While legends like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be missed sorely at the 2020 US Open, fans still have something to look forward to as three-time Slam champion Andy Murray marks his return to big-time tennis. The tournament will be Murray's first singles Major event since his announcement that he was possibly retiring from professional tennis after the 2019 Australian Open.
Having made considerable progress in his physical fitness after his double hip surgery, Andy Murray will be hoping for a good start to his US Open campaign when he faces Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round.
Murray recently spoke to The Guardian about the prospect of playing Grand Slam tennis again, and how the absence of spectators could affect his mindset. The Scot also touched upon Roger Federer's and Rafael Nadal's attitude, and the contrasting ways in which they they pump themselves up on the court.
"I’d feel really uncomfortable, very stressed and uptight" - Andy Murray on a quiet 2020 US Open
Playing his first US Open since the 2018 edition (which was won by Novak Djokovic) Andy Murray will face countryman Dan Evans in the second round if he manages to get past Nishioka. The thought of playing with no crowds, however, is a source of discomfort for the Scot.
Murray hinted that he will miss the tidal wave of tension that fans provide as he said:
“Obviously the atmosphere at the matches is going to be zero. I guess you just have to try to find what works for you. When I go on the court, if I was basically quiet, not show any emotion and not talk, I’d feel really uncomfortable, very stressed and uptight. There’s a level of intensity that I feel I need to bring."
Andy Murray is not the only one who thrives on a lively atmosphere though. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who opted out of the 2020 USO, is also known for relying on the energy of the stadium and the weight of the situation to get past his opponents.
Andy Murray on the composed attitude of Roger Federer, valiant fight of Rafael Nadal
While Rafael Nadal has come to be known for showing his fighting spirit on the court, his arch rival Roger Federer is far less expressive. The Swiss certainly fights hard too, but he rarely shows his emotions on the court; instead, he believes in maintaining an ice-cool, focused demeanor while competing.
Andy Murray noted this composed attitude of Roger Federer and juxtaposed it with the example of Rafael Nadal as he said:
“Some guys, like Roger Federer for example, he’s very relaxed off the court, and when he’s on it, that’s the way he appears as well. It obviously works for him. But maybe take someone like Rafael Nadal, for example. He is quite the opposite – although he’s toned it down a bit as he’s got older. But his first three or four years on the tour, he was fist-pumping after every single point, and using so much energy. Again, it’s getting that balance."
Just like his good friend Rafael Nadal, former World No. 1 Andy Murray likes to make some noise and show some teeth on the court as well - a strategy that has helped him get to the finish line in several tense matches over the years.