Andy Murray Announces He Will Not Play Singles At The US Open
Former World No. 1 Andy Murray made his return to the singles court Monday for the first time since the Australian Open, falling in straight sets to Frenchman Richard Gasquet at the Western & Southern Open. And although he felt no major pain, the Scot announced that he will not be playing singles at the US Open.
“We were hoping to maybe hold a wild card until a little bit closer to the time to see how I feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice, “ Murray said. “[It was] a decision I made with my team. I didn't want to take a wild card today because I just didn't know how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to be fair for me to maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that.”
Murray added that he may potentially play singles next week in Winston-Salem, but that he plans to play men’s doubles and mixed doubles in Flushing Meadows. It’s not necessarily that anything in particular went wrong against Gasquet — there wasn’t something in the match that forced his hand — but Murray had to make a decision about accepting a wild card.
“If I would have taken the wild card and then not played, then I would have been getting loads of questions about my hip and, ‘Why has he turned it down? Is something wrong? What's the problem’?” Murray said. “It was more likely that I was not going to [play], because although I did fine in the match today, physically, my legs felt quite heavy at the end of the match, and that's probably not going to change a whole lot in a couple of weeks.”
The recent Fever-Tree Championships doubles titlist — partnering Feliciano Lopez, who along with Nick Kyrgios was in the Scot’s player’s box Monday — held his phone camera up as he walked onto the court, presumably recording the moment for his memory. Murray admits he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I think I did okay. I think there was a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match, but you also have to be somewhat realistic, as well, in terms of what you can expect in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball,” Murray said. “Richard, he uses all of the angles on the court. He's one of the best at doing that. So I was having to move quite a lot laterally, and I didn't move forward particularly well. Like when he drop-shotted, there was a few times I didn't even run to the ball, didn't react to it, and that's nothing to do with my hip. That's just me not running for a ball, which I did do that better at the end of the match. I reacted and got to a few and won points.”
Murray was broken immediately in both the first and second sets. But he showed his trademark grit on the court, battling hard throughout the one-hour, 37-minute encounter.
“The first game I felt quite nervous. [In] the first couple of games, it was actually pretty windy at the beginning. It was fine sort of midway through the first set, but right at the beginning it was pretty breezy, and I just felt a bit unsure of myself at the beginning and played a poor game to get broken,” Murray said. “I just haven't played a match for seven months. I hardly played before then, either. I haven't played many matches in the past 18 months, really.
“It's going to take time, and I haven't been practising lots of singles until recently. So I need time, and it's not going to come back in one week or one tournament. It's been a long process to get here, but to get back maybe to where I want to get is going to take a lot of time and a lot more work.”
There were positives to take away from his performance, though. After all, Murray wasn’t sure if he’d ever play again when there were tributes curated for him in Melbourne, just seven months ago.
“I think as the match went on, I feel like I played a little bit better. I started to serve better as it went on. I think I reacted to more balls as the match went on. I created a few more chances in the second set than I did in the first,” Murray said. “So there was a few good things, but there is also lots of things that I need to work on, not just physically, but in my game, as well. And that's what I always knew I was going to get out of this week is that I would get a lot of information and learn a lot from the match.”
The other nice thing for Murray is that the bigger concerns for him are in regards to rust rather than health. Before he underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January, he had to consistently worry about dealing with pain.
“My mentality changed a lot because I wasn't in pain anymore. And I was always worried, ‘What will I do with myself without tennis?’ But actually once I got rid of the pain, I realised I didn't really need tennis. Tennis wasn't the most important thing for me,” Murray said. “I'm obviously happy to be back playing. I thought it maybe would have changed my perspective completely on things, but I'm sitting here disappointed, which I think is probably a good thing, and if I want to get back to playing at a high level, if I was sort of just happy to be back on the court and not really worried about the outcome, then I'd be a bit maybe concerned about that.”