Pulling out of the French Open was one of the toughest decisions Andy Murray has ever made, but the 26-year-old Scot said yesterday that watching Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic fighting toe-to-toe for more than four and a half hours in Paris confirmed that he had made the right call.
Murray has been concentrating instead on nursing his way back from the lower-back injury that forced him to miss his first Grand Slam event for six years and on preparing for the forthcoming grass-court season. Murray will be competing in the Aegon Championships, which begin at Queen’s Club in London on Monday.
“That sort of match [between Djokovic and Nadal] is the reason why I wouldn’t be playing at the French Open,” Murray said. “I wouldn’t have been able to compete at the level that I wanted to be able to compete at. It was a really hard decision for me because I play well at the Slams and the big events.
“Since Wimbledon last year I’ve made three Slam finals and if I would have been able to have a good run at the French then it’s not often you get to compete in four Slam finals in a row.
“That’s why it’s disappointing, because that was a goal of mine. I trained really hard on the clay this year to try and give myself the best chance, but my back just wasn’t good enough to compete properly.”
As for his current fitness, Murray said: “I feel really good. I took maybe eight or nine days’ full rest doing nothing and got my back checked out and had some scans, saw some doctors and specialists and basically came up with a plan to get myself as fit as possible for the grass-court season.
“I’ve had no setbacks yet, I’ve practised well for the last three or four days so it should be good.”
Murray admitted that he felt short of matches but added: “I’ve done enough training over the last 10 days or so. I actually did a big training block after Monte Carlo, so some of that should still be in there too, so it’s just matches that I’ll need.
“Normally, coming from the clay courts I’d be match-tough, just not used to the surface, whereas this year I won’t be match-tight but at least I’ll have had 10 days on the grass.”
Johanna Konta’s attempt to reach the final of the Aegon Trophy in Nottingham yesterday ended in disappointment as the Briton was beaten 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 by the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova. Dan Evans, the last Briton in the men’s competition, also went out, beaten 7-6, 6-2 by Australia’s Matthew Ebden in the quarter-finals.
Konta, Anne Keothavong and Tara Moore have been given wild cards into next week’s Aegon Classic at Edgbaston, taking the British contingent in the main draw to five. Laura Robson and Heather Watson are already in the field by dint of their world rankings.
Australia’s Sam Stosur has been given a wild card into the following week’s Aegon International at Eastbourne, which means that seven of the world’s top-10 women are in the field.