Andy Murray has ruled out playing singles at the US Open after taking a 6-3, 6-3 loss in the Cincinnati first round to Richard Gasquet, a player he had defeated in their last five matches.
Murray, still coming back from the January hip resurfacing which saved his career, took lessons from his defeat in 96 minutes.
He has definitively as ruled out any chance of attempting singles at the US Open which begins a week from Monday.
Instead, he will duplicate his Wimbledon effort by playing men’s singles along with the mixed event – partners still to be confirmed.
He then dropped the hint that he might compete in the 250-level tournament on hardcourt in Winston-Salem, North Caroline next week.
“I’m not going to play the US Open singles,” he said after going down to Gasquet with 28 unforced errors.
“It’s a decision I made with my team, I didn’t want to (already) take a (US Open) wildcard (in singles just yet).”
Murray knows he still has work to do if he is to return to the top form which earned him two Wimbledon trophies and the 2012 US Open crown.
He admitted that time ran out for him, with US Open officials insisting that wild card candidates state their intentions within a few days – too early for Murray, in his judgement.
“I just didn’t know today how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that.
“Maybe I’ll play Winston-Salem; I’ll probably (still) look at just playing doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open.”
The match with Gasquet was a solid test for Murray, who played his last singles in the Australian Open first round eight months ago and lost in five painful sets. to Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I don’t really know what I was expecting, to be honest. There were a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match.
“But you have to be somewhat realistic in terms of what you can expect in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball.
“My legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match.”
Murray, 2008 and 2011 Cincinnati champion, has been testing himself in doubles since June, winning Queen’s prior to Wimbledon with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
Murray remains optimistic of once again reaching full fitness.
“With a few more weeks of practice and hopefully some more matches, then I could do better.”
Seven-time tournament champion Roger Federer will line up against Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero, who defeated Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Wild card Sam Querrey will take on holder Novak Djokovic after defeating France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6(2), 7-6(1).