Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Well, it's been 13 months since Andy Murray's reached a final. Could this week be the week?
At the time of this article, the former world No. 2 British star was into the quarterfinals at the Canadian Masters event in Toronto and scheduled to meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a chance to move into the weekend at the Rogers Cup, where he's a two-time champ (2009-10).
The last time Murray appeared in a final was at Wimbledon in July of last year, and he prevailed at the All England Club by beating his good friend Novak Djokovic in straight sets.
But not long after giving Britain its first men's Wimbledon singles champ in 77 years, Murray surrendered to back problems, so much so that he required surgery for the problem in late September. Murray did not play again until January of this year, and is still seeking his first championship berth of 2014.
The 27-year-old 6-foot-3 native of Scotland even made a coaching change this year, parting ways with Ivan Lendl in March and replacing the all-time great with former women's world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo in June. Mauresmo is already Murray's sixth coach since he turned pro in 2005.
With Mauresmo at his side, Murray crashed out against rising Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals at Wimby. And after opening the year at No. 4, AM (not Amelie Mauresmo, but Andy Murray) is now down to No. 9 in the world. The last time he finished a year that low (for him) in the rankings was when he came in at No. 11 in 2007. It's been a while.
Note: Murray's Grand Slam losses this year have come against 17-time Grand Slam king Roger Federer, 14-time major champ Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova's boyfriend, Dimitrov.
Prior to this week, Murray had appeared in 11 events this season and reached only two semifinals (Acapulco and the French Open) and five quarterfinals, including the Aussie Open and Wimbledon, but no finals.
The two-time Grand Slam champ and 2012 Olympic gold medalist had grown accustomed to reaching finals, having done so 42 times at the ATP level, including seven majors (2-5). Heck, prior to this year he'd performed in four of the last five Slams he played in, winning his major titles along the way, guided by Lendl.
Last year alone, the counterpunch artist AM landed in five finals, going 4-1, with his only loss coming against Djokovic at the Aussie.
But '14's been awfully dry for the Brit. At least until this point.
Note: Last year, Murray became only the sixth man in tennis history to have won over $30 million in career prize money.
If Murray is indeed all the way back, he could face Federer (or someone else) in his first final in quite a while on Sunday. He's won 11 of his last 14 matches on tour and appears primed to make another run.
Toronto is his first tournament back since the setback against Dimitrov at the Big W.
"After Wimbledon, I went over to Miami and I really trained like I used to for the first time since the surgery and I felt much better," said Murray.
Did You Know?: The last time Murray failed to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal was at the 2010 U.S. Open (3rd round).
For the record, I still think Murray has some major titles in him. I just wouldn't count on any of 'em happening this year.