In a few days Andy Murray will be one of the participants of the third 'Battle of the Brits' exhibition. The other players will be his brother Jamie, Dan Evans, Heather Watson, Cameron Norrie and Harriet Dart. The tournament, meant to be a warm-up for next year's Australian Open will have the same surface and balls as the Melbourne event.
It will be located at the Britain's Nation Tennis Centre in London and designed to help British players be more prepared for the first grand slam of the year. "All players were keen...to test themselves before the season begins," Jamie Murray had commented on the pre-season warm up.
But some players will have a bigger test than others and Andy Murray especially wants to make sure he is not only mentally ready but physically competent when the tour starts. The two hip surgeries have taken its toll on the Brit who in his career has accomplished over 40 titles and knows that its a push to hink he'll be his usual playing self as a couple of years ago.
He did win a doubles title last year at Queen's with Feliciano Lopez. A few months later he won the ATP 250 singles title at Antwerp, his first since 3 years ago. Murray felt great on winning the back-to-back crowns within a year but he just has to see how things go in the slow climb to being more consistent with the tough competition the ATP tour has to offer.
The obstacles are greater now that the Pandemic is here
quarantines frequent testing and living 'in a bubble' have to be instituted as to stop the chance of the tennis community not being infected with the virus.
Murray's time when the tour resumed in New York with the Cincinnati Masters, then the U.S. pen were tests of his mental and physical stamina. He played the two slams but the U.S. Open he bowed at the second round in straight 3 sets to Felix Auger-Aliassime.
It was at the French Open he'd go down in three sets in the first round to Stan Wawrinka. Traveling to Germany for the Bett1HULKS Indoor, Murray was defeated in the opening match by Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, a record that the Spaniard has never had the dominant hand when playing Murray.
Greg Rusedski former player now media correspondent would love to see the Brit capture another title and even a slam but says that "You have to raise your level for every next clash...I'm not sure Andy can do that...Still you've got to give him credit for a fantastic career and everything he has achieved."
A fellow Brit, Tim Henman was realistic enough saying that "Andy has had an incredibly difficult last three years...There were signs of improvements and then he had another little setback. He...has to build up his strength and stamina and hopefully compete consistently."
Andy Murray may just want to consider the 'Battle of the Brits' not a fight at all, but just a contest with his fellow comrades having fun but along the way seeing what he can do and how his body will hold up with some competition on a less stressful atmosphere.
Murray knows how it feels to go the distance and win titles but maybe for now he'd rather just have a gentle play with his mates, but keep in perspective on how the results turned out. Andy Murray tries to get real with himself and sums it up saying "I need to play matches and physically I need to get better."