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Stefanos Tsitsipas is a “better player” than Andy Murray is “today” ahead of their blockbuster first-round clash at the US Open, says former Australian Open finalist, Marcos Baghdatis; the Scot admitted his level is “up and down” after exiting the Winston-Salem Open earlier this week
Last Updated: 27/08/21 7:06pm
Former tennis star Marcos Baghdatis thinks Andy Murray will not trouble Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the US Open, while the Scot admits his expectations are “pretty low” ahead of the Grand Slam in New York.
Former US Open champion Murray will take on the Greek star, who is now ranked No 3 in the world, having reached his maiden Grand Slam final in Paris earlier this year.
Baghdatis, who was one of Tsitsipas’ idols growing up, says on paper it is a blockbuster, but he expects the match to be a very different story on the court when the pair meet for the first time.
“A lot will depend on how Andy is going to feel on the day,” said Baghdatis, who retired from professional tennis at Wimbledon in 2019. “When Andy gets on Arthur Ashe Stadium he has all this positive energy coming because of all the success he has had there in the past.
“Tsitsipas is fitter and he is a better player today than Andy is. It’s clearly like that, but Andy has nothing to lose and there is only positive things for him. I think he should go out there and try to enjoy the occasion as much as possible.
“I have a feeling he’s not enjoying his tennis so much lately. He should try to be more free, play a bit more aggressive, try not to stay too far behind the baseline and play balls back. Try and take that first step, especially on the return of the second serve.
“If Andy can do that, then we will see an interesting match.”
Murray was knocked out of the Winston-Salem Open in straight sets by Frances Tiafoe earlier this week where he opened up about his lack of consistency on court.
The two-time Wimbledon champion admitted his expectations heading into Flushing Meadows were as low as they could be ahead of a major tournament.
He said: “My level is just up and down. There’s no real consistency. There are moments in matches when I play well and then can go three, four points where I make some mistakes or miss some returns. I wish I wasn’t doing that and hopefully with some more matches and learning a bit from the mistakes I made in these recent weeks that I will get better.
“My level is probably around 50 or 60 in the world just now. The thing which is frustrating for me is if I wasn’t moving well and physically not feeling great, you can look at that and say ‘you can go a bit easy on yourself’, but when I’m winning 18 per cent of second serve points, that’s got nothing to do with the physical side of things and that’s the frustrating thing for me. It’s been my tennis that has let me down.
“I obviously need to spend time on the practice court and understand what the issues are. Whether it’s decision-making, technical or something tactical. I have to understand that first and then I can work on it. There’s no point just stepping on the practice court and start hitting balls without understanding what the mistakes and the issues are.”
Murray continued: “Realistically not a whole lot is going to change between now and Monday in terms of my game. I’d be very, very surprised if playing this way I had a very good run in New York.
“My expectations are pretty low. The way that I’m playing just now, I certainly don’t expect to have a deep run there unless something changes in the next four or five days.
“I don’t have huge expectations, but it will be great to be back there and competing in front of the big crowds.”
Baghdatis, a former world No 8 and runner-up at the 2006 Australian Open, says the next generation of players are already making their impact on the men’s game.
The Cypriot singled out Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem, as the stars who will challenge for future Grand Slams, with Andrey Rublev, Seb Korda, Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner on the periphery of making a breakthrough.
Marcos Baghdatis will be playing in the Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, the finale of the ATP Champions Tour, between November 25-28. Tickets available at www.atpchampionstour.com/london