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1  Pages / Archive: News / Andy Murray to train for Tokyo Paralympic Games on: April 01, 2019, 12:27 am

Update: It was indeed an April Fools. Thanks to those that played along. - Ed
Rumours swirling around the ATP Tour suggest that Andy Murray has begun training furiously for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

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According to sources close to the Murray camp, the Scot has all but abandoned hopes of making it back onto the regular ATP tour. The news follows the radical hip-resurfacing operation he opted for in January this year in a bid to restart his pro career.

Although the former world number one had targeted one last hurrah at Wimbledon, Murray now seems to have adjusted his expectations. The twice Olympic champion is reportedly training daily in a specially adapted wheelchair.

Fellow Scot Gordon Reid, the Paralympic gold medallist and two-time grand-slam champion, is rumoured to be overseeing his development.

Meanwhile, Murray has been spotted by incredulous locals taking part in the Inclusive Tennis Programme at the Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club close to his Surrey home.

Club regular and Murray superfan Nikki Fishford, 23, from Thames Ditton, said, “It blew my socks off when I saw Andy hitting in a chair. Although he'd grown a heavy beard to hide his face, I’d know that down-the-line two-hander anywhere."

As of 2012, people with physical disabilities similar to Murray’s are eligible to compete in Paralympic wheelchair tennis. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) states that, ‘To be eligible to play wheelchair tennis, a competitor must have a medically diagnosed, permanent, mobility-related physical disability’.

Wheelchair competitors must then meet one of several further criteria that include ankylosis, severe arthrosis or joint replacement in the lower half. On this basis, Murray would clearly seem to meet the IPC’s requirements. The governing body, led by President Andrew Parsons, is understood to be in the process of rubber-stamping the Scot’s application.

Murray’s friend and ATP tour veteran John Isner said, “It’s an open secret on the circuit that Andy practises regularly with the wheelie boys. He can even hit a slam-dunk smash. Until I saw it, I wouldn’t have believed a wheelchair could levitate.”

The Tokyo Paralympic Games take place from 25 August to 6 September next year.
2  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray given stern test in Shenzhen on: September 28, 2018, 07:07 pm
Great to see you Grab!  wave
Have you emigrated to France yet?  innocent

I'm saving up to do just that.
3  Pages / Archive: News / Murray calls time on 2018 after Verdasco loss on: September 28, 2018, 07:06 pm
Andy Murray has called time on his 2018 season after bowing out of the Shenzhen Open to Fernando Verdasco. The Scot lost his quarter-final today, 6-4 6-4.

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Murray has competed in just half a dozen tournaments since Wimbledon 2017, while enduring a testing comeback from hip surgery.

Against this stop-start background, the Scot's post-match announcement that he was pulling out of next week’s China Open in Beijing came as a surprise to no one, albeit with an ankle issue.

The 31 year old will take some positives from his time in China, chiefly his defeat of world number 11 David Goffin. Today, though, he simply squandered too many opportunities against a player who played clinically at key moments and launched 11 unreturnable serves.

The Brit converted on just one of six break points and was once again taken to the cleaners on his second serve, one aspect of his game that hasn’t shown up in 2018.

Murray and his Spanish opponent both broke early in the first set, but Verdasco saved two break points to hold for 4-4, then broke Murray and served out convincingly.

The Spaniard took Murray’s serve once again early in the second and defended his own delivery with aplomb, wrapping things up with a blistering ace.

Verdasco now faces Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in the semi-finals. For Murray, four further solid months of rehabilitation lie ahead, before he re-emerges in Australia in January.
4  Pages / Archive: News / Murray given stern test in Shenzhen on: September 26, 2018, 12:48 pm
Andy Murray yesterday made the second round of the Shenzhen Open when his local opponent, Zhizhen Zhang, retired in the third set. The Scot won 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 4-2.

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It wasn’t all plain sailing for Murray against the 340th-ranked wildcard, with the former world number one saving eight break points.

In the first set, Murray showed the Chinese crowd glimpses of his old self. In the second, reality bit as he looked every inch a player competing in only his sixth tournament in over a year after radical hip surgery.

