Andy Murray revels in quicker Indian Wells conditions ahead of Andrey Rublev test - but Rafael Nadal pulls out

Smooth sailing for the Scot against Goffin – now it’s Rublev in box-office second-round clash
Andy Murray took down David Goffin 6-3 6-2 in Indian Wells.Andy Murray took down David Goffin 6-3 6-2 in Indian Wells.
Andy Murray took down David Goffin 6-3 6-2 in Indian Wells.

Andy Murray says the “significantly faster” conditions at Indian Wells this year play to his advantage as he prepares to face fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Murray recorded his most straightforward victory of 2024 on Wednesday evening when he defeated David Goffin 6-3 6-2 in his opener in the Californian desert. He has often struggled in Indian Wells due to the courts playing slow, but the 36-year-old Scot – currently ranked 61 in the world – revelled in them being quicker against an opponent who he now leads 8-0 in the head-to-head record.

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“That's the best I've served here,” said Murray. “I've always struggled serving, certainly the last ten years or so, when I've been here for whatever reason. The conditions here this year definitely help. It's not the same as it has been for the most part of my career here – it's significantly faster than before, which I like. I wish it had been like that for the past 15 years or so."

Murray takes on Rublev on Friday for the fourth time in his career and will be the underdog against the Russian, who was defaulted during his last match in Dubai for verbally abusing a line judge.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal says he has made the “tough” decision to withdraw from Indian Wells as he is not yet “ready to play at the highest level”. The 22-time grand slam singles winner has been off the tour since suffering a muscle injury in Brisbane in January. He was set to mark his return with a first-round match at the BNP Paribas Open against Canada’s Milos Raonic on Friday. However in a post on social media, the 37-year-old Spaniard said he is not yet ready to compete.