Andy Murray has withdrawn from the upcoming ATP tournament in Cologne due to injury.

The former world number one was listed on the official draw as being absent due to a hip problem.

That is reported to be an inflammation of a psoas muscle, which Murray did not want to aggravate.

Cologne is staging back-to-back tournaments on the men's tour, with Alexander Zverev picking up the title from the first of those on Sunday.

Murray had been due to play the Cologne Championships, which starts on Monday, and had been drawn to play Serbian world number 166 Danilo Petrovic in round one.

On paper, that represented a more favourable draw than his recent first-round tussles, which have seen him lose early in the French Open to Stan Wawrinka and then at the Cologne Open to Fernando Verdasco.

Murray, however, will not compete and will hope to recover full fitness in time to play the Paris Masters, where the main draw begins on November 2.

Andy Murray suffered another disappointing defeat as he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round of the Cologne Indoors tournament.

A 6-4 6-4 loss came against a player he once led 13-1 in their career head-to-head, a gap which has now closed to 13-4 after a hat-trick of wins for Spanish left-hander Verdasco.

Following victories for Verdasco at the US Open and Shenzhen Open in 2018, the Madrid man again got the better of the two-time Wimbledon champion, beating the Scot on an indoor hard court for the first time after five previous defeats.

It was a tough draw for Murray, who also struck unlucky at the French Open last month when he was paired with former champion Stan Wawrinka in the first round and also lost in straight sets.

The former world number one had entered the Cologne event, a low-level ATP 250 tournament, in the hope of building up match practice and registering the wins he needs to improve his ranking, which stands at 115 after his battle with injury in recent seasons.

Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon won through to the second round earlier in the day at the German event.

At the St Petersburg Open, Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka survived an on-court meltdown to beat French player Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in the first round.

Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Ivashka insisted on taking a toilet break and was penalised a game on his return to court, for delaying the match.

Ivashka explained to the chair umpire he had asked for a medical timeout because he "wasn't able to stand on court", only to be told such a break could not be used for a toilet trip.

The red mist descended as a seething Ivashka shouted: "That is not possible. It is not possible."

The punishment meant the 26-year-old fell 4-2 behind in the set, but he managed to turn around the situation to progress to the last-16 stage, where Denis Shapovalov or Viktor Troicki will await.

At the same tournament, Russian Andrey Rublev began his first week as a top-10 player by scoring a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Milos Raonic, who skipped the French Open where Rublev reached the quarter-finals, fired 21 aces in a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win against JJ Wolf.

In Italy, home player Lorenzo Sonego followed up his run to the fourth round of the French Open with a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) opening win over 18-year-old compatriot Giulio Zeppieri at the Sardegna Open.

Andy Murray is planning a busy finish to 2020 in a bid to bounce back from his disappointing first-round exit at the French Open.

The Briton lost 6-1 6-3 6-2 to Stan Wawrinka in Paris on Sunday to follow up a second-round departure at the US Open.

In the immediate aftermath of his French Open loss, Murray vowed not to "brush aside" the heavy defeat and insisted he would analyse it to understand the reasons.

Looking ahead to the remainder of a year that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the 33-year-old has discussed plans to play two consecutive indoor ATP 250 events in Cologne next.

"I know tournament-wise I'm going to try to play as much as I can between now and the end of the year," he told reporters.

"The plan is to play in Cologne, the two tournaments there.

"Probably the only positive of [going out early] is I will get more time to prepare on the indoor hard courts for that."

Later in the year, Murray hopes to travel to Australia, with the ATP Cup a possibility at the start of next season after he had to withdraw through injury earlier this year.

"We don't know exactly what the rules are going to be for Australia, but it's looking like you'll have to get there very early to prepare for that," he said.

"I'd like to play in the ATP Cup because I was supposed to last year [the 2020 edition], and it looked like a great event – or [I will play] another ATP event on in Australia at the beginning of the year if I'm not in the ATP Cup team.

"My plan is to for sure go to Australia. I just don't know exactly what the exact situation is in terms of what date we would have to go, because by the sounds of it, it's pretty early, like mid-December."

Andy Murray tasted defeat in his first match at the French Open in three years, going down in straight sets to Stan Wawrinka on the opening day of action at Roland Garros.

