KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Is Andy Murray lost in a London fog that enshrouded him on this sandy, sunny isle?
How can you explain his brief appearance as a staggering soul, allegedly No. 5 on the planet, being chased from the Sony Ericsson Open by a hustler unknown to almost all: Alex Bogomolov, a local qualifier ranked No. 118.
It was 6-1, 7-5, extending Murray’s ghastly streak of lost sets to 9. It began when he timidly lost the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic in straight sets. And— get this – he’s still looking for a set.
Where is a former London resident, Dr. Freud, when Andy needs him.
Bogomolov, 27, has been around for years, usually in the minors, and is struggling to support a child and a lady friend. He felt terrific at “my best win” although he commented that Murray who “usually spins you like a yo-yo wasn’t up to it. But when I lost my serve, serving for the match at 5-3 I thought it was going to be 3 sets. I thought he’d pull himself together. But it never happened,” and Bogie just kept outrunning the Scotsman and benefiting from his mistakes (32 UE’s).
Having just hired a new coach, close friend Dani Vallverdu, Murray, who goes through coaches like a sniffler through Kleenex, thought he had trained and prepared well. “But,” he shrugged, “it was just rubbish, and got worse after I played a few good points.
I was the most consistent player on the tour last year, but…”
But 4 straight losses, 9 straight sets blown?
Have the expectations of his fellow Brits been too heavy for Andy, hero-worshipped for a long time and handsomely compensated as the Great Right Hope of the UK? If you see a man laboring with a big island on his shoulders, it’s Andy.
What to do as the zeros continue? Will Andy make more inept guys like two of his conquerors – Donald Young and Bagomolov – become famous for a day? Can he ever win a set?
He says he can escape this “frustration,” and has done it before.
My advice is to go jump in the Atlantic Ocean, only a few yards from the ball park. At this time of year, it’s calm and soothing, and may be a prescription for recovery.