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Murray loses to Gasquet on singles return

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Andy Murray was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by world number 56 Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Murray was playing his first singles match since the Australian Open in January. At the time, he feared that hip resurfacing surgery may end his career. But successful surgery has left him pain free, allowing him to resume his singles career.


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It was an understandably difficult match for the former world number one. But there were positives too, and Murray progressed from tentative play in the first set to a more proactive performance in the latter stages of the match.

A nervy opening game saw Murray lose serve and he closely avoided going down a double break. But he recovered and began to get some rhythm going, breaking the Gasquet serve to draw level at 2-2.

The Frenchman fought back though, employing the drop shot to good effect to break and then take the first set 6-4.

As in the first set, Murray dropped serve to start the second set. But he began to play closer to the baseline with less spin on the ball, showing more confidence in his tennis.

With his game improving, Murray was able to keep the scoreline close and extend Gasquet's service games. But the Frenchman had the upper hand, using the drop shot well to expose Murray's rusty movement, and held on to seal victory.

Murray has confirmed that he won't play singles at the US Open, but he will play doubles and mixed doubles. He will probably play singles at Winston-Salem next week, and is then due to play at next month's Zhuhai Championships and China Open.

[ Last edit by Katie August 12, 2019, 11:13 pm ] IP Logged
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Many thanks for the report Katie, and for letting us know about Winston Salem and the USO.  He's definitely not ready for BO5, but playing doubles and mixed doubles at the USO as well as singles in these minor tournaments will give him the match practice he really needs right now, particularly when it comes to playing singles where, if he gets a reasonably kind draw, then winning a match or two will give his confidence a boost.
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Thank you Katie for the match report. One step at a time for our boy.
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Many thanks for the report Katie, and for letting us know about Winston Salem and the USO.  He's definitely not ready for BO5, but playing doubles and mixed doubles at the USO as well as singles in these minor tournaments will give him the match practice he really needs right now, particularly when it comes to playing singles where, if he gets a reasonably kind draw, then winning a match or two will give his confidence a boost.

Aileen,  Do you not think that his problem yesterday was mainly mobility?  Apart from the dropshots (to be expected)  where Andy only got to one (and then won the point) he also was on many occasions not able to get ready for the next shot so often was left stranded. Part of that was that he is playing defensive so 'miles' out of best court position. To get over this will take a lot more time than I think he is considering.

I have always suggested a year to slowly up the physical capabilities.  Playing doubles does not help that part a lot. You mention lesser tournaments. Those he is going to are not that poor a standard and he will lose to those he was beating. Winston Salem is not that easy. I repeat my view that he needs development of his standard by starting again at a much lower level. I have had to do this running. In our heads we are the still the better athlete capable of doing great things but it is that the mind (which is the most important in sport not the body) that dictates what we try to do and then achieve. Someone 'in recovery' can do all the things that they used to but not consistently. I can run astonishing times but for only shorter periods (and usually not in the races) as the body does eventually limit what we all think we can do.  It is destructive mentally to recovery to play/run against those that you would have beaten so do it at a lower level where they can be avoided. From experience I can say this works!

It was a good effort yesterday for we saw some great shots apart from the awful ones arising from what we can say is lack of playing. Let us not try to rush him. He will do that himself so his coaches need to not allow him to try to get back to singles too quickly.

Thank you Katie for the report.

PS Apologies for the many repeats! Either I am getting like a politician saying the same thing three times over or sometimes it is my pc (dying) that is causing me grief.
[ Last edit by marathonarthur August 13, 2019, 09:45 am ] IP Logged
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Thanks Katie.
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Aileen,  Do you not think that his problem yesterday was mainly mobility?  Apart from the dropshots (to be expected)  where Andy only got to one (and then won the point) he also was on many occasions not able to get ready for the next shot so often was left stranded. Part of that was that he is playing defensive so 'miles' out of best court position. To get over this will take a lot more time than I think he is considering.