Competing in just his third grand slam singles match since the 2019 Australian Open due to hip surgery and the coronavirus pandemic, Murray could not live with the 2015 winner.

Wawrinka held serve throughout to prevail 6-1 6-3 6-2 in a time of one hour and 37 minutes as he set up a meeting with Dominik Koepfer in the second round.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Italian teenager Jannik Sinner eliminated 11th seed David Goffin and British number one Dan Evans lost to Kei Nishikori in five sets.


Lethargic Murray falls at first hurdle

Grand slam winners Murray and Wawrinka served up a treat when they met in the semi-finals here in 2017, but there was far less drama involved in this latest clash.

Wildcard entrant Murray lacked any sort of spark and looked subdued for the duration of the one-sided match as he failed to break his opponent's service game.

Wawrinka, who has himself slipped down the rankings, broke Murray in the third, fifth and seventh games as he eased into a one-set lead.

It was a similar case in the second set, with the Swiss continuing to dominate and earning an all-important break in the sixth game to leave Murray on the ropes.

And any hope of a fightback from Murray, as was the case in last month's five-set victory over Yoshihito Nishioka in the US Open first round, were soon ended for good.

Murray squandered three break points in the second game of the final set and Wawrinka did not look back, seeing out the game with an ace in an easier victory that expected.


Sinner stuns Goffin 

Sinner caught the eye when becoming the first Italian to win the Next Gen ATP Finals 10 months ago and he is now making his mark in majors.

The 19-year-old won 11 games in a row en route to a convincing 7-5 6-0 6-3 victory and will now take on French qualifier Benjamin Bonzi in the next round.

"He maybe didn't feel that well on court," Sinner said in his post-match interview. "I felt well. I have just been trying to be focused."

 

Nishikori sees off Evans in five sets 

British number one Evans was seeking his first win at Roland Garros but, dealt a tough hand against former world number four Nishikori, it was a fourth first-round exit in five years.

After a sluggish start that saw him drop the first set, Nishikori soon recovered and took a 2-1 lead in the contest, only for Evans to show good fighting spirit in the fourth set.

Despite battling back from 0-3 in the deciding set, Evans' revival was short-lived as he went down 1-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-4 in three hours and 49 minutes.

"The end result was that I lost," Evans said. "I lost another first round which is a little disappointing and now I get ready for the indoor hardcourts."

Isner sails through, Coric falls

World number 23 John Isner made light work of Elliot Benchetrit, holding serve throughout in a routine 6-4 6-1 6-3 victory to set up a meeting with Sebastian Korda.

Borna Coric had less success against Norbert Gombos, though, the 24th seed exiting the tournament with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-4 defeat.

The US Open quarter-finalist lost serve in a gruelling third game and that was a sign of things to come against his stubborn opponent.

Gombos, who reached round three in 2017, recovered after losing the second set to get over the line and produce a big upset on an eventful opening day in Paris.

US Open champion Dominic Thiem was dealt a difficult hand in an exciting men's French Open draw, while Serena Williams was handed a tough route in the women's competition.

Thiem finally ended his wait for a first major title in New York earlier this month, beating Alexander Zverev in a five-set epic after losing his prior three finals.

Two of those came in the most recent two French Open finals against Rafael Nadal, although there will be no repeat this year.

Thiem is in the bottom half of the draw along with Nadal, who starts against Egor Gerasimov, and has a tricky schedule right from the outset.

The Austrian has grand slam winner Marin Cilic in the first round, and Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka – two other former major champions – are potential fourth-round opponents as they begin against one another in an intriguing clash.

Nadal could have to tackle John Isner in the last 16, while Zverev is also in the bottom half of the draw.

World number one Novak Djokovic has Mikael Ymer up first and could meet Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals, having been defaulted from the US Open when facing the Spaniard – his only defeat of the year.

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are in the top half, too.

Meanwhile, Williams, still bidding for a record-equalling 24th major title, is set to meet Victoria Azarenka in round four.

Azarenka came from a set down to beat Williams in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows before she was defeated in the championship match by Naomi Osaka, who is absent in France.

Defending champion Ash Barty and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu are also missing, while world number 10 Belinda Bencic withdrew shortly before the draw.

But Williams still faces a difficult task just to reach the final.

A potential victory over Azarenka in the last 16 could see the 38-year-old paired with third seed Elina Svitolina in the quarters, while top seed, world number two and 2018 champion Simona Halep is also in the same half.

