Murray issues warning after stunning Sinner: I'll be progressing deep in tournaments again

By Sports Desk November 10, 2021

Andy Murray insisted he can compete at the top level as the former world number one warned the days of him progressing deep in tournaments again are on the horizon after stunning Jannik Sinner at the Stockholm Open.

Murray claimed his second top-10 win of the year after upstaging top seed Sinner 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 en route to the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

A three-time grand slam champion, Murray fended off the only break point he faced to close out another impressive victory in two hours, 10 minutes midweek.

Many questioned Murray's future in tennis and his ability to return among the contenders on the ATP Tour, having been devastated by injuries – the 34-year-old underwent hip resurfacing in 2019.

However, Murray is oozing confidence as he prepares to meet Tommy Paul for a spot in the semi-finals of the ATP 250 event.

"I'm convinced I can play … well, I can. I'm playing at the top level and I'm winning matches against the best players in the world," said Murray.

"The ones that I'm losing, I'm pushing the best players in the world. That argument is finished. I can compete at the top level."

Currently ranked 143 in the world, Murray has a 15-13 win-loss record this year and has not claimed a title since October 2019.

Murray: "I said in the last few weeks, it's coming. It's coming.

"I don't know if it will be this week or the beginning of next year, but I'm going to be pushing and getting deep in tournaments again."

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    Emma Raducanu doubted whether she would recover from injury in time for Wimbledon, but says she is now "ready to go" after a week's training.

    The 19-year-old has endured an injury-plagued season, with her first match of the grass-court campaign lasting just 36 minutes against Viktorija Golubic at the Nottingham Open.

    Raducanu was forced to withdraw from the contest earlier this month due to a side strain and subsequently missed the Eastbourne International.

    She previously stated she had "no idea" if she would be fit in time for Wimbledon, which begins for the reigning US Open champion with a first-round clash with Alison Van Uytvanck.

    But after missing Friday's practice session with Garbine Muguruza, Raducanu took to the court on Saturday and later declared herself ready for the third grand slam of the year.

    "I think that this week was a good build-up," she said at a news conference. "There were moments earlier on in the week we weren't really sure. 

    "We were sort of going to see how the week goes. But it went pretty well. Now it's full steam ahead. Right now I'm fit. I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to it. That's it.

    "I've been managing it since Nottingham. I took two weeks off. Yesterday we just had to react to the situation. 

    "I already practiced in the morning, so we all collectively thought it was the best decision to pass on the afternoon session as well and stay fresh and ready to go."

    Raducanu made history in 2021 when becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam with victory over Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final.

    That success came two months after retiring from her fourth-round match with Ajla Tomljanovic at last year's Wimbledon with breathing difficulties.

    The Briton enters this year's event as one of the biggest names, though, and she will make her Centre Court debut in Monday's showdown with Belgium's Van Uytvanck.

    "I think it’s amazing," Raducanu said reflecting on the past 12 months. "This year I get such a special feeling walking around the grounds. 

    "I definitely feel that people are behind me. Even from some of the people working on the tournament, they're like, 'you got this'. Just cheering me on. That's pretty special in itself.

    "I feel like last year I came straight out of my exams, I was fresh, ready to play. I feel the same excitement this year because I think Wimbledon just brings that out of me.

    "But I'm definitely looking forward to it. Just going to play like a kid who just loves playing tennis. 

    "It's always my dream to step out on Centre Court. It's something I've always wanted to do and started playing tennis for."

    Raducanu won her only previous match with Van Uytvanck last year, prior to her big breakthrough at Flushing Meadows, and is 35 places above the Belgian in the WTA rankings.

    "I definitely feel game-wise I back myself pretty much against anyone," Raducanu added. "I feel if I really put my mind to it and commit, then I can be pretty good. 

    "So I'm definitely looking forward to the match. But she's a real tricky opponent, especially on grass courts. 

    "I think this surface definitely suits her well. She plays a pretty quick, high-tempo game. It's definitely going to take some getting used to, being prepared for that straightaway."

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    Novak Djokovic has accepted it is unlikely he will play at the US Open, as the Wimbledon top seed insisted he has not changed his mind on the COVID-19 vaccination.

    Djokovic was unable to compete at the Australian Open earlier in 2022 after he was deported – following a drawn-out legal case with Australia's federal government – for not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

    The Serbian has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations and when asked on Saturday by reporters at Wimbledon if he had closed his mind to the idea of being vaccinated before the US Open begins, he said "yes".

    That means, as it stands, Djokovic will be unable to enter the United States due to being unvaccinated.

    However, while frustrated that he will likely miss out on another grand slam this year, the 35-year-old suggested he is now even more motivated to go on and win Wimbledon for a seventh time, which would take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer, who has eight All England Club titles to his name.

    Djokovic told reporters: "As of today I'm not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. That is an extra motivation to do well here.

    "Hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions. Then I'll have to wait and see.

    "I'd love to go to the States but as of today that's not possible. There's not much I can do any more. It's up to the U.S. government on whether they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."

    Djokovic was at the centre of the controversy ahead of the season's first major, but the third grand slam of 2022 has been contentious for other reasons.

    The All England Club made the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players, including men's world number one Daniil Medvedev, from competing, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The call received criticism and, as a result, Wimbledon has been stripped of any ranking points by the WTA and ATP.

    However, Djokovic is no longer as concerned about those points as he once was, as he instead looks to move back to within one major title of Rafael Nadal, whose tally stands at 22.

    "I don't want to say ranking points are not important for me, of course they are, but they are not as important as they were for me," he said.

    "Now I'm not really chasing the ranking as much as I have. I was breaking the record for longest weeks at number one and after that it wasn't as important for me in terms of priority.

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    Djokovic, though, does feel it is harsh that Russian and Belarusian athletes are unable to play at SW19.

    He said: "I just don't see how they have contributed to anything that has happened. I don't feel it’s fair. 

    "I feel like they deserve to win, compete, they are professional athletes. None of them have supported any war or anything like that. 

    "I understand both sides. It's hard to say what is right and wrong. Putting myself in a position where someone would ban me from playing because of circumstances that I have not contributed – I do not think that is fair."

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    Six-time champion Novak Djokovic will take centre stage on day one at Wimbledon along with home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

    The All England Club has announced the schedule of play for Monday, when the 2022 tournament will get under way.

    As is tradition for the defending champion, Djokovic, who defeated Matteo Berrettini in last year's men's singles final, will take part in the first match on Centre Court when he plays against Kwon Soon-woo.

    Djokovic will be bidding for a fourth Wimbledon title in succession following triumphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 championships.

    US Open champion Raducanu has also been selected to appear at Centre Court on the opening day.

    Raducanu will take on Alison Van Uytvanck hoping to kick off a successful campaign in front of her home crowd, having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year with a shock run to the fourth round.

    And another Briton, two-time winner Andy Murray, will be involved in the third and final match on the prestigious court when he faces James Duckworth of Australia.

    Murray will be hoping to better last year's third-round berth at SW19 after impressively reaching the Stuttgart Open final this month, losing to Berrettini after notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.

    Ons Jabeur, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz are the big names selected for action on Court One on Monday.

    And it has been confirmed that, in the absence of retired champion Ash Barty, women's number one seed Iga Swiatek will open the action on Centre Court on Tuesday when she plays Jana Fett. Swiatek said she felt "very privileged" to be opening the proceedings on day two.

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