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Murray takes wildcard into Winston-Salem Open as he prioritizes singles return: 'Doubles is done for me'

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 16 Aug 2019
  • Andy Murray has taken a wildcard into the Winston-Salem Open
  • Murray confirms change of heart with regard to US Open doubles
  • 'Doubles is done for me'
Andy Murray in action at the Cincinnati Masters (PA Sports)

Andy Murray has taken a wildcard into the Winston-Salem Open as he focuses on his return to singles.



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Former world no. 1 Andy Murray has ramped up the focus on his comeback to singles in the wake of January's hip surgery.

Murray has been playing solely doubles since returning to competition at Queen's Club in June, but after playing his first singles match since January at the Cincinnati Masters, he has decided to focus his energies on making his singles comeback.

As a consequence, Murray has accepted a singles wildcard to the Winston-Salem Open, an ATP Tour 250-level event played in North Carolina next week.

Murray at the Australian Open, playing what he feared could be his last singles match (PA Sports)
'What I need now is matches. I want to get myself back on the singles court and keep testing myself. Winston-Salem is a perfect place for me to do that,' Murray said.

'I know from speaking to players who have played there that the site is great... Good facilities for practice, gym. The weather will be good from what I've seen. It's another step for me in the comeback, and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I can have a good run.'

The tournament has been held in Winston-Salem for the past eight years and includes John Isner, Kevin Anderson and Roberto Bautista Agut among its champions. Daniil Medvedev is the defending champion but is not scheduled to appear at the event this year.

Murray suffered a 4-6, 4-6 defeat to Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters but was reasonably encouraged by his first match since losing to Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open in January - a match he feared might be his last.

Murray subsequently underwent hip resurfacing surgery and has been trying to rebuild his body and career in the aftermath.

After losing to Gasquet, Murray confirmed that he would not be playing singles at the US Open but planned to play men's doubles and mixed doubles, although he had not yet arranged a partner for either.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has since changed his mind, telling the BBC on Thursday: 'I'm not going to play doubles at the US Open.

'My goal is to get back playing at the level that I want to on the singles court, and I've decided that I need to focus all my energies on that right now. The US Open, doubles and mixed, can be another couple of weeks that you are slowing things down.'

Murray and his doubles partner Feliciano Lopez are in the quarterfinals of the men's doubles at the Cincinnati Masters, where they are due to face Murray's brother Jamie and his partner Neal Skupski on Friday.

Murray and his brother Jamie playing doubles at the Citi Open (PA Sports)
Murray could take the decision to play a Challenger event during the US Open.

'It depends how Winston-Salem goes,' he told the BBC

'The feeling I have had since my singles was that I played decent, but that physically between now and the end of the year I want to get matches in so that for the beginning of next year, I'm feeling ready.

'So if I do well in Winston-Salem, I'll know my level is good enough and I'm ready to win matches at tour level, but if not it makes sense to drop down a level and maybe play some smaller tournaments.'

Murray is already scheduled to play at the Zhuhai Championships and the China Open in Beijing in late September and early October.

'I want matches, and that's what I need right now,' Murray said.

'It doesn't feel like I need to play the main draw of every single tour event. I've hardly played the last couple of years and, having discussed with my team, after this week I think doubles is done for me for the time being.

'I need to focus my mind on getting matches on the singles court. There aren't many tournaments between now and the end of the year.'

The main draw for the Winston-Salem Open will take place on Friday afternoon local time.



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Murray takes wildcard into Winston-Salem Open as he prioritizes singles return: 'Doubles is done for me'

Andy Murray won't play doubles at the US Open and may compete at a Challenger in singles during the tournament as he focuses on his return to singles, starting with next week's Winston-Salem Open for which he has accepted a wildcard

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