Scottish tennis betting favorite – though not no mo’ – Andy Murray lost the quarterfinals of the 2016 U.S. Open to Japanese Kei Nikifori 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. How did this happen? How could this happen? Did Great Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane Hill again? Was Nikifori not born of woman? Like a dinner of haggis and sushi, this outcome will be hard to stomach for many fans who bet on tennis – especially because Murray has missed a golden chance to close the gap on World No. 2 Novak Dojokovic, as he was projected to do.
The Serb entered the US Open weaker than he had ever looked in a long time, while Murray was riding the momentum of a Wimbledon Championship and a gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. If he’d gone on to win the Open, Murray would have finished the Slam season with the same amount of major titles as Djokovic, and it would have been the first time that the Scot had won two Slams in one year. As it turns out, though, Murray seems to be destined to be the Buzz Aldrin to Djokovic’s Neil Armstrong. Or Roger Federer’s. Or Rafael Nadal’s. Always the bridesmaid, huh Andy?
Murray starter the quarterfinals match strong, winning the first set 6-1, filling tennis betting fans with hope and confidence. Then, a gong sounded. Either The Undertaker was entering Arthur Ashe Stadium, Marc Bolan was playing his greatest hit somewhere nearby, or Nikifori invited some sumo buddies. In any case, the sound was the death knell for Murray. The chair umpire told the players to replay the point. Murray took umbrage to this, arguing that the chair umpire had earlier said they would play through such noises. Not having his way, Murray sulked and moped around the court and during changeovers, and was even caught on camera swiping at an innocent butterfly. Perhaps he was attempting to set in motion some sort of Butterfly Effect. However, Murray’s gameplay got even uglier than that movie. He 46 unforced errors, 25 of which came in the last two sets.
The rain also seemed to have a negative impact on Murray. They paused the game to close the roof, and he went to pieces. That is, Andy went to pieces. It was awful how he came unglued. Howie came unglued? No, Howie was a rock, but he bailed out. Buddy bailed out? No, Buddy hung tough. Andy bailed out. “I have not let anyone down,” Murray said in the post-match press conference. Well, at the very least you let down tennis betting fans who put their hard-earned money on you. Murray will have till next year in order to realize his deferred dream. And then, we will finally find out what happens to a dream deferred. Does it dry like a raisin in the sun? Does it fester like a sore? Does it smell like meat gone bad? Does it crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? Does it explode? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.