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Andy Murray holds his head high ahead of Davis Cup bid

By Paul Newman

Published 09/09/2016

Conquered: Andy Murray lost in the quarters of the US Open
Conquered: Andy Murray lost in the quarters of the US Open

Andy Murray is always one of the most eloquent players in defeat. Some can be tetchy or monosyllabic in the wake of a loss, especially at a major tournament, but Murray is different. It is almost as if he enjoys unburdening his thoughts as the weight of expectation drops off his shoulders.

After his loss to Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals of the US Open, Murray was not exactly cracking jokes or sounding full of beans, but his very first words at his post-match press conference seemed a fair indication of his mood.

"I'm not disappointed in a way," Murray said. "I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run in every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn't to be."

If marriage and fatherhood have given Murray a broader outlook, that should not be confused with any weakening of his will to win.

The World No.2 fought to the very end of his relentlessly dramatic 1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5 defeat to Nishikori in a match which could easily have gone his way, especially if his momentum had not been disrupted by the controversial moment early in the fourth set which proved to be a turning point.

When umpire Marija Cicak stopped a rally that Murray was about to win because of a loud bleep from a malfunctioning sound system, the Scot had been on the brink of breaking serve to go 2-1 up. Seven games later he was trailing 2-0 in the final set.

It was close in the end, but Murray recognised that there had been other occasions when he might have lost matches.

"At the Olympics I was down against Steve Johnson a couple of times and I was down a break in the third set against Fabio Fognini," he said.

"Against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Wimbledon I was up, but that could have gone the other way at the beginning of the fifth set. It happens sometimes. You win them. I have won a lot over the last few months, but I couldn't get it going my way this time."

While defeat always hurts, Murray was able to see the wider picture. After the best run of his career he was just two wins away from becoming only the fourth man in the Open era to play in all four Grand Slam finals in the same year.

"I pushed myself and I'm proud of how I have done," Murray said.

The show went on at Flushing Meadows, with Stan Wawrinka beating Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 to secure a semi-final showdown today with Nishikori, but for Murray it was time to start thinking ahead.

Murray looks likely to be the key figure in Britain's Davis Cup semi-final against Argentina in Glasgow next week and knows he needs to recover quickly.

"Davis Cup does take a lot out of you," Murray said. "It's tough, especially if you play all three days. I'll need to be smart over the next few days to make sure that I recover not only physically but also mentally."

Andy's brother Jamie and Bruno Soares beat defending champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France to reach the US Open doubles final.

Murray and Brazilian Soares upset the world number one pairing, winning 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Belfast Telegraph

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