Murray cautious despite Cincinnati win

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray admits his Cincinnati success was perfect preparation for next week's US Open but does not believe it will necessarily give him an edge over the world's top three.

The 24-year-old world number four will this week make the journey from Ohio to the east coast of the United States preparing to challenge once again for a first grand slam title, having been a runner-up at Flushing Meadows in 2008 the last time he won in Cincinnati.

His victory on Sunday did not come in ideal circumstances, with world number one Novak Djokovic forced to withdraw from the match with a shoulder injury at 6-4 3-0.

Murray, who has had his fair share of injury problems this season, felt the Serbian's setback was a consequence both of the gruelling schedule in professional men's tennis and of Djokovic's own success this year.

He said: "I think with the amount that Novak has been winning things are going to build up throughout the course of the year. He's played a lot of matches. I've had a few niggles throughout the year and had a few niggles this week as well. It just kind of happens.

"In tennis it's an 11-month year and that'll probably be the only match that Novak pulls out of in the whole year. But you play most of the year not feeling perfect.

"The plan is to be feeling perfect going into the grand slams. That's really been my goal this year, and I've done a good job at it so far."

Despite outperforming Djokovic plus Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - both quarter-finalists in Cincinnati - Murray refused to get too excited at the prospect that this could finally be his time.

"The thing is, you never know. Those guys could end up making the semi-finals of the US Open, and then you get a chance to see whether it is a chance (to win the tournament).

"If all of them lose early, then, you know, obviously my chances would go up.

"But I'm sure come the start of the US Open next Monday, all of them will be fine. I think each one of them will be playing great tennis, much better than they have played here."

Djokovic revealed he had been suffering with a shoulder problem for about 10 days but was confident he had enough time to recover.

"I've played so many matches this year. I've been winning a lot and reaching the final stages of each event that I've participated in," he said.

"Considering the schedule that is very busy in tennis, it's kind of normal to expect that at some stage you are exhausted.

"But as I said, I am confident that I can recover and be ready for US Open."

Asked if the schedule should be reduced to assist players, Djokovic added: "We can talk about this for the whole day. We do have some things that we are trying to change in the schedule. There have been certain changes from next year - we'll have a year that is two weeks shorter.

"But still, the intensity is going to be the same, if not tougher. But, look, it's the same for everybody. We just have to get used to it and adjust."