Murray: ‘I Know I’m Capable Of Playing That Tennis’
Former No. 1 pleased with fitness despite first-round loss
The pain of defeat still stokes Andy Murray’s competitive fire. The 2012 US Open champion’s fitness and fight were on full display against third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a gripping five-set first-round defeat on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night.
Despite the 2-6, 7-6(7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 result, the former No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings showed he was still able to match it with the best. It was vintage Murray in the opening set and the 34-year-old held set points for a two-set lead only to concede the tie-break.
The World No. 112 looked to become the lowest-ranked player to beat a Top 3 opponent at the US open and had regained the ascendancy when he rebounded for a two-sets-to-one lead. He had the Greek staring down a second straight Grand Slam first-round exit after defeat to Frances Tiafoe at Wimbledon, but fell short after four hours and 44 minutes.
“I've said it a lot over these past few months that I know I'm capable of playing that tennis. I need to spend time on the court, getting the chance to play against these guys,” Murray said. “Ultimately, when I get on the court with them, I need to prove it. I guess tonight I proved some things to a certain extent. Obviously didn't win the match tonight.
“From a physical perspective, I thought I did quite well. I would have liked to have done a little bit better physically at times, but there were also other circumstances that were not helping that either.
“Overall I did well tonight, but I'm really, really disappointed... after that, frustrated, all those things. Really disappointed.”
Having tested Hubert Hurkacz and Frances Tiafoe in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem in second-round defeats leading in, Murray admitted his fitness was there but errors had cost him in matches. In a positive sign, he finished with 38 unforced errors on Monday night, 13 less than his opponent.
It was the first time Murray had fallen in the opening round at Flushing Meadows in 15 outings and also a first time he had been caught out on his footwear. Late in the second set, on a humid New York evening, the 34-year-old realised he had only one pair of shoes and tried to dry them out with a cold-air hose at the change of ends.
“That's my bad, but I've never had that happen in a match. The shoes I was wearing were pretty new,” Murray said. “I've never had issues with my shoes during a match before. Certainly never what was happening there.
“The shoes got so wet that at the end of the set I was slipping basically and was losing balance. That's why I needed to change after the set and it was fine. But I guess something for me to learn from and in the future make sure that doesn't happen again.”