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Murray hoping for ‘decent run’ in singles at Winston-Salem Open

Andy Murray

Britain’s Andy Murray says he is hoping “to get through a few matches” as he plays his second singles tournament since recovering from hip surgery.

The former world number one lost 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati last week, in his first singles match since January’s Australian Open.

He has decided to play no part in this month’s US Open.

On Monday he will play the American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.

“All matches are difficult at this level, and when you’ve been out for a long time, and with the severity of the operation I had, it is going to take time,” Murray told BBC Sport.

“I’m not setting my expectations too high, but I do want to try and get matches in just now. So I’d like to get through a few matches here, and hopefully have a decent run.”

It is very hot, and very humid in North Carolina. Murray will play his first round match at about 19:00 local time, when the temperature will be 30C, but feel more like 37C.

Sandgren, 28, reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 Australian Open, and the fourth round of this year’s Wimbledon. But he has lost all three of the hard court matches he has played in North America since.

“He was brought up playing on the American hard courts, he’s a very good mover and he’s quick: a good athlete,” said Murray, who has never played Sandgren before.

“I practised with him a little bit when he was pretty young – him and another player, Ryan Williams, were brought in by Ivan Lendl to do some training with me – so I actually practised with him a bit when he was like 18 or 19 years old.”

The winner will play the second seed and world number 38 Denis Shapovalov in the second round.

The tournament is taking place at the Wake Forest Tennis Centre, which is right next to the 31,500-seater stadium where the Wake Forest college football team play their home games.

“The university and the facilities that they have over here are unbelievable,” Murray added.

“A few of my friends played college tennis over here and had a brilliant time and the assistant coach here is Chris Eaton, who played Davis Cup for Britain. He seems to love it here. It’s nice.”

Dan Evans is the only other British player in the singles here, and as the fifth seed has a bye into the second round.

But there is a strong British doubles contingent, including Joe Salisbury, who is seeded two with his American partner Rajeev Ram.

Cincinnati Masters semi-finalists Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski are also in the draw.

This is the final ATP event before the US Open begins on 26 August. Andy Murray has already said he will not play doubles in New York, so he can focus all his energies on singles once again.

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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