Murray to hit with Djokovic in Rome

British tennis star aims to reignite injury-stalled career, sets sights on French Open

AFP May 08, 2021


Andy Murray will head to the Rome Masters next week and practice with world number one and long-time rival Novak Djokovic as he once again attempts to reignite his injury-stalled career.

The three-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since suffering groin pain ahead of the Miami Open in March.

Following training in London, Murray, who turns 34 next week, now intends to travel to Rome for practice on the sidelines of the Italian Open.

He then hopes he will be granted a wild card for either of the ATP tournaments in Geneva or Lyon the following week before playing the French Open.

"When I got back from Miami I went through a process of scans," said Murray, now ranked at 123 in the world, on Friday. "They didn't show anything serious but I was still having pain.”

However, he added: "The last five or six days there has been a definite improvement. I've played points the last four days and there hasn't been residual pain when waking up.

"On Sunday (in Rome) I've got a court booked with (Diego) Schwartzman and then Novak (Djokovic) in the afternoon, and then (I'm) trying to sort some more after that.

"I want to play against the highest level players possible because I think that will help me improve my game quicker."

Murray received a wild card for the 2020 French Open, only to lose to Stan Wawrinka in the first round, and he has no great expectations that Roland Garros officials will make him a similar offer this year.

"I don't mind if they don't want to give me a wild card, that's fine, they can give them to whoever they want to," he said.

"It just makes it a bit tricky with planning, but we should find out in the next week or so."

Murray has been beset by niggling injuries over the past 18 months, as well as a bout of coronavirus and has won only one tour-level match since last September.

"I need to try and find a way of staying on the match court for longer and being on the court more," he said.

"It has been extremely frustrating," the former world number one added.

"I never expected that things were going to be easy. When I had the operation on the hip, I knew it was going to be unbelievably challenging.

"I'm trying to do something that has not been done before. So I knew there would be challenges, but things have come up which have made it even more difficult."

Nevertheless Murray, the 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon champion, is still aiming to play at this year's edition of the grass-court Grand Slam as well as the Tokyo Olympics, having won successive men's singles gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games.

"I want to get out there, be around the top players and top tournaments," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to going away tomorrow and being among those guys and having a good few months this summer, with Wimbledon and the Olympics. I feel good right now."