Sir Andy Murray toiled at the Citi Open before eventually beating Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 37 minutes. In times gone by Murray would have blown the American McDonald away without breaking a sweat but these are very different times for Murray who now faces a monumental climb back to the top of men’s tennis.
All things considered, Murray’s win against McDonald was quite impressive when you take into account that the Scot is ranked 832nd in the world. That world ranking is obviously a reflection of the hip injury Murray has had to endure over the past 12 months and given his movement in the match against McDonald, you can see just how much of an effect it has had on him.
The 31-year-old looked sluggish and a bit slow to react at times. However, that is to be expected after such a lengthy layoff. It is perfectly logical to imagine Murray will be able to keep shaking off the cobwebs with the more tennis that he plays and he will be desperate to get five-set tournament ready before the US Open gets underway in late August.
Murray may be closer to 900th in the world than first but he is only at odds of 9/1 to win the US Open in tennis betting at William Hill. There’s a clear indication of the Scot’s pedigree, if ever there was one. Despite his awful injury woes, he is still one of the favourites to win the year’s last Grand Slam.
First, though, he will need to beat countryman Kyle Edmund at the Citi Open after setting up a showdown with Britain’s current number one.
Regardless of what happens in that match, it will be another step in the right direction for Murray, as long as he can steer clear of another injury setback. There has been talk that the US Open may be a bridge too far at this moment in time, given Murray’s reluctance to play in Wimbledon and do further damage after a sustained period of time on the physio table.
It’s very easy to understand the Scot’s reasoning and it does beg the question how wise it is to commit too soon to the pressures of a Grand Slam if aggravating an already persistent injury is an outside possibility. It may make sense to wait until the Australian Open in January before undergoing the rigours of Grand Slam tennis again.
All in all, it seems positive for Murray and, if he is able to manage his workload over the next few months, then there is hope he can return to the levels he was at before the hip injury derailed his career.
Needless to say, there is a long way to go but what was evident in his match against McDonald was that the Scot still has the desire. It was far from a muted celebration when he beat 80th in the world McDonald and that type of enthusiasm bodes well for his future hopes of one day getting back to the top of the game.
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