Williams starts against Kristie Ahn, who she defeated in her US Open opener.

Kiki Bertens is in the same quarter as Halep, which sees arguably the pick of the first-round matches as Coco Gauff takes on Johanna Konta, last year's semi-finalist.

Marketa Vondrousova, beaten by Barty in the 2019 final, is a potential fourth-round opponent for Halep.

Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova are in the same section as former champion Jelena Ostapenko and Germany's Angelique Kerber, who could complete a career Grand Slam.

Garbine Muguruza, another previous winner, is in Sofia Kenin's quarter with Aryna Sabalenka.

Andy Murray and Eugenie Bouchard have been handed wildcards for the singles draws at the French Open.

Former world number one Murray made his grand slam return at the US Open earlier this month, defeating Yoshihito Nishioka before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

Murray, 33, was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2016 and reached the semi-finals for four consecutive years between 2014 and 2017.

He is currently ranked 110th in the world after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery last year.

Bouchard enjoyed a restorative run to the final of the Istanbul Open last week, where the 2014 Wimbledon finalist was beaten by Patricia Maria Tig despite taking the first set.

Tsvetana Pironkova has also been awarded a spot in the women's draw after her surprise run to the US Open quarters.

Murray, Bouchard and Pironkova are the only non-French players to receive the 16 wildcards on offer across the two singles draws.

Dominic Thiem joked that he will have to call former world number one Andy Murray if he loses a fourth grand slam final after reaching the US Open decider.

Thiem defeated last year's US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) in Friday's semi-final as the second seed eyes an elusive major title.

The Austrian star has lost all three slam finals he has featured in – the 2020 Australian Open decider against Novak Djokovic and the 2019 and 2019 French Open showpieces to Rafael Nadal.

Murray was beaten in four major finals before breaking through for his maiden slam via the 2012 US Open and Thiem joked on court post-match: "If I win, I have my first [grand slam title]. If not, I have to slowly call Andy Murray to find out how it is with 0-4."

Pressed on those comments and whether he had ever spoken to three-time slam champion Murray about overcoming slam final defeats, Thiem told reporters: "I never talked to anyone. It was all good so far. But I was joking about it.

"It's easy for Andy because he has won three in the meantime. But that's not what I'm thinking about Sunday. I just going to go in fully focused, like in all the six previous matches. The world continues no matter what's result is, so it's going to be fine.

"Of course, I'm super happy that I gave myself another chance to be in the finals, pretty quick after Australia. Going to be a great one against a very good friend and a great rival."

Thiem – the first Austrian male to make the singles at the US Open – capitalised against a wasteful Medvedev, who failed to serve out the second and third sets on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

First-time slam finalist and fifth seed Alexander Zverev awaits Thiem at Flushing Meadows in New York – a rematch of the pair's entertaining Australian Open semi-final showdown earlier this year.

It provides a different challenge for Thiem, who has come up against all-time greats Djokovic and Nadal in his previous final appearances.

But Thiem insisted he "won't change his mindset at all", adding: "I know what Sascha is capable of. Also the last match we had in Australia, we were both really, really good. It was such a close match.

"I will go in like in the previous six matches. As I said, from the moment Novak was out of the tournament [default in the fourth round], it was clear that there's going to be a new grand slam champion. From that moment on, that was also out of my mind. I was just focusing on the remaining guys left in the draw.

"Now it's Sascha remaining, the last one, my opponent in the finals. I will fully focus on him and just go into that match like in the all other matches I was going in so far in this tournament.

"He's a hell of a player. One of the greatest ones in last years. Won all titles besides a major. He will also try everything what he's capable of doing to win the title. It's going to be a super difficult match. For me, it really doesn't matter whether it's him or one of the big three. I just try to go in there and give my best."

Andy Murray admitted it will be tough to win another grand slam, saying he was back at "square one" in his career after his US Open exit.

The British three-time major winner was well beaten in the second round on Thursday, falling to Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2 6-3 6-4.

The tournament in New York marked Murray's first grand-slam singles appearance since the 2019 Australian Open, having faced a career-threatening hip injury.

Murray, 33, said he needed more time after struggling to back up following his stunning comeback win over Yoshihito Nishioka, with the first-round clash going longer than four and a half hours.

