x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Wimbledon focus could see Andy Murray drop Queen's Club outing

Defeated British star is ready to change his follow Novak Djokovic's lead and change his approach for grass court challenge.

Frustration shows for Andy Murray against David Ferrer at Roland Garros
Frustration shows for Andy Murray against David Ferrer at Roland Garros

PARIS // Andy Murray admits he may be forced to skip his traditional Wimbledon warm-up if it helps him capture a first Grand Slam title.

World number four Murray saw his latest hopes of becoming Britain's first Grand Slam men's singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936 crushed by David Ferrer in the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Defeat ended the 25-year-old's run of five consecutive semi-final appearances at the majors, leaving him to fend off fresh questions over his ability to win Wimbledon, the next Grand Slam stop.

For the last four years, Murray has played the Queen's Club tournament, often seen as a mandatory feeding station for Wimbledon in the short four-week grass court season.

But that may change this summer for Murray, who is still battling a niggling back injury.

"I'll do what's best for my preparation for Wimbledon, back or not," he said.

"I need to get some good physical work done. That's going to be important. It's not a disaster if I can't play a tournament beforehand."

Murray pointed to the options taken by world number one Novak Djokovic who won last year's Wimbledon without playing a warm-up and this year's Australian Open despite skipping the hard court schedule beforehand.

It has paid dividends for the Serb who can become just the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time if he takes the French Open on Sunday.

"Novak didn't play before Australia this year; I don't believe he played before Wimbledon last year. Many times Roger (Federer) has not played an event before.

"It happens all the time. You just need to make sure you're comfortable on the courts and the surface you're playing on before you start the tournament."

Meanwhile David Ferrer says he is ready to face the toughest challenge in world tennis - going up against Davis Cup partner and good friend Rafael Nadal on the claycourts of Roland Garros at the French Open.

But Ferrer, through to his first semi-final in the competition, insists that defeat for him is not inevitable.

"Yes, Rafa is always difficult to play. Even more so on clay," he said.

"But as I said and I will say again - I will try and play a beautiful match, my best tennis. I have great ambitions, and I'm quite certain this is going to be a very physical match."

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE