Citi Open 2015: Andy Murray returns in quick time for US hard-court season following Davis Cup success

The Scot will face Russia's world No 53 Teymuraz Gabashvili in Washington DC

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The Independent Online

Just 17 days after he finished a gruelling run on clay and grass by leading Britain into the Davis Cup semi-finals, Andy Murray will be back on court on Wednesday afternoon.

The 28-year-old Scot, who finished his grass-court season later than nearly all his main rivals, will start his North American hard-court campaign earlier than most of them by competing in this week’s World Tour 500 tournament in Washington. Having received a first-round bye, Murray will play his opening match against the world No 53, Russia’s Teymuraz Gabashvili, who beat Benjamin Becker 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Players usually rest after Wimbledon following a hectic period between the start of the European clay-court season and the end of the grass-court stretch. This year there is one week less between the end of Wimbledon and the start of the US Open following the All England Club’s decision to start seven days later.

Murray’s grass-court season continued for a week beyond Wimbledon as Britain played their Davis Cup quarter-final against France at Queen’s.

As a result Murray had barely a week’s break before setting off for Washington, where he last played in 2006. He arrived eight days ago to give himself time to acclimatise, although he did take time off to go on a VIP tour of the White House. Murray also played in the doubles alongside Daniel Nestor, the Scot and the Canadian losing in the first round to Florin Mergea and Rohan Bopanna.

“It does take a while, especially coming from the grass,” Murray said of the switch to hard courts, on which he last competed more than four months ago. “This morning was the first time when I hit and started to feel more comfortable on the courts, to feel like I’m starting to get used to them again. It’s extremely humid, with very high-bouncing courts.”

Although Murray’s Wimbledon run ended in a semi-final defeat by Roger Federer, he has been pleased with a season in which he has won three titles and performed well at the Grand Slam events.

“The year as a whole has been good,” he said. “It’s been much, much better than last year, so there’s been some progress there. But obviously I want to keep trying to do better and, hopefully, these next few weeks I can go on a good run on hard courts and finish the year strong.

“In terms of goals, one of the things I spoke about at the beginning of the year was consistency and trying to make sure I did better at more of the events than I had done in the past. I feel like that’s been a positive.

“The Grand Slams are tournaments I want to win. I haven’t quite managed to do that yet this year, but I feel I’ve played well in all of the Slams. The French Open was the best I’ve ever played on clay. The Australian Open, I was close there, I felt. And unfortunately at Wimbledon, Roger played an unbelievable match.”

Kei Nishikori is the second seed in Washington, but most of the other top men will not return until the back-to-back Masters Series in Montreal and Cincinnati, a week before the US Open.