Murray given all-clear to begin assault on America's hard courts

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray is set to begin his American hard-court campaign in Washington next week after a scan on his injured neck revealed no significant damage.

The Scot suffered the injury during the Davis Cup tie against Israel at Eastbourne over the weekend and was unable to play in Sunday's reverse singles matches. He was also forced to pull out of this week's tournament in Los Angeles, but has been given the go-ahead to return next week.

"I had a scan done on my neck on Monday and it confirmed I had muscle spasms on my left side," Murray said yesterday. "There was no significant damage to my spine, muscle or vertebrae so as of now I need a bit of rest and then I should be good to go for Washington."

While negotiations to appoint Brad Gilbert as Murray's new coach continue, the American's former charge, Andy Roddick, has confirmed he will work with Jimmy Connors. Roddick has not won a title this year and earlier this month dropped out of the world rankings top 10 for the first time for four years.

Connors' record 105 singles titles included eight Grand Slam crowns, but, at 53, this is his first coaching position. "My job is quite simply to make Andy the best player he can be," he said. "I would like to try to give him a little bit of what made me what I was."

The pair have teamed up after a trial period went well. Connors worked with Roddick last week at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis, where the former world No 1 reached the final but lost to James Blake.

"He gave me things to work on and I applied them the best I could," Roddick said. "I made some small adjustments and it felt right. I played a lot of matches on my terms. I'm pretty optimistic after the first week."

He added: "It means a lot when someone who has won as many tennis championships as Jimmy Connors comes through and says: 'I believe in you. I think you can really do some great things, and here's how'."

Andre Agassi opened his final summer hard-court season on Monday with a 7-6, 6-0 victory over Xavier Malisse in the Countrywide Classic. The 36-year-old Agassi has announced that he will retire following this year's US Open, but the defeat of Malisse in 110-degree heat showed that the eight-times Grand Slam champion will not treating matches as exhibitions in the interim.

"I'm still out there with a competitive spirit," Agassi said. "I'm looking forward to this summer and in some regards I'm in denial about it being my last. I'm aware of how life's going to change and I'm out there wanting it to last as long and as good as possible," he said.