10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Andy Murray Making Delray Beach Tennis Debut To Launch 2021 Campaign

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray will make his Delray Beach debut.

By Ricky Dimon

An already strong 2021 Delray Beach Open field added its biggest name when Andy Murray accepted a wild card on Friday.

Murray, who is still trying to get back to full fitness on the heels of hip surgery, will be making his Delray Beach debut. The 33-year-old Scot is clearly encouraged by his recent performance at the latest Battle of the Brits exhibition. Earlier this week he defeated British No. 1 Dan Evans 7-6(5), 6-4 before beating Cam Norrie by a similar 6-4, 7-6(5) scoreline.

The ATP 250 in Delray Beach normally occupies a February spot on the calendar in between the Australian Open and the Masters 1000 stretch in Indian Wells and Miami, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the early-season schedule in 2021 looks much different and Delray Beach is among the changes. It will kick off the year along with a one-year licensed event in Antalya, both set for a Jan. 5 start. In addition to Murray, the field in South Florida also features John Isner, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Reilly Opelka, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe, and Hubert Hurkacz.

Opelka and Murray, who won’t have first-round byes, are already on the schedule for Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 night sessions. Isner and Raonic, who will get byes as top-four seeds, are slated for the nights of January 9 and January 10.

“I know I will perform and win big matches if I can get properly fit and healthy for an extended period of time,” said Andy Murray.

Murray’s 2019 and 2020 campaigns were extremely abbreviated, because of both injury and this past year’s coronavirus hiatus. He scored an encouraging upset of Alexander Zverev at the Cincinnati Masters this summer and then came back from two sets down against Yoshihito Nishioka in round one of the U.S. Open, but he won only one other match in 2020 and played in just four tournaments.

“I’ve been trying to deal with it in training, and in the matches, and unfortunately after my match here this week [a pelvic injury] flared up again,” Murray said in a Facebook video this fall. “I will see you on the court soon.”

He added last month, “I haven’t forgotten how to play tennis. I know I will perform and win big matches if I can get properly fit and healthy for an extended period of time. I’ve been doing tons of work in the gym, trying to build towards beating all of my personal bests, which has been quite exciting for me. I’m really motivated.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.