Andy Murray determined to climb the rankings after grueling Australian Open

Andy Murray determined to climb the rankings after grueling Australian Open

Andy Murray will make improving his ranking a priority over the next few months, hoping to avoid the kind of grueling schedule that has hurt his Australian Open hopes.

The Scot was at least able to get his blistered feet up on Sunday after his hopes of running deep in Melbourne ended in a four-set loss to Roberto Bautista Agut.

Murray once again exceeded expectations by advancing his Spanish opponent in a three-hour and 29-minute battle, meaning he has spent more than 14 hours on the pitch in three games.

The 35-year-old has rightly earned praise for his efforts, not least his comeback against Thanasi Kokkinakis after 4am, but he has higher expectations than being eliminated in the last 32 at Grand Slams and knows he has to do it to giving yourself a chance not expend so much energy in the first rounds.

Murray will be ranked just outside the top 60 after this tournament and will certainly hope to be in the top 32 at Wimbledon, which would earn him a spot at the All England Club and avoid a first-round tie against the likes of Matteo Berrettini. as he experienced it here.

The good news for Murray is that his hard work over the offseason has paid off in terms of his physical acuity and confidence in his game.

“I think my movement here was really good,” he said. “It wasn’t that great sometimes in the last 12, 18 months. It’s really important to me. If I move well, I can play the playstyle that is most effective for me.

“I scored a lot of points at the net in this event, which was really positive. Someone sent me a screenshot. I think of all the players that played, I had the most points at the net and many points ended with winners.”

Murray will always err on the side of a defensive player but being able to come forward and shave points will be crucial to his hopes of trying to get back to the latter stages of these events.

He will prioritize rest and recovery upon his return to Britain but expects to be fit for his next tournament in Rotterdam, which starts on February 13.

“I don’t have an injury, which is good,” said Murray, who struggled with his feet and lower back against Bautista Agut.

“My body has obviously been through a lot of strain and stress over the past few days. I need some time to recover.

“But because of Davis Cup week, Rotterdam would start three weeks on Monday, so that should be more than enough time for me to recover I think.”

When Murray returns to Melbourne Park next year, he’s hoping for changes to the schedule to reduce the likelihood of players playing into the wee hours.

The Scot’s efforts have drawn attention to the issue, which is far from a new problem in tennis.

Murray suggested only having two games in the day session to reduce the likelihood of an overflow and starting the night session earlier as relatively minor changes could help.

Collective action is not one of tennis’ strong points, and if Novak Djokovic’s Professional Tennis Players Association is to influence the sport, it could start with that.

The PTPA, which has been largely anonymous since it started at the US Open in 2020, has raised its profile at Melbourne Park and appointed a committee of eight players.

Djokovic, who is among the eight, said of late-night planning: “It depends on what the TV stations want. This is the ultimate decision maker.

“I would agree with his (Murray’s) points. It’s entertaining for the crowd, it’s exciting to have games at midnight, 1, 2, 3 in the morning. It’s really grueling for us.

“Even if you come through and win, come through in games like this, you still have to come back. You’ve completely disrupted your sleep cycle, your rhythm, not enough time to really recover for another fiver.

“From what we’ve seen this year something needs to be addressed in terms of the schedule I think.”

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