"I don't know what I was expecting. The number one priority for me was that my hip was good, and it coped really well with a five-set match, which lots of people, myself included, weren't sure how I was going to do with that and actually coped relatively well the other day against a very tough opponent. So that was positive," he told a news conference.

"I feel like I'm back at square one, having not played in slams for a few years, I need to build up my body and my physical conditioning so that I have the ability to back up five-set matches.

"That takes a bit of time, unfortunately. Well, for me, anyway. Maybe other players it doesn't."

Murray last won a grand slam at Wimbledon in 2016, and he has not been beyond the second round at a major in just three appearances since 2018.

While he accepts winning another major will be difficult, Murray will not stop trying.

"I would say even after tonight, I would say I'm more positive about what I could do in grand slams than I was before I came over here. You guys obviously don't know how I was feeling even just a couple of months ago," he said.

"So like I said, to come over here and play, I played a couple of tough matches in Cincinnati and I played certainly one very tough match here, and my right hip felt good. That's really, really positive.

"There are other things that need to get better, but I would say that I'm more positive now than what I was a couple of months ago, that's for sure.

"In terms of winning grand slams again, that's going to be extremely difficult to do. It was hard enough when I had two normal hips. So it will be difficult, but I'll keep trying, like, why not? Why shouldn't I try my hardest to do that?

"And if I don't, that's all right. But I might as well shoot for the stars. And if I don't – yeah, if I don't get there, then that's all right. But I'm trying my best to get the most out of what my body gives me now."

Andy Murray's return at the US Open ended in the second round, while Daniil Medvedev's strong form continued on Thursday.

In singles action at a grand slam for the first time since the 2019 Australian Open, Murray produced a gutsy win in his opener, but fell in the second round in a rainy New York.

The three-time grand slam champion was joined by Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov in exiting the major, which is being played behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows.

Medvedev, meanwhile, continued to cruise, while Dominic Thiem was also untroubled.

 

MURRAY BOWS OUT

Murray fought hard but was sent packing by Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian 15th seed recording a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win.

Auger-Aliassime was in impressive form on Arthur Ashe Stadium, hitting 52 winners and just 30 unforced errors.

Murray needed more than four and a half hours to get past Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round, but Auger-Aliassime was too good.

The 20-year-old lost just 14 points on serve for the match, winning in two hours, seven minutes.

MEDVEDEV, THIEM EASE THROUGH

 

Medvedev is yet to drop a set at the grand slam after brushing past Australian Christopher O'Connell 6-3 6-2 6-4.

The Russian third seed and last year's runner-up was satisfied with his performance as he mixed 32 winners with 31 unforced errors.

"It was great. It was a great match. Nothing special but really happy to win in three sets," Medvedev said.

"I didn't lose my serve, which is always important. Managed to break early in the second and third set, and first set was, I think, under control also.

"Happy to be through, and let's see what the next rounds will give us."

Up next for Medvedev is J.J. Wolf, the American 21-year-old recording a 6-2 6-4 6-3 win over Roberto Carballes Baena in the second round.

Thiem, the three-time grand slam runner-up and second seed, cruised past Sumit Nagal 6-3 6-3 6-2 on his 27th birthday.

A tougher test is awaiting the Austrian, who will meet Marin Cilic after the 2014 champion beat Norbert Gombos 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

 

RAONIC, DIMITROV STUNNED

Having reached the Western & Southern Open final, Raonic looked in fine form in the United States.

However, the 25th seed fell in the second round, losing to fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Dimitrov, the 14th seed, also exited, edged by Marton Fucsovics 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 6-1 after four hours, 50 minutes.

But last year's semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini is embarking on another run, the Italian sixth seed beating Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

Roberto Bautista Agut, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Alex de Minaur and Casper Ruud also advanced on what was another good day for male seeds.

Andy Murray may have kept Serena Williams waiting in New York, but the 23-time grand slam champion said she was "rooting" for her former doubles partner in his epic five-set comeback at the US Open.

Prior to Williams beating Kristie Ahn in straight sets on Tuesday, Murray needed almost five hours to get past Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 on Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.

In his first singles grand slam match since the 2019 Australian Open due to hip surgery and the coronavirus pandemic, former world number one and three-time major champion Murray rallied to stun his Japanese opponent in the first round.

