Andy Murray - Australian Open 2023

Andy Murray reveals ‘issue’ that lead to Dubai withdrawal

Andy Murray has revealed the real reason why he decided to pull out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, after reaching the final in Doha.

Murray had originally cited a ‘hip injury’ for his withdrawal, causing some worry amongst his fans due to his previous hip troubles that lead to the Brit having to undergo resurfacing surgery.

However, the three-time Grand Slam champion has suggested his withdrawal was more precautionary than anything, “It was five matches in six days — the last time I did that was in Stuttgart [in June] but because of the surface [grass] the matches were physically really not that challenging.”

He added: “I had an issue then with my abdominal muscle and on Friday evening in Doha I was feeling my abs a little bit after the semi-final. Because of the experience I had last year, it was clearly a load-related thing because of the amount of tennis I played in a short period, so I was a bit worried about that.”

Murray saved eight match points en route to a fifth final in the Qatari capital, beating former No.2 Alexander Zverev along the way, before falling to former 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.

As a result the 35-year-old is once again on the cusp of the top 50, and has moved back to British No.3, leapfrogging Jack Draper.

The No.52 explained that his age plays a big part in his scheduling these days, “I do have to be a bit mindful of my body now, which I wouldn’t have been in my mid-twenties. Because of the issues that I have, it’s not as simple as it used to be. There’s a little bit more of a science to my training and how much I should be putting my body through. Obviously, last week was extreme.”

Murray’s run in Doha continues his dramatic start to 2023, having had two five-set thrillers at the Australian Open, including the longest match of his career at five hours and 50 minutes.

The former No.1 reflected on this, “Because it’s not happened in my career before, I’m aware that the matches I’ve had this year have been ridiculous.”

Murray, himself, was not the only one to comment on his run in Doha with Carlos Alcaraz and WTA No.1 Iga Swiatek also getting in touch with the Brit, “It seems that I have had six, seven matches in a row that were all epic ones. It’s nice getting messages from those players. Obviously, I have a lot of respect for them.”

Even Novak Djokovic, who Murray beat to win two of his three successful Grand Slam finals, praised the two-time Wimbledon champion, “He [Murray] has got so much talent, incredible grit, incredible mentality of a champion, of a fighter. What is happening now this year with his match points saved in literally every match he plays.”

Djokovic added: “He’s constantly looking to improve and to get back to the highest level, which it seems like he’s been doing. He’s just rising in the rankings, getting better and better. I’m very happy for him because he’s a great guy, respects the sport, works very, very hard. So very committed, he deserves his success.”

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.