Former US Open champion and World No. 1 Andy Murray remains determined to keep working his way back to the top of the men’s game, inspired by some positive signs in a gruelling four-set loss to Matteo Berrettini at Flushing Meadows Friday.
“I want to push and see how far I can go,” Murray said after the 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(1), 6-3 loss.
“I think I’m improving this year. You know, my ranking, I don’t even know what I was at the beginning of the year, but I’m now around 40-ish in the world and still going hard.
“That will be motivational for me and interesting to see, because lots of people told me I wouldn’t be able to play again, and lots of people told me I’d be able to hit tennis balls but not compete professionally again. That was nonsense, and I want to see how close I can get back to the top of the game. That’s what the motivation is.”
In Friday’s three hour, 47 minute encounter with Berrettini, Murray felt the Italian’s serve was the difference maker. Berrettini fired 18 aces to Murray’s four and won 90/131 points off his heavy first delivery.
“I served pretty poorly for a large part of the match, which hurt me a lot… I hung in really well in the third set and could see from the stats and stuff that were coming up that when I was getting into rallies I was getting comfortably the better of those exchanges when I got past the first few shots.
“He served extremely well, got loads of free points on his serve. I didn’t. That was the difference.”
The two-time Olympic gold medallist departs from New York as the World No. 43 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. Since Wimbledon 2017, when Murray was competing as defending champion and World No. 1, the Brit’s hip procedures have impacted his movement.
Despite playing with a metal hip, Murray is poised to continue competing on the ATP Tour. Having not been within the Top 40 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since his extended injury break in 2017, he believes there is nothing stopping him from getting to the level he was at five years ago.
“A lot of the things feel the same, but obviously I’m just not quite capable of the sort of movement and physicality that I was five, six years ago. I mean, that’s pretty obvious. I shouldn’t expect to be.
“I think if you watch Rafa and Novak moving around the court now, who are similar age, I think they’re moving pretty similar to how they were five, six years ago, whereas for me there’s obviously been a bit of a drop-off there. That can affect you in terms of how you have to play the points. Maybe you just don’t track as many balls down as before. Maybe the reach isn’t just quite as much as it was. But in terms of the shots and everything, there is nothing that is stopping me from hitting the same shots as I did before.”
Murray leaves New York boasting a 22-15 record in 2022, the most wins he’s claimed in a season since collecting 25 wins in 2017. The 35-year-old is next due to play Davis Cup in his hometown, Glasgow, beginning 14 September and will also compete for Team Europe at the Laver Cup 23-25 September.