The fourth edition of the European Open in Antwerp will take place between October 14-20, with an already very solid field of players. The inaugural champion Richard Gasquet will chase another title against the home favorite David Goffin, the last year's finalist Gael Monfils, the two-time finalist Diego Schwartzman, Frances Tiafoe and Guido Pella.
Seeking another big name that would draw an even bigger crowd, the organizers have signed a former world no. 1 and the three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray who is going to make a debut in Antwerp in October! Andy has decided to stay away from the US Open after early losses in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem to Richard Gasquet and enter the first Challenger since 2005 at Rafa Nadal Academy, hoping to find the form against the lower-ranked rivals and test his body in a couple of matches that he hopes to play there.
The Briton has also added Zhuhai and Beijing to his schedule and Antwerp is the third confirmed post-US Open event for him, taking small steps after a nasty hip injury that almost ended his career. Murray was the player to beat in the second part of 2016, reducing a massive deficit to Novak Djokovic in the rankings and finishing the year with 78 wins and nine titles overall to finish as the year-end no.
1 player. As it turned out, that chase with Novak would cost him a lot already in the first half of 2017, starting to struggle with a severe hip injury and being forced to skip the second part of the year after Wimbledon to recover for 2018.
Unfortunately, the injury was much more serious than he thought and Andy finally underwent surgery in January 2018 after being forced to skip Brisbane. Returning at Queen's and Eastbourne in June, Murray was still unable to play pain-free, missing Wimbledon for the first time since 2007 and switching focus on 2019 after the quarter-final loss in Shenzhen, eager to make a comeback and extend his career.
At the Australian Open this January, Andy gathered sympathies from the entire tennis world after a heroic clash with Roberto Bautista Agut that the Spaniard won in four hours and nine minutes, unable to hold the tears at the press conference and starting to speak about the possible end of his tennis journey.
Determined to give one more push, Andy underwent another hip surgery at the end of January, having a metal cap placed at the top of his femur that finally put the pain away (so-called "Birmingham hip"). Staying under the radar for a few months, Murray made the best possible return at Queen's, winning the title with Feliciano Lopez and embracing more doubles challenges in Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati.
Still not finding the desired rhythm on the singles court, Andy will try to change that in the following months and get himself in the best starting position ahead of the 2020 season when he hopes to reach the level he had before the injury and fight for significant titles again.
"I remember the Davis Cup finals in Ghent against Belgium as if it were yesterday and particularly enjoyed the great atmosphere the Belgian public created. I am really looking forward to coming back to play in Antwerp in October, " Murray said.