Murray Loses in Madrid Open – Time to Call It a Day on His Clay Court Career?

Andy Murray, as hard as he battled in his opening round of the Madrid Open, has finished second-best once again. In case you missed it, Murray went up against an Italian qualifier in the form of Vavassori. This man is ranked outside of the top 100, and really, it’s a guy that Murray should be taking down. However, Murray succumbed in straight sets to the Italian, which probably wasn’t part of the ATP Madrid Open predictions supplied by most.

Andy Murray Madrid Open

Sure, he battled like a lion out there, but that’s what Murray has built a career on. So this was to be expected from the veteran. But for me, he just doesn’t seem settled on the clay, which is understandable really. For the last few years, Murray has completely skipped the clay court swing, largely because he hasn’t played a full schedule. Therefore, he has prioritized the events that he has the best chances in – mainly hard court and grass court tournaments.

Yet for the 2023 season, he has chosen to step up and compete in the world’s biggest clay court tournaments. This is admirable, but is it a decision that is backfiring at the moment? Or more specifically, do the last two tournaments show that Murray should just call it a day regarding clay court tennis? Let’s have a closer look.

Back to Back First Round Defeats on Clay – Is It Worth It for Andy Murray?

Andy Murray is one of the legends of our game, and the fact he is still battling at 35 years of age is staggering really. I say that because the man has gone through so many injury problems, surgeries, and other things in his career. For most players, these things would have put a stop to competitive tennis. But not for Andy Murray – he still has the hunger to be out there, competing against the best in the world.

However, as positive as this is, his clay court tennis is looking somewhat ropey I have to say. And in my humble opinion, Murray should consider his clay court future for a couple of reasons:

Movement Seems Hindered on the Clay

We all know that Murray is playing with a metal hip. So this alone makes his movement somewhat hindered at the best of times. Yet when he’s playing on clay, it seems all the more obvious that he cannot change direction easily or get off the mark quickly. Of course, this is problematic on a surface as physical as clay.

Tougher on the Body to Make a Deep Draw Run

Looking beyond his actual physicality in individual matches, we have to consider the wider picture here too. Murray is playing because he believes he can still challenge for these high-level titles, and his 2023 season does prove that. But specifically on clay, if he is to win a series of matches in a row, I just can’t see how his body will hold up.

Definitely Playing Better on Hard Courts

Given that he’s lost both matches on clay this year, this obviously isn’t great. Yet when you look at his hard court results, it’s a no-brainer as to where he is playing best. So in my opinion, he’d be better served by choosing an extended training block for the grass court tournaments in the summer. But given his insatiable thirst for competition, I doubt this will materialize.

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About the author

Gavin Davison

Gavin is a full-time copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He has previously played NCAA college tennis in the USA and competed in many international events throughout his younger days. He still plays competitively and follows both the ATP & WTA Tours closely. His favourite player is Roger Federer.