On Wednesday evening, Andy Murray commenced his defence of the U.S Open title he fought so hard to win last year with a rather comfortable victory over Michael Llodra at Arthur Ashe Court.
The victory which consisted of three sets, took just over an hour and a half to run its course as Murray made it through the encounter in double-quick time to keep his title challenge bang on course.
Of course, the Scot will have been keen to use his opening match against Llodra to send out a signal of intent to the rest of the “big four”. With Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all registering wins, it was up to Murray to play catch-up, and he did so quite capably.
Add to this, the fact that his match was pushed back an extra day due to scheduling problems, as reported by The Guardian‘s Kevin Mitchell, and it’s clear that unnecessary strain is could still be a threat to Murray.
However, having already triumphed at Wimbledon this year, it’s interesting to note that the 26-year-old has gone in under the media radar for this tournament.
For years, Wimbledon and Murray were synonymous with each other, and now that he’s put an end to all that talk, it seems as though interest in his quests has waned slightly. For Murray, though, he’ll be as interested and focused as ever before.
And it’s surprising that much of the media attention has surrounded both Nadal and Djokovic. Yes, Nadal has had an absolutely phenomenal year, winning 11 titles already this year, however Murray is the defending champion, and enjoyed a decent rest period following his historic SW19 win so he’s expected to be fairly fresh for when the important match-ups roll around.
Nonetheless, this is all sure to play into Murray’s hands. It’s common knowledge that the softly-spoken Scot has rarely warmed to the media circus surrounding the professional game, and his preparations this year are reported to be much more controlled and thought-out than many previous years as The Guardian details here.
So, if Murray does get discounted early on, don’t expect that to bother him – in fact, expect it to drive him on even more.
Murray plays Leonardo Mayer on Friday.
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