Andy Murray sets out to demonstrate he still has grass courts chops
Andy Murray believes he remains among the elite grass-court players after he began his Wimbledon preparations with a comfortable victory over Chung Hyeon in the first round of the Surbiton Trophy.
Less than seven miles separate the Surbiton Racket and Fitness club, and the courts of SW19, and Murray’s journey started with a 6-3 6-2 win as he attempts to be seeded in the men’s singles draw next month.
The two-time Wimbledon champion skipped the French Open to focus on his grass season, and this was his first match in preparation for the All England Club, where the championships get underway on July 3.
The 36-year-old is ranked 43rd and needs to climb around 10 places to be seeded for Wimbledon, where Murray believes he will remain a difficult opponent for anyone.
Asked if he is in the top 10 players in the world on his favourite grass surface, Murray replied: “Yes, I think so.
“It is hard to put numbers on it like that, but yes, I would fancy myself against a lot of them.
“Last year I won against (Nick) Kyrgios who made the final of Wimbledon, I won against (Stefanos) Tsitsipas – it is probably not his favourite surface but he is one of the best players in the world.
“I was a set all with (Matteo) Berrettini – who is quite clearly in the top few grass-court players – in the final of Stuttgart before I hurt my abs.
“I’m playing better this year than I was last year but it is kind of irrelevant if you say that you have to perform and win the matches on the court and it is up to me to show that in the next four or five weeks.”
That five-week push to Wimbledon began against Chung, with Murray hitting his stride early on to ease past the South Korean, whose own injury issues have limited his progress in recent years.
There were also signs of the vintage Murray – arguing more than one line call with the umpire and chuntering away to himself when missing shots he felt should have landed.
A brief collective holding of breath from the small crowd followed Murray taking a tumble over an advertising board at the start of the second set but he dusted himself off to finish the job at hand before insisting he cannot start thinking about what is required to be seeded at Wimbledon and instead needs to remain focused on his game.
“I still want to win, I want to compete and see how hard I can push my body,” added Murray, who made the semi-finals in Surbiton last year.
“The operations I had, I was told I might be able to play again so I just want to see how far I can go.
“I’ve got up to 41 in the world and I believe I can go higher than that. Obviously I did well here (Surbiton) and in Stuttgart last year and I think I need about 300 points (to be seeded) so I will have to do well the next few weeks if I want to do that.
“If I have a good tournament at Queen’s, if you make the final or win the tournament there then I would be seeded, but I need to just concentrate on the performances.
“If you starting just thinking about points it is not necessarily the best way to look at things. I will just try and win as many matches as possible and see if I can get in there.”
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