July 27, 2020 / 5:38 AM / 16 days ago

'Apprehensive' Murray mentally switched on for U.S. Open

Tennis - Davis Cup Finals - Quarter-Final - Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain - November 22, 2019 Britain's Andy Murray reacts during the match between Kyle Edmund and Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber REUTERS/Sergio Perez

(Reuters) - Britain’s Andy Murray is still feeling “apprehensive” about travelling to New York for the U.S. Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic but the former world number one says he is mentally preparing for the Grand Slam.

The United States has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world and reported over 50,000 cases daily during the last seven days.

The U.S. Open, which is due to start on Aug. 31, will be held without spectators, and organisers are planning to set up a strict bio-security “bubble” around the tournament to mitigate the risk of contracting the virus.

“Four or five weeks ago, we were pretty sceptical about it,” Murray told British media. “But mentally at some stage you need to start preparing and planning for that.

“If it wasn’t happening, my schedule for practising, my rehab, would all be a bit different. Mentally I’m planning for it to go ahead.”

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam singles winner, returned from a seven-month injury layoff last month at a charity event organised by his brother Jamie.

“The issue for us is the travel, so we’ll probably be a bit apprehensive getting over there,” he added. “Hopefully the U.S. Open can go ahead ... but if not, I’m also OK with that.

“It’s not like I’m saying it must go ahead. So long as it’s safe for the players then we need to try to get back to competing.”

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford

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