Andy Murray will be taking on more than just Grigor Dimitrov in his US Open second round match – as two of his former coaches are now sitting the box for the Bulgarian.
Dimitrov has enjoyed a surge in form in 2023, with the presence of the coaching duo of Dani Vallverdu and Jamie Delgado in his camp hailed as one of the reasons for his revival.
Vallverdu and Delgado had lengthy runs working with Murray and now they have the task of masterminding his downfall in New York.
Yet Murray has been quick to suggest the presence of Vallverdu and Delgado courtside will not be a distraction for him when he takes on Dimirotv, as he appears to enjoy the challenge of winning against players being coached by his former employees.
“I’ve played quite a lot of matches against ex-coaches,” declared Murray. “I think I’ve only lost once.
“So, yeah, I’ve said this a lot: it’s not just with me, but with tennis in general, certain things look sort of easy from the outside, strategy-wise or tactically against lots of players.
“When I step up to the line to serve, they have no idea of what is going on in my mind. They don’t know what I am thinking. They don’t know what it is that I am feeling. Coaches don’t know that.
“If I am hitting a hard backhand cross-court, what does that feel like? When I am hitting a high topspin forehand, it is just not that simple.
“After I worked with Miles (Maclagan), I played against a few guys. Dani has coached against me quite a few times as well.
“I have always done well in those matches. It probably should be a big advantage for him to have two guys that have worked with me over the years. But we’ll find out.”
“Once you get on the court, it’s not always that easy to just go out and execute it. It’s difficult. Shots that maybe look like they’re easy to attack when you’re out there, it’s not quite the same.”
Murray relished his first round win against Frenchman Corentin Moutet on Tuesday and he revealed after the match that his wife and four children have travelled with hm to New York.
Yet it appears that Murray is now focusing his attention on his job on the court, as his clan are now back home.
“They’ve not been to any tournaments since we had the third kid,” he stated.
“I don’t think they’ve been to any tournaments except, like, they drove to Nottingham obviously for the day. Yeah, not abroad.
“It’s the end of the summer holidays. My wife was looking for a bit of a change of scene. It’s not easy when the kids are off school. It’s tough (smiling).
“It’s brilliant they managed to come out. That was the one benefit of the injury that I had was that I didn’t obviously play in Cincinnati, so I got to spend more time with them.
“They’re actually flying home to try and help them get over the jet lag before school starts next week. They’ve enjoyed New York, I think.”
Murray is looking to reach the second week of a Grand Slam event for the first time since 2017 and he believes he is finding his best form after celebrating his 37th birthday earlier this year.
“I’m at my highest ranking since I had the metal hip put in so I’m happy with that,” added Murray.
“It’s not been an easy journey and obviously I’d like to be ranked higher.
“This is the best I’ve played consistently since probably 2017. I’m happy to still be going and progressing and hoping I can push my ranking up.”
Murray has an 8-3 winning record against Dimitrov, but the duo have not played a match since 2016.
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