Andy Murray, who knows how costly such injuries can be, took no risks after feeling pain in his right wrist midway through his match against David Nalbandian in the Paris Masters here yesterday. The Scot sent for a trainer but recovered to record an encouraging 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory and is hopeful that he did not sustain any lasting damage.
Murray, who missed three months after hurting his right wrist in 2007 and six weeks with an injury to his left wrist last year, went to his chair after hitting a half-volley at 2-2 in the third set. Mindful that the end-of-season finale at the ATP World Tour Finals in London is only 10 days away, the world No 4 had treatment before completing his victory in an hour and 53 minutes.
"I've had a few problems with the wrist in the past and felt quite a sharp pain," he said afterwards. "With London coming up, a few things go through your head." He added: "It might just be a little bit bruised, but I think I should be OK for the rest of the tournament."
Murray said the problem was probably down to the speed of the court, which he described as the quickest he had ever experienced on the tour. During the match, he changed to a racket with significantly tighter strings than normal to give himself more control.
The only pain Murray had suffered in the first set and a half was from the excellence of Nalbandian's game. The 28-year-old Argentine, who has been rebuilding his career after hip surgery, needed just 33 minutes to take the first set, in which he had Murray in trouble with the excellence of his returns.
At one stage, Nalbandian won 15 points in succession on his own serve, but the match turned when Murray changed tactics in the second set. Adapting his game to the fast conditions and the quality of his opponent's ground strokes, the Scot moved forward at every opportunity and regularly played serve-and-volley.
Murray's volleys, which he honed last week in winning the Valencia Open doubles title with his brother Jamie, were excellent. At times he charged in and volleyed à la Tim Henman, who enjoyed the best win of his career when he took the title here seven years ago. Murray hit 18 aces and found a good rhythm on both his first and second serves.
Nalbandian was broken for the first time when he played a poor game at 4-5 in the second set, after which he hurled his racket to the floor in frustration. The only break in the third set came in the eighth game, at the end of which Nalbandian was given an official warning after smashing a ball high into the crowd.
"I volleyed really well," Murray said. "I felt really comfortable up at the net. I hadn't played that much doubles this year, but it does help, especially when you play quite a few matches in a row. On this surface, if you do serve and volley, you will get quite a lot of reward."
In today's third round Murray faces Marin Cilic, whose 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Sergiy Stakhovsky was only the second occasion since the French Open that the Croatian had won two matches in a row. Novak Djokovic beat Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-3, while Andy Roddick dropped only five games in beating Jarkko Nieminen to strengthen his grip on one of the last places in the elite eight-man field for London. Fernando Verdasco and Jürgen Melzer, who could still overtake the American, are also through to the third round.