Upbeat Murray to Skip Clay Court Season and Miss the French Open

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Andy Murray is in his best shape since his hip surgery in 2019, and is now back into the Top 100 for the first time since May 2018. So why has he decided to announce that he is missing the entire clay court season this year?

Clay is undoubtedly Murray’s weakest surface, with only three of his 46 career titles coming on clay. However, that doesn’t mean the Scot isn’t a very capable clay court player, with Murray making the final of the 2016 French Open, as well as winning Masters 1000 titles in both Rome and Madrid.

Murray made it clear that this decision was purely about protecting his body, to enable him to have the best chance of a successful campaign on his preferred grass courts, which will begin in June. He stated, “The past couple of years, the clay has made issues worse, last year I had some issues at the beginning of the year, the clay didn’t help, so I’ve spoken to my team about that and this year while I feel good and healthy, I don’t want to take that risk.”

Andy Murray Skipping Clay Season

The former World #1 last played at Roland Garros in 2020, losing in the opening round to fellow Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, but Murray would not rule out a return to the bright orange courts in the future.

It is not like skipping the clay court season is unheard of. Roger Federer has done this on numerous occasions over recent years, missing four of the last six Grand Slams in Paris, to help extend the longevity of his career.

Former World #3 Pam Shriver has shown her support to Murray’s decision on Twitter, “I decided early in my career, I could not play all segments of tour and remain physically and mentally healthy. I skipped European Clay court season to remain fresh for the grass, my best surface. Wimbledon is Andy’s best major surface for a deep run.”

Fitness is always at the forefront of the 34-year-old’s mind, but that is not the only predicament that Murray currently faces, as he is still without a permanent coach. He recently parted ways with Jamie Delgado after five years together.

Murray had a trial period with German Jan De Witt, which ended after his second round exit at the Australian Open to Taro Daniel. He is now working with Dani Vallverdu, who coincidently is the coach of the currently injured Wawrinka, on a temporary basis.

You would assume that it would be easy for a tennis legend like Murray to find someone to coach him, but the Brit claims that this is no longer the case. “It’s not that straightforward, I’m not as in demand as a few years ago. Ultimately, I want it to be the right person. I’m aware there’s no perfect setup, but medium, longer term I want some stability and will try and get that in the next few weeks.”

His immediate future sees him on the hard courts, and he currently relies on wild card entries. Murray was in Rotterdam earlier this week, where he was knocked out by Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round. He is also scheduled to compete in Doha and Dubai later this month.

Main Photo from Getty.