Andy Murray leads a six-strong British charge at the US Open on Tuesday, desperate to make amends for a two-day second round defeat Wimbledon which still stings.
The 36 year-old Scot remains unhappy about the circumstances around his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat him when their match resumed outdoors after a late night suspension under lights.
Not only does Murray want start times brought forward at SW19, he also thinks the roof is getting used too much to elongate the day’s play, rather than as a standby for poor weather.
‘It feels like it’s getting used now for darkness to play matches later in the evening,’ said Murray, who had the momentum against the Greek when play was stopped. ‘You have no way of practising on an indoor grass court. I skipped the French Open to prepare to play my best tennis at Wimbledon, but then you’re playing every match under different conditions than what you’re preparing for.
‘You play an indoor match, the next day you are outside practising, and then you come out to play again and it’s indoors and then we got stopped for time.’ That is why he repeatedly requested not to be put third match on to satisfy the BBC’s desire to have the most attractive match at peak evening viewing hours.
Andy Murray begins his US Open campaign on Tuesday, looking to repeat his 2012 success
His victory at Flushing Meadows in 2012 was the first Grand Slam title of his career
Murray lost to Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round of Wimbledon earlier this year
Early Tuesday evening UK time Murray will occupy the prime slot for the renewed US Open coverage on Sky, who are coming back into the sport. Unusually, his first round at Flushing Meadows against diminutive Frenchman Corentin Moutet, world number 72, will be made available to all Sky subscribers, and not just those with the sports channel.
The 2012 champion’s preparation has been different to any other visit in that wife Kim and all four of his children have made the trip, with his mother-in-law coming along to provide childcare help. He sat out this month’s Cincinnati tournament with a minor abdominal problem and then combined business with pleasure.
‘We went to the Hamptons. I have been coming here for 20 years and never been before so we went there and stayed in a house,’ he said. ‘It was really relaxed, we stayed in the house and had some really good practice. Jannik Sinner was there and there were a few guys around, it worked well.. I have been able to get everything done.’ He also has with him his new travelling coach, Scottish doubles player Jonny O’ Mara, who will work alongside Mark Hilton and Ivan Lendl, the latter being on duty in New York.
While Dan Evans and Cam Norrie are also in action on Tuesday, Jack Draper will be hoping to complete his first Grand Slam match since when he gave Rafael Nadal a stiff challenge at the Australian Open in January.
A year ago the 21 year-old southpaw showed his outstanding potential by knocking out then world number eight Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets. There were great expectations for this season, but he has suffered so many injuries he is wallowing at a falsely low ranking of 123, having played just 19 matches in 2023.
Jack Draper is set to take part in his first Grand Slam match since January
Dan Evans is also in first round action on Tuesday after bowing out at the same stage at Wimbledon
And so is Cameron Norrie, with a total of six Brits competing at this year’s US Open
Having missed Wimbledon with a tear in his shoulder muscle that emerged on the clay, he retired from his match last week in Winston Salem. Draper conceded that the shoulder is ‘definitely not perfect yet’, but he feels he is ready to tackle the combative Radu Albot from Moldova.
‘I really tried to find a level and my shoulder just played up a little bit last week, so I had to be cautious with this coming around the corner,’ he explained. ‘The injury I had was relatively serious. I dodged having surgery, which was great, but obviously I had to rehab from the start.. I didn’t serve for many weeks. So when I came back, my shoulder was very stiff.’ He found sitting Wimbledon out difficult, turning up on one occasion with Emma Raducanu to do a promotional appearance.
‘You feel so out of it, watching it on TV and motivated to be there and you can’t be. It’s not like football where you get injured and you can hide behind the team and do your rehab, get paid and stay in the first team when you come back.
‘My ranking dropped a lot and I’m going to have to work my way up again. That’s fine but it’s definitely mentally very challenging having missed so much tennis this year.’ Katie Boulter is an early starter at 4pm UK time and should have a decent chance of beating France’s Diane Parry, while main draw debutante Jodie Burrage has a difficult opener against Russian world number 38 Anna Blinkova.