Andy Murray’s old pals are out to get him! The 2012 US Open winner finds not one but TWO former coaches in Grigor Dimitrov’s corner for their second round clash

new balance


Andy Murray’s old pals are out to get him! The 2012 US Open winner finds not one but TWO former coaches in Grigor Dimitrov’s corner for their second round clash

  • Both Jamie Delgado and Dani Vallverdu have coached Andy Murray in the past
  • The former World No 1 reached the second round after beating Corentin Moutet
  • Murray – desperate for a run in New York – has a 8-3 record over Grigor Dimitrov 

Andy Murray might struggle to keep any secrets from Grigor Dimitrov at the US Open on Thursday as he leads a six-strong British contingent trying to repeat Super Tuesday.

A dizzying day two at Flushing Meadows saw straight-set British victories being pumped out like a slot machine emitting its jackpot, but expectations should be tempered about any repeat.

It will be tougher this time round and that is especially the case for Murray. He finds himself up against not just the free- flowing Bulgarian No 19 seed, but two coaches who know him intimately.

See also  ‘It’s awkward’: how tennis stars tread tricky tightrope with coaches | Tennis

That Dimitrov is now guided by Murray’s long-standing friend Dani Vallverdu and former British player Jamie Delgado makes for a fascinating dynamic. Both of them put in extended stints as Murray’s travelling coach alongside his mentor Ivan Lendl, who is on duty in New York.

The duo are perfectly placed to advise their current client on how to play. However, they will also know that the double Wimbledon champion is never more determined than when he has former team members against him.

Andy Murray will come across familiar faces in Grigor Dimitrov's corner in the second round

Andy Murray will come across familiar faces in Grigor Dimitrov’s corner in the second round

Murray will face the free-flowing Bulgarian 19th-seed after defeating France's Corentin Moutet

Murray will face the free-flowing Bulgarian 19th-seed after defeating France’s Corentin Moutet

Murray was keen to emphasise that it is his own battle of wits to win. ‘Dani and Delgy are good coaches, they know the game very well, but they are not the ones out there hitting the balls,’ he said. ‘We are the ones who have to go out there and execute under pressure and I back my own brain and tactical understanding.

‘When I step up to the line to serve, they have no idea what is going on in my mind. They don’t know what I am thinking or what it is that I am feeling. Dani has coached against me quite a few times and I have always done well.’

The most memorable occasion he was referring to was the highly charged semi-final at the 2015 Australian Open against Tomas Berdych. Vallverdu was working for the Czech and Murray’s wife Kim was caught on camera giving the player a four-letter salvo from the support box.

See also  World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz divides tennis fans with buff new look in sleeveless outfit as he wins through at the US Open

Murray holds an 8-3 record over Dimitrov, but they have not played since his hip problems.

The riches of winning a US Open first round tie guaranteed the British players a minimum £690,000 in prize money between them after not a single one dropped a set in the first round.

While hugely creditable, it was more a confluence of circumstances and gradual improvement, rather than the heralding of a new era. In terms of ranking upsets, the most impressive was Jodie Burrage beating world No 38 Anna Blinkova.

Murray is confident of success, admitting Dani Vallverdu has coached against him in the past

Murray is confident of success, admitting Dani Vallverdu has coached against him in the past

Jamie Delgado (left) is a former British player who put in a stint as Murray's travelling coach

Jamie Delgado (left) is a former British player who put in a stint as Murray’s travelling coach

Also heartening was the sight of 21-year-old Jack Draper sweeping through for the loss of just eight games, admitting he was still taking speed off his serve due to concerns over his shoulder.

He now has the awkward task of facing world No 17 Hubert Hurkacz. There is little pressure on Draper though and he nearly took the Pole out in April at Monte Carlo, a match that triggered more injury problems.

Katie Boulter and Cam Norrie have the most winnable matches and Dan Evans has a ranking advantage over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, who can be a handful as well as a mouthful. Three British wins would be a satisfactory return. Four or more would be another day to savour.

See also  Wimbledon bad-boy Nick Kyrgios is 'good for tennis', claims quarter-final opponent Cristian Garin

Murray v Dimitrov, 4pm, LIVE on Sky Sports Tennis.

SIX BRITS IN ACTION ON THURSDAY

Andy Murray v Grigor Dimitrov

The Bulgarian whose game has echoes of Roger Federer’s saved three match points to make it through a four-hour 38-minute first-round clash. That will encourage Murray, who these days is ranked 18 places below Dimitrov at 37.

Cam Norrie v Hsu Yu-Hsiou 

Anything like a standard performance from Norrie ought to be enough to see off the little-known qualifier from Taiwan, who nonetheless had a decent win over Thanasi Kokkinakis in round one.

Dan Evans v Botic Van de Zandschulp

The strapping Dutchman made the quarter-finals here two years ago but his form this summer has been mediocre. Not a bad opponent for the skilful Evans to try to dissect.

Jack Draper v Hubert Hurkacz

A recent semi-finalist in Cincinnati, the Pole is a tall order in every sense for young Draper, who continually shows his quality when fitness allows him to get on court.

Katie Boulter v Wang Yafan

The Chinese qualifier is on an 11-match winning streak and beat Caroline Garcia in round one. Heavy-hitting Boulter needs to be on her guard.

Jodie Burrage v Aryna Sabalenka

An excellent first-round win but another huge step up for Burrage against the No 2 seed and Australian Open champion. A likely decent learning experience.



new balance



Source link