Andy Murray says he hopes to be ready to cope with the strain of playing in the US Open at the end of the month despite losing in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters to Lucas Pouille.
The British star slipped to a 6-1 1-6 6-4 defeat against the 16th seed as he continued his comeback from a lengthy injury lay-off in what was just his fourth tournament appearance this year.
Murray, who is now ranked at a lowly 375 in the world, was keen to take the positives from the three-set defeat although he admitted the pace of the match had been too much for him at times.
“Physically, I felt okay. It’s quick conditions. It’s pretty fast,” he said. “Obviously when I played Washington, slightly slower, also played a couple of matches in the evening there, was quite slow, whereas here obviously quite lively.”
“And I feel like he was a little bit sharper than me out there. I maybe wasn’t reacting as quickly to some shots I would have liked.”
Murray, who has won Wimbledon twice and the US Open once back in 2012, is slowly building up his game and fitness following his troublesome hip injury and will continue to take a steady approach ahead of Flushing Meadows this year, which begins on August 27.
The 31-year-old added: “I think also as the year goes on, maybe some of the events I play are maybe not as strong maybe later in the year, so draws can be a little bit different.”
“I have played, four three-set matches and a couple long ones in Washington. Although I didn’t feel great, I managed to get through them.”
“Hopefully with another couple of weeks and training, and I’m still quite early in this process, I think that’s the seventh match I have played, so hopefully each week will feel better and I can keep working on things.”