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Murray set for ‘amusing’ Wawrinka match


Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka after their 2017 French Open final
Andy Murray (left) lost to Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open semi-finals, with the Swiss going on to lose to Rafael Nadal in the final
Dates:27 September – 11 OctoberVenue:Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage:Selected radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website, plus daily reports and analysis

Andy Murray says it was “amusing” to be drawn against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the French Open, which starts on Sunday.

British former world number one Murray, 33, plays the 16th seed last on Court Philippe Chatrier at about 17:30 BST.

Murray is playing on clay for the first time since losing to Wawrinka in the 2017 semi-finals at Roland Garros.

British number ones Johanna Konta and Dan Evans also start on Sunday, playing against Coco Gauff and Kei Nishikori.

Ninth seed Konta takes on American 16-year-old Gauff on Court Suzanne Lenglen at about 15:00, with 32nd seed Evans meeting Japan’s former world number four Nishikori on court 14 at about 12:00.

Court Philippe Chatrier Court Suzanne Lenglen
Jannik Sinner (Ita) v David Goffin (Bel) [11] Victoria Azarenka (Blr) [10] v Danka Kovinic (Mno)
Simona Halep (Rom) [1] v Sara Sorribes Tormo (Spa) Jurij Rodionov (Aut) v Jeremy Chardy (Fra)
Anett Kontaveit (Est) [17] v Caroline Garcia (Fra) Johanna Konta (GB) [9] v Coco Gauff (US)
Andy Murray (GB) v Stan Wawrinka (Sui) [16] Alexander Zverev (Ger) [6] v Dennis Novak (Aut)

‘First time I’ve watched a draw in 10 years’

Murray being drawn against Switzerland’s Wawrinka in his Roland Garros return was a quirk of fate which has excited fans.

During the 2017 tournament in Paris, Murray felt for the first time something was not right with his hip and it was an injury which threatened to end his career less than two years later.

Two major surgeries and several comebacks later, he will face 35-year-old Wawrinka – whose own career has been disrupted by knee injuries – in his second Grand Slam event in quick succession after a second-round defeat at the US Open.

“It’s an amusing draw. It’s actually the first time I’ve watched the draw in the past 10 years,” said Murray, who is ranked 111th.

“Obviously it will be a very tough match. That match I played against Stan a few years ago was a brutal one.

“I kind of knew something was up before the Kei Nishikori match in the quarter-finals.

“I didn’t know that it was that bad but at the end of the Stan match, in the fifth set, I was struggling to push up on my serve and moving to my forehand.

“It never felt the same after that match.”

Konta will not be fazed by Gauff hype

Konta, 29, returns to the place where she enjoyed a memorable run to the semi-finals a little over 15 months ago.

But her build-up has been vastly different to last year – she has won just one match in a shortened clay-court season and arrived in Paris without a full-time coach.

The Briton says she is “getting better each day” on the surface but she would probably have preferred to avoid a talent like Gauff in her opener.

The teenager announced her arrival on the biggest stage with a run to the Wimbledon fourth round in June 2019, backing that up with a similar effort at the Australian Open in January, where she knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff, who turned 16 in March, is ranked 51st and plays in the Roland Garros main draw for the first time

Konta, who has never played Gauff, said: “I know she’s very mature for her age. That’s why she’s able to compete at the level she’s competing.

“She’s physically and mentally mature enough to deal with the demands we have on tour. Obviously she’s going to just keep getting better and better.

“I’m very clear on the fact that I’m going in playing another professional tennis player who is one of the best-ranked in the world. It doesn’t matter if she’s 14 or 40.

“I’m going to be playing against the tennis that she brings, not her social media following, not her persona.”

Evans, 30, has said he does not enjoy playing on clay and was handed arguably the worst draw he could have had against Nishikori.

The world number 35 is one place below Evans in the rankings after injury problems and reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year for the third time.

“No-one really needs to question his quality. It will be a difficult match,” said Evans, who has never won a main-draw matchat the French Open.

“I have to go out there and try my best to win the match and see what happens.”

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