ROME: Andy Murray was due in Rome on Monday to ponder his participation in the Italian Open after winning a breakthrough Masters 1000 title at the weekend in Madrid.
Murray s comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Spanish ace Rafael Nadal knocked the king of clay down to seventh on the ATP list, his lowest position in a decade.
Murray and his team are due to discuss his options after winning his first two clay titles at Munich and Madrid in the space of seven days last week, with a decision on his participation and second-round start against Jeremy Chardy of France due on Tuesday.
The third-ranked Scot could not have asked for a better French Open preparation and might not want to risk either injury or fatigue with Roland Garros starting in 13 days.
It s a different story completely for Nadal, who desperately needs matches and confidence after going down in front of his home public to Murray in a Madrid final which did not even extend to 90 minutes.
Nadal insisted he feels his tennis is on the right path despite not having won a spring clay title.
“I m already thinking in Rome, it s an important change. You change from playing with altitude to no altitude there,” the Spaniard said.
“I ll try to have a good week in Rome – and by a good week, that does not mean only to win. That means to do things good through the different days. Doing things well every single day, that s a good week.”
Nadal called the event “a very complicated tournament, we have the top players there. But I also know if I manage to play the level I did (in the Madrid semi-finals) yesterday I can be competitive against every single player”.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is set to play in an 11th straight edition at the Foro Italico and has played the final nine times in 10 visits.
The seven-time champion failed to reach a final only in 2008 when he lost in the second round.
On court at the ATP and WTA event, tenth seed Grigor Dimitrov began his week with a defeat of Pole Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) while French 12th seed Gilles Simon put out American Jack Sock 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.
American 16th seed John Isner downed Joao Sousa 7-5, 6-3. German Philipp Kohlschreiber, Munich runner-up to Murray a week ago, reached the second round over American Donald Young 6-4, 6-1.
In women s play, German ninth seed Angelique Kerber defeated France s Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-3 while Swiss Timea Bacsinszky produced an upset with her defeat of tenth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-0.
US 15th seed Madison Keys beat namesake Madison Brengle 6-2, 6-4. Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist Samantha Stosur 6-4, 7-5.
Briton Heather Watson knocked out nervous Italian Roberta Vinci 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) with the local admitting that her emotions et the better of her every time she plays Rome.