Sky Sports Tennis analyst Laura Robson understands Andy Murray’s disappointment of picking up an abdominal strain in Toronto, but she is backing the Brit to be in the mix at the US Open, despite not being seeded.
Murray, 36, apologised to the crowd at the Canadian Open after withdrawing just before his match against Italian seventh seed Jannik Sinner in the last 16 earlier this month.
It was just the seventh time the Scot had conceded a walkover in his career and disrupted his preparations for the final Grand Slam of the season at the US Open, which begins 28 August in New York – live on Sky Sports.
Murray is currently ranked No 37 in the world, meaning he would be relying on a number of high-profile withdrawals in order to gain a seeding at Flushing Meadows.
It seems highly unlikely the former three-time Grand Slam champion will be ranked in the top 32 with the main draw taking place on Thursday, but former Olympic mixed-doubles partner Robson believes it won’t matter a jot to him.
“He’s got the level of tennis to beat almost everyone in the draw and he will go into any match-up thinking that he’s got a great chance of winning – there’s so much belief in his game,” said Robson, who won a silver medal alongside Murray at London 2012.
“His injury seemed more of a precautionary withdrawal than anything else. He had the same thing this time last year and he just can’t push it, which is so true for an ab injury. You just can’t play through it without making it worse.
“He’s now getting the time off that he needs and, although he will be disappointed to miss out on a seeding, when you get to New York, when you get to the pressure of a Slam, when you play under the lights at the US Open, anything can happen. So I feel like Andy’s still very much in the mix.”
I’m really in it now, I’m going to have to die for each point just to get anything.
Fellow Sky Sports’ expert Johanna Konta says it would be nice to see Murray string a few wins together and be able to compete physically in a best-of-five encounter.
“It could be nice to see Murray make it deep in the tournament,” said Konta, the former world No 4. “It will be nice to see him playing because it’s a while since people have seen him play.
“I think he’s playing because he probably still thinks he has something more to get out of himself. There are still areas where he can improve and we get the privilege of seeing him play and compete as one of the best competitors to have ever played the game.
“What he’s still got going for him is that players still think of Andy and what Andy was like years ago, so players still step on court thinking ‘I’m really in it now, I’m going to have to die for each point just to get anything’ so that locker room persona still helps him even though he’s not the player that he was.”
Konta also feels the backroom team of Johnny O’Mara and Mark Hilton have helped “motivate” Murray to the extent where he is enjoying competing again.
“I’ve always found Andy really funny in that sense because the amount of banter that goes on in his team; some points I’m thinking ‘how do you know this is banter?’ they’re just abusing each other here,” laughed Konta.
“I don’t know where this stops being funny, but he feeds off it and they do the same. It is always about having a good time and working hard. It’s about being able to have good banter and when you have good camaraderie with the people around you then it gives you good motivation and he’s going to be no different from that. That will help him compete.”
When is the US Open live on Sky Sports?
The US Open returns to Sky Sports on Monday, August 28 with the promise to give fans live coverage of the Grand Slam like never before.
Sky Sports has access to all individual court feeds and will broadcast a minimum of 135 hours of competition throughout the two-week Grand Slam tournament.
Sky Sports subscribers on Sky Glass, Sky Stream, Sky Q, and the Sky Sports app will be able to watch all courts for the first time on Sky Sports.
Across Sky Sports’ linear channels and on Sky Sports digital and social channels, tennis fans can enjoy extensive coverage, including both the men’s and women’s tournaments, alongside respective doubles, mixed doubles, juniors, and wheelchair competitions.
Watch the US Open – live on Sky Sports – from Monday August 28. Stream the US Open and more with NOW for £26 a month for 12 months