It was the best possible outcome for Andy Murray in his quest to make a deep run at Wimbledon 2023. Tsitsipas was taken to a fifth set tiebreaker before advancing past Dominic Thiem, while Murray breezed in straight sets. Now it’s Murray vs Tsitsipas in the 2nd round for the most showy tilt of Wimbledon 2023 so far.
Murray vs Tsitsipas H2H
These ATP mainstays are tied at 1-1 in their head to head. Andy beat Stef on grass in Stuttgart last year, while Tsitsipas got the best of Murray in a memorable US Open epic back in 2021.
Twelve years in age separates these men. The Scot has won Wimbledon twice. The Greek has yet to win a Grand Slam. Murray has a metal hip. Tsitsipas as a one-handed backhand. And yet the guys are two of the grittiest, most entertaining players on the ATP Tour.
Grass is Andy Murray’s best surface, with a career 81% winning percentage. Tsitsipas has never advanced past the round of 16 at Wimbledon.
Murray vs Tsitsipas: Strategy
To kick off his grass campaign, Murray chose to play two Challengers, which he won– only to lose spectacularly to Alex De Minaur in the first round of Queen’s. Those two factors make it difficult to get a read on his current form.
That said, the difference between Murray’s first round win over Ryan Peniston at Wimbledon and the loss to De Minaur at Queen’s boils down to serving. Andy put a low number of first serves in against Alex. He performed better against Peniston. Then he did one better by winning 59% of his second serve points. Not bad for a second serve speed that is only in the high 80s or low 90s.
So Murray must make first serves. Then he must attack the Tsitsipas backhand and look for errors. Stef has been coming forward. Andy is a master at passing shots. Murray needs to sharpen the scalpel on his passes.
Finally– and this is big– Tsitsipas loves to run around his backhand to hit forehand. If he doesn’t crush that forehand, he exposes himself with loads of open court to his right. Murray’s backhand down the line with need to be used early and often.
For Tsitsipas, it’s all about attacking that slow second serve. Run a return pattern and come into the net. Know that you have 12 years on this guy and trust all your strokes, most especially the overhead. Murray’s defense will get Tsitsipas a boatload of overheads of all shapes, arcs, trajectories and heights.
Murray vs Tsitsipas: Intangibles
Tsitsipas as a new girlfriend, Paula Badosa, who also advanced in her first round match at Wimbledon 2023. Being in love in the early stages of a relationship is a great unknown. Some players do well with it; others are distracted. For what it’s worth, Tsitsipas’s new relationship seems to have the full support of his family, which is important.
Murray, the sentimental favorite, will have the crowd on his side.
Both these players are gutsy. It’s hard to rattle Tsitsipas, who has gained tremendous situational experience the past 5 years. On the other hand, getting Andy Murray to give up is like trying to wrestle a bone from the mouth of a pit bull terrier.
Murray vs Tsitsipas: Should be the match of the tournament so far.