Andy Murray says he's in the 'bad books' after losing ring
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Andy Murray has claimed he is ready to beat the top players and win titles again before his desert grudge match with Alexander Zverev. The Scot produced one of his best displays since his hip surgery to beat Carlos Alcaraz at the BNP Paribas Open.
And the world No 121 has threatened to redeploy the underarm serve which saw him ace the young Spaniard as he pursues his first title since his emotional European Open triumph in October 2019.
Murray has not been past the third round of any event since as he has struggled with further injuries and Covid.
But his fightback against the teenage Alcaraz was vintage Murray. And the former world No 1, who has slipped down to world No 121, declared he has the form and fitness to end his dry spell by winning in the California desert.
“Two years ago I couldn’t believe I’d won a tournament again after everything had happened with the operations and stuff,” he said.
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“It was just amazing. It’s probably been going a little bit slower than I would have liked but I’m slowly starting to get there again, and get to a level where it wouldn’t be a surprise if I won a tournament.
“I genuinely believe that I can win tournaments, again. There’s nothing that has happened recently, barring probably the Denis Shapovalov match that I played at Wimbledon where I got absolutely smoked, to make me think otherwise.
“But my preparation for the grass season was a disaster. It’s not easy playing with a metal hip and it is not easy everything that goes into getting ready for these events.
“But to do that against Alcaraz makes it worth it and gives me confidence and encouragement to keep going.
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“I don’t see any reason why I can’t still compete against the top players and beat them in big events.”
Murray ranked the Alcaraz win alongside beating Stan Wawrinka to claim the title in Antwerp and his victory over Zverev in August 2020 – his last defeat of a top-10 player.
Now the new Olympic champion Zverev is facing an ATP investigation into allegations of assault made by the German’s former girlfriend Olga Sharypova in 2019.
Self-confessed feminist Murray first called for an ATP domestic abuse policy last year – and welcomed the probe before the tournament.
Zverev vehemently denies the accusations and said the enquiry is a chance to clear his name as Sharypova has never pressed criminal charges.
But there will be an extra edge to their third meeting – and not just because Zverev has never beaten the Scot.
Murray waxed lyrical about the promise of 18-year-old Alcaraz. But then asked to describe his relationship with the German, Murray said: “I wouldn’t say we’re best friends. We don’t really chat a whole lot.”
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World No 4 Zverev said: “Andy is playing great again. I’m looking forward to playing him. He’s the only one out of the big four I haven’t beaten yet. I hope I can change that after tomorrow.”
Nick Kyrgios took to social media to tweet “no way” in reaction to Murray’s underarm serve ace to Alcaraz.
“The first time I have ever done it in a match and it got the ace,” the Scot said. “Maybe I will try it again in the future if guys are standing that far back.”
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