Andy Murray’s packed 2016 schedule includes record attempt at London’s Queen’s
Andy Murray's schedule for 2016 includes an attempt at winning a record fifth title at Queen's Club this summer
A week after the newly-promoted ATP500 Aegon Championships at London’s Queen’s Club was awarded the ATP Tournament of the Year Award, it has now confirmed that defending and four-time champion Andy Murray will return this summer to try and win a record fifth title.
Last year, Murray became one of only seven four-time champions when he defeated Kevin Anderson in the final, joining Major Ritchie, Anthony Wilding, Roy Emerson, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick.
In addition to last year, Murray also won in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and said of his return: “If I could win it a fifth time, it would be amazing. The names that have won it four times, they are all great tennis players.
“I’ve played some of my best tennis at The Queen’s Club over the years. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the tournament—it’s a great event. One of the nice things is that it’s at a club, which you don’t get that much on the tour.
“I’ve spent a lot of time there, played it 10 or 11 years in a row, and they get really great crowds. The courts are fantastic: I’ve got to know a few of the groundsmen quite well, and they put a lot of hard work and effort in to making the courts perfect.”
The Aegon Championships sit in the midst of what will be a packed schedule for the world No2.
Murray and partner Heather Watson fell just short of the team-based Hopman Cup final in Perth last weekend, where he arrived earlier than usual to “help with acclimatisation and get over the jet-lag.”
He told Australian Open TV that, although he would love to get to No1, his priority at the moment is “to try and win here: I’ve been close many times and that’s my No1 goal.”
“I’ve been on the tour for 10 years so I try to get as much rest as I can now. But I do work hard and train hard, because the first tournaments are here in Australia, just after the off season, and this is obviously the summer here and it gets so hot that to be able to last four or five hours you need to train hard and prepare well and do that as best as I can.”
Murray has reached the final in Melbourne four times and has not fallen short of the quarters for the last six years. In three of the finals, he has lost to five-time Australian champion, Novak Djokovic, on the last two occasions going to tough four-setters that each contained two tie-breaks, before Murray faced in the fourth set. One compelling reason, perhaps, for upping his pre-tournament preparation this year.
Another reason is that the Australian Open will be his last tournament for over a month, as his wife is due to give birth to their first child in early February.
Murray next competition match will be in the first round of Great Britain’s defence of the Davis Cup against Japan in Birmingham on 4-6 March.
Then comes the gruelling Masters double-header in North American, Indian Wells beginning 10 March followed by Miami: the two biggest fields outside the Grand Slams combine to pack three straight weeks.
Murray launches into the clay season not with the defence of his Munich 250 title but with the Monte Carlo Masters on 10 April, and a fortnight later are the back-to-back Masters in Madrid, where he is defending champion, and Rome.
The French Open begins in Paris on 23 May, before the transition to grass at Queen’s, commencing 13 June, and so on to Wimbledon.
Then comes a potentially exhausting couple of months, particularly if GB makes the Davis Cup quarters, which begin less than week after Wimbledon finishes. Within days, the tour is back in North America, where Murray will attempt to defend the Canadian Masters in Toronto, before he begins another title defence, his Olympic gold medal, in Rio, a week later.
The Cincinnati Masters comes hard on the heels of Rio, followed by the US Open on 29 August.
Murray can then takes a substantial break—unless he is involved in the Davis Cup semis—ahead of his only remaining scheduled event, the Shanghai Masters, in a pared back Asian swing.
Thus far, Murray has not included an indoor tournament, with the Paris Masters a notable absence, but that could change as the World Tour Finals, beginning in London on 13 November, close in. He will surely anticipate being among the eight qualifiers at an event where he is yet to make it beyond the semis, and keeping things flexible during the late autumn, especially after a packed six months, uncertainty about the Davis Cup, and becoming a father, will help him fine-tune his preparations for the climax of what promises to be a fascinating season for him and all his rivals.
Murray’s 2016 schedule [unconfirmed in parenthesis]
17 Jan-1 Feb, Australian Open
4-6 March, Davis Cup R1, Birmingham
10-20 March BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells
24 March-3 April, Miami Open by Itau
10-17 April Monte Carlo Rolex Masters
2-8 May, Mutua Madrid Open
9-15 May, Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome
23 May-5 June, Roland Garros, Paris
13-19 June, Aegon Championships, London
27 June-9 July, Wimbledon
[15-17 July, Davis Cup QFs]
25-31 July, Rogers Cup Toronto
8-14 August, Olympics Rio
15-21 August, Western and Southern Open, Cincinnati
29 August-11 September, US Open
[16-18 September, Davis Cup SFs]
10-16 October, Shanghai Rolex Masters
13-20 November, World Tour Finals
[25-27 November, Davis Cup final]
General ticket sales for Queen’s opens on Tuesday 23 February.
Tickets for the first GB vs Japan in Davis Cup are already on sale: https://www.theticketfactory.com/dct/online/