You would think that, after winning a momentous gold medal in the singles and silver in the mixed doubles, Andy Murray would want to put his feet up for a week or two. The last month has been extremely busy for the British number one, going the distance at Wimbledon before claiming gold at the London Olympics when he crushed Roger Federer in the final.
Not so. Yesterday, Andy Murray jetted off to Canada to take part in Toronto’s Rogers Cup, a Masters 1000 event which marks the start of the hard court season. It is one of the key warm-up events ready for the US Open later this month and is a tournament which Murray has recently excelled in, winning twice in the last three seasons.
|Andy Murray wins gold at the London Olympics|
But is Murray taking a physical risk playing so soon after his Wimbledon and Olympic exertions? By Sunday, Murray will have played in 22 tournaments so far this year, and considering he only played 19 tournaments for the whole of 2011, it appears Murray is going the distance in 2012. Cincinatti, another Masters 1000 event, is coming up next Monday as well. Will Murray have enough energy for the US Open?
Many will remember there were 14 retirements at the 2011 US Open, an unfortunate record for the tournament. Whether this was a one-off fluke or a result of the busy tennis schedule is up for debate, but one man is taking no chances. Perhaps wisely, Roger Federer has pulled out of the Rogers Cup, saying: “After a long stretch of tournaments, I will need some time to recover”.
Milos Raonic, the Canadian world number 24 and Murray’s opponent in today’s third round match, seemed to attack Federer’s decision to pull out: “I’ve only been on the tour two years, but I’ve gone back-to-back from San Jose to Memphis, which is nine hours of travel, and you deal with it. You try to get past those first few days and you know it’s just going to get better and better.”
It was a naïve thing to say; Raonic does not go deep into the tournaments like Federer and can therefore participate in more events. In the past, Federer’s decision to miss tournaments here and there has paid dividends, saving his energy for those which matter.
Murray must be wary of suffering the same fate of 2011 when excessive playing time lead to him pulling out of the ATP World Finals at the O2 in November. Of course, if he is feeling good physically then his plan may prove to be a masterstroke in preparing for the US Open and overtaking Rafael Nadal as world number 3. With these different approaches, it will be interesting to compare Federer and Murray’s prospects for the rest of the year.