The Herald - Herald Sport
Bullish Murray insists he is still in world’s top 10 grass court players
ANDY MURRAY insists he is still among the top 10 grass court players in the world after kicking off his LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy campaign with a comfortable straight-sets win over Hyeon Chung.
The former world No.1 swatted aside his South Korean opponent 6-3 6-2 in West London to get a bumper summer of domestic tennis underway.
Murray, the current world No.43 after a long-term battle with injuries, opted to skip the French Open to give himself more time on grass ahead of Wimbledon. But he faced a tough test against Chung, who stunned 22-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open.
The Asian ace was unable to claim a similar scalp against two-time SW19 champion Murray, 36, and the veteran Scot admits he still backs himself against the best on the grass court surface.
“I think I am still top 10 on this surface,” he said. “I don’t have anything to prove to anyone – in my eyes anyway, I still feel like I am capable of competing right at the top of the game, certainly on this surface.
“It is hard to put numbers on it like that, but I fancy myself against a lot of the other players.
“Last year I beat Nick Kyrgios, who made the final of Wimbledon.
“I was a set off Matteo Berrettini in the final at the Stuttgart Open, who is definitely in the top few.
“I am playing better this year than I was last year, but it is kind of irrelevant if you say that is what it is, you need to perform and win the matches on the court. It is up to me to show that over the next four or five weeks.”
Murray is a two-time Olympic champion and eyeing up a hat-trick of gold medals in Paris next summer.
The Davis Cup is also on the horizon and he reckons he still has wait it takes to climb back up the world rankings.
He added: “There are still opportunities – we have a great team in the Davis Cup, we have the Olympics just around the corner as well, and that is something that has always been really special to me. I still want to win, I still want to compete and see how far I can push my body.
“With the operations I have had, I was told that I may not be able to play again, and certainly some doctors told me I would not play again, so I just want to see how far I can go. I got up to No.41 in the world, and I believe I can go higher than that.”
Murray, who memorably grabbed Wimbledon glory in 2013 and 2016, will return to the site of his most iconic triumph next month in a bid to lift his third title.
The Scot was the first player at Surbiton to book his place in the round of 16, a tournament played just a 30-minute drive from his family home. And he admits he is making some deliberate tweaks to his domestic schedule in a bid to maximise his performance.
“I sleep in the spare room to try and get a better night’s sleep,” he added. “It is really nice, getting up in the morning and getting the kids dressed and ready for school, feeding them. You know, so long as we don’t chat too long here, I’ll get to see them after school as well.
“I only live 20 or 30 minutes down the road from here, so that is what is nice – I will shower and hop in the car, see my physio back home then see my family, which is great.
“This time of year is full of huge contrasts because when I am on site at the venues, there is a lot of pressure around wanting to perform but when I go home, it is much easier for me to switch off because I have my family to take my mind off things. It is an advantage.”
This summer marks the 10-year anniversary of Murray’s first Wimbledon triumph, when he lowered the colours of Djokovic to become the first Brit to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936.
He said: “There have been some great moments on the court and some really, really tough ones. Obviously with the injuries and everything, but away from the court I got married, had four children and moved house. It is a huge change to 2013, a lot has happened since then. People say time flies, but it feels like a really long time ago.”