Having talked up the women’s singles prospects of Caroline Wozniacki now it is time to talk down the men’s singles prospects of another fan of a British football team.
Wozniacki posts about her devotion to Liverpool on various social media channels whenever she has a smartphone rather than a racquet in her hand. Andy Murray does not log in to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the same regularity as Wozniacki but he does love Hibernian, which is fighting to get back into the Scottish Premiership. Murray leaves his mother, fellow Hibernian fan Judy, to dominate Twitter.
That is enough about football. One of the major questions in men’s singles tennis in 2015 is will Murray regain his place in the top four? One is not convinced that Murray will.
There is no argument that 2014 was an annus horribilis for Murray after Grand Slam men’s singles-winning year in 2012 and 2013. Murray reached the Australian Open quarter-finals but it was the first time since 2009 that he has not made it through to the last four at Melbourne Park. Murray equalled his French Open personal best by qualifying for his second semi-final at Roland Garros but he crashed out in the last eight of The Championships and the US Open, the two major events that he has won during his career. Murray, who chose to undergo back surgery not long before the season got under way, split from coach Ivan Lendl in March and hired Amelie Mauresmo following his French Open loss to Rafael Nadal.
Murray ended 2014 as the men’s singles world number six – below Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori – but, worryingly for the Briton, he won just two of his 12 matches versus the other seven players who reached the ATP World Tour Finals. Most of Murray’s wins towards the end of the year were over relatively low-ranking players and his ATP World Tour Finals Group B campaign saw his lose 4-6 4-6 to Nishikori and, embarrassingly, 0-6 1-6 to Federer.
One thinks that Murray is more likely to flop than fly in 2015, with his second serve being the weakest of the major championship contenders and his off-court team missing the guile of Lendl and a couple other former lieutenants. Lendl did not big note himself before, during or after his spell on Team Murray but one is not alone in thinking that he transformed the Briton from a loser into a winner.
Opposing Murray is how one wants to approach the 2015 men’s singles season from a punting perspective. Bet365 and Coral are offering odds of -189 that Murray does not win one of the four Grand Slam titles, while Paddy Power is listing odds of +100 that he finishes the year ranked fifth or lower. Both of those anti-Murray betting options appeal.
With regards to 2015 men’s singles season match bets, Sky Bet has paired Murray with Nishikori and installed the Briton as its odds-on favourite. Nishikori has a reputation for being brittle but there were signs towards the end of last year that the Japanese was overcoming his back issues, plus he managed to rank fifth in 2014 – one place higher than Murray – despite missing a fair chunk of the program.
Therefore, if one wants to bet against Murray in 2015 men’s singles action at odds greater than even money, Nishikori to end the year ranked higher than the Briton at odds of +150 with Sky Bet is an avenue down which one may like to go.
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