Murray Says Playing ATP Challenger Tour Events Helped Him

Andy Murray

INDIAN WELLS/WASHINGTON, October 12, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Back-to-back victories over the weekend by Andy Murray, against 51st-ranked Adrian Mannarino and No. 38 Carlos Alcaraz, advanced the former World No. 1 from Great Britain into Tuesday’s third round against No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev.

After Murray’s victory over Mannarino Friday, he said he wants to keep playing while his body feels good. “I don’t want to overplay, obviously. I have played quite a few tournaments recently, but I’ve not had any really deep runs.

“I’ve had enough sort of rest between the events. Yeah, whilst my body feels good, I want to try to play as much as I can between now and the end of the year to set myself up as best as I can for next season.”

The 121st-ranked Murray was asked to describe how important playing ATP Challenger Tour events have been for him this year after playing in two of them, at Biella, Italy in February and at Rennes, France just after the US Open last month. Murray reached the final at Biella and the second round at Rennes. Both indoor were hard court events.

“Well, I think certainly at the beginning of the year, obviously [they] helped. With what happened in Australia, I mean, I was so disappointed not to be able to play there. It was, like either sit at home and wait until there’s some tour events or get out there and compete. That certainly helped me,” he said.

“Maybe, it was necessary for me to play the one after the US Open. But, again, yeah, I was starting to feel good about my game. I thought I played a good match, obviously, in New York.”

Murray lost in the first round of the US Open to Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2-6, 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“I wanted to get out there and compete and try and build some momentum,” Murray said.

“Those tournaments, they’re not easy ones to win, as well. They are always slightly different conditions. They play with quite different balls. I don’t know, it’s just a little bit different. Obviously, all of the players play extremely well. Yeah, again, I would say for me now it’s been a bit of a challenge because I don’t really know any of the players that I’m playing against that well. It’s something that I would say I’ve struggled a little bit with, just figuring players out.”

Murray combined to win five of seven matches he played in the two Challenger Tour tournaments.

“That’s why, again, playing the matches and remembering, like, my own game, how I need to play the points, remembering how to win. That was always a huge strength of mine, that I found ways to win matches maybe when I wasn’t playing so well,” Murray said.

“Those challenger matches have been good for me to try to get that winning feeling back, as well.”

Following his 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the No. 30 seed Alcaraz, 16 years his junior, Murray said: “Yeah, at times I played some really good tennis. It wasn’t my best match. I can certainly still do things better. I thought I competed well today, which was probably the most pleasing part for me.”

Then, looking towards his next match against the World No. 4 Zverev, he admitted: “Obviously, Zverev is a top player. He’s had a good summer post Wimbledon with the Olympics, then a great run in New York. Played a tough match with Novak there. Yeah, not going to be easy for me. I played some good matches against him in the past. Yeah, will need to play really well. …

“He’ll certainly go in as the overwhelming favorite. But if I play a high-level match, I’ll be right in there.”