It was a surprise when Zhang, who displayed serious power and showed no respect at all for Murray’s second serve, began limping and retired in the third set.

The Brit will now face world No 11 David Goffin in the second round in what will be the toughest test yet in his comeback. Although he has yet to lose to the Belgian, a positive outcome would surely be a competitive match and a clean bill of health.

"It's a really good test for me right now to play against guys who are in and around the top 10," Murray said. "I think he'll be the highest-ranked player I've played since I came back so it'll be good to see where my game is at."
5  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray absence down to fear of flying on: April 02, 2018, 10:44 pm
I haven't come across any others today, but have read some of the better ones in the Telegraph and Independent.

Many thanks Nigel, for your brilliant effort, although I really thought your account of Andy's return home from Oz was part of it until I googled it and found out it was not only true but the preferred method of travel to and from Oz without having to fly - the alternative being a six weeks' and very expensive sea trip on a cruise ship.

Murray came back from Oz by sea and rail?!!
6  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray absence down to fear of flying on: April 02, 2018, 01:43 pm
Nice one Grab  clap Where you been?

Too much bickering. Not enough tennis.
7  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray absence down to fear of flying on: April 01, 2018, 12:41 am
You can actually get to China relatively quickly by train. But I agree, it would be exhausting.
8  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray absence down to fear of flying on: April 01, 2018, 12:31 am
Rosmalen's not that far from Calais, actually. He could drive. It's all pretty career-limiting, though.
9  Pages / Archive: News / Murray absence down to fear of flying on: April 01, 2018, 12:10 am

Update: Yep, it was an April Fools. Thanks to those that played along. - Ed
Extraordinary rumours circulating around the pro tour suggest that Andy Murray’s absence from the ATP circuit this year is less down to a much-publicised hip injury and more a fear of flying.

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The ATP tour is an 11-month slog that pretty much follows the sun, from Australia in January to Europe in the spring and onto the American hardcourts in late summer.

To follow the circuit, regular aeroplane travel is an absolute necessity. However, it seems that the Scot’s last flight, to Melbourne in January, was a rocky affair that left him petrified of leaving the ground.

A source close to the Murray camp said, “We hit severe turbulence while flying over the Middle East. The aisle was a river of peanut-and-prosecco vomit. Andy swore he’d never get on a plane again.”

Murray took time out in Melbourne to have minor hip surgery. But finding himself stranded on the other side of the world, he then made his way home with an epic 32-day odyssey by freight ship to China, followed by the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow and a fast train to London.

The Scot, who’s filled in time this year playing with his daughter’s vast Hornby train set, has since vowed to stick to driveable events in Europe.

John Isner, who tonight faces off against Sasha Zverev in the Miami Masters final, said, “It’s an open secret in the locker room. Andy’s turned in his wings. The hip thing’s an elaborate cover.

“You just need to utter words like ‘long-haul’, ‘flaps’ or ‘baggage allowance’ and he heads straight for his Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable. As for being good over head, let’s not even go there."

Murray’s fans must be concerned that many ATP points will now be unavailable to the former world number one, while shares in NetJets yesterday fell to a new overnight low.
10  Pages / Archive: News / Re: Murray hobbles out of Wimbledon on: July 12, 2017, 05:02 pm
In press conference, he just said his hip is a long-standing problem and it's getting worse as he gets older.
11  Pages / Archive: News / Murray hobbles out of Wimbledon on: July 12, 2017, 04:34 pm
A clearly injured Andy Murray today faded badly in the fourth and fifth sets of his Wimbledon quarter-final against Sam Querrey, capitulating 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-1 6-1 against the American.

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Murray’s hip has been the subject of fierce debate throughout these championships. The Scot had done his best to hide the extent of the injury. But there was no disguising it today, as he hobbled between points and leant on his racket.

Murray started brightly enough, taking the first eight points. The top seed consolidated that break to take the first set 6-3.

