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Is Andy Murray About to Develop into Andy Murray Again?

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The efforts have earned Murray a showdown Friday with Matteo Berrettini of Italy, the thirteenth seed, a finalist at Wimbledon last 12 months with a hammer-like serve and forehand. Murray may be very conversant in each shots. He and Berrettini often practice together, including a testosterone-fueled set two weeks ago as they prepared for this tournament. Not that it matters, but Berrettini said they were all even at 5-5 and played a tiebreaker, which he won, because other players had reserved the court and were waiting. (Yes, this happens to the professionals, as well.)

“I at all times search for players which have a robust energy, that actually wish to practice hard, because that’s what I prefer to do,” Berrettini said. “He’s certainly one of those.”

Berrettini, 26, is the form of younger player at the highest of his powers that Murray has rarely been capable of get past during his five-year journey through debilitating pain and rehabilitation from two hip surgeries, the second a serious procedure to resurface the highest of the thigh bone and replace the hip socket and cartilage with a metal shell.

Just when Murray seems on the cusp of the breakthrough he has sought long after many players together with his résumé would have packed it in, some young buck gets on him, often within the early round of a tournament. With a rating as little as his, the protection of a high seeding stays elusive.

The losses create a dispiriting cycle. Without matches and wins, he can’t improve his rating, currently No. 51. And with no higher rating, he has to go away his fate as much as the luck of the draw. If it doesn’t go his way and he loses a hard-fought early match to a big-time opponent, his rating doesn’t improve, which frequently results in more draws with opponents who’ve proved too tough.

There would appear to be every reason to not take care of the headaches and frustrations that include being an aging, formerly sublime skilled. For thus long, Murray’s creativity, touch and talent to spin the ball every which way, combined together with his blazing speed, power, and never-give-up defense, made for can’t-miss tennis.

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