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Andy Murray: Two-time Wimbledon champion opens grass season with win at Surbiton Trophy

Andy Murray defeats former world No 19 Chung Hyeon in the opening round of the Surbiton Trophy to begin his grass season in winning fashion; the Scot confirms Jonny O'Mara will work alongside coach Ivan Lendl to help with preparations ahead of Wimbledon

Great Britain's Andy Murray in action in the Men's Singles Round of 32 match on Centre Court against South Korea's Chung Hyeon during day one of the 2023 Lexus Surbiton Trophy at Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club, London. Picture date: Monday June 5, 2023.
Image: Andy Murray's grass season started in convincing fashion against South Korea's Chung Hyeon in Surbiton on Monday

Andy Murray's bid to be seeded for the men's singles draw at Wimbledon began with a convincing victory over Chung Hyeon in the first round of the Surbiton Trophy.

Less than seven miles separate the Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club and the courts of the All England Club but Murray's journey has started with a 6-3 6-2 victory in the sunshine.

"The body was good and I've been working a lot on my movement that last few weeks to get that sharpness which is such an important part of my game," said Murray.

"I always feel more comfortable moving on a grass court because it's so natural for me than a clay court for example where I don't have an advantage over the guys I'm playing against. I moved well."

Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrate victory in the Men's Singles Round of 32 match against South Korea's Chung Hyeon on Centre Court during day one of the 2023 Lexus Surbiton Trophy at Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club, London. Picture date: Monday June 5, 2023.
Image: Murray needs to climb around 10 places to be seeded for Wimbledon

The former world No 1 skipped the French Open to focus on his grass season and this was his first match in preparation for next month.

Murray, 36, is currently ranked 43rd and needs to climb around 10 places to be seeded for Wimbledon, looking to build on his clay-court victory at Aix-en-Provence Challenger earlier this year - his first title since 2019.

The Surbiton Trophy is another Challenger event and gave Murray a chance to get into his stride against his South Korean opponent.

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Chung reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2018, beating Novak Djokovic en route, but has struggled with his own fitness issues in recent years.

A fine ace in the third game was the first glimpse of Murray ratcheting up through the gears and his first break followed a game later.

The gulf between the pair began to show as the opening set progressed, Murray taking it 6-3 with his fifth ace.

There were also signs of the vintage Murray - arguing more than one line call with the umpire and chuntering away to himself when missing shots he felt should have landed.

A brief collective holding of breath from the small crowd followed Murray taking a tumble over an advertising board at the start of the second set but he dusted himself off to take the game on his fourth break point courtesy of a double-fault from Chung.

Largely untroubled on his own serve, Murray - a semi-finalist in Surbiton 12 months ago - broke for a second time in the seventh game and wrapped up a comfortable win.

Top 10 on grass?

Andy Murray crashes through an advertising board in the Men's Singles Round of 32 match on Centre Court against South Korea's Chung Hyeon during day one of the 2023 Lexus Surbiton Trophy at Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club, London. Picture date: Monday June 5, 2023.
Image: The Scot took a tumble through an advertising hoarding during his win

Asked if he is in the top 10 players in the world on his favourite grass surface, Murray replied: "Yes, I think so. It is hard to put numbers on it like that but yes, I would fancy myself against a lot of them.

"I'm playing better this year than I was last year but it is kind of irrelevant if you say that you have to perform and win the matches on the court and it is up to me to show that in the next four or five weeks."

"I still want to win, I want to compete and see how hard I can push my body," added Murray. "The operations I had, I was told I might be able to play again so I just want to see how far I can go.

"I've got up to 41 in the world and I believe I can go higher than that. Obviously I did well here [Surbiton] and in Stuttgart last year and I think I need about 300 points [to be seeded] so I will have to do well the next few weeks if I want to do that.

"If I have a good tournament at Queen's, if you make the final or win the tournament there then I would be seeded, but I need to just concentrate on the performances.

"If you starting just thinking about points it is not necessarily the best way to look at things. I will just try and win as many matches as possible and see if I can get in there."

Murray working alongside doubles specialist O'Mara

Jonny O'Mara of Scotland during a practice session at the Westburn Tennis Centre prior to the Battle of the Brits at P&J Live Arena on December 20, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for Battle of the Brits)
Image: Jonny O'Mara will be working alongside Murray as he prepares for Wimbledon

Murray confirmed he is working alongside Jonny O'Mara, the 28-year-old doubles specialist, ahead of Wimbledon as well as his coach Ivan Lendl.

The Scot is still work with Mark Hilton and Leon Smith when schedules allow, but he is keen to add a consistent voice within his team - which is what he wants O'Mara to provide.

"This year has been really hard for me because of the consistency of my coaching set up just hasn't been there. I've been on court with nine or 10 coaches this year because Ivan is doing a limited number of weeks," said Murray.

"I really feel like I've lacked a bit of consistency there at times and it's just not helped with the preparation. I wanted to have one person who will always be there with me for the majority of the time and he's a young guy who plays well and has a good understanding of the game. It's what I wanted so let's see how it goes."

'I haven't struck up friendship with Andreeva'

Mirra Andreeva is seen in action against Alison Riske-Amritraj of United States during their Women's Singles First Round Match on Day Three of the 2023 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Image: Murray is a big fan of Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva

After Russian Mirra Andreeva said a text message from Murray provided inspiration as she won the first Grand Slam match of her career at the French Open, the Brit was asked if he hopes to see her compete at Wimbledon, despite the teenager currently struggling to obtain a visa to play in the pre-Wimbledon warm-up events.

"I wouldn't necessarily say I've struck up a friendship," said Murray. "We've exchanged one message with each other and said no words in person to each other so that's probably stretching it but she's obviously a brilliant player and one of the best young players on the tour.

"When you listen to her talk she's very refreshing, honest and hopefully she gets the opportunity to compete over here."

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