London - Former world No 1 Andy Murray has downplayed his
chances of winning this year's US Open, saying on Friday he does not expect to
lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows as he continues to work his way back from
The 2012 champion, who is playing in his first Grand Slam
since his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year, said his game is
improving but is not yet at the level needed to win against the world's best,
making this year feel different.
"For the last 10 years or so I've been coming and
trying to prepare to win the event whereas I don't feel like that's realistic
for me this year," the 31-year-old Scot told reporters.
"It's a slightly different mentality for me coming in
than what I have had the last 10, 11 years of my life."
Murray's remarks may be an effort to lower expectations and
alleviate pressure, seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe said on a
"In some way it deflects and takes away some of the
pressure that he feels because over in Britain there are high expectations
every time he steps on the court no matter how much time he has missed.
"It's understandable that he'd want to sort of minimise
the pressure, and it's somewhat realistic," he said of Murray, who he
called a "slam dunk, first-ballot Hall of Famer."
"But I have to add that I've seen some players who have
made similar types of comments and gone on to win Grand Slams."
Murray's comeback from the January surgery looked on track
at the Citi Open where he dug deep to win three gruelling three-set matches but
was forced to withdraw ahead of his quarter-final due to fatigue.
After skipping the Rogers Cup, Murray was defeated by
France's Lucas Pouille in the first round of the Cincinnati Open earlier this
Despite the setbacks the fiercely competitive Scot said he
expected to win a fourth slam title and reclaim his spot alongside Roger
Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as a member of the sport's Big Four
but added he needs to be patient.
"It's going take a little bit of time before I get back
to that level but I think I can do it. It just might not be this year."
Murray starts the tournament against Australian James
Duckworth and should he advance the Scot will face Fernando Verdasco or Feliciano
Lopez of Spain before a projected third-round clash with Argentine third seed
Juan Martin del Potro.