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Andy Murray has been backed to go on a deep run at Wimbledon after the Scot targeted securing a seeding for his home Grand Slam. The former world No.1 will ease up the rankings from world No.66 (depends on other results – about four places) after losing in the third round of the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut.
The Scot, 35, has yet to get beyond that stage with his metal hip but his low ranking gives him no protection in the early rounds.
He lost to world No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the 2021 US Open. And although he beat No.14 seed Matteo Berrettini in his opening match here, playing two five setters against the Italian and then Thanasi Kokkinakis left him out of gas for his painful four-set defeat to the Spaniard.
Getting back into the world’s top 32 and avoiding any seeds in the first round would leave more in the tank at future Slams.
“It does matter,” said Murray. “If you want to have good runs in these events you have to beat the best players at some stage. Obviously in the last few years some of the draws at Slams have been very tricky. I was quite clear that it was something I wanted to do last year to try and get into the seeded spots. It didn’t quite happen. Obviously I want to move my ranking up and see just how high I can go with everything that has gone on.
“I will certainly be trying to improve my ranking in the next few months.I can have a deeper run than the third round of a slam, there’s no question about that. Obviously draws can open up for you. I need to also help myself with that.”
Murray next plans to play in Rotterdam and Dubai next month and then the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami. He faces a decision over the claycourt season – he played in Madrid but not the French Open last year- before the build-up to grass.
His Davis Cup captain Leon Smith paid tribute to the physical stamina of the double Wimbledon champion but added: “I think an important thing is he’s playing great. The way he’s taken on the ball, the ball speed. His forehand looks great. His movement is excellent. He can go on a run at Wimbledon. He can. It’s going to be hard. Obviously it’s hard. But he’s gonna himself but he is giving himself every chance to be successful
“He’s going to give himself a really good shot of having a really, really good year playing the way he’s playing.
“He’s still motivated. He still wants to get back into the top 32 to be seeded to do even more damage at Slam and to still have that motivation to keep going just to achieve more and just incredible, isn’t it?”
Smith praised the contribution of Ivan Lendl in his third spell as Murray’s head coach.
“You can see that complete belief in Andy and what you can do,” added the Davis Cup skipper. “But the whole team plays a massive part in it. And it’s got to be driven by Andy obviously and his passion is off the charts.”
Murray, who will turn 36 in May, clocked up over 14 hours on court in Melbourne. That included his longest and latest ever match against Kokkinakis which left him with blisters and a sore back before facing No.24 seed Bautista Agut only 39 hours later.
“I think what he’s done this week has been one of the most impressive physical acts any athlete could do,” said Smith. “The Berrettini match on in its own was remarkable. Then go again and do what he did against Kokkinakis who was playing really, really well. Anyone of 25 would have been in tatters after those first two matches and he gets out and makes it an unbelievably competitive match. His heart is unbelievable. And you find it emotional watching him when he’s doing it. You talk about a role model, that desire, that hunger. We’ve talked about it throughout his career but it’s even more prominent now. He obviously talked about being proud himself – and he damn well should be.”
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