Andy Murray will make his first grand slam appearance in just over a year when he takes on James Duckworth for a spot in round two on Monday afternoon. He has played just seven matches since his Wimbledon loss to Sam Querrey and has found it tough as he seeks to kickstart his comeback towards the top of the rankings.
His hard court run in North America has seen him post a 3-1 record, with a loss to Lucas Pouille in Cincinnati following his quarter final pre match withdrawal in Washington. Murray is definitely not amongst the top contenders for the title this early in his comeback and is unfazed by that. “These are the tournaments for the past 10, 12 years of my life that I’ve been training for, preparing for and trying to compete for and maybe one day win one of them.” he said. “It is different this year as I don’t have that expectation.”
His opponent James Duckworth had moderate success in Washington too, beating Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Jason Kubler to make the last 16 there. It has been similarly tough for Duckworth, who has had a lengthy injury lay off of his own and also enters this tournament with a protected ranking. Before his injuries, he held a career high ranking just outside the top 80.
“If I can keep progressing in the right way and keep physically getting better then there is no reason why I can’t get to playing at that level, I’m already competing with them with not much preparation.” Murray added. His losses have come to the higher ranked players so there is little expectation he will suffer a shock defeat here. However, Juan Martin Del Potro in round three seems the likely end point for Murray.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets