Andy Murray admitted he found his fiendishly difficult French Open first round draw against Stan Wawrinka ‘amusing’.
Murray will take a trip down memory lane when he takes on his fellow three-time Grand Slam champion this week in his first match at Roland Garros since 2017.
His last appearance at this venue came against Wawrinka in the semi-finals – a gruelling five-setter that proved to be the beginning of the end for Murray’s hip.
Wawrinka – who also spent a long stretch on the sidelines as a result of the match as he struggled with a knee injury – went on to lose in the final to Rafael Nadal and, like Murray, has never been in a Grand Slam semi-final since.
Three years on, the pair – who most recently crossed paths in a dramatic final in Antwerp where Murray won his first title since undergoing a hip resurfacing operation – will meet again.
‘Yes obviously it was an amusing draw,’ said Murray of facing the 2015 champion from Switzerland on Friday. ‘It was actually the first time I have watched the draw in the last 10 years.
‘I never do it and then got a group chat with a bunch of the guys and they sent a link through and I watched it. It was a bit weird they way they do it with the computerised stuff – you are used to seeing the names picked out of the hat.
‘It was a very tough match that match against Stan a few years ago. It was a brutal one. I knew something was up before the [Kei] Nishikori match there.
‘I didn’t know it was that bad but at the end of the Stan match, in the fifth set, I was struggling to push up on my serve and moving to my forehand. And I never felt the same after that match.’
Murray had a run to the second round in New York before Felix Auger-Aliassime but revealed he had been struggling with a ‘niggle’ in his back since the US Open. He was satisfied with his level in practice since, however.
Asked about his last three weeks, Murray replied: ‘A little bit tricky. I had a slight niggle after New York. I had like tendonitis in my psoas muscle on the left side.
‘Also we had to get a test when we got back from New York and obviously had to test negative before we were allowed to leave the house.
‘There was a bit of an issue with my test and it took five or six days to come back. I was in my house for five or six days so I couldn’t get that checked out.
‘Then I found out after five or six days and had to adjust the training a little bit but once I started training on the clay, I actually felt pretty good.
‘I have been playing quite well in practice. It is weird, like. Maybe it will be different when I get on the match court but I felt decent. Usually it takes quite a long time to get used to it again.
‘It didn’t feel like it had been a year since I last played on it. It was better than what I expected.’
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