‘Tactical genius’ Andy Murray gets new second-round opponent as pundit predicts he will thrive in Indian Wells

Andy Murray forehand

The conditions and circumstances at the Indian Wells Open will be “perfect” for Andy Murray, according to tennis analyst Mats Wilander.

Murray has already made fine start to his campaign at the ATP Masters 1000 event as he came from a set down to defeat Tomas Martin Etcheverry, winning 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4 in a match that lasted just over three hours.

Next up is Radu Albot as the Romanian lucky loser moved into the main draw after 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew.

Murray’s performance against Etcheverry was pretty typical of his displays so far this year as it was the seventh time in 2023 that one of his matches had gone to a deciding set and on all seven occasions did he win the encounter.

His performances in recent months have suggested that there is still plenty left in the tank and he has set his sights on deep runs at tournaments, something he has already achieved at the Qatar Open in Februray where he finished runner-up.

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander believes Murray could flourish at the Sunshine Double – the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open – over the next couple of weeks.

“Indian Wells and Miami are perfect tournaments for Murray because it’s not five sets, it’s three sets,” he told Eurosport.

“He’s got a day off between most matches. Let’s say he gets to his semi-finals and he’s going to play the first few matches with a day off in between, that makes a huge difference for Andy.

“And then I think you have to put the comfortable factor into the equation. He’s played Indian Wells and Miami so many times. They are very difficult places to play hard-court tennis, to me, because the conditions are extremely different from Indian Wells to Miami.

“Indian Wells is very high, bouncy, it’s very slow. So there are certain opponents that you’re going to have a problem with, and there are certain opponents that you’re going to find easier to play on a court like that. And Murray, being a tactical genius, I think he welcomes the challenge of playing in the desert air where it’s really cold at night and it’s very hot and fast during the daytime.

“And to Murray, I think these conditions and circumstances are perfect for him. So I believe this is where he can make his move higher up in the ranking.

“Because, again, we have to remember someone like Murray – if he’s going to win a Grand Slam tournament again – the first step is to be seeded, he needs to be seeded amongst the top so that he doesn’t run into Novak Djokovic in the third or fourth round.

“He needs to play the best players in the quarters or the semis because he needs the matches and the confidence before he faces the likes of [Daniil] Medvedev or Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.”

Murray is currently 55 in the ATP Rankings, but he could jump back into the top 50 with a couple more wins.

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