A backward step

Murray started on the back foot and stayed there, says Barry

Last updated: 30th January 2011  

It was the third (Grand Slam) final hes played in, the first time without playing Federer but I actually felt this was the most disappointing.

Barry Cowan
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Barry Cowan believes a negative approach cost Andy Murray his latest chance of Grand Slam glory.

The Scot was swept away in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 6-3, by Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Australian Open final.

It rarely looked like being a case of third time lucky for the 23-year-old after losing out to Roger Federer in the 2008 US Open and again in Melbourne last year. And he is yet to win a set in his three Grand Slam finals.

Once he was broken in the 10th gamel Murray was on the receiving end of a ruthless display from the world number three as Djokovic took just two hours and 39 minutes to claim his second title down under.

But Cowan believes the Scot had himself to blame as much as anything the Serb served up.

"It was the third (Grand Slam) final hes played in, the first time without playing Federer but I actually felt this was the most disappointing," he told Sky Sports News.

"You can understand the first one with the nerves, and in the second, but I just felt he was cautious from the word go.

"His tactics were, 'I'm ready for the five sets, I'm ready for the long haul because I'm stronger than you' - and because of that Djokovic won the first set and from then on was able to play with more freedom.

"Once he got a set and a break up, the match was over."

Pressure

As his Grand Slam dream faded in the final set, Murray cut an increasingly frustrated figure and was constantly berating himself in a very public display of disappointment.

Cowan accepts that is part of his make-up, but also proof that when it comes to the biggest stage of all, he still struggles to cope with the weight of expectation.

"We've seen that before from Andy," he said. "That's part of his personality but also one of the reasons he's as good as he is; it's that desire to win.

"Novak Djokovic was sensational as he has been throughout the tournament. I thought his semi-final demolition of Roger Federer was one of the best matches I've seen and then to be handle the pressure in the final... that was where it was won.

"He handled the pressure a lot better than Murray."

It was not all doom and gloom, though, and Cowan did point to the improvements Murray has made over the last 12 months.

And with the Australian Open marking the start of the season, he believes there is plenty to look forward to - providing he can adopt a bolder approach when it really matters.

"I think we have to look on the positive side and he has made big strides forward again in the last year; he's played more aggressive in certain matches," he said.

"But in the biggest matches of all, that's where he's got to throw caution to the wind."

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Comments (2)

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Karen Crook says...

Yes Mr Barry Cowan, you would know all about what it takes to win a Grand Slam! How many Grand Slam finals did you play in? Murray played great tennis to get to the final so why must he "throw caution to the wind" on finals day, surely he must contine to play the same high standard and if the opponent is better on that day then you have to say too good!

Posted 16:53 3rd February 2011

The Doctor says...

If Barry Cowan had amounted to anything in his own so-called tennis career, he may have had room for such criticism. Given his own track-record, his condescension is laughable.

Posted 16:34 31st January 2011

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