2010 is the year that has seen Jurgen Melzer finally deliver on his talent. 29 is an advanced age to proclaim
a breakthrough, but the Austrian is certainly playing the best tennis of his career
and is finishing the season strong enough to suggest he can improve in his 30s.
Melzer defeated the ATP odds and recorded a first career win against Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters and is well-placed to reach just his send ever semi final. His first came at
this year’s French Open, showing how much the mercurial left-hander has
Melzer is a regular presence in the middle stages of Grand Slam events – his first round exit at this year’s
Australian Open was his only opening round exit at a major in 15 appearances –
but he has previously struggled to trouble the top players.
He admittedly lost in convincing fashion to Nadal and Roger Federer in the second week of the other three Slams
this season, but his victory over the world number one in China should give him
confidence that he can trouble the elite in the big matches.
ATP tour betting pundits now how he beat Novak Djokovic from two sets down in the Roland Garros quarter finals in
June, which was perhaps the best win of his lengthy career. Melzer’s
improvement this season has coincided with his dedication to doubles, which has
helped his volleying and court sense. He always had the power, now he has the
subtlety and touch.
That was the first time he had advanced past the third round of a major and there should now be no stopping
the man from Vienna. It has been a long time coming, but the man who won junior
Wimbledon in 1999 is finally living up to expectations.