|place: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: August 28 – September 10
|coverage: Daily live text and radio commentary across the BBC Sport website and app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra
Andy Murray says he “may need to accept” that his long-awaited deep run at a Grand Slam may never come after his last attempt in the second round of the US Open ended.
The former world number one, 36, lost 6-3 6-4 6-1 to 19th seed Grigor Dimitrov in New York.
Murray, ranked 37th, has not reached the round of 16 at a Grand Slam since restarting his career after hip surgery in 2019.
“Playing at the highest level is an incredible challenge,” he added.
“Obviously it’s disappointing not to play the way you want to.
“Maybe I need to accept the deep run and whatever I felt capable of, may not be there.”
Murray still enjoyed the “work”, despite the setbacks
Accumulating a run in a Grand Slam has been Murray’s main goal this season as the three-time Grand Slam champion continues to finish his career.
The Scot reached the third round at the Australian Open last January, and after missing the French Open lost in the second round at Wimbledon last month.
Despite these setbacks in the major tournaments, Murray has continued his upward trajectory and recently reached his highest ranking since returning four years ago.
“I still enjoy everything about it. I enjoy working and training and trying to improve and trying to improve,” said Murray, who reached the Doha final in February and won three titles at the Challenger Championship, the second division. tour this year.
“It’s what keeps me going.
“If I stop enjoying that – or my results, my rankings and everything starts to go downhill, if I get 60 in the world or whatever in a few months instead of going forward – things can change.”
Going into Grand Slam competition with a ranking would, on paper, make a Grand Slam move forward a stronger possibility, and being narrowly outside the top 32 ahead of the US Open didn’t help improve his chances in New York.
Those ambitions have been hampered by the Scot’s withdrawal from tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati this month due to an abdominal injury.
After recovering from injury, Murray played well in the first round, in which he beat Frenchman Corentin Moutet, but his level fell sharply against the elusive Dimitrov.
“If I want to go deeper into these tournaments, I will play players like Gregor,” said Murray, who lost to fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round of Wimbledon.
“Whether I’m ranked in the top 32 or not, I don’t think that guarantees that I’ll make deep progress either.”
Dimitrov’s tactics disable Murray
Much credit must be given to former world number three Dimitrov, coached by Dani Valverdo, who was working with Murray, for executing a clear plan of play aimed at frustrating the Briton.
Dimitrov’s backhand took the pace off the regular exchange of blows, forcing Murray to trade from behind the court and make the encounter physical with some long duels.
Murray was always seeking to break his first service match in each set, while he was only able to convert two of the nine break points he created.
It has become difficult for those who support Murray at Arthur Ashe Stadium, who remains a popular figure in the place where he won the first of his three major titles.
After breaking twice in the third set, Murray signaled to his team that it was over and his troubles were a double fault on the third match point of the 32-year-old Dimitrov.
Dimitrov, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open in 2019, will play German 12th seed Alexander Zverev in the last 32.
Meanwhile, Murray said he would return to the UK as soon as possible and indicated he might not play for Great Britain. In a Davis Cup match next month in Manchester.
“To be honest, the other guys deserve to play me,” said Murray, who suggested Jack Draper play for me.
“I think I probably won’t be in the team. I’ll try to get home this evening or tomorrow morning, and then see where I go from there.”