By Ros Satar – In Indian Wells
- Federico Delbonis def. Andy Murray 6-4 4-6 7-6(3)
- Still searching for an answer to the Indian Wells problem
- Next stop Miami and reunion with wife and daughter
INDIAN WELLS, USA – Andy Murray admitted he has tried everything when it comes to preparing for Indian Wells – and still doesn’t know the answer, after bowing out in the third round to Federico Delbonis.
Britwatch Tennis: Full Draws and Schedules
It was another blustery day in the desert where the temperatures have been fluctuating, Murray seemed ill at ease from the start of the match as Delbonis capitalised on the first break-point chances of the match. Even though Murray broke straight back, the pace coming back at him from the Argentine was enough to put him under pressure once more, as Delbonis opened up an advantage and stuck with it to the end of the first set.
Of course we had seen Novak Djokovic almost upended with an inspired display from Bjorn Fratangelo the day before, and sure enough Murray steadied the ship in a more evenly matched second set, breaking the Argentine at the end of the set to level the match.
However to go from 4-1 up in the decider to losing the tie-break was disappointing, as Murray’s serve deserted him, and even allowing for the blustery conditions at times lifting the ball and putting some wicked shimmies to shots, Murray played a poor tie-break, by his own admission to hand Delbonis one of the best wins of his career.
Murray said, after the match: “Conditions were a bit easier than the other day. It was pretty lively. Balls bouncing very high. Obviously a tough one to lose in the end, having, you know, kind of fought hard to get myself in a winning position you know, 4-1-up. The 4-2 game that I got broken was a tough one in the third set.
“He came out with some good passing shots. I could have done a bit more with the volleys maybe. I didn’t play a great tiebreak. That was disappointing. Obviously he had the chance to serve it out, and then I got back in there and didn’t play a great breaker.”
After famously bouncing out of the tournament two openers in a row in 2011 and 2012, he has had varying fortunes here but has also made the finals once, and semi-finals and quarter-finals twice a-piece including last year, where he lost to eventual champion Djokovic.
But why the varying fortunes?
He surmised: “The conditions here I have just struggled with throughout my career. I have never really felt that I played my best tennis here. I have tried and had many different preparations where I’ve got here early and spent a lot of time on the courts, and sometimes I arrive later, like this time from Davis Cup.
“Obviously it takes time to get used to new conditions regardless of where it is, but I have just never really found a way to get comfortable here throughout my career. It’s a shame.”
It is on to Miami (for at least as long as the tournament can remain in its current format and home at the Tennis Centre at Crandon Park). It is Murray’s base for warmer weather training, and is an environment he feels very comfortable in, even more so with the knowledge that wife Kim and daughter Sophia will be joining him shortly in the baby’s first trip out on the tour.
He said: “I see them in a couple of days, which will be nice. Miami is a place that I’m very familiar with and I feel comfortable there. Actually haven’t been back since the tournament last year, which is the longest I haven’t been there for about nine or ten years maybe, since I started using that as a training block for myself.
“So it will be nice to get to Miami and see my family. I do think I will play better tennis in Miami because I did a lot of good training. Played long matches in the Davis Cup and here. Yeah, hopefully Miami will be a bit better. I look forward to seeing my family.”
The Miami Masters 1000 begins on Monday 21 March.