Andy Murray entered the French Open after a busy and successful clay court season, beating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the Italian Open title in Rome just last week. Murray didn’t just beat Djokovic — he dominated him, 6-3, 6-3, for his first win in the five matches the two rivals have played on clay. (Murray made it to the finals on the clay at the Madrid Open too, where Djokovic handled him.) All that preparation and success helped make Murray the No. 2 seed at Roland Garros. But it also looks, so far in Paris, like it also wore Murray down.
Despite his high seed, both of Murray’s first two matches at Roland Garros have gone five sets. On Wednesday he beat 22-year-old Frenchman Mathias Bourgue 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a match that lasted more than three-and-a-half hours. (Murray predicted Bourgue will have a big future in tennis.) Murray needed five sets to beat 37-year-old Radek Stepanek in the first round, 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5. Murray reminded one onlooker of the Golden State Warriors, who set a regular season NBA record for victories and have looked spent in the playoffs against the OKC Thunder. (The Warriors are down 3-1 in Western Conference Finals.) Peaking at the right time is everything. Murray faces Ivo Karlovic next.