I have always suggested a year to slowly up the physical capabilities.  Playing doubles does not help that part a lot. You mention lesser tournaments. Those he is going to are not that poor a standard and he will lose to those he was beating. Winston Salem is not that easy. I repeat my view that he needs development of his standard by starting again at a much lower level. I have had to do this running. In our heads we are the still the better athlete capable of doing great things but it is that the mind (which is the most important in sport not the body) that dictates what we try to do and then achieve. Someone 'in recovery' can do all the things that they used to but not consistently. I can run astonishing times but for only shorter periods (and usually not in the races) as the body does eventually limit what we all think we can do.  It is destructive mentally to recovery to play/run against those that you would have beaten so do it at a lower level where they can be avoided. From experience I can say this works!

It was a good effort yesterday for we saw some great shots apart from the awful ones arising from what we can say is lack of playing. Let us not try to rush him. He will do that himself so his coaches need to not allow him to try to get back to singles too quickly.
I can't answer the rest of your post because I don't have the athletic experience you have to enable me to do so, but Andy said himself mobility would be the main problem.  Also because of his op (which was on his right hip in case you've forgotten) I noticed he was unable to turn quickly from the left side of the court to the right to chase down balls, something which Gasquet targeted again and again with his drop shots, and very effectively too as we saw.  Of course Andy would have done the same had the shoe been on the other foot.  Taking advantage of a player's disability, yes, but as you well know there's no place for kindness or sympathy when it comes to winning in sport!
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^ Two ironies the morning after.

The papers were full of Andy having mobility again. That was, I think, a comparative impression to almost no movement earlier but clearly there was not enough to cope with a singles against Gasquet. Do you think that the many drop shots were a revenge on behalf of Giles Simon (his fellow French player) whom Murray beat with same tactic when it was hardly necessary? I quite accept players making sure of their wins but I felt for Andy.

As far as my athletic experience I quote it mainly to show that a competitor like Andy who is a major one (as I am too) will always go for more quicker than he should. I have 'taken part' in less serious events to get back into running mainly because when I tried the more prestigious ones I just was unable to stop myself competing 'as if' at my old level. That is so destructive mentally.

Doubles will, in my opinion, help his body into better shape but ultimately it is just the wrong way to get ready for singles which has far more strenuous demands on the body. Let us hope that in the Far East and before at WP he has a chance for more games.

The second irony is that if he had beaten Gasquet he now would have missed Thiem and played Delbonis who came in as a lucky loser. Not to worry I think he is best slowing his singles return.  I watched him get through in doubles so he is still there with Jamie and Salisbury getting more into tennis again. That should help him. Luckily for him Lopez seems to have got over his earlier strange attitude that very much showed in his tennis. Is he always that mercurial?
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^ I agree about Thiem, who's been suffering from a virus, but it would have been interesting to see how Andy would have fared against Delbonis who narrowly defeated him at Indian Wells in 2016.
 
As for Lopez I haven't seen him play all that often apart from with Andy so can't speak to his temperament.

Given that the Simon match I'm thinking of was at the Davis Cup, held at Queens, in 2015, then it seems unlikely to me that this is what Gasquet was seeking to avenge with his drop shots, although I do appreciate that some players probably have long memories for the wrong things!   I did feel a bit sorry for Andy, but only from the point of view that in the past these were balls he would have chased down and possibly returned very successfully, something he would have been well aware of.

Also while I appreciate your comments as to what Andy should or shouldn't do, I think we have to accept the fact that he does actually know what he's doing when it comes to his possible future as a singles player.  He has a very good team round him who he always discusses things with, so although he's known to be strong willed, I'm sure he listens to them and (hopefully) heeds their advice.  He's got too much to lose not to.

Latest news is that Andy is targeting the AO for a return to full form, or to as near to it as possible, which sounds a realistic goal to me.

[ Last edit by Aileen August 14, 2019, 09:29 pm ] IP Logged
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