WASHINGTON, D.C. – Andy Murray’s presence in the doubles draw at the Citi Open is an extra added bonus in an extremely strong, intriguing 16-team event.
But Murray said Monday that when he starts playing singles, he’ll stop playing doubles.
And that “some day” may be sooner than many expected.
Perhaps even including himself.
Murray will play with brother Jamie in D.C., for the first time since 2013 in an ATP Tour event.
In Montreal at the Rogers Cup, he said Monday he would team up with Feliciano Lopez. Murray and Lopez combined to win the title at Queen’s Club, in Murray’s first tournament back since hip surgery.
As for the Cincinnati Masters 1000 the following week, Murray said it was likely he and Lopez could team up again.
Best-best case scenario
Murray qualified it as being the “best, best-case scenario”. But he hasn’t excluded the possibility that he might return to singles action there.
The Brit has played a couple of practice sets here in D.C. – notably on Sunday against American Denis Kudla.
And he’s pleased to report that there are so many things he can do, ways he can make his body move, that he was unable to do here a year ago.
He can push up on his serve, for one thing. But what he’s noticed is that he’s lacking sufficient cardio to play singles. That’s something that’s especially apparent in D.C., with the heat and humidity.
Murray said he spent so much time in the gym, strengthening the muscles around the hip, that he didn’t prioritize the cardio.
If not Cincy, then the fall
Murray also said that if he doesn’t play in Cincinnati, he wouldn’t return until after the US Open. He can’t conceive of his first tournament back not only being a Grand Slam, but more critically with a best-of-five format in singles.
All in all, though, it’s a dose of pretty happy news from a guy who’s just happy to get up every morning, and not be in pain or feel like garbage.
He said what had changed was that, instead of thinking it was never going to happen (a return in singles), his mindset is “Why shouldn’t it happen?”
Murray said he messaged back and forth with American doubles star Bob Bryan, who had hip resurfacing surgery exactly a year ago in New York during the Citi Open tournament, two or three times a week.
Bob and brother Mike, four-time Citi Open champions, reached the final in Atlanta last week and are in the draw here.
He wanted to know how Bryan felt, how he was progressing. And he said Monday that it was likely he wouldn’t even be sitting here, or had the surgery, had Bryan not had such success with it himself.
Murray said he also spoke to former NHL player Ed Jovanovski, who had the surgery in 2014. The surgeon who performed it believes Jovanovski was the first professional athlete to have the surgery and not have it be a career-ender.
(As far as we know, Murray didn’t speak to The Undertaker, the former wrestling star who had it even before Jovanovski).