Hey everyone, it’s Van again, back with this week’s Serve and Returns feature. Thanks for the responses to the first “Serve” about Roger and Rafa. This week, since we’re smack dab in the middle of the World Tour Finals, I figured I’d take a look at a couple of their compadres there, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling.
The ATP rankings underwent a little bit of a shakeup before the WTF when Soderling leaped over Murray in the standings after winning the Paris Masters event. They’ve both had phenomenal results over the past few years, developing into consistent top-five talents, winning ATP 1000 titles and notching victories against all the top guys. Despite all that, though, neither one has been able to break through and win a Grand Slam. Each has made a couple of finals–Murray at the U.S. Open in 2008 and Aussie in ’10, and Soderling at the French in ’09 and ’10–but it just hasn’t happened. It should though, eventually, right? Which leads into this week’s “serve”:
Who will win a Slam title first, Murray or Soderling?
Murray has all the tools in the world, and has used them to reach at least the semis at three of the four big ones. He’s also picked up six ATP 1000 titles over the past three years, beating Slam winners Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic along the way–sometimes handily. Murray has lost both of his Major final appearances to Federer, even though he leads him in head-to-head matchups. Does pressure play a big part in stopping Murray from holding up one of those four huge trophies, seeing as how there hasn’t been a Slam singles winner representing Great Britain in decades? Or does he lack the firepower to beat top guys back to back over a best-of-five match?
As for Soderling, he’s really just starting to come into his own–and you can’t even put “lack of firepower” in the same sentence while talking about him. (Oh wait, I just did!) He initially made his rise up the rankings with success in the quick conditions indoors, but it’s been on the clay where he’s really done some damage. His power game would more than likely lead him to a title at the French or U.S. Opens. However, he’s 1-14 against Federer and 2-5 against Rafa. Does he need to rely on more than trying to blast those guys off the court when it gets down to Slam time?
You know, maybe neither Murray nor Soderling will bag a Major, but with their games, age, experience and success, it would be hard to bet on that. Someone has to break through, right? Which one will do it first?
There’s your serve: We anxiously await your returns!