Murray encouraged by progress after Zhuhai second round exit: ‘My movement is much better than six weeks ago’

andrewhendrie in Uncategorized 27 Sep 2019
Andy Murray (PA Images)
Andy Murray believes he’s playing ‘top 60-70 level’ tennis after being knocked out of the Zhuhai Tennis Championships in the second round by rising star Alex de Minaur on Thursday night.
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Murray, playing in just his third tour-level event since hip resurfacing surgery in January, won the opening set against de Minaur, but couldn’t hang with the younger Australian as the energy-sapping match dragged on, with the seventh seed breaking at 4-4 in the third to complete a 4-6 6-2 6-4 victory in two hours and 42 minutes.
Despite the defeat, Murray will be encouraged by his two performances in Zhuhai, especially after winning his first tour-level match since his hip surgery against Tennys Sandgren – the man who beat him in Winston-Salem, which shows promising progress.

Andy Murray (PA Images)

Ever the competitor however, Murray was disappointed he couldn’t finish off de Minaur in the hot and humid conditions in Zhuhai.

“Physically, I was struggling,” he said. “My level dropped off a little bit and he capitalised on that. My body held up well after two pretty long matches but the rest of my body is just tired.

“I wasn’t able to sustain it for long enough. I played one or two good points, but then I was trying to finish the points a little bit early and shot selection goes down when you’re tired.”

While the loss hurt, Murray could also see the positives from his two matches in Zhuhai as he amps up his schedule in the coming weeks, with the Scot set to play in Beijing next week, followed by events at the Shanghai Masters and European Open in Antwerp.

“My movement is much better than it was about six weeks ago, eight weeks ago,” said the three-time major champion. “It’s nice to finish a long match like that [the Sandgren win] and not have pain in my hip and problems sleeping afterwards.

“Yesterday was the first time in my entire career that I didn’t practice the day before a match. I was tired after the first round and tried to sort of rest and recover as much as possible.

“I’m trying to look at just other ways to give my body a bit of a break and a rest when I can. I was hitting the ball very well, but my shot selection [and] mentality could be better. The more matches that I play physically, I’ll get a bit better as well.”

Murray will now turn his attention to the ATP 500-level China Open in Beijing next week, where he will compete alongside the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.