By Benjamin Snyder
The chances for Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam, not unlike Arsenal’s own prospects at a Premier League or Champions League win, are shot. For Murray, the latest disappointment comes at the hands of World No. 1 and winner of the last three major tournaments, Novak Djokovic. For the Gunners, Manchester United posted the team’s newest setback by a score of 1-2.
The Scottish World No. 4, who took on eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl as coach recently, now suffers a 0-3 record in Grand Slam finals. He’s reached the semifinals on six other occasions, proving he has the talent.
This time, however, may add a little more insult to injury; the match against Djokovic was supremely close. Murry held two break points on the Serb’s serve at two sets apiece and five games all. Regardless, he couldn’t convert at the most crucial moment. This latest loss at the Sunny Slam comes after a three set thrashing from Djokovic in the 2010 Aussie Open final.
Murray, no stranger to critics in a country without a major champion since Virginia Wade’s 1977 Wimbledon win, said: “You’re always going to have people that doubt me and say, ‘He’s not that good’ and ‘He’s not as good as them’. I am aware that I still need to prove some things and win a match like this. It was so close.”
He remains positive this year, stating that the year’s goal is to claim the No. 1 spot from Djokovic.
Meanwhile, World No. 2 and 10-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal took aim at Murray. He said: “The level is there. When you are able to play how many, five Grand Slams in a row playing semifinals or final, it’s only a mental thing.”
Although Arsenal’s loss on January 22 was nowhere near their horrendous 8-2 routing by Manchester United in August. It cement their current lackluster No. 5 position in the league.
Even beloved Manager Arsene Wenger, according to a recent Globe and Mail article, isn’t safe from the effects of the loss. It reads: “For so long a hero to Arsenal fans, manager…Wenger was jeered during last weekend’s 2-1 Premier League defeat against Manchester United.”
While Murray’s battle is one of mostly mentality at this point, Arsenal simply has been suffering too many injuries to contend for the Premier League title. In fact, according to the article, the team’s “been playing without specialist fullbacks since early December.” As a result, teenagers Nico Yennaris and Ignasi Miquel are being forced to fill in the open spots in upcoming games.
It’s been seven years without a trophy for Arsenal, and no Grand Slams for Murray in his eight years as pro. If things are going to change, the best time to start is, well, now. Otherwise, both will remain target practice for the top talent in their respective sports.