Andy Murray handed nightmare schedule at Citi Open after Taylor Fritz clash postponed

Andy Murray handed nightmare schedule at Citi Open after Taylor Fritz clash postponed

Andy Murray has been given a nightmare scenario at the Citi Open after his second-round tie with Taylor Fritz was postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

The Briton was scheduled to face his American opponent on Thursday in the evening session in Washington before a downpour forced play to be suspended on the outer courts, with Murray’s clash and several matches pushed back as organisers attempt to squeeze in the delayed ties.

The 36-year-old defeated Brandon Nakashima in the first round in straight sets, completing a 7-6 (5), 6-4 success over the home favourite to advance to the next round.

He was rewarded with a tough test against the tournament’s top seed Fritz, who brushed aside his compatriot Zachary Svajda 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round.

But after their encounter was rained off on Thursday, Murray and Fritz now face the potential headache of playing twice in the same day, with only a couple of hours to spare in between.

The order of play released by the tournament organisers has their match pencilled in second on the Stadium court following the conclusion of the ladies’ singles match between Jessica Pegula and Elina Svitolina.

It means that Murray will not playing until 2pm local time (7pm BST) at the earliest as he is second out on court, despite the fact neither Pegula nor Svitolina have another match to play.

And should the three-time Grand Slam overcome Fritz, he would then be forced to play against the winner of Christopher Eubanks and the unseeded Australian Jordan Thompson.

The tournament schedule shows the third-round match will be played ‘after suitable rest’, although it is not clear which period of time would satisfy that criteria.

But unless there is another weather delay, it will take place on Friday and it could prove to be a huge physical effort for Murray, although one of Eubanks and Thompson are likely to be in the same situation.

Fritz won the only previous tie between the two players at the Canadian Open last year, prevailing with a 6-1, 6-3 success in Montreal. But Murray’s gradual improvement in fitness and form in 2023, with 25 wins in 36 matches this year, suggests it could be a tougher test this time around.

Ahead of his hard court return Stateside, Murray has been undertaking special training to ensure he is in optimum shape for the gruelling conditions in America.

Facing the prospect of soaring temperatures this summer, he has been training in 35-degree heat with 70 per cent humidity to prepare for the extreme weather. Those sessions have included high-intensity bike training and sitting in steam rooms to aid his recovery.

It marks his first tournament since he lost in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon, with Murray entering both the singles and doubles draw in Washington. And he will be hoping to avoid burnout or an injury in the lead-up to the US Open, which takes place in New York later this month.

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