At 3-3 in the second set, a double-fault from Querrey followed by a crosscourt backhand and a drilled pass down the line from Murray earned a break of serve. The Scot seemed set fair for an eighth win in nine matches against the 6-foot 6-inch American.

But Querrey struck back immediately, held serve and was able to exert enough pressure on the following Murray delivery to seal the set.

Murray regrouped to break at the start of the third and held his advantage until 5-4. Serving for the set, the world number one suddenly looked less than mobile and the American broke back.

The reigning Wimbledon champion somehow scrambled to a tiebreak, which Querrey played wretchedly, Murray serving out for 7-4.

From thereon in, it became abundantly clear that the Scot was hobbled. In each of the final two sets, he won just nine points on serve and clocked an average speed on his first delivery of only 108mph.

Towards the end of the final set, it seemed Murray had resigned himself to his fate when the world number 28 sent down a couple of aces that Murray didn’t even attempt to send back.

Credit to Querrey for keeping his composure but, in truth, the American had to do very little to depose the reigning Wimbledon champion for the second year running. He sealed the match with his 27th ace.

Querrey moves on to contest a semi-final against either Marin Cilic or Gilles Muller, while Murray will no doubt take some much-needed time out to let his body heal ahead of the demanding US hardcourts swing.

12  Pages / Archive: News / Murray gives Brown a dusting on Centre on: July 06, 2017, 11:32 am
Andy Murray cruised into the third round of Wimbledon yesterday with a convincing 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over dreadlocked Dustin Brown of Germany.

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A Rasta boy in tennis whites is about as incongruous a sight as you’ll see on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, and his brand of tennis is equally idiosyncratic, yet effective enough to have dispatched Rafael Nadal here two years ago.

But Murray was having none of his tricks and tumbles. Despite the odd diving backhand dive volley (degree of difficulty 4.7), Brown could do nothing against Murray’s castle-like defence, allowing Brown just 14 points on his serve and committing only five unforced errors.

The low error count was all the more amazing because the tennis was far from routine. This was a match of deft exchanges around the net, scurrying sprints for vaulted lobs and uncannily executed drop shots.

The best game came at 2-2 in the second set, in which Murray broke his German opponent. A precise lob followed a sensational backhand pass and all Brown could do was applaud and offer a thumbs-up.

The exhibition stuff continued for another set-and-a-half, but the Scot was always the smarter, stronger and more focused player.

Brown said, “If he has a problem with his hip, I don’t want to play against him when his hip’s good. Most of the time when he was hitting ridiculous shots, I just laughed and said, ‘Good job, let's see if he does it again’. Yeah, he did for three sets.”

Tougher tests await, though. The top seed will now play Fabio Fognini, his conqueror in the recent Rome Masters on Italian clay. Grass is a different matter, though, and Murray should have too much craft and guile for the Italian number one.
13  Pages / Archive: News / Murray stunned by Thompson defeat on: June 20, 2017, 06:50 pm
Five-time Queen’s champion Andy Murray was today sensationally removed from the Aegon Championships in the first round by world number 90 Jordan Thompson. The struggling world number one went down 7-6 (4) 6-2 on the grass in London.

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The result is all the more shocking because Murray seemed to have found some semblance of form in Paris, where he came within a set of the French Open final.

The Scot might take some comfort, though, from the demise of second seed Stan Wawrinka and third seed Milos Raonic.

The Australian was a lucky loser who only made the draw when Murray’s scheduled opponent, Brit Aljaz Bedene, pulled out with a wrist injury. On a slick court, Thompson played as solid a match as the Scot’s was ragged and unpredictable.

Murray failed to find any rhythm throughout, failing to convert on his three break points and dropping serve twice in the second set. His forehand was a particular liability, misfiring horribly at key points in the match.

The top seed has made this tournament his own in recent years and this defeat was his first here since 2014. It ends a 14-match winning streak on grass.

Although Thompson had failed to win an ATP main-draw match throughout last year, he did reach the final of the Surbiton Challenger last week, and looked sharp as a result.

