In Miami, Murray Returns With Interest
You play good where you feel good.
Andy Murray has reached the final of the Miami Open presented by Itau four times, twice walking away with first place silverware. He has been coming to the cosmopolitan city for 15 years to train in the off-season to elevate his fitness in the oppressive Miami heat and humidity. He has not played the tournament since 2016, but has received a wild card this year and is pumped to continue rising up the FedEx ATP Rankings in a city that feels good under his skin.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Murray’s overall performance in Miami uncovers a player who has completely dominated the returning side of the equation in South Florida.
In Murray’s career, he has won 41.8 per cent (28,964/69,299) of his return points, which currently has him sitting 14th best on the ATP Tour. But when you focus solely on Miami, Murray ascends all the way to first place from 37 matches played, winning almost 45 per cent of his return points.
Andy Murray: Miami Open Return Points Won
All-return points won: No. 1 (44.7%)
First-serve-return points won: No. 1 (36.4%)
Second-serve-return points won: No. 4 (56.1%)
The leading 10 players with the highest percentage of return points won in Miami (Minimum 15 matches) are:
|Rank||Player||Return Points Won %|
Murray also sits atop the first-serve return points won list. He is renowned for attacking the serve with a big step and split-step forward, keeping the swing short and rebounding the power of the serve right back at his opponent. Murray sits in fourth place overall in Miami with second-serve return points won.
2013 Miami Open presented by Itau Final
Murray’s prowess returning in the hot and heavy Miami weather make him a formidable opponent to defeat at this event. The last time Murray won the Miami title was in 2013, when he saved a match point and wore down David Ferrer in a gut-wrenching final, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). Murray won a staggering 51 per cent (50/98) of his return points in the final, which was identical to the 51 per cent (56/110) of service points he won.
It was one of the most brutal hard-court matches in memory, as Murray achieved the unthinkable in getting Ferrer to cramp in the third-set tie-break. Two-time Miami champion Andy Roddick tweeted post-match “I’ve seen everything now… David Ferrer cramping. I thought they would find Hoffa first.”
Exactly half of the 30 games played featured a break of serve, almost unheard of in a big final. What’s even more peculiar is that Murray won the match being broken eight times to Ferrer’s seven. The final started as a tactical arm-wrestle of court position and return prowess, and morphed into a physical side-to-side battle with constant breaks of serve. In the end, it was all about survival.
Maybe Murray can recapture some of that Miami magic as he looks to reignite his career after hip surgery. Murray played 87 matches in 2016, as he won nine titles and reached No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. In the four-plus years since, the Scot has only played 75 matches. Each one is worth its weight in gold at the moment, as he rebuilds confidence, precision and stamina with his game.