Andy Murray is back in action at the Open Sud de France ATP 250 event being held in Montpelier when he faces Egor Gerasimov from Belarus in the opening round tonight (Tuesday).
I watched very little, I wanted to be there and it was a struggle, I stopped following all the tennis players I follow on social media because I just really didn’t want to see it Andy Murray
The former world number one, who has yet to recover fully from his hip surgery in January 2020 and pelvic problems suffered over the past year, was gutted that he as not able to compete at the Australian Open after failing to reach agreement with the authorities over a ‘working quarantine’ following a positive Covid test.
To avoid following the action, Murray played in second tier level challenger in northern Italy where he lost the final, and dramatically reduced his social media activities.
“I watched very little, I wanted to be there and it was a struggle,” the 33-year-old Murray said.
“I stopped following all the tennis players I follow on social media because I just really didn’t want to see it,” he added.
Nevertheless he hasn’t missed the fact that Daniil Medvedev failed to dethrone the reigning champion, Novak Djokovic in last weekend’s final when the Serb collected his 18th grand slam title of which nine have now been won in Melbourne.
And he wasn’t surprised.
“It’s different standing to return or to serve in a Grand Slam final, than a quarter-final or a semi-final, when you are coming up against someone who’s won 17 of them,” Murray pointed out.
“It’s pretty intimidating and the younger guys have not shown that they are particularly close. At the US Open, [Dominic] Thiem did what he had to do to win the event, but if Novak hadn’t put a ball through the line judge’s throat, it would have been the same outcome, I think,” he added.
Murray is of course referring to last year’s tournament in New York , where Djokovic defaulted after he hit a ball off the court in frustration and accidentally struck a line judge on the throat for which he was immediately disqualified.
Meanwhile in Montpelier, three first-round matches were completed on Monday with Sebastian Korda, the world No.92 from the US, scoring a 6-4 6-2 victory over the home favourite, Jo-Wilfried Konta, ranked 66, who was playing his first match since the Australian Open in 2020.
“It was definitely special [to play Tsonga], I grew up watching him my whole life,” Korda said in his on-court interview following his victory.
“To get the chance to be able to play against him was an honour for me. I hope he can stay healthy and keep playing tennis… He’s such an incredible entertainer and an incredible person”
On the match he added: “I just tried to stay focussed and take care of my side of the court.
“I know he hasn’t played tennis in 14 months [or so], so it definitely wasn’t easy for him (but) I’m super happy with the way I played.”
Korda aces Italian seventh seed, Lorenzo Sonego, who beat Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-3 6-7(7) 6-1.
Looking ahead to the match, Korda admits it will be a big challenge.
“He has a lot of firepower, so it’s going to be a fun match for sure. Hopefully we can put on a good show next time we play.”
Also through is the sixth seed, Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who defeated Norbert Gombos of Slovakia, 6-3 7-6(3).