While Williams' scheduled match was pushed back, the American superstar hailed Murray after the pair teamed up in the mixed doubles at last year's Wimbledon.

"Usually when you're waiting for a match, someone is down two sets, you root for the person that's ahead so you can get on the court and get off," Williams told reporters.

"I was rooting for Andy the whole time. I really wanted him to win. Gosh, when he was down in the third set, I was like, All right. I was just rooting for him so hard.

"I saw him give the racquet to his trainer. There's Andy, he plans on playing five sets here. I was really happy for him.

"I love his grit. I've always loved that, way before we played doubles. I always said he reminds me a lot of myself. I'm just a big fan.

"It was really good because I know what it's like to be down, I know what it's like to be injured, I know what it's like to be counted out. I felt like it was a real gutsy win for him and I was really happy."

Williams – without a major title since winning the 2017 Australian Open – started her latest bid for a 24th grand slam crown with a 7-5 6-3 victory over fellow American Ahn.

The third seed and six-time US Open champion also broke the record for most singles wins (102) in the tournament's history, surpassing Chris Evert.

"In a weird way I feel like every time I come here I'm being told I broke another record," Williams said. "I felt like I had something last year. Maybe it was a tie for Chris Evert.

"But it's cool. I don't think I appreciate it enough, which is unfortunate. But I'm in the middle of a grand slam, so it's not the time to be focused for me on records when I'm thinking about winning a tournament."

This year's US Open is a slam like no other, played behind closed doors and with strict measures in place due to COVID-19.

"I think what's most important about this event taking place is just the spirit," the 38-year-old added. "Sport has been gone for so long, particularly tennis. We missed two grand slams. The US Open is the first major tennis event since Australian Open.

"The morale can be really low in the world with everything that's going on. Sometimes you just want to take your mind off. People have been doing that for generations through sport.

"That's one of the reasons I was so supportive of the US Open. I felt like it was such a good time to get back out there for athletes and for fans to kind of just disconnect and be a fan, and for athletes to do what they do best."

Andy Murray confirmed he had an ice bath available after his "pretty special" win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the US Open on Tuesday.

Playing his first singles grand slam match since the 2019 Australian Open, Murray battled to a gutsy 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victory over Nishioka on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Murray saved a match point in the fourth set before advancing after four hours, 39 minutes, the three-time grand slam champion left wondering if he would have access to an ice bath amid precautions in place in New York due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Brit, 33, later confirmed he had an ice bath, insisting he was feeling good physically.

"They said it's fine to use it. They have two in there. Obviously on the off days and stuff, they're trying to restrict the amount of players that are in the locker room, but also using the facilities in there," Murray told a news conference.

"They said yeah, after a match like that, of course, you can go in and use it, which was helpful.

"It's not comfy on your toes. I don't know why. I do ice baths all the time. You get in one after playing a long match when your toes and stuff are sore, and it's really, really uncomfortable on the toes. I don't know why that is, but it's really not comfortable. Yeah, glad to have that over with.

"Physically I actually did pretty well. My toes and stuff were hurting. Actually I did pretty well for being such a long match. I don't know if that was because I maybe didn't use up so much energy the first couple sets because I was sort of pacing myself a little bit. But I did quite well physically."

After battling a career-threatening hip injury, Tuesday's result marked the first time since the 2016 French Open that Murray has come from two sets to love down to win.

Murray felt it took him time to find a balance against Nishioka, with the final set his only one to feature more winners than unforced errors (16 to 11).

"Yeah, so definitely wasn't the best match that I've played. First couple of sets, I don't know if you guys heard me talking on the court after the match, but I was just saying I got the balance completely wrong," he said.

"At the beginning I was not doing enough with the ball, then he was dictating the points. I started being too aggressive and going for too much and making mistakes.

"Finally I started to get, I guess, a little bit the balance right of what I had to do on the court. I actually finished, like, wasn't playing really well all the time, but at moments I was starting to hit the ball better, serving better, yeah, moving forward a bit more at the right times. I was moving forward in the second set, third set, but probably at the wrong moments.

"Yeah, just got that balance right at the end. It was a pretty special one to get through really, because I didn't play my best. No one there watching. It was a long match, five-setter, first one I played in a long time. Great effort to get through."

Murray will face Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round.

