US Open 2023: Andy Murray 'playing best’ since hip operation

Andy Murray sitting next to Grigor Dimitrov
Andy Murray's last meeting with Grigor Dimitrov (left) came when the Briton (right) triumphed in the final of the 2016 China Open

US Open 2023

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September

Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentaries across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra

Andy Murray believes he is playing his best tennis since a career-saving hip operation as he prepares to face old rival Grigor Dimitrov in the US Open second round.

Murray, 36, is one of six British players aiming to reach round three at Flushing Meadows on Thursday.

Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage also play on day four of the tournament.

"I'm at my highest ranking (37) since I had my metal hip put in," Murray said.

"I'm happy with that. It's not been an easy journey. I would like to be ranked higher but this is the best I've played consistently since 2017."

Murray has not faced 19th seed Dimitrov since 2016 and although the Scot has won eight of their 11 previous meetings, he lost their most high-profile match in the 2014 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Bulgarian Dimitrov is also employing two coaches who spent long and successful spells working with Murray - Britain's Jamie Delgado and Venezuelan Dani Vallverdu.

"I've played quite a lot of matches against ex-coaches - I think I've only lost once," said the three-time major champion, who won his maiden Grand Slam title in New York in 2012.

"I mean, it probably should be a big advantage for him to have two guys that have worked with me over the years. But we'll find out."

Murray and Dimitrov open up Thursday's action on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 17:00 BST.

Alcaraz practice aiding Norrie quest

Cameron Norrie and Carlos Alcaraz after a practice session together
Cameron Norrie (right) has beaten Carlos Alcaraz (left) twice in their past three meetings, including a final on clay in Rio this year, but trails their overall head-to-head 4-2

British number one Norrie has been enlisting the very best on the practice courts in his bid to claim a first Grand Slam title after a disappointing 2023 so far - hitting balls with defending champion Carlos Alcaraz.

The two could meet in the last 16 but both have two matches to negotiate before then, with Norrie next taking on Taiwanese qualifier and world number 237 Hsu Yu-hsiou.

"I'm always practising or trying to play with the best players," said Norrie, who has not made it past the third round of any Grand Slam this year.

"I really enjoy playing points with Carlos. You kind of feed off that energy."

Alcaraz meets South Africa's Lloyd Harris in the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium at 00:00 BST - with the winner facing British number two Evans or Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in round three.

On paper, Draper, who recently returned from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the French Open and Wimbledon, has the hardest task of the British men as he meets Polish 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz.

But he says days like Tuesday, when the six Britons in singles action all won, act as motivation.

"Definitely having other Brits do well in the draw is amazing for British tennis - we can all push each other to be better," the 21-year-old said.

"I've always got on well with Cam, Andy, Dan. Those guys have been incredible role models for me and good support. I'm just very lucky to have them, I suppose."

Boulter and Burrage flying women's flag

Qualifier Lily Mizayaki's defeat by Belinda Bencic on Wednesday leaves Britain with two players remaining in the women's draw.

Jodie Burrage has been rewarded with her first-round win with a spot on one of the show courts as she tackles world number two Aryna Sabalenka second up on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

"It's a massive match. Probably one of the biggest ones in my career," the 23-year-old, whose career has been plagued by injuries, said.

"But if you said to me when I was having that third ankle operation, 'carry on, you'll be winning your first main-draw US Open match, your first Wimbledon match this year and breaking into the top 100', I don't think I would have believed you really."

Boulter has a kinder draw as she faces China's Wang Yafan, who shocked seventh seed Caroline Garcia in round one.

Across the BBC banner
Across the BBC banner
Across the BBC footer
Across the BBC footer