Is Murray’s grip the problem?

The piss-poor standard of tennis commentary constantly annoys me, especially as TV tennis commentary seems easy compared to many sports – it’s not particularly complex to explain what’s going on, and there are plentiful breaks between points & games. (Radio tennis commentary seems very hard, in fact the game is simply too quick to describe every shot in real time).

Yet how often do you ever hear something from the expert commentators that isn’t blindingly obvious? Hardly ever, apart from the superb Mats Wilander. Having said that, Jim Courier isn’t bad, and here he makes an interesting comment on Murray:

ITV has assembled a very able squad of tennis buffs of which Jim Courier has been the major signing. … Twice a winner of the French championship himself, of course he speaks with considerable authority and his analysis this week of Murray’s play was enlightening. Courier admits Murray is able to adapt his game to cope with most opponents even after apparently being near to quitting with back pain but when it comes to the big guns, “he simply does not have the ‘killer’ shot which will damage them.”

Courier reckons Murray can’t hit a ‘down-the-line’ winner with maximum power because of his very orthodox grip on the racket. It means he ‘spoons’ the ball, rather than hitting it flat. It is effective across court but, for down the line, the shot is limited and Courier tells us that the ‘big three’ know it.

If this was cricket they’d have video analysts swarming all over it, showing super-slow-mo and split screen comparisons between players. But as it’s tennis, the thought will probably disappear and never be mentioned again.

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