Andy Murray completed an astonishing comeback as the former world number one moved into the second round of the US Open with a remarkable five-set victory over Yoshihito Nishioka.

Playing his first singles grand slam match since the 2019 Australian Open due to hip surgery and the coronavirus pandemic, Murray looked to be down and out when Nishioka raced into a two-set lead on Tuesday.

Yet three-time slam champion Murray rallied to a stunning 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 triumph behind closed doors at Flushing Meadows in New York.

Two tie-breaks went Murray's way in sets three and four, and a four-hour 39-minute epic was settled when a trademark lob from the Scot forced Nishioka into an overhit return.

"I'm tired. My toes are the worst part I think, the big toes are pretty beat up, but I did alright," Murray – who will face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Thiago Monteiro in round two – said afterwards.

"At the beginning of the match I was apprehensive about playing a long match, I was kind of pacing myself. I felt a bit like that at the start, but once I was two sets down I had to start putting the afterburners on.

"They have [one ice bath] in the locker room, but they say it's for emergencies. It's an emergency for me right now! I'll ask if I can use that now, but if not I'll have to get back to the hotel quickly and recover because that's by far the most tennis I've played since the 2019 Australia Open."

After a composed start from both players, it was Nishioka who forced the first break to take a 4-3 lead, and the 24-year-old claimed the set at the second attempt three games later.

Japan's Nishioka hardly looked back and had the second set tied up in 53 minutes to put himself in complete control against the 2012 US Open winner.

Murray's fight seemed to have drained when he conceded serve in game one of the next set – Nishioka moving into a 3-1 lead.

Yet the 33-year-old Murray, who underwent hip resurfacing surgery last year, found a second wind, and a break brought him level at 3-3.

Nishioka squandered four break points as a tie-break was required, and Murray made his opponent pay – the former hitting a stray backhand into the net.

Both players held serve in a tense fourth set, but Nishioka had the win within his grasp when he won five successive points at 6-5.

But Murray once more rallied, forcing a long return from Nishioka before two successive points teed up another tie-break.

Murray raced ahead and though an issue with his right foot threatened to derail his display, the eight-time slam runner-up fought through the pain to take the set.

Nishioka clinched the initiative with the first break of the decider courtesy of a double fault, only for Murray to respond immediately with an exquisitely lofted backhand.

A misjudged lob from Nishioka moved Murray to within a game of an incredible triumph – one which was sealed by another delicate lob.

Novak Djokovic faced opposition from his two greatest on-court rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, as the Serbian pushed for a breakaway tennis players' union.

World number one Djokovic, who has been president of the ATP player council since 2016, has teamed up with Canadian player Vasek Pospisil to push for the move.

Players reportedly received a letter on Friday inviting them to join the new Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA).

Djokovic has said he believes the PTPA and the current ATP Tour, which runs the men's top-level tournaments, can work together in the future.

The 17-time grand slam champion wants the union to be entirely independent of the ATP.

Nadal and Federer, however, say now is not the time for such a move that could create divisions in tennis.

"The world is living a difficult and complicated situation," Nadal wrote on Twitter.

"I personally believe these are times to be calm and work all of us together in the same direction. It is time for unity, not for separation.

"These are moments where big things can be achieved as long as the world of tennis is united. We all, players, tournaments and governing bodies have to work together. We have a bigger problem and separation and disunion is definitely not the solution."

Federer added: "I agree @RafaelNadal. These are uncertain and challenging times, but I believe it's critical for us to stand united as players, and as a sport, to pave the best way forward."

Federer – a 20-time grand slam champion – and Nadal are sitting out the US Open, which begins on Monday in New York.

Swiss superstar Federer is recovering from knee surgery and 19-time major winner Nadal elected not to play, being wary of international travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Murray, who for years formed part of a 'Big Four' with Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, expressed a cautious view, saying it was too soon to commit to such a major step for the sport.

"I won't be signing it today," Murray said, according to the Guardian.

"I'm not totally against a player union, or players' association, but right now there's a couple of things: one is I feel like the current management should be given some time to implement their vision. Whether that works out or not would potentially influence me in the future as to which way I would go.

"Also, the fact that the women aren't part of [the new plans]. I feel like that would send a significantly much more powerful message, if the WTA were on board as well. That's not currently the case. If those things changed in the future, it's something that I would certainly consider."

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