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Mixed Bag for Brits so far in Indian Wells, as Andy Murray Wins While Emma Raducanu Crashes Out

Andy Murray of Great Britain waves to the crowd after his win against Adrian Mannarino of France at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 08 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



By Ricky Dimon

It has been a mixed bag for the British contingent so far at the BNP Paribas Open.

On the men’s side, Andy Murray won his opening match against Adrian Mannarino on Friday. Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are already through to the third round. A depleted women’s draw, however, is now without Emma Raducanu. The U.S. Open champion lost right away to Anastasia Sasnovich via a 6-2, 6-4 decision on Friday.

Although surprising, the Raducanu result can easily be explained by a natural letdown on the heels of the biggest moment of her career by a country mile.

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain waves to the crowd after her match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 08 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



“I think it’s going to take me time to adjust really to what’s going on,” the 19-year-old admitted. “I mean, I’m still so new to everything. Like the experiences that I’m going through right now, even though I might not feel 100 percent amazing right now, I know they’re for the greater good. For the bigger picture, I’ll be thanking this moment. So, yeah, that’s the lesson. I think that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed. I mean, I’m 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack.

“I’m not match-tight right now. Like I haven’t played a competition in a month, since the U.S. Open. That will just come just playing week in, week out.”

Playing a lot of matches is exactly what Murray wants to do as he continues his comeback from hip problems. The 34-year-old will get at least one more in Indian Wells following his 6-3, 6-2 rout of Mannarino.

Andy Murray of Great Britain (left) after his win against Adrian Mannarino of France at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 08 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO



“Physically my body responds well to playing matches,” Murray noted afterward. “That’s one of the hardest things about being out, is that you just can’t replicate the intensity of match play. So you can do all of the work in the gym, do as much practicing as you want, but getting on the match court is different. Your body responds differently to that. Certainly mine does. I’ve heard many athletes talking about it across a number of sports, talking about match fitness. Yeah, I don’t know whether it’s due to adrenaline or that will to win, you push your body just that little bit harder — five percent,10 percent extra. Unless you’re out there competing regularly, your body doesn’t get used to that.

“I want to keep playing [while] my body feels good. I don’t want to overplay, obviously. I have played quite a few tournaments recently, but I’ve not had any really deep runs. I’ve had enough sort of rest between the events. Yeah, [while] my body feels good, I want to try to play as much as I can between now and the end of the year to set myself up as best as I can for next season.”

The three-time Grand Slam champ’s reward for his first-round win is a date with 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday. Alcaraz is coming off a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Meanwhile, Norrie beat Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 5-7, 6-0 on Saturday and will run into Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Evans overcame Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Diego Schwartzman.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.