Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Still Searching for That Slam

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Still Searching for That Slam

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The eye of the TV camera followed Andy Murray's every step in warm-ups, hovering just above him from wires strung high in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The tennis world is closely watching the Scotsman, waiting to see if he's ready.

Ready to join the elite -- Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal -- at the head of the sport. Ready to capture his first Grand Slam title.

The third-seeded Murray took the first step toward that goal Monday afternoon on the opening day of the U.S. Open, beating Russia's Alex Bogomolov, 6-2, 6-4, 6-1, despite a sluggish start.

"I won in three sets," said a cranky Murray. "You know, I didn't serve very well. [But I] only lost seven games in three sets, so I must have done something well today."

He did it overcoming his body (cramps), the elements (a breezy, hot, muggy day at the National Tennis Center) and the expectations (growing) that now follow him everywhere, not just in Great Britain.

Opportunity awaits the 25-year-old Murray. If ever there were a time to invade the triumvirate dominating men's tennis -- Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won 29 of the past 30 Grand Slams -- it is now, in this tournament, this fortnight.

Murray is playing some of his best tennis since December, when he hired former great Ivan Lendl as his coach.

He took the gold medal at the Olympics earlier this month on the All England Club's centre court in straight sets over Federer, avenging his defeat on that same patch of grass at Wimbledon four weeks earlier.

That has become "a huge match" for Murray, rewarding him with fan support and confidence. It's so huge, he choked up on the court talking about it.

"I knew after that match that everything you've kind of gone through as a player was worth it because it was the biggest win of my career by far," he said later. "I've had many tough losses. ... I've had a lot of doubts after losing. …

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