Jack Pitt-Brooke: It's an ill wind that blows Andy Murray into the right time slot after the footy
View From The Sofa: US Open tennis, Sky Sports 2
There is nothing quite like the weather to add an extra layer of drama, and an extra level of challenge, to sport which already provides enough of both. Andy Murray's US Open semi-final with Tomas Berdych, a typical Murray arc of struggle and stardust, was battered by the most vandalising winds.
Two rare tornadoes were in town, tearing through the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, delaying the start of the semi-final, scattering litter across the court, swerving the ball away from the servers, and gifting the Sky Sports team something mercifully distracting to discuss.
In a sense, the weather saved the coverage too. Anticipating the onset of the storm, the scheduled start of the semi-final was brought forward from 5pm to 4pm. Sky Sports 2, though, had planned a Scottish Saturday sequence: Scotland v Serbia, kicking off at 3pm, followed immediately by the tennis. Had Murray started on time, viewers would have been left watching the blunt blundering of Charlie Adam and Kenny Miller while a different Scot played sport from a different category thousands of miles away. But the generous intervention of torrential rain pushed the start time back to its original point. Patriotic Scots who had not been pushed into sleep or manic rage by another Craig Levein tactical masterpiece could allow their mood to be improved by the start of the tennis straight after.
The rain had passed in time for Murray to start after the football, but the wind was relentless. Greg Rusedski, Annabel Croft and Boris Becker all promised that the weather would aid the sharper-footed Murray over his slower opponent. But Berdych won the first set, and the match was recast as two separate battles of will, between each player and the weather, with little interaction between the two. Spirit-based explanations are obviously preferable to technical ones, and so Mark Petchey was quick to quote Dan Gable. "Gold medals aren't really made of gold," he sentimentalised. "They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."
The wind, blowing crisp packets and hot-dog wrappers across the court, made for perfect plot device. Croft described "the most horrendous conditions", Petchey bemoaned the lack of roof, and said that the game had "turned from serious tennis into comedy". So as Murray grew into the game and started to outplay Berdych, as he did with ferocious second and third sets, it was framed as an inevitable victory of will. "Murray is slowly imposing his character on the match today," said Becker. Leif Shiras called it "the perfect storm".
It was a resounding victory in the end, and Sky showed Murray's post-match press conference, graced by the arrival of two famous old Scots, Sean Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson. They were delighted that their young compatriot had overcome the weather to give Scotland a shot at international sporting glory – certainly a better one than Levein will provide.
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
McDowell did brilliantly to land the World Match Play title in Bulgaria last week, but it’s a format...
by Gareth Purnell
23 May 2013 09:13 AM
David Moyes delighted after Rio Ferdinand agrees to stay at Manchester United with new one-year contract
Sergio Garcia / Tiger Woods 'fried chicken' racism row takes fresh twist after 'coloured athletes' comment
After racist remark, Sergio Garcia fights for reputation as Tiger Woods slams 'hurtful' fried chicken joke
New Manchester City manager must deliver five trophies in five years
Manchester United slash interest bill by £10m a year
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.