“My opinion is that you should set yourself the best-in-the-world standards for everything that you do.” Andy Murray is not playing at this year’s US Open simply to make up the numbers.
Murray will be making his first singles appearance at a Grand Slam event since the 2019 Australian Open where he was on the verge of quitting tennis.
Two hip surgeries later and having seemingly recovered from the pelvic issues that sidelined him before the Covid-19 shutdown in March, the Scot is not fooling anyone.
Despite having played only three matches on the ATP Tour since last October, the 33-year-old has not entered the Big Apple’s bio-secure bubble simply to make up the numbers.
Murray, who is currently ranked 134, insists he will continue to set himself the highest of standards for what remains of his career as he prepares to face Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round.
“Well, my opinion is that you should set yourself the best-in-the-world standards for everything that you do because then it means that you’re going to prepare properly for tournaments,” he said.
“You’re going to train hard, you’re going to take care of all of the details because that’s what the best in the world do, whatever job it is.
“That’s why they are the best, so if you do all of that stuff right, that’s positive. And if on the match courts you fall short of that, I’d rather fall short of the best-in-the-world standards rather than sort of accept, ‘Okay, I’m going to play 80, 100 in the world, that’s going to be my standard this week and if I play at that level, I’m happy’.”
If I can stay healthy, I’ll have some more good moments on the tennis court.
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At the Western & Southern Open, held at Flushing Meadows, Murray showed glimpses of his former self when he beat world No 7 Alexander Zverev in the second round – his first win over a top-10 player since 2017.
The two-time Wimbledon champion now turns his attention to the US Open, where he won his first major in 2012, confident that the pain which blighted his last visit is behind him.
He said: “I really was not feeling good at all when I played it last. I fought as hard as I could, but it’s not that enjoyable when you’re feeling so uncomfortable on the court.
“At least I’m a lot more comfortable now, so I will be able to enjoy the experience more.”
In reality a run to the third or fourth round would be a sizeable feat for a player whose hip was rebuilt in January 2019 in a last desperate attempt to salvage his career.
Andy Murray at the US Open
Murray hopes he has inspired others to battle their way back from surgery after admitting he was “annoyed” when surgeons advised him to stop playing tennis.
“It’s a challenge playing with a metal hip. It’s not that easy. I have learned lots, learned lots about myself. It’s been a good journey,” he said.
“Hopefully I have inspired some people who have got these issues and might have the operation, to try and show that you can keep going.
“There are a lot of people that told me I should stop, which probably made me want to do it even more. A few surgeons and things that told me it was done, which annoyed me a lot.
“After the latest setback in November, I was pretty gutted, to be honest, about that. It was, like, ‘I’m back, I can play, I can compete, I can win tournaments’, and stuff, and then I got a setback and I didn’t really know whether that was going to get better or not, so that was hard.
“But I think if I can stay healthy, I’ll have some more good moments on the tennis court.”
I’m appreciative of the effort that the USTA has put into getting this event on and making it as safe as possible for all of the players as difficult as it has been. I think they’ve done done a really, really good job.
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Murray has also praised the efforts of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for doing the “best job that they could have done under the circumstances” in keeping everyone safe inside the bio-secure bubble, despite the odd teething problem.
He said: “Maybe some were concerned about the safety. Some might have been not wanted to play under these sort of conditions like inside the bubble and things like that. I don’t know for sure, but I can say that any of the kind of doubts and stuff that I would have had before coming here…. You know, it’s been really good.
“A few things that maybe you would like it to be different, but these are hard and difficult times. And I’m appreciative of the effort that the USTA has put into getting this event on and making it as safe as possible for all of the players as difficult as it has been. I think they’ve done a really, really good job.
“The players being concerned about the hotel being too far for example, because we can’t do ice baths and things like that on site which for me is an important part of my recovery. You have to wait until you get back into the hotel.
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