What does Murray do after Federer’s demolition?

Andy Murray

Murray must start beating the other “Big 4” to stay in the elite group. Mal Taam/MALT Photo

LONDON – Everyone can have bad days. Every person has experienced one or another. But if you look at the greats in tennis, all of them have admitted that they had a lousy match and learned from it. Or forgot about it. Or just threw it in the trash.

But exactly what will happen to Andy Murray mindset after he went down 6-0, 6-1 to Roger Federer on Thursday in a packed house? Everyone wanted to see their countryman win. He was back and ready to knock down the other best players? But he was not even close. He wasn’t in the ballpark or, in this case, The O2.

Murray has been unable to beat the big guys again. Yes, he has played well enough to beat anyone outside of the Big 4 and he looked pretty well during the fall. He scratched up to No. 5, largely because he outworked David Ferrer in October and early November. But against Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Federer during the season, that was another story this year. Murray entered the ATP Finals knowing that he had gone 0-8 of the three guys this year.

That hurt, but a chance to taking down Federer and Djokovic, and that would have made the season.

Somehow he went all wrong and quickly. Murray whacked the ball in the first four points, but after that, he could not find his rhythm. He was never there. Federer played very well, but he never had to play great, even though it seemed he couldn’t miss his forehands, backhands, slices, rushing into the net, digging in, smashing, and pocketing balls deep.

It did not really matter because Murray couldn’t get anything going. It was impossible to tell what his plans were, because he did not have anything at all. He was so out of it that the fans were shaking and were afraid. Down 6-0, 5-0, somehow Federer made a couple of errors and Murray won a game. One single game to 6-0, 6-1. The fans cheered and laughed. Andy didn’t smile for a second. Federer found it odd, shook his hand and did not to celebrate 6-0, 6-1. So much for classic contests.

“Not so cool because I wouldn’t want to be in that position,” Federer said. “I was happy to get it done. At the end I was happy I didn’t win the second to last game to be quite honest. Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. I don’t know. I don’t like it.”

Murray admitted that he did not play well at all – obviously – and that Federer was quite good. But what has his show for it this season? He won three tournaments, which is fine, but they were not Slams or ATP Masters Series. At a few times in 2014 he looked as though he would return to his normal self. But, as he said, it has been very hard to come back easily after his back surgery.

“The first three, four months were tough,” he said. “It was hard. Going through surgery isn’t easy. Maybe I didn’t appreciate that so much at the time. I found it quite frustrating at the beginning of the year. But then once I accepted that it’s a hard thing to go through, and obviously in the middle of that period I switched ‑‑ obviously stopped working with Ivan [Lendl].

“The French Open [Rafa Nadal] and Wimbledon [Grigor Dimitrov], I played well, but when I got to the semis of the French and the quarters of Wimbledon, I didn’t feel like I played well.

“Obviously tonight,I’m disappointed with those matches. I don’t want to play matches like that obviously.”

Murray is hearted of the fall as he did win Shenzhen (over Tommy Robredo), Vienne (over David Ferrer) and Valencia (over Robredo), but if he is going to have any chance in Australia, he is going to have to change it up. If Murray wants to remain his “Big 4,” he is going to have to start beating them on occasion, especially as the younger players like Kei Nishikori and and Milos Raonic become more formidable foes. Right now, he has to figure out exactly why and what will his answers be. At the very least, he has to work harder than before.

“It’s not a nice way to finish the year,” said Murray. “But I know there’s obviously a lot for me to work on now. I didn’t feel like I was playing that badly going into the match. I’d had some good wins the last few weeks. Had played decent against Milos. So obviously in that respect I know I’m going to have to put in a lot of work on the tennis court, a lot of work in on my game. If I want to start the season, with an opportunity to win in Australia, I’m going to have to put in a lot of work, that’s for sure.”

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