US OPEN BUZZ: The Murray Formula

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Become A Parent, Be Calmer, Hire Lendl, Take Your Opportunities

Inside Tennis said to Andy Murray, “It’s fair to say that few other players in history have made more of a stunning run – both on court and off – than you have in the past months: becoming a father, winning the Davis Cup, making the finals of the Aussie and French Opens, winning Wimbledon and the Olympics. Even just going to support your country in Serbia and also standing up and making many courageous comments on life. Do you sense you have blossomed a bit? Can you explain your great success and do you think love and fathering have anything to do with it?”

The Scot replied, “It’s hard to know exactly what to put it down to. It’s tough to know. There are many things that have gone into it obviously [including] becoming a parent…It’s changed my perspective a bit…I feel a little bit calmer than maybe I did in my past about my tennis and how important tennis is in my life.

“It’s still extremely important, but it’s not the most important thing. Having Ivan [Lendl] back on my team has been great and has helped me a lot.

“I have capitalized on a few opportunities. When some of the other top guys maybe hadn’t played or struggled or lost, I’ve taken those chances when they came my way which is good.

But, it’s really hard to say like one thing definitively. Like this is what’s made the difference. There have been a number of changes this year, and [that] all of them came together at the same time has made for a successful few months.”

JUST WONDERING: Which is more compelling, the gradual uptick in American tennis or the gradual deterioration of the Big Four?

MARATHON MEN AND WOMEN: Earlier this year Marion Bartoli drew attention due to a health scare and the fact that she had become disturbingly thin. Now the 2013 Wimbledon champ and Eurosport commentator has announced that she’ll be running the New York Marathon.

Caroline Wozniacki has run the New York Marathon, and after her second-round defeat of Svetlana Kuznetsova, she was asked what advice she’s have for Bartoli. “She needs to get healthy. I really hope she gets her health back,” said Wozniacki. “and then if she wants to run a marathon, that’s cool. I support her in that. It’s hard.” She added, “Facing the wall in a marathon is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through physically.”

When it comes to tennis endurance, John Isner has a rep as the marathon man, because of his epic three-day, eleven-hour-plus win over Nicolas Mahut at the 2010 Wimbledon. “That name has been brought up a lot around me,” Isner said after his second-round win. “Rightfully so, with the one match I played…What kept me going was just wanting to get to the change of ends and sit down for 90 seconds.”

THE FOG OF FOGNINI: The venerable sportswriter Art Spander wrote that most Americans “wouldn’t know Fabio Fognini from Giuseppe Verdi, except Fognini probably has a better forehand.” Spander noted that the Italian said, “‘the US Open is worst of the four tennis Grand Slam tournaments.’ Fognini’s dislike of the event surfaced when he was warned for whacking a ball in anger after losing a point and subsequently received a point penalty for – he said – jokingly grabbing a line judge’s sunglasses.

‘They have their rules,’ Fognini told writers from Italy. ‘You know the Americans are different in every way.’

Meaning we walk on all fours?

‘Of the Grand Slams,’ he specified. “this, as far as I’m concerned, is the worst.’

Apparently he spoke without consulting his wife, Flavia Pennetta, who, having won the women’s singles last year over Roberta Vinci in the final, surely has a different opinion.

If, however, Fognini has such low regard of the Open, perhaps, as one tennis official pointed out, he shouldn’t enter.

‘But then,’ the man reminded, ‘he wouldn’t have a chance to make money.’

The Open is part history and part circus, and it now has a new big top, a retractable roof…[It] draws 700,000 people during its two-week run. On Broadway, they would call that a box office smash, boffo. But Fabio Fognini would rather be anywhere else. Poor fellow.”