What next for Andy Murray? Retaining US Open title and reaching coveted world No 1 spot
The Scot will have little time to celebrate his Wimbledon victory
Wimbledon may be over, but the tennis treadmill never stops turning. Now is no time for a Wimbledon champion to rest on his laurels and within the next month Andy Murray will be focusing on the North American hard-court circuit and in particular the defence of his US Open title.
Although Roger Federer, fresh from his early Wimbledon exit, will be playing on clay this month in Hamburg and Gstaad, most of the top players take a break in the weeks after Wimbledon, having been on the road almost continuously since the start of the European clay-court season in April.
Without an Olympic tournament this year, the US Open will be the major target for all the top men between now and the end of the season.
Before the year’s final Grand Slam event there are two Masters Series tournaments, in Montreal and Cincinnati, where Murray will be expected to make his return. He has enjoyed success in the past at both events, which are usually good form guides ahead of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
The tournament in New York, where Murray won his only Grand Slam junior title, has always been one of the Scot’s favourite events and it was no surprise that he made his Grand Slam breakthrough there last year.
He can expect some fierce competition when the tournament starts at the end of next month. Rafael Nadal, who appeared to be suffering knee trouble when he made his shock first-round exit from Wimbledon, can be expected to have returned to the fray by then, while Federer will be bristling at the chance to make amends for his own early departure from the All England Club.
With Murray and Novak Djokovic usually at their best on outdoor hard courts, it promises to be quite an event. Within four days of the US Open final in New York Murray is expected to lead Britain’s team in their Davis Cup World Group play-off against Croatia in the Mediterranean resort of Umag.
The tie will be played on clay, which the Croatians clearly reckon gives them their best chance against Murray, who nevertheless has said he intends to play in the tie.
Thereafter Murray’s main focus will be the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, which brings together the year’s most successful eight players. Murray has never gone beyond the semi-finals in the season-ending event and would love to finish the year on a high in front of his home crowd.
Before the World Tour Finals Murray will compete in the season’s last two Masters Series tournaments, in Shanghai and Paris.
He is also likely to play in at least one other tournament during the post-New York Asian swing. Last year he played in Tokyo and he has also played in Bangkok in the past. Although six-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic maintains a healthy lead at the top of the world rankings, even after Sunday’s defeat, Murray might start to think again about the possibility of achieving another of his lifetime’s ambitions. Although missing the recent French Open through injury put a serious dent in his hopes of becoming world No 1 this year, the Scot could now have the target back in his sights.
Much will depend on how both men fare at the US Open, though they will also be aware of the threat that eight-time French Open champion Nadal could pose to their positions in the world order.
The fact that the Spanish former world No 1 did not play any tournaments between last year’s Wimbledon and February this year means that he has huge scope to increase his points total in the coming months, provided his fitness is not an issue.
Radamel Falcao latest: Manchester City bookies favourite but Arsenal also interested as Monaco put £20m loan fee on Colombian striker
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger says he will be 'actively involved' on deadline day... but may not buy a striker despite Giroud injury
Mario Balotelli has been 'spoken to at length' and Liverpool have ensured he lives on Merseyside rather than Manchester
Tottenham vs Liverpool: Hugo Lloris expects Spurs to wipe away shame of 4-0 and 5-0 defeats last season
Tim Sherwood column: I've been impressed with my Tottenham successor Mauricio Pochettino
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward