Murray Believes Barcelona Variety Will Serve Him Well | ATP World Tour | TennisAndy Murray lost to Dominic Thiem on Saturday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, but believes his game is rounding into form as the battle for year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings continues to heat up.
After an early loss last week to Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Murray turned the tables on the Spaniard with a three-set quarter-final win this week. The Brit craved matches as he arrived in Barcelona and got just that, playing three quality opponents in lengthy tussles he believes will serve him well for upcoming ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome.
“I got three matches in three days against very different players. Feliciano Lopez is serving well and using a lot of slice and variation, [then] another lefty in Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Thiem is the first right-hander I’ve played in the clay-court season, which changes things with the kick serve and the spin,” said Murray. “It was good for me to play a number of different match-ups. To play for over two hours today and three [hours] yesterday will be good for me as well.”
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After taking the title this March in Dubai, a right elbow injury limited Murray to a single match in six weeks. Roger Federer came alive in his absence by winning back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. Rafael Nadal also put himself back in the winners circle by prevailing in Monte-Carlo and could win his 10th title in Barcelona on Sunday.
Learn More about the Emirates ATP Rankings and Emirates ATP Race to London
Murray currently has 11,690 points in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He holds a healthy 3,605 point lead over World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and has at least double the points of everyone else on the ATP World Tour.
But in the Emirates ATP Race to London, it’s Federer (4,045) and Nadal (3,245) who hold a clear lead over their peers in the standings. Murray currently sits at No. 11 (930).
It will be crucial for Murray to continue improving as he returns home for a week of training before competing in Madrid and Rome. Murray prevailed last year in Rome and finished runner-up to Djokovic in Madrid and Roland Garros, for a total of 2,800 points. By comparison, Nadal accumulated 630 points during that three-tournament stretch and Federer only played Rome, earning 90 points for a third-round showing.
The good news for Murray is that he’s fully recovered from his right elbow injury and has been able to resume hard training sessions. His fitness has also passed the test after coming out unscathed in several grueling matches. If he finds himself back in top form, the World No. 1 will be a clear contender to win any of the remaining clay-court events.