Back From The Brink Of Retirement, Andy Murray Lights Up Queen’s In Comeback - UBITENNIS
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Back From The Brink Of Retirement, Andy Murray Lights Up Queen’s In Comeback

It was a fairy-tale return for the former world No.1 in the British capital.

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Sir Andy Murray of Great Britain and Feliciano Lopez of Spain are pictured during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019. (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

QUEEN’S: To say that Andy Murray has had a turbulent past six months is an understatement.

 

Heading into the Australian Open, he didn’t know how or if he could continue his career. Telling reporters during a highly emotional press conference in Melbourne that he may have to walk away from the sport due to injury. Then after his first-round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut, a video was played of players paying tribute to him. A common occurrence that is used to mark somebody entering into retirement. However, Murray was determined to give it one last go.

Hip resurfacing surgery helped transform the three-time grand slam champion from the brink of despair to training once again on the courts. The journey has been testing both mentally and physically, but it was certainly worth it.

Teaming up with Feliciano Lopez at The Fever-Tree Championships, a packed crowd of more than 9000 spectators welcomed him back to the ATP Tour on Thursday. The cheers were back and so was Murray’s passion. Taking on top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, Murray and Lopez prevailed 7-6(5), 6-3. An impressive performance against the Colombian doubles specialists, who were runners-up at this year’s Australian Open.

I expected to enjoy the match because I told myself I was going to regardless of what happened.” A chuffed looking Murray said during his press conference.
“I spoke a bit about that with my coach and my team, regardless of the result, you need to make sure you enjoy this because a few months ago I had no clue whether I’d be back playing on a court.”

It wasn’t the first time Queen’s has served as the venue of Murray’s comeback. A year ago he played his first tournament of 2018 after being sidelined due to his hip. On that occasion, he fell to Nick Kyrgios in three sets. However, this time around, it is a different feeling for various reasons.

“This felt different to last year, because last year when I came in and played my hip felt very average. I was still pretty uncomfortable and I had done a lot of training. Things weren’t really getting better.” He explained.
“Whereas now I feel like although I’m not, you know, at my best kind of physically, I feel like I’m always making improvements and I have no pain.”

A cautious step forward
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Brazzingly admitting that he expected to be ‘the worst player on the court,’ it is clear that Murray’s return is gaining momentum. On the court, he chased after the ball and wasn’t afraid to throw himself around in order to win the point. Something that would have been unimaginable a couple of months ago.

In the foreseeable future, it looks like it will be a case of trial and error for Murray concerning his limitations. No date has been provided yet about when he will return to singles competition. Allowing him to focus solely on the doubles.

“I have zero discomfort in my hip after the match, nothing.” Murray states. “If I had done this last year, I’d be here aching, throbbing, and feel bad the next day.’
“So I’ll just keep pushing and see how it goes. But I feel optimistic about the future. I don’t know how long it will take to get to that level, but, you know, hopefully not too long.”

It was after his match with Lopez that Murray confirmed who would be teaming up with him at Wimbledon. Putting an end to the numerous speculation that has arisen in recent days. His partner will be France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Who won the 2016 Wimbledon title with Nicolas Mahut. Herbert had initially declined to play in the doubles at the upcoming grand slam before having a change of heart.

At The All England Club, the Brit has also indicated that he would be up for playing in the mixed doubles as well. Depending on how his fitness progresses. However, finding a partner isn’t as simple as he would like.

“I’ve asked singles players who had already committed to playing doubles, and they didn’t want to commit to playing in three events, which I completely understand because it’s a lot. If you have ambitions to go far in the singles, you maybe don’t want to commit to playing all three.” He said.

Murray will return to the grass court at Queens on Friday. In the time being, he can bask in his triumphant return to professional tennis.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Reaches Quarters In Cincinnati After Three-Set Win Over Sinner

The world number nine reached the quarterfinals after battling back to beat the Italian in three sets.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals of the Western and Southern Open after beating Jannik Sinner 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.

 

The Canadian served 14 aces and hit 29 winners in a match where he had to fight back from losing the first set on his way to sealing a spot in the final eight of the tournament.

