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Citi Open: Davis Cup success can inspire Andy Murray

03 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Citi Open: Davis Cup success can inspire Andy Murray

Andy Murray returns to action for the first time since leading Great Britain into the semi-finals in Washington this week

Andy Murray probably didn’t want to be playing competitive tennis just days after his crushing Wimbledon semi-final defeat to Roger Federer last month.

Two weeks on from inspiring Great Britain to their first Davis Cup semi-final in 34 years, however, and Murray will be glad he did as preparations for the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, get under way.

The world No. 3 showed incredible resolve while representing his country – playing three best-of-five-set matches in three days and winning the lot – although that is a characteristic he has never been short of. Crucially, though, the performance should have accelerated the process of moving on from his galling loss at SW19.

So having enjoyed some time away from the courts – first on holiday before undertaking some promotional activity for sponsors Under Armour at their Baltimore headquarters – a refreshed Murray begins his North American hard-court campaign at the Citi Open in nearby Washington this week.

In playing for the first time since 2006, Murray is repeating the tactic of adding a smaller tournament to his schedule prior to attempting to claim the sport’s biggest prizes. It worked brilliantly on the clay, where he won his first two titles on the surface – at Munich and the Masters 1000 Madrid respectively – before matching his best-ever finish at the French Open by reaching the semi-finals.

The extra matches help Murray find his optimum level, but fatigue is something he will have to be mindful of if he is to arrive at Flushing Meadows at the end of the month in peak condition.

15/1 – Andy Murray to win a Grand Slam in 2015

Having committed to playing three events in the next three weeks – the Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati directly follow this week’s tournament – he is potentially putting a strain on a body that has already played more matches at this stage of the season than in any previous campaign, even more so when considering how the weather and surface can be unforgiving in this part of the world.

Murray is too meticulous in his preparation to take unnecessary risks and, aware that his main rivals also happen to be some of the game’s greatest-ever players, he might also be taking a pragmatic view – as opposed to defeatist – that progressing to the latter stages of each competition is not guaranteed. For various reasons, he has not played his best tennis during this this stage of the year since winning his maiden major title three years ago.

The good news is that, unlike at Wimbledon, the 28-year-old is unlikely to face anyone who plays as well against him as Federer did. That performance was an anomaly. A fit and in-form Murray – he has lost just two of his last 29 matches – is as capable as anyone on the surface, particularly if the wind starts to blow.

To claim a third Grand Slam title and cement his position as a legend of the game, Murray is probably going to have to overcome the aforementioned Swiss master and, of course, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic – the only two players who have beaten him in best-of-five matches this year.

But that is a challenge Murray relishes.

Claiming a fourth ATP title of the year this week – where he could potentially face US Open finalist Kei Nishikori and the man who beat him in last year’s final, Marin Cilic – would set the tone nicely.

And help to banish the memories of that Federer loss for good.

7/5 – Andy Murray to win the Citi Open

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