Outside of the glare of the big-money evening matches, Andy Murray is still remembered fondly whenever his name is said. But the 2012 US Open champion isn’t wrapping up his career with a farewell tour.
Despite having a metal hip and having come close to retiring, Murray’s body and mind have reached a remarkable synergy coming up to this year’s competition. Three-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic is into the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 2017 and the first time ever outside of Wimbledon.
“My movement around the court is terrific right now,” Murray said following his second-round win over Emilio Nava on Wednesday. It’s getting harder for guys to knock winners past me, and my corner defense is significantly improved over where it was a year ago.
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As a result, “I’m not having to worry about, you know, the next day waking up with something that is going to really affect me or impair my tennis.”
In the years between 2010 and 2013, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray swept the Grand Slam titles (their record since the French Open in 2005 is ridiculous, winning all but seven of the Slams to date).
Nadal’s ankle is his hamartia, Federer is recovering from knee surgery, and Djokovic’s attempt to surpass Nadal’s 23 Slams has been impeded by his stance on the COVID-19 immunization, despite all of the mastery of their profession. In late 2017 and early 2018, it appeared like Murray’s persistent hip issues might be insurmountable. On Rod Laver Arena during the 2019 Australian Open, a retirement montage was shown in his honor.
So that he could go up and down the stairs and play with his kids without discomfort, he underwent hip resurfacing surgery that year. In fact, it has helped him extend his career.
At times, he has reminded me of “The Fighting Temeraire,” another sign of an era’s passing, when he seems unwilling to do what needs to be done. He has been candid about his impending death in tennis.
After losing in the third round to Denis Shapovalov at Wimbledon 2021, he debated if he should continue battling. He said, “Are all that training and everything that you’re doing in the gym unless you’re able to like practice and better your game and get a run of tournaments, like, is it worth all of the effort that you’re doing?”
The hip, though, has been holding up, and he has been able to maintain a regular practice schedule this year. It’s also fair to state that there have been the standard amount of scrapes and bruises.
Before Wimbledon, he strained his abdominal muscle. He’s had cramping problems in the States, and although scans and sweat testing ruled out external factors, he and his support staff have been working to find the right balance between hydration and nutrition. So, in addition to taking on No. 24 seed Francisco Cerundolo and then No. 12 seed Nava, he has had to consume 1.5 liters of sports drink every 40 minutes while playing in Flushing Meadows.
Murray’s keen understanding of the game caught Cerundolo off guard. Murray’s return game was superb, despite the fact that he was a little slow between points. In his post-match press conference, Murray said, “I don’t read every single shot, but once you start to play more matches, [you] get a bit more comfortable with your movement, which I do feel like now I’m moving a lot better than I was at this time last year.
” “Now that I’ve played more matches, I’m beginning to see things a little bit easier on the match court, and that, you know, when you combine the two, makes quite a big difference to my movement.”
Murray still shows glimpses of the 2012 US Open, 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon champion, and 2016 men’s singles Olympic gold medalist and world No. 1 who he once was. Ivan Lendl, who was in his corner during his achievements, has returned as his coach.
According to Murray, Lendl has been extremely forthright about how he should play and approach matches if he wants to return to the peak of his game. Murray’s keen understanding of the game caught Cerundolo off guard. Murray’s return game was superb, despite the fact that he was a little slow between points.
The more matches you play, the more comfortable you become with your mobility, and I do feel like today I’m moving a lot better than I was at this time last year, Murray said after his second-round victory over Nava. My mobility has improved greatly because “I’ve got more matches under my belt, so I’m starting to see things a little bit easier on the match court.”
It’s not hard to see glimmers of the Murray who won three Grand Slams (2012 US Open, 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon), two Olympic men’s singles gold medals (2012 and 2016), and topped the world rankings in 2016.
The man who was most instrumental in his achievement, Ivan Lendl, is now serving as his coach once again. According to Murray, Lendl has been extremely forthright about how he should play and approach matches if he wants to return to the peak of his game.
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