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Andy Murray wins opening match in French Open

May 31, 2017

Andy Murray overcame a small scare to win his opening match of the French Open - and then expressed a wish to improve his form.
 
The Scot came through his encounter with Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, with his second set loss providing a few moments of concern for the world number one. 
 
It has been a difficult clay court season for the 2016 Roland Garros finalist, with poor results contrasting to his run to several finals last year. The slump in form has not been coincidental, as he has struggled with illness and an elbow injury. 
 
Commenting on this in his BBC Sport column, Murray said: "When I had the shingles I could still do a bit of training, I just couldn't do anything that was of high intensity at all.
 
"I was able to hit balls, so stay in a bit of rhythm in terms of my timing, but I couldn't do any physical work like interval training - just staying active and avoiding anything too strenuous to make sure my heart rate didn't get up too high.
 
"With the elbow, I could do everything except serve. I could at least train and stay in decent shape, I just couldn't play tournaments or matches or points."
 
Now Murray has got over another illness, he will hope he can put the recent woes behind him, just as Roger Federer did when coming back from a long injury lay-off to win the Australian Open. 
 
Murray's opening match may not be a reliable guide to his chances at Roland Garros. Last year, his fine clay court season seemed set to count for nothing as he had to battle from behind to win five set matches in each of the first two rounds. Having come through these close scrapes, he upped his game and demolished Stan Wawrinka in the semi-final before succumbing to an inspired Novak Djokovic in the final. 
 
Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club next month could see Murray against Wawrinka again, with the US Open champion part of a star-studded cast of leading male players who will be seeking to find their grass court form ahead of Wimbledon after two months of action on clay. 
 
Another man lined up for the Aegon Championships is Rafael Nadal, who cruised through the opening round and has been back to his best on clay this year, winning three titles including the ATP 1000 Masters tournaments at Monte Carlo and Madrid. Having reached the Australian Open final, nadal is arguably back to his best and if he does win a tenth Roland Garros title, it will mean the Aegon Championships will feature three of the four grand Slam holders. 
 
Defending French Open champion Novak Djokovic will have something to say about that, having begun his first tournament with Andre Agassi as coach by beating Marcel Granollers in straight sets. 
 
In other matches, home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came within two points of losing his first round encounter with Renzo Olivio, who was playing his first match at the venue, while the women's draw has already seen the departure of world number two Angelique kerber and British eighth seed Johanna Konta.

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