Andy Murray admits his participation in the French Open is in doubt after suffering an ankle injury midway through his 6-2 6-3 6-2 win over Michael Berrer.
The Scot was in complete control of the third-round match and was hoping to break his German opponent’s serve for the third time in the fourth game of the second set when he rolled his right ankle chasing down a drop shot.
Murray was able to continue after having the joint heavily strapped but his movement was clearly affected and it was only a combination of some superb hitting and Berrer’s utter failure to take advantage of the situation that saw him through so comfortably. The fourth seed is due to face Viktor Troicki on Monday but he said: “I’ve managed to play almost two sets with it but I’ve just got to wait and see and do all the right things.
The Serbian may not be at 100 per cent either, though, after pulling out of a doubles match because of food poisoning.
Murray, expected to have a scan on Saturday evening, cried out in pain after suffering the injury and hopped off court before lying down in the clay. He walked gingerly back to his seat and there was a lengthy break while he received treatment.
At that stage it seemed the Scot would do very well to complete the match let alone win it, but it soon became clear the situation had affected Berrer, who was playing in the third round of a grand slam for the first time, almost as much as Murray. The fourth seed had no choice but to try to hit winners - 34 of them - to shorten the points and the German played into Murray’s hands by mixing passive play with errors.
Berrer’s serve was broken four times after the injury compared to twice before and he inexplicably stopped playing the drop shot - a tactic Murray had used very well in a similar situation when he faced an injured Gilles Simon in Monte Carlo in April.
The Scot admitted he was initially unsure if he would be able to continue, saying: “You don’t know how it feels until you start moving. I felt it a lot at the start when I got the taping put on. I’m not used to playing with tape on my ankles, it felt sore and uncomfortable.
“I’ve never had a problem in my right ankle in my life. I was obviously pretty worried. I did really well to come through because I didn’t really move a whole lot.
“He didn’t play particularly well afterwards, and that helped, but I did the best I could with what I had.
“I started hitting the ball much better than I was earlier in the match. I wasn’t holding back, I was just going for it as soon as I saw the ball in the middle of the court. I went for the winners, and I hit a lot of them.”
Berrer, meanwhile, conceded he had dealt with the situation terribly and admitted he had let his sympathy for Murray affect the way he played.
He said: “It was one of the worst feelings I have ever had on the court. I’m very, very disappointed. That was a very big chance. I think a chance like this you get maybe once in your life.
“It’s not an excuse but the person I am, I was feeling sorry for him. I should have hurt him when he was down but that’s difficult for me. It was making me so tight, I couldn’t really focus or get a clear thought.
“I think you cannot play worse in this situation than I did. I have to work on that, definitely. I need to be tougher. In Germany we have a saying that an injured deer has to fall. So that was what I should have done today.”
The 30-year-old, ranked 95th in the world, did not expect Murray to be able to continue, and he added: “I was so sure that he could not go on because it looked worse than it obviously was.
“I thought it was just a question of time so mentally I was already just trying to make him run. Then I took a step back and I was too defensive. And he was shooting very well. But it’s not difficult if your opponent plays like I did.”
Murray’s regular physio Andy Ireland has not travelled to Paris but the 24-year-old is confident he will get the best treatment available.
He said: “The ATP physios see these type of injuries a few times a week probably, so they know better than most the best way to deal with them.
“They’ve got good doctors here so I’ll have the right advice and I’ll speak to Andy on the phone and let him know exactly what’s going on and see what he thinks.”
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