LONDON – Andy Murray believes that the continuing standstill at the top of men’s tennis can offer him a route back to the peak of the game if he can prove his fitness.
Wimbledon sees its annual “Manic Monday” of fourth-round matches today, with few doubting that it will mean further progress for the gilded trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
And Murray, who won his opening mixed doubles match with Serena Williams on Saturday night, feels encouraged by the lack of emerging challengers to a top three that has barely been disturbed since his hip problems developed two years ago.
“I don’t feel that the game has moved on and I won’t be able to get back. A lot of the same guys are still there,” he said after moving into the mixed second round.
“I know how bad I felt in Australia and how bad I felt the last year that I played singles here, and I feel better now than I did then. So if physically I can get back to a good level, my tennis is still fine. I’m sure that tennis-wise I will be able to keep up with guys.
“Why not? If someone can give me a reason why I should’t be able to compete again, then I would listen to it, but so far I haven’t really been given one.”
Once Wimbledon is over the 32-year-old Scot (right) is expected to step up his preparations to return to the singles court.
A rough target, provided there are no physical setbacks, is in late August.
The US Open begins seven weeks today, and he knows he needs about four weeks of serious singles preparation before attempting to re-enter that world.
He has much enjoyed his foray into playing doubles only, but there is little impression that he sees it as a long-term option, especially with the kind of unpredictable schedules he has experienced recently.
“I don’t care which court we play on, I’m happy to play on whatever court, 14 or 18 doesn’t bother me,” he said of his liaison with Williams. “Sometimes doubles does get pushed back and it’s not always the first event on the schedule, so you have to expect that to happen. It was the same at Queen’s, long days and stuff.
“It’s just different, singles and doubles. There is a lot more self-analysis in singles. It’s your responsibility.
“The thing that is nice with doubles is that when you win you are winning with someone else and it is enjoyable. When me and Feli Lopez won at Queen’s, we went out and bonded with each other, had dinner and that sort of stuff.
“In singles at the end of matches it is on you and that is the thing I’ve always had.”
Today will be a new experience with him still in the tournament but not involved in the bumper schedule. Jo Konta is the last surviving Brit and will play on Centre Court against Petra Kvitova.Daily Mail