British No. 1 Andy Murray may not have managed to advance the Great Britain Davis Cup team to a historic semi-final appearance, yet he will use the weekend’s efforts to help prepare for the clay court portion of the season ahead.
Murray, who missed the French Open and the majority of the clay court season last year due to injury, is looking forward to a fresh start on the red clay.
“I am looking forward to the clay court season.” Murray told The Guardian. “I didn’t play the French last year. I only played a few matches on the clay last year because of the back problem. The court in San Diego was clay but it was not like the ones here.
“I haven’t played loads on the clay in the last couple of years. I need to play more. I think I can play well on the surface. There are just things, intricacies of playing on clay, that I need to learn. The best way to learn is by playing matches like we did here, against guys who are very good on the surface. Hopefully I’ll learn something and take that forward into the next few weeks.”
His first tournament on clay, apart from his two Davis Cup appearances, will be at the Madrid Masters, followed by Rome, which gives him time to rest, recuperate and prepare for the months ahead.
“I’m not playing until Madrid [on 4 May, followed by Rome a week later]. So I have time to take a bit of a break. I don’t know exactly how long I will take off but I need to let my body recover. Although I maybe haven’t won as many matches as in previous years, that doesn’t mean that when you’re at the tournaments you’re not practising every day and preparing for those events.”
Since returning from back surgery, Murray has had a busy start to his season. He has taken part in six ATP tournament in three months, as well as two Davis Cup ties and is looking forward to the time off to consider candidates for his new coach.
“I’ve played a lot of tennis this year. With the Davis Cup as well, that’s an extra couple of weeks. I also played in Rotterdam [where he lost to Cilic, now coached by Ivanisevic]. That was another week. Acapulco [losing to Grigor Dimitrov in the semis] was straight through into Indian Wells and Miami. So it’s been quite a long start to the year for me.”