Andy Murray has upped his training and conditioning for this year’s Washington Open, saying he hopes it will give him physical and psychological edges.
The former world No 1 is seeded 15th for the AT 500 event – which earned him a bye into the second round – and he will open his campaign on Wednesday against either Brandon Nakashima or Aleksander Vukic.
The three-time Grand Slam winner will be hoping for a better showing this year than in 2022 when he lost in the first round against Mikael Ymer.
Murray struggled with cramping at several tournaments on the season-ending North American hard-court swing last year and even underwent sweat testing to get to the bottom of his woes, but he was none the wiser after those tests.
The 36-year-old has made sure he is better prepared for this year’s tournament.
“I think a challenge for all of the players is the conditions. You’ve gone from playing across the grass season where physically it’s pretty straightforward in terms of you’re not getting any extreme weather, the points tend to be a little bit shorter, it’s a bit easier on the body,” the Brit explained.
“Whereas, I really feel like here that the physical side, if you’ve taken care of that and you’re in good shape, physically, it can have big benefits going into this stretch of tournaments.
“So I kind of look forward to the preparation of it. I did a lot of heat training in heat chambers and bike sessions in pretty brutal conditions to try and prepare myself for it. It doesn’t make going on the court that much easier, but if you’ve done that work and your opponent hasn’t, it can give you that little physical, psychological edge and I like that.”
Even before he left the United Kingdom for North America, he had already upped his “heat” game as he spent a lot of time the steam room.
“In preparation before I left to come here, I was doing a lot of bike sessions. Basically, I can do it at home, but I have a room where I can use like heaters and I have a steam room next to it,” he explained.
“It wasn’t put in there for that purpose, but I put the bike in there and we can, like, open the steam room a little bit to increase the humidity, obviously the heaters to get the heat in the room up.
“Set it to like 35 degrees Celsius and, like, 70% humidity, and then I would do my bike sessions in there.”