Our What's Next? series looks at every player who finished in the ATP or WTA Top 10 this season, and considers their future in three different ways.
Now that he has that elusive, first Grand Slam title under his belt, Murray will embark on the new year without that giant monkey on his back. That’s bound to make him a better player.
But let’s remember that we still need to see if Murray can keep the flame of desire at its highest level now that he’s certified his place in the Big Four. That’s something we don’t yet know, because every player is different when it comes to the challenge of heaping success upon success. The issue is motivation.
History also suggests that Murray is subject to greater ups and downs than many other players of comparable talent and accomplishment. He felt crushed after he lost the 2011 Australian Open final in straight sets to Novak Djokovic—so much so that two months passed before he won another match. That situation was entirely different than the one Murray faces today, but it underscored the extent to which he was (and perhaps still is) apt to tie himself up in self-defeating knots.
Best Case Scenario: With the pressure to win a major lifted, Murray is relaxed, confident, and eager to challenge the rest of the Big Four for sovereignty. His improved, increasingly dangerous forehand could become the final piece in the puzzle that enables Murray to become something his three rivals have all been: ATP No. 1.
Worst Case Scenario: It’s easy to get lackadaisical when you come from a nation where the bar for success is set pretty low, and if Murray can’t resist resting on his laurels, he’ll get in trouble—especially if his recent success hasn’t helped him overcome a career-long tendency to get down on himself.
Australian Open Outlook: Let’s look at the positive side, because Murray has certainly paid a heavy price for being good enough to make two Australian Open finals, but not good enough (then) to win. If you look at this tournament as unfinished business, you have to like his motivation—and chances.
More What's Next?
- ATP No. 10, Richard Gasquet
- WTA No. 10, Caroline Wozniacki
- ATP No. 9, Janko Tipsarevic
- WTA No. 9, Sam Stosur
- ATP No. 8, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- WTA No. 8, Petra Kvitova
- ATP No. 7, Juan Martin del Potro
- WTA No. 7, Li Na
- ATP No. 6, Tomas Berdych
- WTA No. 6, Sara Errani
- ATP No. 5, David Ferrer
- WTA No. 5, Angelique Kerber
- ATP No. 4, Rafael Nadal
- WTA No. 4, Agnieszka Radwanska
- ATP No. 3, Andy Murray