In 2011 Andy Murray defeated Feliciano Lopez in a night-time clash on the Arthur Ashe Arena and watching him in the crowd was an 11-year-old boy who will be his next opponent in this year’s draw.
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will lock horns with the three-time Grand Slam champion for the first time on Tuesday on the premier court at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. The 20-year-old is placed 94 places higher than Murray in the ATP rankings and is seeded 15th in the draw. He is bidding to reach the third round in New York for the first time in his career but admits that he has a tough battle ahead of him.
“I’ll be expecting the best from him. I don’t want to put into my head or consider that because of the injuries or because of the surgeries he’s had, the comeback he’s made, that this puts me in an advantage or makes a difference on the outcome of the match,” Auger-Aliassime told reporters in New York.
“I’m going to prepare myself for a battle. I’m going to expect the best from him.”
Branded as one of the future stars of the game given his previous success at such a young age, Auger-Aliassime is yet to play a five-set match in his career. A sharp contrast to 33-year-old Murray, who has battled back from two sets down to win a best-of-five encounter on 10 separate occasions, including his first round win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.
There are questions about how Murray’s fitness will fair following his latest encounter. The US Open is only his second Tour event of 2020 after delaying his start to the season due to pelvic bruising in what was the latest of a series of injury setbacks for the Brit who had hip resurfacing surgery last year. The second surgical procedure he had on his hip in as many years.
“I watched the whole way of his recovery. It’s good to see him playing good again and healthy,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s an honour for me to face up with a guy like Andy.”
Looking ahead to the clash, Murray is hoping to take advantage of his opponents at times tentative serve. Although the Canadian looked good on this area during his opening win against Thiago Monteiro where he won 84% of first serves and 55% of second. Both of which are higher than what Murray recorded against Nishioka (77% and 47%).
“He’s getting up to the top of the game. I think he quite obviously likes playing on the hard courts,” Murray said of Auger-Aliassime.
“He’s had some struggles with his serve at times. That’s something that I’ll look to capitalize on.’
“He’s a top, top young player and he’ll have an excellent, excellent career for sure. He’s been really good since he was very young. I think physically he’s a fantastic mover and good athlete.”
The showdown between the two will be the last match to take place on the Arthur Ashe Court on Thursday.
How do the two compare?
|Montreal, Canada||Birthplace||Glasgow, Scotland|
|Monte Carlo, Monaco||Residence||Surrey, England|
|6’4″ (193 cm)||Height||6’3″ (191 cm)|
|194 lbs (88 kg)||Weight||181 lbs (82 kg)|
|$2,608,082||Career Prize Money||$61,617,257|