Following a false start at Wimbledon, Andy Murray makes his hard court debut tonight in Washington D.C. where he’ll face former UCLA standout Mackenzie McDonald. Murray is playing just his third event of the year after Queen’s and Eastbourne, and it’s his first hard court tournament since Indian Wells last year.
But Murray, who underwent hip surgery in January, says things are progressing.
“It’s feeling better all the time,” Murray told the press in D.C. “It takes time after you’ve been out for a long period to get the match sharpness back. I’ve only played three matches in the past year, so I’m just trying to get back on the match court as much as I can and see how I’m feeling after playing two, three, four, five matches in a week. That’s the big test. I’ve done a lot of training recently and I’ve come through that pretty well. So hopefully if I get into that situation, I’ll be alright.”
The 23-year-old McDonald made noise in his Wimbledon debut reaching the fourth round so it will be a tough test. And he’s already down a set at the time of this post.
“I’m looking forward to playing. Like I said, I’ve not played a hard-court match for a very long time,” Murray said. “Once I get out there after the first few games, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I just want to have a prolonged period on the match-court right now. I’m looking forward to that.”
Murray is scheduled to play in both Masters events next month and then the US Open. He is ranked No. 832 this week but will be aided by wildcard and ranking protections.
“I want to stay healthy through the end of the year. I think if I do that, then I’ll start to win more matches, my ranking will move up. If I only play one or two tournaments and then take a break for a month, it’s just difficult to get into that routine,” Murray said. “If I stay fit and healthy, I’m not worried so much about ranking. I want to be winning matches and competing against the best players and that will build my fitness up quicker than anything I could do in the gym. So that’s my goal between now and the end of the year and hopefully it’ll mean I’ll be ready to start the 2019 season really well.”
Murray first played Washington in 2006 losing in the final to Arnaud Clement as a 20-year-old.
If Murray comes back to beat McDonald, he will next face Kyle Edmund in the second round.
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