He denied the Scot a single break point in the first set and recovered from 1-3 down in the tiebreak. At the start of the second set, a comeback looked possible when Murray moved to 0-40 on the Australian’s serve, but Thompson snuffed out the threat with some composed tennis.

The Brit’s forehand was at fault for the first break of serve at 4-2 and Thompson gained a second break before serving out the match.

Murray’s sad stats of 26 errors and nine winners tell their own story. Optimists might suggest that a calamitous defeat here is preferable to one on Centre Court at Wimbledon in two weeks' time, but clearly the Scot has a lot of work to do to avert that possibility.
14  Pages / Archive: News / Murray finds his form to beat Del Potro on: June 03, 2017, 03:51 pm
For the first time this year, arguably, the world number one looked the part, as Andy Murray got the better of Juan Martin Del Potro in the third round of the French Open. The Scot won 7-6 7-5 6-0.

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It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. The match, you suspect, hung on the outcome of a titanic first set that lasted nearly 90 minutes. Murray spent much of that time figuring out how to counter the deep backhand slice and ferocious forehand of the Argentinian.

The top seed got off to a poor start, losing his serve in the third game with a weak backhand lob and faced a set point at 3-5. However, Murray finally converted a sixth break point to level for 5-5 and his game noticeably rose several notches.

Murray began the tiebreak with a double fault, but recovered his composure to take a 6-4 lead. Del Potro rallied to restore parity at 6-6 and earned another set point with a reflex forehand winner.

Luckily for the Scot, the Argentinian double-faulted. But Del Potro moved to within a point of the set yet again, then missed a forehand. When Murray took a 9-8 lead, Del Potro cracked a forehand a bee’s eyebrow wide. The umpire confirmed the diagnosis and Del Potro collapsed in despair.

Murray predictably broke at the start of the second set, during which Del Potro called the trainer for some ibuprofen, thought to be related to a troublesome groin injury.

The Scot served for the set at 5-4 but the former US Open champion struck back with some piledriven forehands to knot matters at 5-5. But Murray regrouped and broke again, care of a magnificent lob, then served out the set with minimum fuss.

In the third set, Del Potro’s challenge wilted under a barrage of hefty Scottish groundshots and deft drops. By the time Murray wrapped up the bagel, the world number 30 was looking a tired and broken man.

Murray arrived in Paris with very little form, but dropping sets in his first two matches and one blood-curdlingly competitive set against one of the game’s icons seem to have focused his mind nicely.

He said, 'I'm starting to feel better. I had struggled the last six or seven weeks. This is one of the most important tournaments and I had great memories from last year. Hopefully, I can keep it going.'

Murray now takes on American John Isner or the promising Russian Karen Khachanov. On this form, neither should present too much of a problem for the rejuvenated Scot.
15  Pages / Archive: News / Murray battered by Willy Beacher in Rome on: May 16, 2017, 10:51 pm
Apple’s iPhone features an app called Stick Tennis in which an unbeatable figure called Willy Beacher plays improbable backcourt tennis. Willy Beacher showed up tonight in Rome in the guise of Fabio Fognini to thrash Andy Murray 6-2 6-4.

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The Scot, defending his Internazionali BNL d'Italia Masters title here, was down 0-4 in the blink of an eye, the Italian pinging balls to the corners at lightning speed in front of his home crowd.

Murray wasn’t helped by some passive play that saw him bunting the ball down the middle in the hope that Fognini might miss. Although the world number one rallied with a couple of service holds, the Italian ran the set out comfortably.

Early jitters from Fognini at the start of the second were soon replaced by the same authoritative forehands and backhands of the opening set. Mixed up with some unreadable drop shots, it was a toxic combination.

Fognini raced to a 5-1 lead, but was briefly pegged back to 5-4 by a resurgent Murray. The passionate Italian crown needn’t have worried, though, as the home favourite served out the match with a couple more of those exquisite drop shots.

These are worrying times for the world number one, who loses 990 points here and has another 1200 to defend at the forthcoming French Open, where the Brit will be desperately hoping for a huge slice of good fortune.
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