Andy Murray had his first taste of Thai boxing in Bangkok yesterday when he went into the ring with one of the local fighters but the 19-year-old Scot found himself knocked out by a more familiar foe.
The meeting with Somluck Khamsing, one of Thailand's best known boxers, followed a 6-4, 6-2 defeat by Tim Henman in the first round of the Thailand Open. It was Henman's first victory over his fellow Briton at the fourth attempt and the first time Murray has lost in the first round since Brad Gilbert started coaching him in the summer.
Murray's hectic schedule over the last 10 days caught up with him at the Impact Arena. Following the US Open he had spent some time working with Gilbert at his home in California before flying to Odessa to play for Britain in the Davis Cup. After playing three times in three days in the victory over Ukraine, the world No 16 embarked on a 20-hour trip, involving three different flights, to arrive in Bangkok late on Monday.
Henman, 32, took control from the start, mixing his normally aggressive game with some subtle changes of pace. It took the world No 59 nearly an hour to win the first set after Murray fought back from 5-2 down, but Henman never looked back after making two early breaks in the second set.
Murray beat Henman in their first meeting in Basle last year and followed that up with victories over the former British No 1 in successive Masters series tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati this summer.
Henman felt he had learned from their recent meetings. "He's the kind of player that the more you attack him, the better he plays," he said. "I played patiently, my serve was good, and I had to vary my game and keep changing the pace."
Murray, who was beaten in the final of this tournament by Roger Federer 12 months ago, thought his schedule and the swift change from clay to a hard court had affected his play. "Maybe it was one match too many," he said. "I made a 20-hour flight then tried to play my best tennis. Normally when I lose I'm disappointed, but this time I'm not. It wasn't the best decision to play here, but it's something I'll learn from."
Henman now plays the British No 4, Alex Bogdanovic, in what will be his fifth match against a fellow Briton in his last six matches. Bogdanovic had an encouraging first-round win over Taipei's Yeu-Tzuoo Wang, the world No 85. The winner will play either Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan or Russia's Mikhail Ledovskikh in the quarter-finals.
Murray said he enjoyed the Thai boxing demonstration by Khamsing. "It was good fun and it's always good to meet athletes from other sports," he said. "He showed me some moves but I didn't want to kick him too hard." To complete a hectic day Murray partnered his brother, Jamie, to a battling doubles victory over Frank Dancevic and Robby Ginepri. The Scots lost the first set 3-6, took the second 7-6 and coasted the deciding tie-break 10-0.Reuse content