After flirting for a few months with doubles as he recovers from January hip surgery, Andy Murray said Friday that his days in that speciality are over.
Murray and Feliciano Lopez lost in the Cincinnati Masters men’s doubles quarter-finals, going down in what for the 32-year-old Scot was an uncomfortable confrontation with his elder brother Jamie — who combined with fellow Brit Ken Skupski for a 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 10-4 defeat of Murray and Lopez.
“It’s tough to play against Jamie,” Murray said after facing his sibling in doubles for only the second time.
“It was not the most enjoyable match, the atmosphere felt a bit flat. But it was fine — I’m glad Jamie got through.”
Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, who feared his career might be over before his hip operation, began playing doubles at Queen’s Club in June, winning that grass court title with Lopez.
He said Friday he has decided to dump doubles in hopes of returning to singles. He got a taste of what awaits in his comeback as he lost in the first round at Cincinnati to Richard Gasquet.
Murray accepted a wild card into the singles draw at next week’s ATP tournament in Winston-Salem, but he will not play singles at the US Open where he would have to contest best-of-five set matches.
“I’d like to get in a couple of days of preparation,” said Murray, who was planning to get to North Carolina as quickly as he could.
“I hear the courts are faster there and they are using a different ball, so I want to train so hopefully I can have a decent run there.
Murray will open in Winston-Salem against 72nd-ranked American journeyman Tennys Sandgren, whom he has never faced.
“All matches are difficult at this level,” said Murray, who has slipped to 324th in the world. “I’m not setting my expectations too high. I want to get in as many matches as possible.”
Murray said that after playing doubles last week in Montreal and here in the US, he’s keen to return to his former life as a top singles player.
“I realized that if I want to get back to singles at the highest as quickly as possible, I need to avoid doubles.
“We had a tough schedule last week, starting matches at 10:30 pm which meant I could not train singles on match days.
“Doubles was slowing down everything. Now that my doubles is done, the focus will be totally on singles, which should help in the long run.”
The 2012 US Open singles champion had said he would play doubles in the year’s final Grand Slam, but it seemed that was in doubt when he said Friday: “doubles is done for me for the time being.”
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