Former British number-one, Andy Murray has revealed he has already decided not to play at next year’s Citi Open tournament in Washington as part of the hard court season. Murray revealed in a recent Instagram chat with fans online that he was reticent about playing at the Citi Open again after the event’s tournament director “rinsed” him. In August, Murray entered the Citi Open in what was only his third tournament, after hip surgery had kept him sidelined for many months. After three, three-set matches – the last of them finishing at 3am local time – Murray opted to withdraw from his upcoming quarter-final clash with Alex De Minaur blaming exhaustion.
Citi Open’s tournament director, Keely O’Brien was interviewed at the time of Murray’s withdrawal and told the Washington Post: “I hope that Andy really takes into consideration his role in his sport and as a global role model to guys and girls on the tour and around the world that, when things are difficult and tough and the conditions aren’t great, it’s not OK to just give up.” Those comments riled Murray and his backroom team, particularly as the Scotsman has a proud reputation as one of the ATP tour’s most dedicated and battle-hardened professionals. Murray was also in the process of battling back from a career-threatening hip problem, so Ms O’Brien – one of only 12 female tournament directors on tour – must surely look back and feel that her comments were somewhat ill-judged.
On a more positive note, everything looks set for a January start to the 2019 ATP season for Murray. He concluded his 2018 season early in a bid to shape up for the next 12 months, but recently admitted that he would have to carefully manage his 2019 schedule depending on how deep he runs in each tournament. He dropped more than a small hint that he will look to reduce his time at clay court events given their gruelling nature and the physical implications on Murray’s body.
Djokovic’s emphatic return should inspire Murray
Nevertheless, Murray should look to long-standing rival, Novak Djokovic for inspiration when attempting to rediscover his best tennis form in 2019. The Serbian, who has also endured lengthy injury bouts in recent years, enjoyed a tremendous 2018 culminating in an appearance at the 2018 ATP World Tour final. Djokovic was a 4/9 favourite in the ATP tennis betting to defeat fellow finalist, Alexander Zverev in straight sets, but he fell to a shock 6-4 6-3 defeat at the hands of the young German.
Swiss tennis legend, Roger Federer was quizzed on the chances of Murray recapturing his best tennis in 2019. He said that Murray “can very quickly play top-30 level” but admitted that “it’s not enough to play last-16 or quarters”. Murray has “been No. 1” and “won double Olympic gold”, so will have high expectations of himself. Federer warned the Scotsman not to get too downbeat and hard on himself, particularly if success doesn’t come immediately or if he has to play fewer tournaments due to his physical condition.
December will see Murray fly out to the United States for some intense training camps in Miami before Christmas. He is then penciled in to fly Down Under to play at the Brisbane International at the start of January. Murray said he is “planning to get to Brisbane pretty early” in readiness for the event.
Andy Murray: The UK’s second most celebrated sports personality
The whole of Great Britain will have its collective fingers crossed that Murray can scale the same heights as before his hip problems. Recently, Murray was named the second greatest ever BBC Sports Personality, being pipped to the top spot by England’ World Cup-winning captain, Bobby Moore in a Radio Times poll. The survey was designed to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Murray is the only sportsperson to have won the trophy on three occasions, in 2013, 2015 and 2016
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