his game a whole lot since I played him in the Bangkok final, ‘Not that I’m disappointed but I really would have thought he would have changed it in some ways. It sort of works for him but he’s going to have to grind very hard for the next few years if he keeps playing that way. He stands way far behind on the court and that means you’ve got to do a lot of running. He tends to wait a lot for an opponent’s mistake. I gave him the mistakes in the match, but over a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often than wait for the guy to miss. That’s what has served me well, but who knows, he may surprise us and do it for 20 years.

The odds of Murray win tonight is a testament to his recent form, any other first time grand slam finalists playing the great Roger Federer in the US Open would be very long. Murray is only a 7/4 outshot, with Federer 1/2 on to win. This is an event that Roger Federer has not lost a match at in the last 5 years.

Player Roger Federer Andrew Murray
Traditional Odds Decimal Odds Traditional Odds Decimal Odds
Betfair 53/100 1.53 93/50 2.86
SportingBet 11/25 1.44 9/5 2.8
Paddy Power 1/2 1.5 7/4 2.75
Stan James 1/2 1.5 7/4 2.75
Bet 365 1/2 1.5 163/100 2.63
Bet Fred 1/2 1.5 163/100 2.63
Sky Bet 1/2 1.5 163/100 2.63
Ladbrokes 11/25 1.44 81/50 2.62
Blue Square 11/25 1.44 81/50 2.62
William Hill 1/2 1.5 81/50 2.62
Coral 53/100 1.53 3/2 2.5
ToteSport 53/100 1.53 3/2 2.5

Britain enjoys nothing more than hyping up anyone who shows any signs of sporting talent only to berate them when the much desired success is not achieved. Tim Henman knows all too well about this, more recently Lewis Hamilton suffered the backlash of the UK press for not winning the F1 championship last season. The England football team goes through the same torture every 2 years, with the press enjoying nothing more than getting all of England into a frenzy and convinced there is only one winner only to vilify the team and manager when they ultimately fail to achieve success.

Andy Murray Flexing MusclesMurray will not follow this pattern though after all he is not English – he is proudly Scottish!

Being Scottish has not stopped the British press hyping him up only to knock him down when success did not come immediately after breaking on to the tennis scene at Wimbledon 2005. At 21 he has not yet won a major and up until a week ago the majority of tennis press wrote of his chances of ever winning one.

Over the last three years Murray has very much still been growing and developing, he has steadily increased his year end ATP rankings and beat the top players on quite consistent basis. Though only thing that much of the Brittish press could write was Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won majors at a younger age, so Murray is ruubish and will never win a major.

Tonight Andy Murray will win his first grand slam title, the huge amount of pressure placed on Murray to win will be huge and while pressure has made guys like Tim Henman crack under the enormous weight of expectation – Murray ignores most of the hype and almost thrives on the scale of the occasion.

I predicated an Andy Murray win against Rafael Nadal and I predict the first ever Scottish US Open Champion tonight. The long awaited British grand slam champion will arrive and he is 100 miles away from Tim Henman and what the world may have expected him to be.

Come on Murray!