x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Andy Murray to go on despite injury scare

The No 4 seed came from a set down to beat Nieminen and set up a third-round clash with Giraldo.

Andy Murray played with back pain against Jarkko Nieminen.
Andy Murray played with back pain against Jarkko Nieminen.

Andy Murray has no intention of pulling out of the French Open despite almost having to retire from his second round match with Jarkko Nieminen yesterday with a back spasm.

The men's No 4 seed woke up to pain in his back that was so severe he could not put much weight on his left leg and almost did not take to the court at all for his match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Murray's troubles became obvious in the fourth game of the match when he was struggling to move and in particular to serve, but he opted to carry on and eventually engineered a barely believable turnaround to win 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

The Briton is scheduled to face Santiago Giraldo for a spot in the last 16 tomorrow and he is determined to play in the match.

"I'm going to try to carry on regardless, whether it's a bit sorer tomorrow or in two days' time, I'm going to carry on," he said.

"I'll just try to do all the right things to recover as best as possible.

"I'm not doing myself any actual damage by playing with what I have. I have had all the best advice from some of the top surgeons and physios. I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing."

Even thinking about the third round seemed beyond Murray early on in the match as he struggled to move rapidly, and he confessed he had come close to pulling out of the tournament.

"I was few points probably from stopping," he said.

"I just didn't really want to stop the match. Then at the end of the second set I started standing up at the change of ends, and my back started to loosen up a little bit."

Nieminen took advantage, at the beginning, of Murray's problems to claim the first set 6-1 as his opponents received treatment at every change of ends.

Murray though felt himself getting better and stronger as the match wore on.

"It was around that period, end of the first set, and then when I played a couple more games," he said.

"Then I was thinking whether to keep playing or not.

"I'm happy I did."

Despite being broken to open the second set, Murray started to move better and make his shots count. By the time he broke back to even that score at 4-4, Murray was the one getting stronger.

"I should have taken a double break in the second set to have taken the second set," Nieminen said. "I couldn't take that, and then I played one very poor changeover, two bad games, and then he started to play better. I really never got the momentum back.

"[Igor] Andreev retired against me in the first round, and I couldn't see anything until he called the physio to the court. Andy looked way worse."

Murray acknowledged that the continued breaks in play for him to receive treatment would not have been easy for Nieminen.

"I know what it's like playing against someone who is not really moving much," he said. "It's not always the easiest thing.

"Then he made some mistakes at the end of the second set, and it was his fault for letting me back into the match because I didn't do anything special. I just tried to put some balls back in."

Last year, Murray injured his right ankle at the French Open, but he still made the semi-finals. This year, he skipped the Madrid Open with a back problem and said it was still affecting him after a three-set loss to Richard Gasquet in the third round of the Italian Open.

Murray said this this injury was different, but that his trainer advised him that he could not do any permanent damage by playing. "Maybe sometimes muscles are doing too much work because you're a little bit weak in that area," he said. "But my physio is one of the best. No doubt about that.

"His advice before the match was that by playing you're not going to do any permanent damage, so go out and give it a go, see how it feels."

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