Andy Murray: Tennis missing Rafael Nadal
Andy Murray believes the return of his long-term rival Rafael Nadal can only strengthen an already vibrant elite tennis scene.
The Spaniard should have been making his comeback from chronic knee problems at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi this week, only for a stomach bug to rule him out.
Nadal, who hasn’t played since the second round of Wimbledon back in June, will now return to action in Doha next week. And Murray, who opens up in the UAE capital against Janko Tipsarevic on Thursday, says the qualities Nadal brings to the court will give the whole of mens’ tennis a genuine boost.
“He’s been in the top few players in the world since he was 17 years old,” Murray told Sport360°. “It’s been like nine years almost he’s been there, so when he’s not there for a few months, especially with his style and his passion and the way that he is on the court, he’s got a lot of energy, so when you lose that for a few months, I think it’s not ideal for tennis.
“Tennis is in a really good place just now, so we can cope, but it’s obviously much better for tennis when he’s around because he’s one of the most exciting players to watch.”
Murray, whose appearance at Zayed Sports City comes just six weeks after his 2012 season ended with defeat to Roger Federer in the last four of the London ATP Tour finals, says the MWTC is the perfect way to prepare for next month’s Australian Open – an event in which he has twice been a finalist.
The 25-year-old’s trip to Melbourne Park will be his first Grand Slam appearance since winning the US Open, and Murray admits he is still unsure on how becoming a Major champion will affect his nerves when he steps out on court.
“In my mind I feel more relaxed and I felt very relieved after I won the US Open, so I think from my side I will hopefully be taking some pressure off myself and will be able to play a little bit more relaxed,” he said. "It’ll be a new feeling for me and I’ll just have to see how I deal with it.”