Andy Murray to play Barcelona Open in attempt to get clay-court season going

Charlie Eccleshare
Andy Murray suffered an early exit in Monte Carlo - EPA

Andy Murray has elected to enter next week's Barcelona Open in an attempt to get much-needed match time on clay ahead of the French Open. 

The world No 1 suffered a shock third-round defeat in Monte Carlo to Albert Ramos-Viñolas on Thursday, and had been scheduled to play in just Madrid and Rome ahead of the French Open. 

But the early Monte Carlo exit, coupled with the need to get back to full sharpness after suffering with fitness and health issues this year, have convinced Murray to play in the Barcelona event, which is worth 500 ranking points. 

When pressed on his plans yesterday, Murray said: "I’ll speak to my team a little bit about that. I need to decide now whether I go and try to get matches or whether I try to get myself in better shape physically, put as much work in as I can.

"If I was to play Budapest or Barcelona and do well, I would not really have a chance to train much between now and the French Open. Whereas if I wasn’t to play next week, I get the chance to put in some hard work, which is maybe what’s needed.

Murray has had a difficult 2017

"I had to go a little bit easy when I first came back from the elbow, whereas now I’m ready to really put in some hard work as well."

Murray has previous for adding tournaments to his clay roster, including in 2015 when he played, and won, in Munich having missed Monte Carlo because of his wedding to Kim Sears.

Reflecting on his stop-start 2017 so far, Murray said on Thursday. "I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play here [in Monte Carlo] or not. I’m going to need to put some work in, there are some things I need to improve upon. But it wasn’t too bad."

Murray will be joined in Barcelona by Rafael Nadal, who is looking to win a record 10th title.  

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