2012 champion Andy Murray returns to New York, playing his first slam since the last year’s Australian Open. It was after that match that expectations of retirement began to build but he looks ready to mount a full comeback on the tour and begins this tournament against Yoshihito Nishioka on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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Nishioka isn’t hindered by his physical disadvantages and still poses a threat as a great retriever and returner at 5ft7in. Injuries have been a hindrance to the 25 year old but he will likely improve on his current career high of No. 48 if he can remain fit for long enough. A third round in Melbourne this year was his best slam result and there were signs of another good season coming along after he added a Delray Beach final to that run.
Murray looked fairly impressive in his return at the Western & Southern Open, beating Frances Tiafoe and Alexander Zverev before falling to Milos Raonic. More notably, the two wins came in lengthy three setters – something that has to bode well for Murray ahead of a best of five tournament.. “In the matches I played… I felt pretty good on the court in terms of my body, the matches were still difficult and stressful, [but it was] still enjoyable to be out there competing because my body was actually feeling okay. Hopefully that will be the case again next week.” Murray said after his return.
“I’m not as quick probably as I was before, but I’m able to go out there and compete and focus on the tennis. Hopefully [I will] be able to last a five-set match without my performance seriously deteriorating as it goes on, it’s been tough to get to this point, a lot of hard work, lots of ups and downs. But I made it back.” he added. It will probably work in his favour that he is playing an opponent that cannot blast him off the court and is as fragile as he is. Tougher tests will come in later rounds should Murray advance, with Canadian prodigy Felix Auger Aliassime a likely round two opponent.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets