..............................I believe you yourself said it quite a few times that AO final wasn't particularly interesting or entertaining or less than compelling etc. How about beating that dead horse there for a change? How about I turn the table on you? Yes, not all Federer/Nadal finals or any other GS matches were boring but a lot of them were, given the predictable outcome in the end. But more importantly, given that typically Djokovic/Murray almost always play very competitive matches, how about we cut some slack and lower our expectations and understand that not every single of their match is going to be more than compelling? Nole's semi final match against Ferrer was pretty flat and that's because Ferrer was half done by then so Nole had it easy. If you say Andy had an easy draw then Nole's was no different. Granted, Wawrinka gave him a very tough time but that wasn't supposed to happen in the first place. I guess when you beat someone so often, you get a bit comfortable and you start taking things for granted. I mean who could forget Rosol at Wimbledon? I saw Sampras under the same circumstances quite a few times but he managed to escape most times. It happens. Not every tournament is going to unfold the way we like them to unfold. AO isn't the last GS we will ever see. Still, it generated some great matches. Despite the loss in the final, I am not complaining.
As to Henman, the Brits very rarely see a player in top ten or top twenty in men's tennis and given that Wimbledon is a very prestigious tournament for them, it's not so surprising that he'd generate a lot of interest. Our ESPN/TSN never showed any of Andy's matches until the qtr, but because Serena, an American was lost on the same day, we were interrupted several times during Andy's match against Chardy. In fact, for the most part I had to rely on the live stream. If this wasn't American TV, I am sure this wouldn't have happened. After all, it's only fair we get to see some Andy after the first week but that wasn't' the case. The Americans and Federer dominated our TV and it's mostly because they are more familiar with those faces, the general mass.
I don't agree with your first paragraph. I am pretty sure Andy's win over Federer was pretty huge for him and he wasn't mentally up for the final. He was also sore from his previous match and had a big blister on his foot but it was his mental part that let him down in the end.
My repetition of how I saw the AO final 2013 is in relation to various discussions relating to this particular final. I have not sought to generalise the Djokovic / Murray rivalry, nor am I interested in doing so. Much depends on any given day and I disagree with others who say that other rivalries have always produced great matches. So your raising Federer / Nadal in relation to my comments is precisely that you flog a dead horse, particularly as I am a Federer fan. I'm not sure why you feel compelled to take a defensive stance, particularly as what I find interesting is bound to be a subjective issue, as is what you find interesting. My point about the AO final arises from the match, and not because I dislike Murray or Djokovic. Or their fans.
Murray's win over Federer was huge, I agree. He hasn't done it before in a slam, and it is yet another milestone for him. But he beat an exhausted Federer. At this age, the main difficulty for Federer is not lack of ability, but lack of adequate recovery time between matches, and he was exhausted after the Tsonga match. You mention that Murray was emotionally spent because of the psychological effort required to beat Federer. That is an excellent point, not just for Murray, but for any player who comes through a challenge that they were concerned about. In Federer's case, Tsonga has beaten him in a GS and can give Federer problems at times. I think he was concerned about this QF. The 5 setter against Tsonga had a significant emotional toll on Federer too. Any robust challenge, especially in a 5 set contest, is bound to be both physically & emotionally draining for all players. Even then, Federer took it to five sets.
In the finals match, Murray took the first set from Djokovic, he battled in the second set too, but was dismantled by Djokovic in the TB, thereafter, giving up the ghost. The point I am making & have made about Murray playing poorly is meant against his standard of play and ability. And it is not accusatory. The finals of any tournament is demanding, at many different levels, but in a GS, particularly so. What I have said & am saying is that Murray was disappointing in the final. If he wants to win majors, paying 5 setters back to back might be required. I don't take this performance by him to mean he won't or can't play better next time he gets to a final, but am simply saying this one was a poor performance.
Blisters, pain, etc is par for the course & most players carry niggles / injuries. It is the nature of the beast. The most compelling argument to explain why Murray played this way is that he was tired after the Federer match. I have said from the outset that Djokovic faced a tired Murray, because I don't accept that Djokovic played a brilliant finals match. He did however go up a gear to take the momentum from Murray & once he did it, he didn't take his foot off the throttle. This separates Djokovic from Murray in that match. Murray couldn't lift himself up. He lost focus, arguing with the umpire, swearing, hitting his head with his racquet, touching his thigh as if he had problems there etc. His body language & behaviour spoke of defeat long before it came. Lendl has helped improve Murray's emotional outbursts, but there is work yet to do.
The point about the draw is that whilst Djokovic's draw was easiest on paper, it panned out to be more testing than Murray's was until the SF stage. Murray had to do little until the SF. I don't think he was tested enough, otherwise I think he could have beaten Federer in straight sets. I have read that Federer played well in the SF. I disagree, and think he was firefighting all the way and should have been beaten in straight sets. What was noteworthy about his performance was that he battled, not that he played well.
Djokovic was expecting a free passage no doubt, but Wawrinka gave him a shock. That match remained well contested until the end & it would have been exhausting for Djokovic to have come through it. He played a potential tough player in Berdych, who took a set off him, so this too was a less than a straight forward win. Compared to Murray therefore, he had tougher obstacles to overcome to get to the SF. The SF was simply match practice for him & he was fortunate to be fresher than Murray in the final. There is no doubt about this, and he was able to capitalise on Murray's implosion, to win the title. In the end, these finals will be about the slimmest of chances. The reason I am disappointed with this final is that Murray showed how he can both create & take chances against Djokovic in the Olympics & in the USO. I was expecting him to do so here too.
It's interesting that you mention the mental part, Emma.
As someone who would like Murray to fly free and reach his highest potential, this is one thing that I think needs attention now. This and stamina. Lendl has done an excellent job in helping Murray to date, but I think these elements are still a work in progress.
Anyway, that's it from me on this subject, as any more, and it will indeed be repetitious.
I accept that you differ from me about the AO final, and about how Murray played it. That's as it should be, and chatting about it is interesting. Thanks for the chat.