Beijing | Murray gets tough opener
Andy Murray’s next phase in his current rehabilitation programme is the China Open in Beijing where he has been handed a tough opening draw as he has been paired with the fast-rising and big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini.
I have no pain in my hip after playing two-and-a-half hours, so it’s clear I can still compete at a high level Andy Murray
The former world number one played two round in Zhuhai and declared himself happy with his progress albeit admitting he had run out of steam against the eventual finalist Alex de Minaur and needed to improve his fitness.
The young Aussie though, needed nearly three hours to dispatch the 32-year-old Scot which he views as a positive for his body suffered no actual pain.
“I have no pain in my hip after playing two-and-a-half hours, so it’s clear I can still compete at a high level,” he told the Daily Mail following his Zhuhai loss.
“I have put my body through a lot over the years, but with what has happened the last couple of years, I still want to work hard and train hard.
“I am just allowing myself a bit more time to rest and relax.
“When I am training and practising, I will still give my best effort, but I want to give my body a bit more time to recover. I did not really think of doing that earlier in my career.”
Murray revealed directly after he match that he has now adopted a new routine as he searches for ways to adjust to the demands of his body.
“Yesterday was the first time in my entire career that I didn’t practice the day before a match,” he said.
“I was tired after the first round and tried to rest and recover as much as possible.
“That was something that I have done differently and I’m trying to maybe look at just other ways to give my body a bit of a break and a rest when I can, which is maybe something in the past that I wouldn’t have done.
He will certainly have his hands full in Beijing with Berrettini, the eighth-seed, who has established himself as one of the top young players on the tour with his huge serve and powerful forehand which even gave Rafa Nadal trouble at the US Open.
Kyle Edmund will look to stem his recent run of poor results when he faces the wildcard entry of Zhizhen Zhang, with Karen Khachanov, Marco Cecchinato, Grigor Dimitrov, Fabio Fognini, and Andrey Rublev also in the top half of the draw.
Second-seed Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are the star names in the bottom half, with Zverev being handed arguably the tie of the round when he meets Frances Tiafoe first up.
Tsitsipas faces Dusan Lajovic first, with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut likely to stand in Zverev’s way in rounds two and three.
Meanwhile the top seed Dominic Thiem will face Richard Gasquet in the opening round and is in Murray and Berrettini’s half of the draw.