Andy Murray has backed defending champion Emma Raducanu and British men’s No1 Cameron Norrie to flourish at the US Open, which starts on Monday.
Raducanu, 19, has struggled to live up to her incredible Grand Slam triumph 12 months ago but has shown signs of a return to form, beating former major winners Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last week.
“I think she played really well last week,” said Murray. “I think the balls that they use over here help. They’re a lot lighter – that allows her to get a little bit more on her shots and serve, and she seemed like she enjoyed the conditions last week. I’d imagine with them being quick here as well in New York that she’ll enjoy them. I’d her expect her to play well next week.”
Murray believes playing in the States could also suit world No9 Norrie, who won the biggest title of his career at Indian Wells last year, tipping the Wimbledon semi-finalist to benefit from Novak Djokovic’s absence from the US Open.
“I think it’s definitely more open this year,” he said. “I’d imagine that some of the guys that you’d expect to go deep will do, like [Daniil] Medvedev, Rafa [Nadal], [Carlos] Alcaraz, [Stefanos]Tsitsipas.
“But I do think there is going to be an opportunity there for Cam. He’s been very consistent against the guys ranked beneath him for the most part this year. I think he probably prefers the court slightly slower, but certainly the heat and humidity is a positive for him and the ball bouncing and jumping a lot can help certain parts of his game.”
Murray, meanwhile, has undergone tests in an attempt to banish bouts of cramp that have plagued him in recent matches in time for the US Open.
“Physically I feel pretty good but the cramping the last few weeks has been frustrating. I’m trying to get to the bottom of that,” he said. “It’s not as simple as just changing how much I drink or what I’m drinking. There’s probably a little bit more to it, so I need to get some answers.”
The 35-year-old, who won the first of his three Grand Slams at the US Open 10 years ago, is also searching for a run or form having won back-to-back matches just once since June.
Murray said the solution was to “probably just trust in my game a little bit more”. He added: “At times I’ve done it and at times I haven’t. It’s just not been consistent enough and consistency is what matters over the course of the year.”
The world No49 also hailed sometime mixed doubles partner Serena Williams as the 23-time Grand Slam winner prepares for her swansong at the US Open.
“She’ll go down as the greatest female player of all time, in my opinion,” he said. “She’s had an impact on lots of the players but she’s had an impact far bigger outside of the sport as well.”
Murray played down hopes that Williams could go deep at her final tournament, however. “She’s hardly played in the last few years, really, so expectations on her should be very low,” he said. “I do think the celebration of her career and what she’s achieved should be really really high.”
Andy Murray is wearing The Drive Collection from his signature AMC range during this year’s US Open, created to deliver a new standard in tennis performance clothing. View the kit at www.castore.com/collections/amc