Even as tennis stars such as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams have opted to live in private houses during the Western &Southern Open and the US Open, former champion Andy Murray is living in the ‘humble’ player hotel as he returns to competitive tennis after 10 months.
“I had considered staying in a house,” said the 33-year-old ahead of the Cincinnati Masters, which has been moved to New York this year to keep the players in a bio-secure bubble.
“It’s just the costs were astronomical, so I went for the bubble. It’s nice. They’ve done a really good job at the hotel.
“They’ve got games and arcades and things like that, which I enjoy. Still a bit of a child in that respect. They’ve got that. They’re putting on different food in the evenings for the players. We can get delivery. Room is absolutely fine. You have a gym there. So, yeah, it’s absolutely fine.”
Murray, who faces Frances Tiafoe in the opening round of Cincinnati, said he was enjoying being back and practicing with some of the top pros in New York.
“Since I got here, it’s very different conditions, very lively, quick, very hot,” the Scot said.
“I practiced with (Dominic) Thiem, (Andrey) Rublev and (Karen) Khachanov. Those guys don’t really hold back. Yeah, a bit of a different speed to what I’ve been used to. I felt a little bit off the pace at times. But I’m feeling quite good on the court physically in terms of my hip.
“When I spoke to my team a couple months ago, that was really all I wanted. I wanted to get hopefully to the US Open feeling pretty pain-free so that I could go out and play and enjoy playing in a Grand Slam again.”
Murray hasn’t been the same player since the hip injury in 2017, and the two subsequent hip surgeries he underwent. But with the Covid-19 outbreak sending tennis into shutdown for five months, the three-time Grand Slam champion believes everyone will pretty much start at zero this week in New York.
“I do feel there will be a lot of upsets,” Murray, who won the US Open in 2012, said.
“Usually there’s a little bit more time to get used to the conditions. Normally you play a few more tournaments in the buildup to a major event like the US Open, as well. Who knows really what’s going to happen.”