US Open: Murray set to start campaign, at last
It has been a long wait but Andy Murray will finally make his bow here today on day three of the US Open.
The scheduling of matches at the year's final Grand Slam event is often a source of puzzlement and Murray has had to wait his turn as his main rivals have all beaten him to the start line.
If the delay has been frustrating, however, it should not put the world No 4 at any great disadvantage.
With the semi-finals and final played on successive days at the end of the tournament, none of the men — weather permitting — should have to play two days in a row until the closing weekend.
Somdev Devvarman, Murray's first opponent, is a sound performer who is in the best form of his career, but the 26-year-old Indian has never gone beyond the second round of a Grand Slam event and has won only one match in his last three tournaments.
“I haven't played too much recently, but I feel I'm hitting the ball OK,” the world No 64 said.
“Murray is one of the greatest returners in the game. Those players I've spoken to who have played him all say that, and that he has a great all-round game and moves really well.
“It's important that I focus as much as I can on what I need to do well.”
While Murray himself will be taking nothing for granted, the greater challenges are likely to come next week.
Tennis legend John McEnroe believes the US Open offers Murray his best chance of winning his first Grand Slam title.
“His best results have been in the majors which is the good news because that's where fitness comes into play more,” said McEnroe, four-times US Open champion.
“All the work he's put in should pay off fitness-wise. Then some of it comes down to luck and the draw.
“I would hope that he would be hungrier and more desperate than ever to do it.”
Patrick McEnroe, John’s brother and General Manager for Player Development at the US Tennis Association, said of Murray: “He's struggled in the big matches. He's basically just frozen. To me it's not so much that he’s lost in the Aussie Open final or the US Open final. It's the way he's lost.”