Andy Murray is prepared to bury any lingering health fears amid the COVID-19 pandemic and resume his tennis next month if Tour play can commence in the virus-plagued US.
The former ATP No. 1, who has fought through two seasons of hip surgery recovery told British media on Sunday of his grand strategy, with provisional entries in his agenda for both Cincinnait and the US Open – both to be staged inside a protective “health bubble” in New York from August 22.
There seems to be no turning back for the Brit, perhaps the only name player so far who has committed to travelling the US and competing in total tennis isolation.
“My training the past week and during the event this week is to try to get in shape for the US Open. If it wasn’t happening, my schedule would be different.
“Mentally, I’m planning for it to go ahead, but I’ll be apprehensive,” the 33-year-old said at the Battle of the Brits exhibition in London.
“I was thinking about travelling somewhere beforehand to get in some hot-weather training.
“But then you’re increasing your risk of catching the virus, which means you can’t train or travel for a couple of weeks, which could then put playing a Grand Slam in doubt.
“Hopefully it can go ahead but, if not, I’m also OK with that. It’s not like I’m saying it must go ahead. We need to try to get back to competing when it’s safe to do so.”
Murray appears to be in a hurry to test out his fitness – and perhaps his health – after last competing in November with a match at the Davis Cup finals in Spain.:
The Scot hopes that tennis can be like Premier League football, which re-started without fans earlier this month.
“The issue for us is the travel. Hopefully we’re getting tested before we arrive, and once we get there.
“The players, the staff and everyone, we’re in this secure bubble. Everything will be fine – that is my hope.
He further spelled out his dream scenario: “I might play qualifying in the Cincinnati Masters or I could take a wildcard.
“I’m not particularly keen on playing back-to-back. For a lot of the guys it’ll be five, six months (off the courts since the lockdown began in March).
“But for me it’s 10 months since I last competed properly.”
US Open officials are waiting until the last possible moment to decide if they can go ahead with their event, with a decision due by the end of next week.”