Mats Wilander explains why Andy Murray can cause a few shocks at the 2020 US Open

US Open
Andy Murray swinging

Mats Wilander believes Andy Murray can take advantage of an under-prepared field as he returns to Grand Slam singles action for the first time since January 2019 at the US Open.

Seven-time major champion and Eurosport expert Wilander has suggested the Scot could be ready to cause a few shocks in New York, after some encouraging performances in the warm-up event staged at the same Flushing Meadows site that will stage the US Open.

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“For Andy Murray this is a really, really important situation that he needs to take advantage of and I actually believe that he will,” said Eurosport analyst Wilander.

“Three out of five sets is perfect for him, we know he will have trained his butt off during the last few months and he is so ready and he actually looks 100% healthy winning in his match against Francis Tiafoe a few days ago.”

Murray has made the trip to America after admitting he had some reservations over travelling amid the Covid-19 crisis, with Wilander suggesting Rafael Nadal and others who have opted to stay away deserve to be respected for their decision.

“I would have definitely gone and played,” said Wilander. “As much as I enjoyed practising, I think the reason why I was a top player is I enjoyed matches more so. I think I’d be crawling out my skin to not have any meaningful competition when that’s all I’m really living for as a professional. Yes, I would have gone.

“For the players who didn’t go this time, I actually feel that this situation you have to be respectful, you have to be respectful of the individual itself. We don’t really know if somebody has underlying situations or conditions, first of all.

“So I think that’s the first thing that needs to be said. It’s great that players are prepared to go and take a bit of a risk and push the professional game forwards, whether it’s from selfish reasons or just the best interests of the game which is what I think most players are thinking actually.

“The French Open is coming up two weeks after and it’s not a perfect situation for a lot of players, but I think the best competitors are going to rise to the top here, I really do.

“I think the guys who are the best competitors, that’s going to make the big difference. The guys who are really playing tennis because they enjoy playing against another player, I think the ones that enjoy the competition and it’s really about loving to compete and trying to play another match to win rather than losing and then having to practice.

“I think their competitiveness is going to win out in the long run and that’s always going to be the case. We always hear stories about great champions, they don’t even want to lose in practice, it’s the same thing, I think. The guys who really love competition are the ones who are going to do well with no people watching.”

The US Open from Flushing Meadows in New York will be screened on Eurosport across Europe in over 50 countries and territories, except the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer

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