Andy Murray has high expectations for his 2022 grass season.
The British chose to skip much of the European clay swing to concentrate on their preparations for the grass. After opening his campaign at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart with a comfortable win over Australian qualifier Christopher O’Connell, the Briton believes he can already feel that decision paying off.
“Compared to last year, I feel completely different,” Murray said. “Last year I barely rehearsed in the Queen’s pre-construction, and when I did I didn’t move. [well]I didn’t feel well until about four days before Wimbledon, and then I actually felt good. But my preparation was non-existent. ”
Murray found some pace on the grass at the Surbiton Trophy in his homeland last week, reaching the semifinals at the ATP Challenger Tour event. He believes match practice is key as he looks for another deep run this week at the ATP 250 in Stuttgart.
“This year I practiced for three weeks on the grass, I really didn’t have any physical problems that hindered me in my preparation. I got a lot of matches last week, and hopefully a few more in the next two weeks in the run-up to Wimbledon. ”
FOLLOW THIS WEEK’S ACTIONS
Even at 35, Murray’s desire to compete at the top level shows no sign of declining. Just as Rafael Nadal, one year his senior, spoke of his desire to compete despite a chronic foot problem, Murray admits that his own long journey back from hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019 has not always been easy. However, going to court at the top level does everything worthwhile for World No. 68.
“[My motivation] comes from enjoying the sport, loving the sport, ”said Murray. “My situation is a little different from his [Nadal’s]with the operation I had.
“I think he’s playing to try to break records and win the main events. You absolutely have to love it and be willing to play through some pain as you become an older athlete, but I think it’s easier to play through the pain. when you compete for major titles.
“For me the past four or five years have been very different to that, playing Challengers and my ranking has dropped. I feel like our situations are different, but in the end the reasons I still play are because I love the game, and because I still think I can compete at the highest level. ”
Murray scored some impressive victories in 2022. He defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili and Reilly Opelka on their way to the final in Sydney in January, and eliminated Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov in the only event he played on clay at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 46-time tour-level titleholder believes he can still beat anyone on Tour in his day, but admits he has yet to regain the consistency that led him to three Grand Slam and 14 ATP Masters 1000 titles.
“I haven’t shown that consistently in the last few years, but on one-off results, I’ve done it,” Murray said. “I’ve beaten a lot of the best guys in the world since I came back, but not consistently. I hope now that with no injuries and many tournaments, I will be back soon. ”
With Nadal breaking a record by extending the 22nd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros on Sunday, Murray is delighted to see players of his own generation still pushing for major titles. Murray also remains hopeful of a 26th tour-level meeting with Roger Federer, with the Swiss star ready to make his return to the ATP Tour after knee surgery later at the September Laver Cup.
“I’d love to see Roger play again,” Murray said. “It’s always hard to know when the end is.
“Obviously, people have been talking about it for many years. The next generation has passed, [but] the same guys are still winning the Grand Slam and I would love to see Roger compete again. I don’t know his situation, but I believe he will return to competition. I don’t know how long, but I really hope we can play another tournament together. It’s been a long time coming. ”