As professional tennis prepares for his return next week to the Palermo Ladies Open, Andy Murray believes that after almost five months of inactivity, players should prepare for a remarkably different tour with ample upheavals and opportunities for anyone brave enough to accept them.
“You basically can’t replicate matches, it’s just not the same,” said Murray. “It is different on the body, on the mind. The pressure is just different and no matter how hard you try to make your tests as difficult as the games, they just aren’t.
“Some players who have suffered layoffs for injuries will probably be a little more experienced in terms of returning after a long period, but it is an opportunity for players. There will certainly be disturbances. Going to the US Open with potentially only one or two games in the Cincinnati event in New York will bring interesting results. “
Murray was defeated on Tuesday night in the Battle of the British with his mixed doubles partner Jodie Burrage. Although male and female players compete in the same places around the world, it is rare to see all British players under one roof. For Murray, tennis continues to waste a great opportunity by failing to bring men and women together.
“I think sport lacks a bit of makeup with this stuff. The Hopman Cup, for example, was a brilliant event in my opinion … Putting tennis matches like Serena Williams and Roger Federer on the same court is so brilliant for our sport. We can do it in tennis and I think we should embrace it a little more, not necessarily every single week, but sometimes it would be great. I’d like to see Rafa on the field with some of the best players. “
Williams is among the entries for the Western & Southern Open starting August 20, while the men’s draw will see Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The tournament usually takes place in Cincinnati, but due to the coronavirus pandemic it will now be played in New York on the US Open website, which starts three days after the final. Both players had previously expressed doubts about traveling to the United States, so their entry was a surprise.
In Wednesday’s Battle of the Brits action, Heather Watson continued to rid herself of her rust with a 3-6, 6-1, 10-6 win over Eden Silva while Cameron Norrie eliminated British No. 1, Dan Evans, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), his second win over Evans this week.
In the meantime, the LTA has appointed Michael Bourne, UK Sport’s acting director, as the new director of performance. A respected figure, Bourne’s assumption was made with a significant contribution by Tim Henman, who will be more involved in the performance of the LTA. Bourne replaces Simon Timson, who left for Manchester City in March.