Murray Desires To Make Most Of His Remaining Opportunities

Andy Murray (photo: ATP Tour video)

NEWPORT, R.I./WASHINGTON, July 13, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

On a windy day that wreaked empathy for players and created plenty of challenges, Andy Murray made the most of his opportunity in his first visit since 2006 to Newport, Rhode Island, Tuesday afternoon.

Murray, 35, took it all in stride. He was humble as well as classy, charming and energetic on the tennis court. What more could you ask from a future Hall of Famer?

The 52nd-ranked Murray needed just 54 minutes to beat 281st-ranked American Sam Querrey, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the second round of the Infosys Hall of Fame Open on grass at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Aquidneck Island.

Murray, who is seeded sixth in this ATP Tour 250 grass-court event – the only ATP event played on grass in the United States –  was very good in his service games. He hit five aces against two double faults, won 67 percent of his first-serve points, and also took advantage of his break-point opportunities, too, converting six of six. Meanwhile, Querrey was able to place only 39 percent of his first serves in play and won just 13 percent of his second-serve points. By the end, Murray outpointed Querrey 54-25 to advance to Wednesday’s second round against 202nd-ranked wild card Max Purcell of Australia, an earlier three-set winner over France’s Adrian Mannarino.

While Murray’s first-round match against the veteran Querrey had the potential to be tricky – especially when throwing in a brisk wind and an opponent who has fared well on grass in the past – the Briton handled matters in pretty routine fashion. It was his first match in nearly two weeks, since losing to another American, No. 20 seed John Isner, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-4, at Wimbledon. This time, the two are in opposite halves of the draw and could only meet in Sunday’s final. In the meantime, Murray’s path to this week’s title could include a quarterfinal tussle with either No. 3 seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan or Jack Sock of the United States and a semifinal showdown with World No. 9 and top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

“It’s obviously amazing to be back here and playing on this court again after, I think, 16 years,” Murray said during on an on-court interview after his victory. His comment drew a big applause line from the crowd.

“Lots has happened in that time – four kids, married and all that stuff. Yeah, I’m happy to be back in these really, really awful conditions to play tennis and to just play well. It was really breezy and really difficult. I’m sorry if the tennis wasn’t that much fun to watch. We’re doing the best we can under the conditions.”

Murray seemed appreciative to have a chance to extend his grass season by an additional week, following his recent Wimbledon result as well as an extended run to the title match at Stuttgart, Germany in early June. He was asked by interviewer Blair Henley if his body, which includes a metal hip, feels better after playing on grass. He replied: “Yes, it can. Obviously, points on grass courts are a bit shorter and it’s not quite as harsh on the body as some of the hard courts that we play on. Any match I get to play on now on grass I try to make the most of it.

“Obviously, I’ve had a lot of issues with the injuries the last four or five years. You know, you never know how close you are to the end. But I’m aware I’m getting close to the end of my career. I want to make the most of every match and every tournament I get to play in.”

As Murray looks ahead to next month’s US Open, with the possibility of being seeded if he has a good North American hard-court season (which currently includes upcoming events in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.), he was asked if that’s a goal – something he thinks about – or is he just taking it one match at a time.

“It’s a big goal of mine these next few weeks,” Murray said. “I’ve been playing better the last few months. You know if you want to have deep runs in the biggest tournaments, it does help to have a seeding. So, I’ll try my best to do that. Obviously, one match closer today, and I’m hoping for a good run here.”

Reflecting on the past 16 years since his last visit to Newport, in addition to getting married and starting a family off the court, on it, Murray has been successful in winning three Grand Slam titles – including a pair at Wimbledon – and two Olympic gold medals. He was asked if he could have imagined as a 19-year-old that by age 35 his resumé would have reflected so much success.

“I mean, I would have taken it for sure,” Murray said, with a touch of laughter in his voice, “but then, there’s also matches that you regret, in which you could have won and potentially won more majors.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been playing in a time where the three guys ahead of me are quite good. Between them (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer), they’ve got 63 Slams. So, it’s not been easy to win those sorts of events.

“Obviously, as a 19-year-old, it would have been my dream to win a tournament like Wimbledon, and get to No. 1 in the world. When I was a kid, I never, never would have expected to be able to do that. I’ve been very fortunate in my career. I’m happy with it.”