During the commentary of Queen’s on BBC the other day, I noticed an interesting discussion about recent comments from the German Tommy Haas about Andy Murray. Now this was the BBC, so of course the general consensus of the experts at the table was that this was cheap trick from Haas and that he should leave Murray alone. The reaction in other circles has, however, been less favorable.
Now I should say before I start this is that I am fully aware I am not Murray’s biggest fan. Therefore, it would seem a little childish for me to write a blog about whether Murray is a drama queen, when I am probably more inclined to come down on the critic’s side. Although it’s true I don’t really like Murray as a player, and I do think he’s a bit of a whiner, I would never want to character assassinate the man or somehow imply he is a cheat or underhand. I’m mean, but I’m not that mean.
So here is what Tommy Haas said in his press conference that turned all eyes on the Scot: ‘It’s difficult when you play against someone on the court like he is not well or injured. I find no-one does this better than Murray. Sometimes he looks like he can barely move, then comes the trainer and he moves like a cat. I believe everyone knows this. People talk about it in the locker room. Maybe he would like to take some pressure off himself. He tells himself, ‘Maybe I have a niggle or a problem, I’m not feeling too well but I’m going to try it anyway.’ But he is such a talented player that he does not need to’ (quote taken from Germany’s Sport1).
When I first heard people discussing these comments, and had not yet heard them full, I had assumed Haas had launched a tirade of accusations against Murray. The comments however have been rather played up by the media. From what I can see, Haas does not like the fact that Murrays ‘drama queen’ antics can be so distracting. But he doesn’t labour the point. After all, as Murray sympathizers pointed out later on, if you can’t get over the fact your opponent is limping then perhaps you need to work on your concentration.
I think in fact that Haas comments, when read fully, don’t really show up as the antagonistic diatribe that many reported in the news. In fact he seems rather complimentary of Murray; ‘…he is such a talented played he does not need to [do that]’
The comments that everyone really should be looking at are the ones from Virginia Wade, as they paint an even more uncomplimentary picture of Murray. Wade is a woman who has known Andy for many years, and done some coaching with his mother. So I imagine it is her comments that will sting the most: ‘…honestly, you cannot play against someone who is being a drama queen’. She was talking about Murray’s match against Jarkko Nieminen. In the context of this match, Wade did seem to have a point. One minute Murray was dragging himself around the court like a corpse on unsteady ankles, his service games dropping like dead flies. Then the trainer comes out and wham, he takes over completely and wins the match in style.
On the one hand, both Haas and Wade’s comments come very close together, and one can see kernels of truth in both. Murray quite often enters a major tournament with something wrong. A back spasm, an ankle injury, a hand niggle…all of these I am sure many enter tournaments with but many of the players – particularly top ones – keep quiet. Murray on the other hand layers on the details for all and sundry to hear about. And it seems fair that Murray feel the sting over these accusations; after all almost every other player at the top has felt something like this. Not long ago, Djokovic was known as a whiner, who always had something wrong with him for the trainer to come and attend to. Now he’s world number one and he’s as fit as a prize bull. Maybe Murray needs to take the comments on the chin, assess if there is any truth in them, and move on.
On the other hand, poor Murray has got a reputation for being a bit of a target for people’s complaints. He’s too boring, he’s too defensive on court, he’s not good enough. Many have sniped that Virginia Wade played in much easier times than Murray, so how can she talk.
Whatever the truth behind these facts are we will never know. But it will make everyone listen a little more intently when Andy goes into a pre-match press conference to talk about how he feels. Any mention of a niggle or a strain or ache, and questions may start to be raised…
What does everyone else think of the comments of Haas and Wade?Written by:
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