Andy Murray predicts a strong US Open defense for Emma Raducanu

Andy Murray predicts a strong US Open defense for Emma Raducanu

Andy Murray predicts a strong US Open defense for Emma Raducanu

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates after beating Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 15, 2022 in Mason, Ohio - - GETTY IMAGES

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates after beating Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 15, 2022 in Mason, Ohio – – GETTY IMAGES

Andy Murray has predicted a strong US Open title defense for Emma Raducanu, pointing out that the light Wilson balls will favor her precise and methodical game.

Several leading women have complained in recent days about these balls, which are different from the heavier ones used by the men in the same tournament. World No. 1 Iga Swiatek called them “terrible” and Paula Badosa pointed out that they are not available for players to train with outside the US.

But Raducanu’s miraculous triumph at last year’s US Open, using the same balls, shows she is completely comfortable with them. The fact that they are so light allows her to drive them through the court, while she often struggles to generate ball speed in heavier conditions.

“I watched a couple of Emma’s matches last week,” Murray said. “I watched most of the match against Serena [Williams, who won only four games in a one-sided rout] and saw it against [Jessica] Pegula. Even though Emma lost it, she plays much better.

The balls they use here help a lot. They are much lighter, and that means she can get more on her shots, on her serves. It seems she enjoyed the conditions last week. I imagine she’ll enjoy them when it’s fast here in New York. I expect her to play well next week.”

AUGUST 18: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain hits a backhand against Jessica Pegula of the United States in the third round of the women's singles at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 18, 2022 in Mason, Ohio - GETTY IMAGES

AUGUST 18: Emma Raducanu of Great Britain hits a backhand against Jessica Pegula of the United States in the third round of the women’s singles at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 18, 2022 in Mason, Ohio – GETTY IMAGES

As for his own campaign, Murray is awaiting the results of sweat tests as he tries to figure out why he keeps cramping during fights.

Since flying to Rhode Island in July, Murray has played four tournaments in the heat of the American summer. Krampe has been a problem in all four, and has contributed to a disappointing tally of just three wins.

Hence the sweat testing, which will analyze the nature of the salts in Murray’s sweat in hopes of revealing where he may have a deficiency. He expects to receive the results over the weekend, just in time for his final tilt at the tournament he won ten years ago.

“We’re trying to understand exactly why it’s happening,” Murray said this week. “It could be hydration-related, fitness-related, stress-related or if you haven’t been eating right. There could be an underlying disease that’s there, and we’re just trying to get some answers to that.

“I’m doing sweat testing today under these conditions to see if anything has changed in that regard because the sports drinks and electrolytes I’m drinking are made specifically based on my sweat testing. But I haven’t done sweat testing in years, so we’re doing it to see if anything has changed.”

As for the overall shape of the men’s field in New York, Murray agreed that this is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable majors in years – especially as Novak Djokovic’s chances of taking part get slimmer with each day that passes.

Djokovic is asking for a last-minute relaxation of US immigration rules, which deny entry to anyone who has not been vaccinated against Covid. In practice, however, it seems likely that Rafael Nadal will be the only multiple slam winner in the field apart from Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Reports from Spain have questioned whether Nadal may also return home due to a complication with the pregnancy of his wife Maria Francisco Perello, who many believe needs a minor procedure to be carried out in hospital, but for now he is content to support her externally.

Returning to the tricky business of predicting a men’s champion in New York, Murray described this tournament as a nice opportunity for British No. 1 Cameron Norrie, who is likely to be the seventh seed.

“It’s definitely more open this year,” Murray said. “I can imagine some of the guys that you expect to go deep will go deep, like your Medvedevs. I still expect Rafa to have a good tournament, Alcaraz, Tsitsipas, but I think there will be an opportunity there for Cam.

“I think he’s ranked in the top eight. It’s not guaranteed to make the job easier, but it does increase the odds because if a guy ranked 15 or 16 loses, then you might not play someone in the top 25 until the quarterfinals. He’s been very consistent against guys ranked below him for most of this year, so he definitely has the chance for a good run.

Andy Murray wears The Drive Collection from his signature AMC range at this year’s US Open, designed to deliver a new standard in tennis performance apparel. Watch the set on www.castore.com/collections/amc

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