© Garrett Ellwood/USTA

Former champion Andy Murray falls in five sets to third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas after four hours and 44 minutes in the US Open first round.

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.

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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.”

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