Andy Murray 'really keen to play' US Open, says Feliciano Lopez

Andy Murray is ‘really keen to play’ the US Open, according to former doubles partner Feliciano Lopez.

A year ago, Murray and Lopez teamed up to conquer Queen’s – the first tournament Murray had played after career-saving hip surgery – with Lopez, 38, also picking up the singles title.

The pair remain in regular contact. Murray recently won the virtual edition of the Madrid Open – the Masters 1000 event of which Lopez is tournament director – and the duo are ‘in touch every two weeks ago’.

After winning the Queen’s title with Lopez, Murray mounted a comeback on the singles tour, which peaked when he won the European Open in Antwerp.

A month later, Murray limped out of Great Britain’s Davis Cup efforts and has not played since, with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the tennis world just as he was preparing a comeback.

Instead, he will feature on British soil at his brother Jamie’s event – the ‘Battle of the Brits’ – but, according to Lopez, Murray is targeting the US Open, should the hard court Grand Slam go ahead.

‘Actually two days ago I was talking to him, and he was really pumped about the US Open,’ Lopez told a small group of journalists over Zoom on Friday. ‘He was starting to practise again.

‘I asked about the hip, how it was feeling, and he was positive. He might be able to compete again. I’m crossing my fingers to see Andy playing again, of course. It would be great for everybody, especially for him.

‘He needs to wait a little bit to see how the hip is going to respond. But he was positive. He has started to play a little bit, and I think he’s really keen to play if the US Open is finally happening.’

Murray may well be the only member of the ‘Big Four’ in attendance in New York.

Roger Federer has already shut down his 2020 season after undergoing a second round of knee surgery, while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have both expressed their reservations about travelling to the US Open, which is scheduled to start at the end of August, due to the measures put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With all the tennis greats well into their 30s, it remains to be seen how their ageing – in sporting terms anyway – bodies will bounce back from such a dormant period.

Lopez – who turns 39 in September, a matter of weeks after Federer – admitted it was ‘tough to switch on the engine again’ but thinks the lack of experience for the younger crop of stars may work against them.

‘There’s the other way of thinking, that the young players will struggle in how to manage this situation because they don’t have the experience and I think that it’s gonna be tough for everybody so there is gonna be a lot of surprises when tennis is gonna resume,’ he added.

‘It’s tough to predict, to say who is gonna struggle more, but in my case, in the last 3-4 weeks when I was playing tennis again, the first week was very tough to switch on the engine of the car again after a long period but right now I am feeling much better.

‘With 2-3 weeks of practise already I am feeling better and confident and I am feeling in good shape again. But this is my case, my particular case, I don’t know how the other guys… Is gonna be worse for everybody.

‘I think we are going through a very unique situation where there is so many different cases. I don’t know about the others but in Spain the lockdown was very strict, we weren’t able to go out for one month and a half, nearly two months, we weren’t able to play outside.

‘I don’t know about other countries and other players but I think there is gonna be a lot of surprises.’

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