Andy Murray given outlandish US Open target as Brit ‘better’ than top players

Andy Murray has been backed to reach the quarter or semi-final of the upcoming US Open if he is fit and healthy. Speaking ahead of the final Major of the season, the Brit’s former doubles partner Feliciano Lopez claimed that Murray was a “better player” than most of the guys having deep runs at tournaments. But the world No 37 hasn’t made it to the second week at a Grand Slam in five years.

Murray has made it no secret that he wants to have a big run at one of the Majors, though it’s been the one thing missing this year. The three-time Grand Slam champion has been showing encouraging signs otherwise, winning three Challenger titles this year and reaching No 36 in the world last week – his highest ranking since before he underwent hip surgery. 

And recently retired player Lopez believes that Murray is now primed to go far in Flushing Meadows. “Well, I saw Andy playing this year and I think he’s playing great,” Lopez – who partnered Murray to win the doubles title at Queen’s in 2019 – said.

“I mean, I was hoping that he’s going to have a great run at Wimbledon because he won the two previous Challengers and he was in great shape. He told me his hip is not bothering [him] anymore. At least for the last five, six months he’s been playing with no pain.

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“And honestly, I think for him to be able to perform, the most important thing is the pain in the hip. Apart from the pain, I think he’s ready for big things, honestly. The tennis is there, the ambition, the experience.”

As well as Murray being pain-free following a hip resurfacing surgery in early 2019, Lopez also thought that his ability against the current top players gave him a shot at making it to the semi-final. The former world No 1 has beaten three top 20 players this season and the Spaniard claimed that Murray was still a better tennis player than most on the tour.

“I saw Andy playing against some of the best players in the world early this year and he’s perfectly able to challenge them,” Lopez added. “So how far he’s gonna get in New York? I don’t know. But I think he’s ready to compete against the best players in the world. 

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US Open tennis makes its long-awaited return to Sky Sports and it’s certainly not something to be missed.

Sky Sports subscribers on Sky Glass, Sky Stream, Sky Q, and the Sky Sports app will be able to watch all courts for the first time on Sky Sports.

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You can also get six months Sky Sports completely free.

“I won’t be surprised if I see Andy in the quarter-finals or in the semi-finals in New York because I see players now performing and playing the final rounds that, most of them, they are not better players than Andy Murray. And I’m talking tennis-wise and also physically and everything, because tennis is a combination of so many things. It’s not only hitting the the ball properly. And I think Andy’s ready to compete against the best players in the world on the big stage.”

At Wimbledon, Murray narrowly lost a tight five-setter to fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Brit led by two-sets-to-one when they hit curfew and had to return the following day, where the 25-year-old went on to win. Despite some tough losses, Lopez still thought everything was there in the former No 1’s game to push on at the Slams.

“I don’t think there’s anything in particular that has been missing in those matches,” he explained. “But I think first, the most important thing is his body. I think in the last two years in some of those matches, his body wasn’t 100 per cent.

“But I think now it’s a different story. I think his body is ready to handle all the efforts and everything that he has to accomplish in order to get into the final rounds. So I think it’s a matter of a little bit of luck sometimes. For example, Wimbledon was the best example. He was, he was two sets to one up and then he ended up losing that match the day after, when they had to stop playing because of the curfew.

“But he’s there, he’s able to challenge the No 3, the No 4 players in the world. So as I said before, the hip is the most important thing because tennis is still there.”

The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with feeds to all courts from 28th August.

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