Murray hoping for match practice, faces USD 150 French player in Mallorca

Murray has shunned the bright lights of the US Open in New York to play in a second-tier Challenger event in Mallorca at the tennis academy run by Rafael Nadal.

Andy Murray has said he just wants more match practice as he chases his first singles victory of his injury comeback on Monday against a teenage player who has scraped just USD 150 in career earnings.   -  Getty Images

Andy Murray has said he just wants more match practice as he chases his first singles victory of his injury comeback on Monday against a teenage player who has scraped just USD 150 in career earnings.

Murray has shunned the bright lights of the US Open in New York to play in a second-tier Challenger event in Mallorca at the tennis academy run by Rafael Nadal.

“I wasn’t (coming) here to think necessarily about trying to win the tournament, I just wanted to play competitive matches,” Murray said.

“There are some good players here, guys around 100 in the world, so I’m hoping to get the opportunity to play against some of them and keep testing myself.

“I feel good, I got here nice and early to get used to the conditions so we’ll see what happens.”

More game time

The 32-year-old — whose earnings total USD 61 million — faces 17-year-old Imran Sibille who only squeezed into the draw as an alternate.

Unlike three-time Grand Slam winner and double Olympic champion Murray, Sibille does not even have an ATP singles ranking.

His USD 150 comes from playing and losing two doubles matches on the third-level ITF Tour this year.

“Any time you enter a competition, you want to try and do your best and have the goal at the end of trying to win but the most important thing for me is to trying to play matches just now,” Murray added.

“That’s what I’m hoping for. If I can win at the end of the week that would obviously be nice but we’ll have to see. I haven’t played more than one singles match in a week so I don’t know how my body will feel after two, three, four matches, but I’m hoping it will be okay.”

Murray, now ranked 328, will be playing his first Challenger Tour event in 14 years at the Rafa Nadal Open.

After undergoing hip surgery in January following his first-round exit from the Australian Open, Murray began easing his way back by playing doubles, starting with a title at Queen’s in June.

He returned to singles earlier this month and was beaten in straight sets by Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati. He then lost to American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.