Is Andy Murray’s French Open Crushing A Blip Or A Sign Of Things To Come? - UBITENNIS
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Is Andy Murray’s French Open Crushing A Blip Or A Sign Of Things To Come?

Murray was nowhere near his best but how much should be read into his latest defeat?

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When the draw for the French Open men’s tournament took place there was one first round match that caught everybody’s attention.

Andy Murray was pitched to play against Stan Wawrinka in what would be their 21st clash on the Tour and a repeat of the 2017 semi-finals. Some went as far as billing it as the match to see on the opening day of the 2020 Championships but in reality it turned out to be a let down. Leaving Murray facing some uncomfortable questions.

The showdown of the Grand Slam winners concluded with Wawrinka comprehensively winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, in exactly 100 minutes. Although amazingly almost a quarter (23 minutes) of that match took place over the first three games. Murray was nowhere to be seen, lacked his fiery passion and seemed to almost admit defeat before it had even happened. 

“I need to have a long, hard think. It’s not for me the sort of match I would just brush aside and not give any thought to,” Murray said after.
“There are obviously reasons behind a performance like that. I think that’s probably in terms of scoreline, I might be wrong, but I think that’s maybe the worst of my career in a Grand Slam.’
“I don’t feel like the conditions are an excuse for it. I don’t feel like that’s a valid reason, maybe to not enjoy the matches as much when it’s like that, but not in terms of it shouldn’t affect your performance in any way.”

Amid the concern it is important to put Murray’s latest match into some context. His clash with Wawrinka on clay was the first time he has played a competitive match on the surface since 2017 at the same event. Coincidentally it was also against Wawrinka but in the semi-final stage. Since then he has undergone two hip surgeries and at one stage contemplated walking away from the sport for good.

The Brit is known and respected for his fighting spirit on the Tour but in reality is the curtain starting to slowly come down on his illustrious career?

“There have been matches that I have played since I came back where I hit the ball well.  I know it wasn’t the best match at times, but (Alexander) Zverev was a couple of points away from winning the US Open, and I won against him the week beforehand,” an upbeat Murray reflected.
“It’s going to be difficult for me to play the same level as I did before. I mean, I’m 33 now and I was ranked No. 1 in the world, so it’s difficult with all the issues that I have had.”

Undoubtedly Murray still has the tools to threaten others on the ATP Tour but when it comes to best-of-five matches there is more uncertainty. Since 2018 he has only been able to play singles in four Grand Slam events due to injury setbacks and hasn’t won back-to-back matches at any of those. Leaving the question of where does he go from here?

Potentially he could try to change his game in some way or even consider playing just doubles at Grand Slams which he did at Wimbledon last year. Although Murray is stubborn and rarely gives in when he is facing adversity. For him, the plan is to make the most out of what he has and hope for the best.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that easy for me to change at this stage in my career, even though it’s something I have considered and looked at,” he said.
“When I play my best tennis of being an offensive baseliner that’s what I need to make sure I am doing.
“I need to play better to allow me to play the right way.”

It remains to be seen what will happen to Murray in the coming months. Although he can seek solace in the continued support from his peers which Wawrinka emphasised during his press conference.

“Andy won everything that you can win in tennis. He was No.1. He had an amazing career. He’s been back now after having hip surgery. Nobody expected him to come back on the tour. He’s getting back, he’s an amazing champion and it’s always going to be special to play against him,” the Swiss player concluded.

Unfortunately the chances of Murray expanding his Grand Slam trophy collection are slim at present. He could prove critics wrong like he has done with his hip recovery but it could be argued that this would be an even greater achievement.

Murray is down, but not quite out just yet.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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