Andy Murray won his second clay court tournament in a row today at the Mutua Madrid Open. And that’s pretty incredible for someone who doesn’t favour clay. But if you look at exactly what Andy had to do to win, it’s nothing short of spectacular. Murray had to beat the King of clay, Rafael Nadal, in a Masters 1000 tournament in Nadal’s backyard and he managed to do it in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.
After the match, Murray talked about what it was like to beat Nadal on clay.
“To play Rafa in Spain is extremely tough, but this is the reason why we play tennis for these matches, it is one of the toughest things in tennis to try and win agains Rafa on clay.”
Why was Andy, who in the previous 6 meetings against Nadal on clay hasn’t been able to find the chink in his armour, finally able to deliver the winning blow? Murray told Sky Sports how he shook Nadal out of his rhythm.
“I played a good match. I made very few errors and changed the height of the ball extremely well, which was part of the reason why he was mistiming a few shots.”
Whether it was Murray who wouldn’t let Nadal get comfortable or Rafa just couldn’t get in tune with his forehand, arguably the cornerstone of his game, the Spaniard lost the first set with 11 unforced errors. Nadal spoke about how he planned to move on from the loss.
“Evidently today wasn’t the game I wanted or hoped to play. I tried until the end but it is not a day I am going to remember.”
After the win, Andy chose to mark the camera lens with a quote, in addition to the traditional signature. “Marriage works.” He’s clearly attributing his success at Munich and Madrid to he recent nuptials to long-time girlfriend, Kim Sears. Athletes are notoriously superstitious about what they do around their winning streaks, so this has got to be good news for the happy couple.
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) May 10, 2015
Now, both Murray and Nadal have their sights set on the French Open. Andy’s going to “[try] to play well in the next few weeks with Roland Garros just round the corner.” And Nadal’s looking at the bright side by noting that he’s “recovered sensations which [he hasn’t] felt on a tennis court for some time.”
— TennisTV (@TennisTV) May 10, 2015
After a largely disappointing start to the year, fans saw Rafa’s form return through most of the Madrid tournament, Murray is clearly on form and gunning for the French, Djokovic will be returning after a break that’s hopefully refreshed him and then there are the other usual suspects to contend with, including the likes of Federer, Berdych, Dimitrov, Roanic, Nishikori, Ferrer, and Wawrinka. Should make for a very exciting field at this year’s French Open starting on May 24.
[Image courtesy Julian Finney/Getty Sport Images]