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Matteo Berrettini, Jack Draper draw inspiration from Andy Murray at US Open
The former No. 1 earned praise for his tenacity and work ethic from both his next opponent as well as his country’s next great hope after respective wins in Flushing Meadows.
Published Sep 01, 2022
WATCH: Berrettini has won his last two matches against Murray, including last year at Queen's Club.
NEW YORK—Andy Murray has earned plenty of respect around the locker room for his persistence in the face of stunning adversity, particularly from upcoming US Open opponent Matteo Berrettini.
“I think it's inspiring the will that he has, the love that he has for this sport,” said the Italian after defeating Hugo Grenier in four sets. “I always admired that.
“I mean, he had a crazy hip surgery. Everybody saw it. It's not easy to come back, especially when he was like No. 1 in the world. Mentally it must have been really tough for him.
“I remember 2016, he played against Paolo Lorenzi here. My brother, he played qualies here, the juniors. He warmed up Paolo. I was like, ‘Wow, you're playing next to Andy, and now I'm playing against him.’”
Berrettini has played Murray three times before and the two are, as the former Wimbledon finalist revealed, frequent practice partners.
In general, I always look for players that have a strong energy that they really want to practice hard, because that's what I like to do. He's one of those. He's a hard worker. Matteo Berrettini on Andy Murray
“In general, I always look for players that have a strong energy that they really want to practice hard, because that's what I like to do. He's one of those. He's a hard worker.
“We practiced actually before the tournament here, on Armstrong. It was a great set. I don't specifically look for him because he has a certain kind of ball, but I like his mentality, I like the way he practices.”
Murray has also become a go-to practice partner for the game’s next generation, sharing the court with the likes of Holger Rune and fellow Brit Jack Draper.
Fresh off a Louis Armstrong Staidum upset over No. 6 seed Félix Auger-Aliassime, the 20-year-old Draper cited the former world No. 1’s influence in helping acclimate him to the game’s biggest stages.
“I've obviously had the privilege to hit with Andy, Cam [Norrie], Dan [Evans] at the NTC,” Draper said Wednesday night. “They're top players in their own right. I know I could hold my own a while back with them.
“It's more been about how am I going to cope mentally and physically at this level and do it consistently. That's what top-tier tennis is all about, being able to be there every single point, compete with these guys.”
Much as Murray is likely honored to inspire, the 2012 US Open champion still has plenty to say for himself on the tennis court. A win over Berrettini would put him into the second week of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since his hip injury in 2017, and the Brit isn't thinking of retirement just yet.
“At times this year I have not felt amazing in terms of where my game has been at; other times I have shown myself that I can still compete with the best players,” he said after defeating Emilio Nava in the second round.
“I don't know when that time will come, and I'm not setting a date or a time frame on that. I will make the decision when I'm ready.”