Jamie Murray says he may miss US Open to focus on clay-court preparations ahead of French Open
On Sunday, Sky Sports will be looking ahead to the 'Battle of the Brits' and the return to action of Andy Murray in the second part of our interview with Jamie Murray
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 19/06/20 5:33pm
Jamie Murray says he is considering missing the US Open and focusing his preparations towards a return to professional competition on clay ahead of the rearranged French Open in September.
The US Tennis Association has confirmed the US Open will go ahead without fans in New York from August 31, despite several leading players voicing their reservations and in some cases strong opposition.
Murray, who along with doubles partner Neal Skupski are both inside the world's top 30, is pessimistic over the likelihood he will get into the field when the Citi Open welcomes the return of the ATP Tour on August 14. The same goes for the 32-team draw at the Western & Southern Open - moved this year from Cincinnati to Flushing Meadows.
Both precursor events to the US Open, which has reduced men's and women's doubles fields from 64 teams to 32, offer singles players the chance to use their ranking to compete, whereas the Grand Slam will not permit players who are entered in singles to also play doubles.
The revised "provisional" ATP calendar will then see the tour shift to Europe for clay-court tournaments, including Madrid and Rome, before the French Open, which will start two weeks after the US Open finishes.
Asked whether Murray would travel to the US for the tour's resumption, he told Sky Sports News: "I saw that the first tournament is in Washington so every man and his dog will want to play in that tournament so the cuts will be incredibly high. To be honest I don't think I would even get into the tournament.
"And then Cincinnati… again, I mean, everyone wants to play matches, wants to compete. The option is if you don't play in the doubles, you are just sitting in a hotel room, in an airport and so it is not really a great second option for the players.
"I imagine a lot of the players will want to be out on court as much as they can.
"Potentially I could be just going over to New York for the US Open. I don't know, for one tournament, maybe I am better to stay in Europe and then train for four-five weeks on clay.
"It is something that I need to look at and decide but definitely a few decisions to be made, but also some decisions that will be out of my control."
Return of ATP Tour
|Start Date||Event||Host city/venue|
|August 14||Citi Open||Washington, D.C.|
|August 22||Western & Southern Open||New York, Flushing Meadows|
|August 31||US Open||New York, Flushing Meadows|
|Switches from hard courts to clay|
|September 8||Generali Open||Kitzbuhel|
|September 13||Madrid Open||Madrid|
|September 27||French Open||Roland-Garros, Paris|
Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios both publicly voiced their opposition to the US Open going ahead, before it received approval from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, while defending men's singles champion Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep are among those to be reticent at the prospect of competing.
Despite disquiet from within the game, Murray says "sacrifices" will need to be made by players and believes a strong field will still feature in New York.
""If you are a top player, you have got the chance to play in Washington, Cincinnati [played this year at Flushing Meadows] and US Open so that is a four to five week trip whereas there might be some players who [can] only play in the US Open.," the 2016 US Open men's doubles champion said.
"At the end of the day there will still be a lot of players out there that still want the opportunity to go and compete and have the chance to go and earn Grand Slam prize money regardless of the tournament set up"
Jamie Murray on whether players will play at the US Open
But Murray acknowledges there still remain several logistics which tournament organisers will need to prepare for amid the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"There might also be players who can't even travel out of their country at that stage," he said.
"There might even be people coming in from countries who aren't allowed to come into the US as well.
"It is tough, what if you have 128 players but 20 or 30 of those that are ranked high enough to be in the main draw aren't allowed to come to the tournament. What do you do with that?
"It is unfair to then start potentially awarding Grand Slam points, prize money and stuff when a bunch of players can't actually get themselves to the tournament. That is something that they obviously need to look at as well."
He added: "At the end of the day there will still be a lot of players out there that still want the opportunity to go and compete and have the chance to go and earn Grand Slam prize money regardless of the tournament set up."
Tournament officials for Madrid and Roland-Garros are understood to be factoring in welcoming fans for those tournaments.
"The situation in Europe is a lot clearer in how those tournaments will be able to function," Murray said.
"I think by that stage quite a lot of fans will be able to come and watch the events as well. Obviously not packed stadiums [but] certainly fans will be able to come and watch so from that point of view it is a more normal feel for a tournament."
Murray is the defending champion of the US Open mixed doubles, having won the event for the past three years, but it will not be staged at the scaled-down version later this summer - something the 34-year-old concedes was inevitable.
"If there are going to be cuts then they will start there before they do anything else," he said.
"It is not the end of the world, there are worse things out there happening in the world currently than mixed doubles getting cut at a tennis tournament or a reduced draw size at professional tennis tournaments."