Even after losing to Italian world No. 164 Andrea Vavassori at the Madrid Open, Andy Murray said he still intends to compete at the French Open.
In the opening round, the former world number one from Britain was defeated 6-3 7-6 (9-7). After being destroyed by Alex de Minaur in Monte Carlo, it marks his second consecutive lopsided loss on clay. 35-year-old Murray stated, “I would like to play [in the French Open] because I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity.”
After losing to Dominic Thiem of Austria, Kyle Edmund, a fellow Briton, is still searching for his first ATP victory of the year. Murray hasn’t played much on clay since needing potentially career-ending hip surgery four years ago, although he did win two matches in Madrid last year.
Since reaching the semi-finals at the Grand Slam event in 2017, the world’s number 52 has been aiming to return to the French Open the following month. This would mark his only other participation at the competition this year.
Murray now immediately enters the grass-court season, which has historically been his most successful one. It concludes in early July at Wimbledon, where Murray won two of his three major championships in 2013 and 2016.
“I want to compete in Wimbledon and events like that”, Murray remarked. “I realise it probably doesn’t sound practical sitting here now, but I do feel that’s a possibility. It’s tough to determine what the appropriate course of action is [about competing in the French Open], but it’s a Grand Slam. I’d want to have the chance to participate.”
The lead-up to Roland Garros, though, will not have lived up to the Scot’s high expectations. Murray referred to the Australian player De Minaur’s hammering as “terrible”, noting that it was one of his worst performances ever. He produced 26 voluntary mistakes and only managed to win four games.
In his matchup with Vavassori, who was competing in his first Masters 1000 match, Murray similarly had trouble getting into a groove and made several errors. While he recovered one of his four-match opportunities in the second set tiebreaker after slamming an overhead into the net that left him crouched on the court in shock, Murray gave up the fifth with another poor hit.
Murray was frustrated. He often yelled at himself throughout the match, tossed his racquet at his bag when the outcome was certain, and was still shaking his head as he exited the stadium.
“It wasn’t terrific,” Murray said. “The beginning was lagging, but I started to play a little better near the finish.
The 27-year-old qualifier Vavassori described defeating the three-time Grand Slam victor as “a dream come true.” In the next round, he will play Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, another former world number one and current second seed. 28-year-old Edmund is making a comeback after having three knee surgeries, but he has lost all six of his ATP Tour games this year.
The 2020 US Open winner Thiem defeated the previous world number 14 6-4, 6-1, dropping him to 498th place. Thiem, 29, is now ranked 93rd and is gradually making a full recovery after a major wrist injury that sidelined him for nine months.
In the second round, Stefanos Tsitsipas ranked fifth in the world, will take on Thiem.