When you hear the words 'Wimbledon Final', it's hard not to relive the day last July when Andy Murray became the first British man to win the coveted trophy in 77 years. The nation rejoiced in patriotism that our first real contender had finally put us out of our misery of mediocrity.
But what has happened since for the sensational Scot? In terms of notable wins, not a whole lot. With no championship victories in any of his tour outings, let alone Grand Slams, Murray's form leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of a nation whose optimism rests solely on his shoulders.
This is a far cry from the unbeatable Andy that stormed onto court last year. It is certain that his performance in Flushing Meadows in 2012 - in which he was the first British male to win a single's title since Fred Perry in 1936 - set Murray up for the tournament of a lifetime at SW19 the next summer. After the disappointment of his 2012 outing at Wimbledon, you could almost feel the fire in his heart to win on home soil.
However, can we be so critical of Murray given the circumstances of his 2014 season? Undoubtedly, Murray's back surgery has had a major effect on the tennis star, halting training for months whilst in recovery. But what is noticeable is his seemingly new lack of consistency during longer matches.
If we take the 2014 French Open as an example, Murray had been up two sets in both his opening match against Gobulev, and indeed in his quarter final match against crowd-favourite Monfils, yet allowed the pair to even the play out to two sets all. Eventually, Murray won both matches, but only after a painful and energy-wasting effort. Perhaps a conservation of this energy would have allowed Murray to make a stronger attempt at beating Nadal; the Spaniard annihilated the Scot in a straight-set victory to reach the final.
The addition of Amélie Mauresmo to his coaching team (the pair are dubbed 'Murresmo') personally came as a major anti-climax. Despite the couple challenging the 'female trainer' stereotype, will 'Murresmo' recapture the fire of 2013? After the success of Ivan Lendl, who appeared to understand Murray's struggle and strive to win Grand Slams, Mauresmo has fallen flat after Murray's substandard performance at Queen's.
The tournament, usually a Murray stronghold having won three times previously, demonstrated his lack of precision. In his third-round match play was dismal: the 27-year old looked down and out, despite being ranked eleven places higher than his opponent. Murray commented that he was 'looking towards Wimbledon' upon the abrupt exit in a court where victory had been so common for him.
So what are we to expect at Wimbledon? Certainly not a victory. If we are to take Murray's form from earlier in the year, we should expect to see him reach the quarterfinals, perhaps semi-finals at the most. His current inability to sustain his signature excellence will get the better of him, and will ultimately see him bowing out to the powerhouses which litter the top ten.Suggest a correction