Tennis

Murray could use do-over at Aussie Open

Andy Murray of Great Britain argues after call
Andy Murray didn't really recover after his lackluster loss in the Australian Open final.
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Welcome to the 2010 Year in Review. Beginning Dec. 21, in a time frame just shy of a fortnight, FOXSports.com's panel of tennis commentators — Matt Cronin, Richard Evans, Zack Pierce, Addie Rising and Brian Webber — will share their thoughts on the topic of the day. So check back each day to catch one final look back at a memorable year in tennis.

TO CONTINUE OUR YEAR IN REVIEW, WE ASK . . . WHO WANTS A DO-OVER?

Roger Federer of Switzerland leaves the court

If Roger Federer had played more aggressively on match points against Novak Djokovic, he could have played Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open final.

Chris McGrath

CRONIN: Andy Murray. It's not easy to carry the weight of a famous, but mostly title-less tennis nation such as Britain on your shoulders, but Murray was perfectly situated at the Australian Open to become the first male from his country to win a major since Fred Perry in 1936. He had played brilliantly in knocking off Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and owned a 6-4 record against Roger Federer entering the final. But he froze under the big lights and played passively for most of the match as Federer whizzed by him 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11). Federer had cautioned before the match that their head-to-head record had to be thrown out, because it was he who knew how to perform in major finals, not Murray. How right he was, which Murray later tearfully acknowledged. "I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame I can't play like him.”

EVANS: Toward the sharp end of a superb semifinal at the U.S. Open, Roger Federer, the five-time former champion, had Novak Djokovic on the brink at 15-40, 4-5 in the fifth set. Maybe the fact that Federer had lost matches from match point up a couple of times earlier in the year played on his mind. He didn’t quite say as much, but he did admit afterward to being too passive on those two vital match points. Unlike his opponent, Djokovic, who said, “I just closed my eyes and hit my forehand as hard as I could,” Federer was cautious on the service return and cautious in the rallies that developed, losing the first as the Serb swung mightily at a forehand drive volley.

Having finished the year the way he did, winning titles in Stockholm, Basel and at the ATP Finals in London, Federer will look back on his year and wish he could have those two match points again. A more positive approach surely would have earned him one of them – and a chance at a sixth U.S. Open crown.

WEBBER: Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras probably would like to jump into a hot tub time machine and hit the "do-over" button for the Hit For Haiti charity event in March. What should have been a stellar night for tennis instead will be remembered for the sophomoric behavior of a pair of legends. Agassi and Sampras were joined by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in a charity doubles exhibition to raise money for the victims of the Haitian earthquake. But Agassi and Sampras refused to be charitable to each other on the court. Agassi poked fun at Sampras' reputation for being a poor tipper, but he proved he's a better server than stand-up comedian because not everyone at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden got the joke. Sampras didn't see any humor in the situation, and things got testy between the Hall of Famers. While Agassi and Sampras both apologized for their actions, they picked the wrong setting to renew their rivalry.

PIERCE: Andy Murray. He entered 2010 as the player everyone expected to win his first major. Murray reached the final at the Australian Open after a string of impressive, easy wins only to get flattened by Roger Federer in straight sets in the title match. Murray was a mess for much of the year after, saying at one point his mind wasn't fully on the game. He eventually parted ways with his coach.

RISING: Andy Murray. I’ll jump on the bandwagon on this one and go with the talented, albeit inconsistent, Scot. To come so close in Australia only to fall apart in the final demands a do-over. But, now that he’s got that final under his belt, maybe his experience will aid him in future endeavors and he’ll capture that first major title.

Richard Evans and Matt Cronin are tennis writers for FOXSports.com. Brian Webber is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com's tennis coverage. Addie Rising and Zack Pierce are tennis editors for FOXSports.com.

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