Murray dismisses ‘silly’ talk from McEnroe
The four-time US Open champion made the comment at the draw on Thursday, saying Murray, who has reached three slam finals and lost all of them, should be the hungriest player in the tournament. Ever since he won the junior title at Flushing Meadows in 2004, the world No 4 has been tipped to collect the senior crown, and it was also the venue for his first slam final in 2008 when he was beaten by Roger Federer.
The indifferent form of Federer and defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal, plus the shoulder injury that forced Novak Djokovic to retire during his final clash with Murray at the Cincinnati Masters, fuelled McEnroe’s optimism.
But Murray said: “It’s a silly thing to say. It will be Federer is not playing well and Rafa is struggling and Djokovic’s shoulder is sore. But I know come Monday they’ll all be fine.
“I have a chance of winning for sure. Whether it’s my best chance or not, no-one has a clue. And someone like John, who has played hundreds and hundreds of matches, probably knows that one bad day and you can put yourself out of the tournament.
“And especially towards the latter stages when you’re playing against maybe the three greatest players ever. You’re going to have to play an incredible event to win.
“So I feel like I’m ready to do that. But to say it’s my best chance, no-one knows.”
What is indisputable is that Murray has so far had his best season at the grand slams, reaching the final at the Australian Open before losing to Djokovic in his invincible phase and coming off second best against Nadal in the semi-finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon.
The 24-year-old did not start the US hard-court stretch well, winning only four games against Kevin Anderson to meekly surrender his Masters 1,000 title in Montreal, but he bounced back in style in Cincinnati.
Murray did not drop a set in taking the title, beating David Nalbandian and form man Mardy Fish prior to his final clash with Djokovic, where he led by a set and 3-0 when the world No 1 called it a day – only his second loss in 59 matches this season.
Murray said: “It was great. It was a really good tournament for me. I didn’t start off playing that great at the beginning of Cincinnati, but each match I got just a little bit better and started feeling more comfortable.
“I have been hitting the ball well, but I still felt like there were some things I could have improved upon, which was really nice coming in this week, being able to work on some things and not feeling like I was almost recovering before the US Open.”
Murray will have at least one more day to prepare, with his first-round match against India’s Somdev Devvarman not taking place until tomorrow at the earliest.