Andy Murray threw his racket a time or two in his first set at the U.S. Open… (Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty…)
NEW YORK — Maybe it was a two-hour rain delay that made recently crowned Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray so cranky. But the third-seeded Brit was heard saying some bad words on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court and was seen bouncing a racket or two off the ground, especially in the first set when Murray struggled to hold his serve.
But in the end it was Murray with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 win over veteran Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the first round of the U.S. Open.
Bogomolov, born in Moscow but with U.S. citizenship for awhile, had represented the U.S. when he made it to the third round of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2011 but switched back to being Russian after that, mostly, he said, so he could play for Russia in Davis Cup.
Murray said he struggled with the humidity Monday. "I got a little bit of cramps," Murray said. "I need to stay better hydrated." Murray also got choked up after the match when he was asked on court about winning the Olympic gold medal. "It's the biggest win of my career," he said. "To play for your country in a home Olympics, to win a gold medal, it was perfect."
Murray, 25, who despite winning the Olympics is still looking for his first-ever Grand Slam tournament-level championship, has never lost a first-round U.S. Open match, and he was never in real danger of losing Monday even though he had his serve broken in the first game of the match.
As far as inspiring first-round wins go, not many were greeted with more enthusiasm than the one that came from James Blake. Blake, 31, needed a wild-card invitation into the main draw because his ranking of 115 in the world was too low for direct entry, and he beat Lukas Lacko, a 24-year-old from Slovakia, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Lacko was trying to win his first-ever U.S. Open match while Blake was making his 12th Open appearance (Blake's only first-round loss came in 1999).
It hasn't been a great Grand Slam season for Blake, who missed the Australian Open and lost in the first round at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
"I still get the goosebump feeling from walking out here," Blake said. "It keeps my spirits up throughout the whole match. I can't believe I've been playing here 12 years. It still feels special."
Blake was also enthusiastic about wearing a new line of clothing, Travis Mathew, the Southern California-based brand sported by golfer Bubba Watson. Blake is also excited about feeling healthy. "My knee feels better, I'm moving better," Blake says. "Now I feel like I can move and be effective with my legs. I need those to feel strong."
A young American, 19-year-old Jack Sock, advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 (ret) win over 22nd-seeded German Florian Mayer. Mayer loudly groaned before conceding the match to Sock, who has missed much of this year with his own injury issues. Sock, like Blake, needed a wild-card invitation into the main draw. He is ranked 248th in the world.