Andy Murray was due in Rome on Monday to ponder his participation in the Italian Open after winning a breakthrough Masters 1000 title at the weekend in Madrid.
Murray’s comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Spanish ace Rafael Nadal knocked the king of clay down to seventh on the ATP list, his lowest position in a decade.
Murray and his team are due to discuss his options after winning his first two clay titles at Munich and Madrid in the space of seven days last week, with a decision on his participation and second-round start against Jeremy Chardy of France due on Tuesday.
The third-ranked Scot could not have asked for a better French Open preparation and might not want to risk either injury or fatigue with Roland Garros starting in 13 days.
It’s a different story completely for Nadal, who desperately needs matches and confidence after going down in front of his home public to Murray in a Madrid final which did not even extend to 90 minutes.
Nadal insisted in defeat that despite his loss, he feels his tennis is on the right path despite not having won a spring clay title.
“I’m already thinking in Rome, it’s an important change. You change from playing with altitude to no altitude there.
“I’ll try to have a good week in Rome – and by a good week, that does not mean only to win. That means to do things good through the different days. Doing things well every single day, that’s a good week.”
Nadal called the event “a very complicated tournament, we have the top players there. But I also know if I manage to play the level I did (in the Madrid semi-finals) yesterday I can be competitive against every single player.”
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is set to play in an 11th straight edition at the Foro Italico and has played the final nine times in 10 visits.
The seven-time champion failed to reach a final only in 2008 when he lost in the second round.
On court at the ATP and WTA event, tenth seed Grigor Dimitrov began his week with a defeat of Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) while French 12th seed Gilles Simon put out American Jack Sock 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3
German Philipp Kohlschreiber, Munich runner-up to Murray a week ago, reached the second round over American Donald Young 6-4, 6-1.
In women’s play, Swiss Timea Bacsinszky produced an upset with her defeat of tenth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-0 while US 15th seed Madison Keys beat namesake Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4.
Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist Samantha Stosur 6-4, 7-5. – Agence France-Presse