Andy Murray is hoping to be on the move this summer.
The former world No. 1 was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon by big-serving John Isner and afterwards outlined his ambition to improve his ranking enough to be seeded for the US Open, which starts on August 29.
After Wimbledon Murray will be at No. 52 in ATP rankings, needing to move up at least 20 places to be seeded at the final Grand Slam of the year.
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How will Murray try to accomplish that, how far can he climb, and what's his schedule for the summer?
What has Murray said?
Murray’s ranking has plummeted in recent years as he has spent long periods away from the tour following hip surgery, other injuries, and Covid-19 issues. He was briefly out of the top 800 in July 2018 and hasn’t been ranked in the top 20 for nearly four-and-a-half years.
Being further down the rankings means missing out on a seeded spot at tournaments, which in turn means the possibility of being drawn against any other player in the early rounds. At last year’s US Open Murray was drawn to face third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round, and although he avoided the top seeds at Wimbledon, Isner was still seeded 20th.
Playing a higher calibre of opposition early in the tournament is likely to increase the chance of defeat, which is why Murray wants to earn himself a seeded spot in New York.
“I really want to try and improve my ranking to a level where I'm getting seeded in Slams,” he said after losing to Isner.
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“That was a goal of mine sort of post Miami. I've spoken to my team a lot about that, and that's something that I want to try and put myself in a position hopefully come the US Open. If not the US Open, then going into the Australian Open next year where I'm seeded again.
“That means obviously I'll need to be out there competing and winning matches because it does make, like I said, things trickier.
“I was coming into Wimbledon feeling like I could have a deep run. If you're playing against top guys right at the beginning of the event, obviously makes it a little bit more challenging. That's kind of what my goals are between now and the US Open.”
The top 32 players in the world rankings are seeded at Slams.
What’s Murray’s schedule?
Although Murray felt like he could have had a “deep run” at Wimbledon, that would not have benefitted his ranking as there were no points on offer following the decision to ban Russian and Belarussian players.
Players will be dropping points from last year though.
As it stands, Murray is 293 points behind world No. 32 Tommy Paul.
The former world No. 1 is wasting no time in his bid to gain ranking points as he is extending his grass season by playing the Hall of Fame Open in Newport this week. Murray has taken a wild card into the ATP 250 tournament, which he hasn’t entered since 2006.
Murray will likely then stay in the USA to do a training block with coach Ivan Lendl, who is based in Florida, before turning his attention to the US hard swing.
He is entered into the Atlanta Open, which starts on July 25, followed by the Citi Open in Washington DC the following week. Then it’s straight into back-to-back Masters events – the National Bank Open in Montreal and Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati – before the US Open.
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If that seems a packed schedule, the bonus for Murray is that he does not have many points to defend over the summer.
Last year he only played the Western & Southern Open and Winston-Salem Open between Wimbledon and the US Open, and only won two matches. That means he is dropping just 55 points, so there are plenty of gains to be made.
How many points could Murray pick up?
There is an array of points on offer over the summer as tournaments are graded differently. The Hall of Fame Open, for example, is an ATP 250 event, which will provide 250 points to the winner, while the National Bank Open and Western & Southern Open both offer 1000 points to the champions.
Murray’s potential schedule and points breakdown:
- Hall of Fame Open: 250 points winner, 150 points runner-up, 90 points semi-finals
- Atlanta Open: 250 points winner, 150 points runner-up, 90 points semi-finals
- Citi Open: 500 points winner, 300 points runner-up, 180 points semi-finals
- National Bank Open: 1000 points winner, 600 points runner-up, 360 points semi-finals, 180 quarter-finals
- Western & Southern Open: 1000 points winner, 600 points runner-up, 360 points semi-finals, 180 quarter-finals
Will Murray achieve his aim?
It’s certainly not impossible for Murray to get the points needed to break into the top 32 in time for the US Open.
He looked in good form on grass before suffering an abdominal injury in the final of the Stuttgart Open and should be one of the favourites at the Hall of Fame Open. Then it will be all about how well he transfers to the hard courts and whether he can stay fit over the entire pre-US Open swing.
Murray’s progress is also impacted by how well others above him in the rankings perform.
If though, Murray was to make the final of the Hall of Fame Open, semi-finals of the Atlanta Open, quarter-finals of the Citi Open and a quarter-final at one of the Masters events, that would give him a total 610 points. That would be enough to break into the top 25 as it stands. Plus, there will be players above him dropping points from performances a year ago.
If Murray is seeded at the US Open and gets a good draw there is the potential to pick up more points. At Grand Slams there are 2,000 points on offer to the winners, 1,200 to the runner-up, 720 to semi-finalists, and 360 to quarter-finalists. Murray then only has a handful of points dropping for the rest of the season.
'Murray can return to top 10'
Murray has been backed to get back into the top 10 by doubles legend Bob Bryan, who also has a metal hip.
"Isner is one of the top 10 players on grass with his serve," Bryan told Sky Sports.
"If Andy had found a little pocket in the draw he might be playing in the quarter-finals. He’s playing great, I think he’s got maybe a top 10 in his future, he works so hard and nobody wants it more than Andy."
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