Andy Murray is clearly in a hurry to get back to action after suffering the disappointment of another Wimbledon near miss and the world no.4 and gratefully come to the rescue of this week’s Farmer’s Classic presented by Mercedes Benz at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus.
Murray, who after losing his Wimbledon semi final to Rafael Nadal, opted against playing for Britain in the Davis Cup, concentrated on watching the World Cup soccer and took a brief holiday in Barbados with girlfriend Kim Sears, had been hard at work at his Miami training base with the intention of returning to competition at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
However world no.2 Novak Djokovic withdrew from the event last week, citing personal reasons, so Murray was happy to take a wild card and fill a major void in tournament director Bob Kramer’s line-up.
Kramer said: "We were looking forward to Novak making his debut in LA. But we're very fortunate that Andy Murray will be able to join us. We are very excited that we've added six players to the draw.”
2007 champion Radek Stepanek was another late pull-out because of a knee injury but the charismatic Latvian Ernests Gulbis is returning to action after missing Wimbledon and takes fifth place in the seeding list behind world no.4 Murray, Sam Querrey, Marcos Baghdatis and Feliciano Lopez. Last week’s Atlanta champion Mardy Fish is eighth seed while South African quarter finalist Kevin Anderson gains special exemption into the draw.
Murray is handed a first round bye and will then play either a qualifier or Russia’s Teimuraz Gabashvili. The Scot will be hoping previous success in California - winning ATP Tour titles in 2006 and 2007 in San Jose and being finalist to Nadal in Indian Wells last year - will stand him in good stead.
Other than flying in and out of LAX, it will be his first visit to the City of the Angels. “I’m looking forward to it and one of my friends Julien Rojer actually went to UCLA,” said Murray. “A few people have told me it can be a little strange going there if you don’t know anyone because it’s good to know the places to go.”
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