In the men’s draw, there is one first round tie that clearly stands out. Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray face off in Paris for the first time since their epic semi-final in 2017. It was Wawrinka who won that one in five sets but neither player has really been the same since with wear and tear contributing to just four slam quarter finals between the pair since then.
Watch the Murray vs Wawrinka Live Stream Here.
Murray has been trying to keep himself fit enough to keep his career going but it does have the feel that he will have one-off matches where he shows some of his best tennis but maintaining it over a long period of time does not seem realistic with his hip issues, in a time where good movement in tennis is more important than ever. He was at his fighting best in his opener at the US Open with a comeback win against Yoshihito Nishioka but was found wanting in round two as a youthful Felix Auger Aliassime cruised past him in straight sets.
Wawrinka chose not to compete in New York, instead focusing his attention on the clay and the French Open. He played back-to-back weeks in Prague, winning a Challenger title the first time round and withdrawing at the quarter final stage in the next. He will have wanted to establish his credentials as a contender in Rome but suffered an embarrassing loss 6-0 7-6 to Lorenzo Musetti, one of the home up and comers.
This does feel somewhat like a second farewell for Murray, who is going to have a tough time maintaining a decent level or moving well on clay – especially at this time of year. Wawrinka would be expected to secure a fairly routine win here but his Rome Masters performance will put some doubt in peoples minds. Wawrinka already holds a 4-1 head to head on clay which doesn’t bode well for Murray.
Prediction – Stanislas Wawrinka in four sets