Defeat will allow Murray to unwind
Friday 24 March 2006
His disappointment at losing was obvious, but the tone of Andy Murray's voice suggested that defeat in the first round of the Nasdaq-100 Open here could be a blessing in disguise.
"I've been away for about six weeks and it's quite tough mentally to keep getting up for every match," the British No 1 said after losing 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka. "I just didn't have enough left in the tank to sustain a high level." If Murray's occasionally petulant performance was a reminder that he is still only 18, his measured assessment of his achievements showed that he retains a sense of perspective. It is, after all, only 11 months since he made his senior debut and he returns to Britain having achieved the major goal he had set for his winter trip to the United States, that of reaching the world's top 50, and having won his first tournament, in San Jose last month.
"This is all pretty new for me," Murray said. "I know in these big tournaments that you've got to raise your level, because these are the ones that all the guys have to play well in to improve their ranking. I've learned a lot. I've seen things that I need to improve on."
One of those improvements might be to try to pace matches at a tempo that suits him. At times in the first set Murray played delightfully, consistently finding a good length and making the unpredictable and erratic Wawrinka play every ball. The Scot led 5-3, but two poor service games cost him the set.
Wawrinka, ranked 17 places below Murray at 58, paid a similar price in the second set, winning only one point in his last two service games. Murray had been making plenty of errors, however, and in the third set seemed to let his frustrations get the better of him, hurrying too many of his shots. He recovered from two breaks down to level at 4-4, but a combination of more mistakes and Wawrinka's controlled aggression saw the Swiss through.
While Murray admitted that he was looking forward to taking a break over the next week, an ankle injury he suffered against Wawrinka is a slight concern. Jeremy Bates, Britain's Davis Cup captain, will be anxious that Murray is fit for next month's match against Serbia and Montenegro in Glasgow. Having failed to persuade Tim Henman to come out of Davis Cup retirement, Bates suffered a further setback when Alex Bogdanovic said that he did not feel ready to play.
The tie would have pitted Bogdanovic against the country of his birth, the British No 4 having lived in the former Yugoslavia until he was eight. James Auckland, the 10th-ranked Briton, is his replacement, alongside Murray, Greg Rusedski and Arvind Parmar. Rusedskirecorded an impressive 6-3, 6-1 victory here yesterday over Mikhail Youzhny and now faces Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina.
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc