It is not often that a decision to play in the Madrid Open by the player ranked No. 83 in the world would create a lot of buzz. Andy Murray, however, is not your normal type of player ranked at No. 83 in the world. As a result, the latest Vegas Odds are having a hard time deciding how credible a contender he is at this stage.
Murray – who is now 34-years-old – has decided to play in Madrid after previously announcing he was to skip the clay-court season entirely. Clay was never a surface that played to Murray’s (many) strengths and his injuries through the years have further reduced his performance levels on the surface. He has only played in the French Open – the only major played on clay – once since 2017 and that was a miserable first-round loss at the hands of Stan Wawrinka.
As good as Murray has been in his career – and at his peak he was the world’s best player – he will always feel overshadowed by his peers. Unlucky to be playing at the same time as all-time greats Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and clay king Rafa Nadal, Murray always felt like the fourth wheel in their combined greatness. He was good enough to win tournaments, but a combination of those injuries (which included having to have career-saving hip surgery) and a general demeanor that made him hard to always cheer for never allowed Murray to become the player that all of Great Britain wanted him to be.
Murray still looks unlikely to compete in the French Open, though he could find his way into the Italian Open field in early May. His 2022 will be centred around Wimbledon, where he will be looking to peak in front of his home fans. Djokovic and Nadal are still among the best in the world, and with other names like Alexander Zverev of Germany and Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the field, it is going to be hard for Murray to complete his comeback with a fourth major to add to his Wimbledon (2013/2016) and US Open (2012) titles.
He will – as always – give it his best shot, and for the sake of a good story this dabble with the clay-court needs to help, not hamper his Wimbledon prep.