Murray Talks High Expectations For Madrid
Top seed seeks third Madrid title
The top seed will open his campaign against a wild card in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Marius Copil. After defeating Rafael Nadal to win the 2015 Madrid title and finishing runner-up last year to Novak Djokovic, he believes the environment at La Caja Mágica offers everything he needs to have another big week at this event.
“It's a great city, beautiful city. The venue is great for the fans. You have some really good courts. There's lots of fans watching the practices,” said Murray. “We have a lot of space in the gym, good food. They put on a really good event for all of the players. They’re always improving things each year and do a very good job.”
After being limited to one match in six weeks due to a right elbow injury, Murray is rounding into form on clay. The World No. 1 suffered a third-round loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, but avenged the loss one week later at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell en route to a semi-final finish. Following a week of rest and training at home, he feels even stronger heading into Madrid.
"Barcelona went really well for me. I got three matches in three days. I had the long, three-hour match with Albert Ramos-Vinolas on the Friday. I actually felt pretty good coming out to play again the next day and played some decent stuff there,” said Murray. “Practice here the last few days has been very good. I'm happy with how I'm playing. I'm starting to move better and feel like I served well the last few days, which is an important part of my game.
"I served well last year and my results improved a lot because of that. Obviously haven't served so well in Barcelona and Monte-Carlo,” he added. “It's not easy at this level to win matches if you're getting broken a lot. Hopefully I serve a bit better this week.”
Murray also acknowledged that second seed and defending champion Djokovic is in a similar situation, returning from a right elbow injury. The Serbian surprised many fans by announcing he had split with his entire team, but the Brit said the decision was understandable.
“It’s difficult traveling with the same person or same people for 10, 11, 12 years. It's very rare nowadays to see teams or coaching relationships last that long, just because of how intense it is. A lot of traveling, a lot of time away from families. You're spending a lot of hours in the day together,” said Murray. “I haven’t to spoken to him about that, but maybe Novak just felt like it was time for a change.
“But rather than seeing it as a negative thing, it's been obviously a very successful relationship he's had with all of those guys. I'm sure they parted on very good terms,” said Murray. “We’ll see what Novak's next moves are.”
For Murray, his next moves are solely centered around trying to win a third Madrid title. After an outstanding 2016 clay season that also included a title in Rome and runner-up finish at Roland Garros, he believes there’s no reason why those results can’t be matched or even surpassed.
“Expectations are high. I want to do well the next few weeks. In many ways, it's the most important part of the year. There's a lot of big tournaments that come very quickly, one after the other,” said Murray. “I’m motivated and looking forward to it.”