FLUSHING MEADOWS — Andy Murray has suggested he could consider his future in the sport if he finds himself going “backwards” following his US Open exit, and queried his own position within Great Britain’s Davis Cup team amid Jack Draper’s run in New York.
A straight-sets defeat to No 19 seed Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday saw Murray suffer a fourth second-round exit in his past six grand slams.
Dimitrov hit twice as many winners as Murray (32-16), while the Briton struggled on serve throughout his 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 defeat on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
That court had been the stage of his first slam triumph 11 years ago, but this time the 36-year-old departs knowing he will slip back down the rankings given he made the US Open third round last year.
It dents his hopes of being seeded for next year’s Australian Open, a factor he will try to amend in the autumn, but retirement – a word that has often circulated Murray after grand slam defeats – only appears to be on the cards if his level drastically drops.
“I’ve obviously been progressing this year from a ranking perspective,” he said, having reached No 36 earlier this month, his highest position since his hip resurfacing surgery in 2019
“I was close to having a good run at Wimbledon. I still enjoy everything that goes into playing at a high level. I enjoy the work, the training, and trying to improve and get better, I do still enjoy that.
“That’s what keeps me going. If things change and I stop enjoying that or my results, my ranking and everything, if I start to go backwards in that respect and in a few months’ time I was ranked 60 in the world or whatever instead of moving up, things might change.”
The target since getting a metal hip has long been the second week of slams for Murray, but this loss now marks a full six years without making the fourth round at a major tournament.
“It’s obviously disappointing to not play how you would like,” Murray said. “But maybe I need to accept that at these events [where] I had the deep runs and everything that I felt like I’m capable of, they might not be there.
“I’m aware what I’m doing, it’s unbelievably challenging to play at the highest level as I am now. And some days it’s harder than others. Today is obviously a really disappointing defeat.
“Ultimately these are the events that you want to play your best tennis in and create more great moments – and I didn’t do that this year.”
Meanwhile, Murray was named in captain Leon Smith’s Davis Cup squad along with Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Neal Skupski for the group stage finals in Manchester, which take place 12-17 September.
But Murray could yet be replaced by Draper, who is into the third round of the US Open, a prospect the former would seemingly welcome as he looks towards the Asian swing and a chance to earn rankings points.
“Obviously the plan was to play Davis Cup, but if I’m being honest, the other guys deserve to play ahead of me,” said Murray.
“I know it’s probably a difficult situation for Leon with Jack. He’s had quite a few injuries coming in, but if he’s fit and healthy, he’s obviously playing very well. Evo has had a great run in Washington, so we’ll see about the Davis Cup and what happens there.
“I think there is probably a chance that I’m not on the team.”