Andy Mur­ray says he’s play­ing the best ten­nis of his ca­reer

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESS in New York

Andy Mur­ray says he’s play­ing the best ten­nis of his ca­reer as he looks to cap­i­tal­ize on the grow­ing frail­ties of his ri­vals and cap­ture a sec­ond US Open ti­tle.

Ahead of Mon­day’s start to the sea­son’s fi­nal Grand Slam, the 29-year-old is the sport’s man of the mo­ment.

Since los­ing the French Open fi­nal to Novak Djokovic in June, Mur­ray has won the Queen’s Club, a sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle and suc­cess­fully de­fended his Olympic sin­gles crown in Rio.

His ca­reer-best 22-match win streak was ended by Marin Cilic in the fi­nal at Cincin­nati last week when he sim­ply ran out of gas.

But that hasn’t dented Mur­ray’s con­fi­dence that he can claim a sec­ond US Open, four years af­ter his break­through in New York saw him be­come the first Bri­tish male in 76 years to win a Grand Slam.

The three-time ma­jor win­ner said he is tak­ing pos­i­tives from be­ing in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

“You have to make the most of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. It’s a slightly dif­fer­ent men­tal­ity to maybe when you’re younger and you feel like you have a bit more time on your side,” he said.

Mur­ray has played in the fi­nals of the first three ma­jors of 2016, los­ing to world No 1 Djokovic in Mel­bourne and Paris be­fore de­feat­ing Canada’s Mi­los Raonic in straight sets at Wim­ble­don.

The only worry for Mur­ray is his rel­a­tively medi­ocre re­cent record in New York — runs to the quar­ter­fi­nals in 2013 and 2014 were fol­lowed by a fourth-round exit to Kevin Anderson 12 months ago.

Mur­ray starts his cam­paign against fiery Lukas Rosol. The last time they met in Munich in 2015, Mur­ray de­scribed the feisty Czech as the “most-hated man” in the sport.

The Scot’s con­sis­tency on the tour in re­cent weeks is in stark con­trast to the roller­coaster for­tunes of Djokovic, the de­fend­ing US Open cham­pion.

Af­ter he won his first French Open to com­plete a ca­reer grand slam, all talk was of the Serb go­ing on to de­fend his Wim­ble­don and US Open ti­tles and clinch a cal­en­dar slam.

That’s a feat so rare that only two men have ever achieved it, with Rod Laver the most re­cent in 1969.

The ex­pec­ta­tions proved too heavy a bur­den when the 12-time ma­jor win­ner was dumped out of Wim­ble­don in the third round for his ear­li­est loss at a ma­jor in seven years.

Although he then won a record 30th Masters tro­phy in Toronto, a stun­ning firstround loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the Olympics and a with­drawal from Cincin­nati with a wrist in­jury sug­gested all is not well with the 2011 and 2015 US Open win­ner.

“I am not 100 per­cent. Hope­fully on Mon­day, when it all starts, I will be there,” said Djokovic, who faces big-serv­ing Jerzy Janow­icz of Poland in his opener.

“The wrist has not been ideal for three weeks. There are dif­fer­ent meth­ods of heal­ing. One in­volved elec­tri­cal ther­apy to en­hance my re­cov­ery process.”

Out­side of the top two, five-time cham­pion Roger Fed­erer, who has played ev­ery US Open since 2000, called time on his sea­son af­ter a five-set semi-fi­nal loss to Raonic at Wim­ble­don. The 35-year-old Swiss ag­gra­vated a knee in­jury in that de­feat.

You have to make the most of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity.” Ten­nis star Andy Mur­ray

ANDY LYONS / AGENCE FRANCE PRESSES

Olympic gold medal­ist Andy Mur­ray signs au­to­graphs af­ter prac­tice ahead of Mon­day’s start of the US Open in New York.

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