Andy Murray went down to Kevin Anderson in four sets on Labor Day evening at the US Open. You knew this one was going to be trouble, because Andy had already had a match in which he was down two sets and had to rally and the chances that he could do it twice were not good, plus Anderson was the one who took Novak Djokovic to five sets at Wimbledon.
He’s a big guy with a big serve, and guys like him can upset the more complete players in the earlier rounds of a Wimbledon or a US Open, where a serve counts for a lot and where luck, let’s face it, counts for everything. But that doesn’t make the Andersons of the world complete players. Indeed, it takes a lot more than a serve to win, otherwise John Isner (another big guy with a big serve) would be the No. 1-ranked player in the world, n’est pas? (Instead as of this writing he’s down two sets to Roger Federer in the fourth round.)
Anyway, back to Andy. Interesting piece in USA Today’s For the Win column listing four reasons why Andy isn’t one of the Big Four, which author Chris Chase says is itself a myth. There are lots of intriguing stats and comparisons, but Chase says we could stop at the number one reason: Andy has the same number of Slam titles (two) as Stan “the Man” Wawrinka (who’s next up for Anderson, who I predict will in turn flame out against Stanimal in the quarterfinals).
Yes, but Andy had his Slam titles before Stanimal achieved his. It’s like Pluto. It was designated a planet before the Kiuper Belt was discovered. So it’s understandable that some of us still think of Pluto as a planet. (Indeed, there are lots of funny cartoons on the Net about this.)
Andy was in our consciousness as a member of the Big Four before Stan’s rise so we think of him as Big Four material. In any event, with Rafael Nadal’s game in disarray, the Big Four are looking more and more like the Big Two (Novak Djokovic and Fed).
But I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Big Four, the Beatles of tennis. In their prime as a quartet (2011-13), they were magic.