Andy Murray’s preparations for the US Open has suffered a setback as he crashed out of the Cincinnati Masers in the opening round.
He lost to Lucas Pouile, a player he has beaten in their four previous meetings, 6-1 1-6 6-4, but despite having only played seven matches since starting his comeback following hip surgery, the former world No.1 remains positive.
Today’s start of the match was not good at all. It was a pretty bad first set, and then after that, got a little bit better. Managed to hang in a little bit in the second set. I lost the first service game. I was 40-15 up and was quite a long game, that one. And then had a few little chances on his serve as the set went on but wasn’t able to take them Andy Murray
“He’s a top-20 player,” Murray said of the Frenchman, who is ranked 17 to his current 375.
“I only lost four more points in the match than him. It was tight. If I can improve by 10 or 15%, you turn a lot of those matches around,” he pointed out.
Murray made a poor start and though he recovered in the second set he was unable to make the final telling thrust in the decider.
“Today’s start of the match was not good at all. It was a pretty bad first set, and then after that, got a little bit better. Managed to hang in a little bit in the second set. I lost the first service game. I was 40-15 up and was quite a long game, that one. And then had a few little chances on his serve as the set went on but wasn’t able to take them,” explained Murray.
“I physically felt okay. It’s quick conditions here. It’s pretty fast. Obviously when I played Washington, slightly slower, also played a couple of matches in the evening there, was quite slow, whereas here obviously quite lively. And I feel like he was a little bit sharper than me out there. I maybe wasn’t reacting as quickly to some shots I would have liked.”
The 31-year-old is still unsure how his body will react to best-of-five play when he competes in his first major in a few weeks time.
“I kind of need to see once I’m in that position. I have played, four three-set matches and a couple long ones in Washington. Although I didn’t feel great, I managed to get through them,” said Murray, who reached the quarter-finals in DC before deciding to withdraw from the tournament to take care of his body.
“Hopefully with another couple of weeks and training, and I’m still quite early in this process, I think that’s the seventh match I have played, so hopefully each week will feel better and I can keep working on things.”
AS things stand he won’t be playing another event before the US Open but that of course could change by applying for wildcards in the interim.
“It has been hard,” he admitted. “Also some of the matches that I lost, as well, like today, although it wasn’t the best tennis match – it didn’t feel like I played a good first set at all – I only lost four more points in the match than him. It was tight.”.
“I lost against Nick [Kyrgios in Queens], and that was another really close match, as well. So although, obviously I would have liked the results to have been a bit better, matches and the guys I have lost against have been three top-20 players and wasn’t far off winning two of those matches. So there has been some positives there.
“So I think also as the year goes on, maybe some of the events I play are maybe not as strong maybe later in the year, so draws can be a little bit different. But, yeah, you need to try and string more matches together. But it’s tricky in these events. If you’re not seeded, you play top, top quality players early on.”