“Jannik was just playing too good. I didn’t have a great start, I was missing a lot. But I just had no time. He was playing so fast, so precise, serving well. For a set and a half, it was just too good,” atptour.com quoted Auger-Aliassime as saying during his on-court interview. “That game he broke me in the second, returning on the baseline for three returns in a row, you can’t do much better, so I had to give it to him.
“But at the end, I was still on the court trying to find ways, trying to fight and trying to see how I could make him miss a few more balls and to put myself in a competing position and I did that well… To come back and play that way in the tie-break and the third set, that means a lot to me going forward.”

Sinner got the early break in the first set to take a 2-0 lead and broke a second time with the Montreal native serving to stay in the first set to seal it.

The second set stayed on serve until 3-2 when once again the Italian got the break of serve to take a 4-2 lead but Auger-Aliassime broke right back the following game. The set was eventually decided by a tiebreaker in which the world number nine raced out to a 4-0 lead, hitting some solid forehands and it looked like he had turned the match around. He won the breaker only losing a single point and sent the match into a deciding set.

The number seven seed kept the momentum going by breaking in the first game of the third set. He then earned a double break lead and was up 3-0 and broke a third time for a 4-1. Auger-Aliassime served out the match to book a date with Borna Coric who beat the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes.

The pair have met twice before in 2019. Auger-Aliassime won their encounter in Miami but Coric triumphed in Rome.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Quarterfinals Featuring Medvedev/Fritz and Alcaraz/Norrie

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Daniil Medvedev this week in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

Friday’s ATP singles quarterfinals feature six of the top 13 players in the world.  By contrast, in the WTA singles draw, the top five seeds have all been eliminated, and only two seeds remain.

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (11) – Not Before 1:00pm on Center Court

Medvedev has earned both his wins this week in straight sets, while Fritz came back from a set down on Thursday to defeat Daniil’s close friend Andrey Rublev.  The 24-year-old American is having the best year of his career, with a record of 35-13.  Taylor is on the verge of breaking into the top 10, and would be even closer to doing so had he received points for his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.  He earned his first Masters 1000 title at another North American hard court event earlier this year in Indian Wells.  In their first career meeting, Fritz has the firepower to pull off the upset, especially with a partisan crowd behind him.  But on a hard court, Medvedev remains the favorite to reach his third semifinal in Cincinnati.


Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Last on Center Court

This will be their fourth meeting within the past year, and thus far, all three have gone to Alcaraz.  That includes straight sets wins at the US Open and Indian Wells, and a three-set victory in Madrid on clay.  As impressive as Norrie has been across the past 18 months, no one has skyrocketed to new heights this past year like Alcaraz.  The 19-year-old is now 44-8 in 2022.  However, the sheer amount of tennis the youngster has played this year is concerning, despite his high level of fitness.  And many of those matches have been grueling, dramatic affairs.  Given his recent history with Norrie, Carlitos should be favored, though an upset by the British No.1 would not be a shocking result.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Madison Keys vs. Elena Rybakina – Keys upset world No.1 Iga Swiatek on Thursday.  Both Keys and Rybakina are yet to drop a set this week.  When they played at this year’s Roland Garros, Madison prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Ajla Tomljanovic (Q) vs. Petra Kvitova – Tomljanovic has survived four consecutive three-setters, going back to the last round of qualifying on Sunday.  Kvitova took out Ons Jabeur on Thursday. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. John Isner – Tsitsipas lead their head-to-head 4-2, and has taken their last four meetings.  Stefanos is vying for his third consecutive semifinal at this event.  Isner was a finalist here in 2013.

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Caroline Garcia – Pegula is now No.3 in the year-to-date rankings, with a record of 30-15.  However, Garcia has slightly bested that record, as she’s now 32-15 this season.  Jess is 2-1 against Caroline, though the Frenchwoman claimed their only meeting in 2022.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (7) vs. Borna Coric (Q) – Auger-Aliassime saved two match points on Thursday night in a comeback victory over Jannik Sinner.  Coric followed up his upset of Rafael Nadal by defeating another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.  Felix and Borna split two encounters back in 2019. 


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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