August 27, 2021
Andy Murray plays Stefanos Tsitsipas in a competitive match for the very first time in a few days.
We can’t wait!
They practised together a couple of years ago and the younger man says he found Andy inspirational.
Now Tsitsipas will be the heavy favourite.
Will he like that early weight of expectation?
What a US Open first-round showdown it promises to be!
The draw is both delicious and cruel.
Murray has worked so hard for another moment like this.
A new challenge against one of the greatest players in the world.
A mouth-watering occasion on a Grand Slam stage. This is why Murray is still playing.
This is why he has trained so hard in unseen moments, when it really hurts.
The brave Scot will be relishing the challenge already. So yes, this is delicious.
Because it’s such a tough match for Andy to start out with at Flushing Meadows.
These days you have to be someone like Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev or Rafael Nadal to trouble the brilliant Greek severely.
True, Zverev exposed the odd weakness in the Tsitsipas game very recently.
Stefanos can still improve his all-court agility and he was outgunned by Sascha too in the end.
And Tsitsipas still has psychological doubts when placed under relentless pressure.
Part of him would love to lean more heavily on his father’s coaching in times of stress.
Murray will have to move Tsitsipas around and draw him in to stand a chance.
He will have to place those doubts in the Tsitsipas head early, you feel.
Andy will need to serve superbly and hope his drop-shot works to perfection.
His greatest shot of all – the lob – could also be a weapon despite the Greek’s imposing stature.
But realistically it is asking a lot of Andy Murray to make a dent in this ever-improving young Tsitsipas.
If Murray were to take a set off a player rightly regarded as one of the very best in the world right now, it would be a considerable achievement.
Still, we can’t help but anticipate the magnificence of the occasion.
For Andy Murray this will feel like a final.
He won’t be worried about an early exit. He will see an opportunity to find out what he still has left in the locker.
Andy won’t be short of inner confidence.
Murray has won the US Open before,
Tsitsipas has never won a Grand Slam.
History won’t matter too much when it comes to the crunch, of course.
But let’s just enjoy the moment. Because Murray certainly will.
And if he does himself justice, then maybe Andy will believe he can stick around long enough to enjoy Wimbledon 2022 as well!
He lives for the big occasions. He will take as many as he can get.
Meanwhile we will hope to see Wimbledon star Emma Raducanu in the main-draw action too.
She has to win one more qualifier, having negotiated two already.
Whatever happens, young Raducanu will be a big star by the time Wimbledon 2022 comes around.
Will you be there at the All England Club with us next summer?
We certainly hope so!