World No 1 faces a fit­ness race for Wim­ble­don

Mur­ray has Wim­ble­don in­jury scare, Thiem crashes out in Antalya and Djokovic hits a weather front in East­bourne

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF -

Mur­ray pulls out of an ex­hi­bi­tion match at the Hurling­ham Club due to a sore hip.

Andy Mur­ray suf­fered an in­jury scare ahead of Wim­ble­don as the world No 1 pulled out of an ex­hi­bi­tion match at the Hurling­ham Club due to a sore hip yes­ter­day. Mur­ray had sched­uled two matches at the As­pall Ten­nis Clas­sic event fol­low­ing his shock first-round exit against Aus­tralian world No 90 Jor­dan Thomp­son at Queen’s Club last week.

The Scot, 30, had been due to face Lu­cas Pouille, but his man­age­ment an­nounced that he would not take to the court be­cause his hip was “a bit sore”.

The de­ci­sion was de­scribed as a pre­cau­tion, with Mur­ray still plan­ning to play the sec­ond match against an as-yet-un­named opponent in west London on Fri­day.

But it is not the prepa­ra­tion Mur­ray would have wanted as the three-time grand slam cham­pion pre­pares to de­fend his ti­tle at Wim­ble­don, which gets un­der way on Mon­day. Mur­ray’s dif­fi­cult sea­son has in­cluded a host of fit­ness prob­lems, in­clud­ing shin­gles, an el­bow in­jury and two bouts of flu.

Else­where, Do­minic Thiem crashed out of the Antalya grass court tour­na­ment yes­ter­day, the French Open semi-fi­nal­ist stunned by In­dia’s Ramku­mar Ra­manathan, ranked 214 places be­low the world No 8.

The 22-year-old Ra­manathan up­set Thiem 6-3, 6-2 to claim the big­gest win of his ca­reer.

Thiem made it into the French Open last four, beat­ing No­vak Djokovic in straight sets in the quar­ter-fi­nals be­fore los­ing to even­tual win­ner Rafael Nadal.

How­ever, he ar­rived in Turkey af­ter a sec­ond-round loss to Robin Haase last week on grass in Halle.

The Aus­trian was ap­pear­ing in Turkey to help pre­pare for the third grand slam of the year at Wim­ble­don. Ra­manathan had only played in one ATP tour event this year be­fore head­ing to Turkey, and that was at home in Chen­nai in Jan­uary.

Mean­while, No­vak Djokovic’s prepa­ra­tions for Wim­ble­don were un­der­mined when heavy rain caused play at East­bourne to be can­celled.

The Serb, 30, had cho­sen to com­pete there for the first time in his pur­suit of some mo­men­tum and con­fi­dence ahead of the com­ing Grand Slam, but was left frus­trated al­most as soon as his first-round match be­gan. He took the open­ing game against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and was lead­ing 30-15 in the sec­ond when the rain started.

Play was then re­peat­edly post­poned un­til, fi­nally at 5pm, at­tempts to re­sume were aban­doned un­til 10.30am tomorrow.

Bri­ton Jamie Mur­ray be­lieves his dou­bles vic­tory at Queen’s with Brazil­ian Bruno Soares has given the pair a much-needed boost ahead of next week’s Wim­ble­don as the duo tar­get their third grand-slam ti­tle. Mur­ray and Soares, who also won in Stuttgart ear­lier this month, beat France’s Julien Ben­neteau and Edouard Roger-Vas­selin 6-2, 6-3 to claim their sixth tour ti­tle to­gether on Sun­day.

The pair, who won the Aus­tralian Open and the US Open last year, are now look­ing ahead to Wim­ble­don, where they reached the quar­ter-fi­nals in 2016.

“It’s big for us to win at Queen’s, one of the strong­est fields in the year ... and it gives us great con­fi­dence ahead of Wim­ble­don,” Jamie, the elder brother of world No 1 sin­gles player Andy, said. “But on Mon­day [at Wim­ble­don] ev­ery­one starts from the same po­si­tion ... but we are one of the favourites for the tour­na­ment and we will do as well as we can.”

The 31-year-old Mur­ray said his re­la­tion­ship with Soares has grown over the past 18 months and the duo are look­ing to fin­ish the sea­son strongly.

“We prac­tice to­gether, play our matches and even recovery to­gether – it’s a 24-hour part­ner­ship,” Mur­ray said. “Of course it helps that we have a good re­la­tion­ship as we spend all our days to­gether.

“We have been play­ing to­gether for 18 months now and hope we keep play­ing to­gether and fin­ish the year as strong as we can.”

Last year, Andy and Jamie be­came the first broth­ers to top the world rank­ings in sin­gles and dou­bles at the same time.

The pair have played to­gether on tour and rep­re­sented Bri­tain at the Davis Cup but have never ap­peared to­gether at a grand slam.

With Judy Mur­ray re­cently tip­ping her sons to “have a crack at Wim­ble­don” be­fore the end of their ca­reers, Jamie also re­fused to rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of team­ing up with his younger brother.

“One day we might play to­gether at Wim­ble­don but that de­pends on Andy’s sin­gles ca­reer,” Mur­ray said. “I don’t know when that might hap­pen but at the mo­ment I’m happy play­ing with Bruno.”

Tim Clay­ton / Getty Im­ages

A sore hip has added to Andy Mur­ray’s prob­lems this year re­lated to fit­ness, in­clud­ing shin­gles, an el­bow in­jury and two bouts of flu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.