ATP

Murray wants to 'give body time to breathe' after Indian Wells exit

By Sports Desk October 13, 2021

Andy Murray is looking to give his body time to recover before the end of 2021 after going down to a narrow defeat against Alexander Zverev at the Indian Wells Masters.

Third seed Zverev triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a hard-fought third-round battle with Murray on Tuesday.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray had previously defeated Adrian Mannarino and rising star Carlos Alcaraz in California.

He then ran Zverev close, with the German saying afterwards he felt Murray had produced his best performance since returning from hip surgery.

Murray agreed there were positives to take from his run, but was again frustrated not to get a statement win, having also fallen in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

The Briton may play ATP Tour events in Antwerp and Vienna over the next fortnight but is soon eyeing a break that means he will not be putting himself forward for the Davis Cup Finals, which take place over 10 days from the end of November.

Recovering some freshness and spending time with his family are on Murray's agenda ahead of the Australian Open early in 2022.

"I've given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically," Murray told BBC Sport after the loss to Zverev.

"The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

"I also don't feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to [Team GB captain] Leon [Smith], but I'm not sure I deserve to play in that team.

"Right now, I'm not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

"And I want to make sure in the offseason I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well."

On the defeat to Zverev, Murray said: "The positive for me to take from it is I had opportunities again.

"I didn't feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that's positive. But I'm disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven't in the past few months."

Both players forced six break points each and fired down eight aces apiece in an even contest.

Murray broke Zverev three times across the two sets and led in each of them, but ultimately it was the world number four who progressed to book a tie with Gael Monfils in the last 16.

It was the first time Zverev had beaten Murray in three attempts and he has now triumphed against each of the Big Four, with previous wins over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to his name.

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    Taylor Fritz believes there would be no "harm" in Novak Djokovic competing at the US Open, although the American admits he is conflicted about whether he should be allowed.

    Wimbledon champion Djokovic has his route to Flushing Meadows blocked by red tape at present, with the United States refusing to allow unvaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country.

    US tennis authorities have pledged to adhere to government rulings surrounding COVID-19 protocols, despite including Djokovic on their entry list.

    For Djokovic to be allowed into the United States, it appears he would require a change of policy from law-makers, or he would have to be considered suitable for an exemption.

    Among those who would be eligible for such an exemption are "persons whose entry would be in the national interest".

    With 21 grand slam titles, Djokovic sits second on the men's all-time list behind Rafael Nadal, who has 22 victories at the majors. 

    And Fritz, ranked 13th in the world, said that while the situation is complicated, there is part of him that thinks Djokovic should be allowed to take part in the competition that starts in under a fortnight.

    "It's tough," he said. "I think on one side of it, I think it's tough to make certain exceptions to the rules for certain people.

    "I don't know how I feel about that, but then, at the same time, we're not the most COVID-safe country in general with how we are doing things.

    "So it does seem like, what's the harm of letting the best player in the world come play the US Open?

    "But like I said, at the same time, it's conflicting, because I don't know how I feel about making special exceptions just for one person because of who they are.

    "So I see both sides of the argument, to be honest. It's tough to differentiate, obviously. It's good for every player if Novak is not in the draw."

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