Andy MURRAY is looking forward to getting back on court after a crash course in the business of being a defending grand slam champion.
The Scot arrived in New York for the US Open last Friday and has been much in demand, from TV appearances to meeting fans at a clothing store.
Yesterday he joined fellow 2012 champion Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows for the draw and then took part in a tennis clinic with local children affected by last October’s devastating Hurricane Sandy.
Murray was typically self-deprecating. When a list of his achievements was reeled off, the Scot joked that it sounded more like one of Williams’ years. He was then asked about his popularity in Britain compared to newborn Prince George – almost certainly not for the last time given America’s love for the Royal Family – and laughed as he insisted the future king was much more important.
Murray is the holder of two of the four grand slams having added the Wimbledon title to his collection last month,but defending one will be something new. The 26-year-old said: “It’s obviously different, it’s a new experience for me. This week has been a bit busier than normal, there’s been a few more demands on my time. I’m looking forward to it. I want the tournament to get started now. I’ve enjoyed my tennis the last few weeks, but now it’s time for business. This is a huge tournament for me. I love this tournament and I’ll try to have a good run.”
Murray was handed a first-round meeting with French serve-volleyer Michael Llodra, and no real dangers await until the quarter-finals, where fifth seed Tomas Berdych is scheduled to be his opponent.
Murray, meanwhile, was drawn in the same half as world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, meaning the two cannot meet in the final, as they have at three of the last four grand slams.
Rafael Nadal’s wins in both Montreal and Cincinnati lifted him above Murray to No. 2 in the rankings this week but the Spaniard has a tricky-looking draw, not least a potential quarter-final against Roger Federer.
Laura Robson is the first British woman to be a seeded at a grand slam since Jo Durie at the 1987 Australian Open. The 30th seed really made her breakthrough on the big stage in New York last year with her run to the fourth round, a feat she repeated at Wimbledon, but expectations have been tempered by a wrist injury that has dogged her in the build-up.
Robson will meet 32-year-old Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino in the first round and could face Li Na in the third round - as she did last year, when she pulled off arguably her best win.
British No. 2 Heather Watson, who is still struggling for form after recovering from glandular fever, will play Romanian 21st seed Simona Halep while top seed Williams faces former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.