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Cilic viewing Murray's absence as a 'great opportunity' to win US Open

30 August 2017

Andy Murray has pulled out of the US Open, which gets under way on Monday, because of the hip injury that has sidelined him since Wimbledon.

The big question surrounded Cilic's fitness given the Croatian had not played a match since the Wimbledon final, where he tearfully succumbed to Federer after his body let him down. There is a chance that he could follow the footsteps of last year's finalists, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, who have also made a decision to end their season due to injury. Unfortunately, I won't be playing. Up to the end of Wimbledon, I had really consistent play, maybe the best ever in my career, so that's extremely positive for me. After those first two sets, which were quite good considering I haven't played, just dropped little bit with my game.

The world number two tested out his problematic hip during a week of training at Flushing Meadows before announcing at his scheduled pre-tournament press conference on Saturday that he was not fit enough to compete.

"I spoke to a number of specialists about it to get the best advice possible".

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"If you want to have matches like the three finals I played here with Novak, the kind of match the crowd is more involved because the points are so long, well, you can not expect play 50 shots' rally and in 25 seconds be ready to play the next point".

Federer, the five-time U.S. champion from 2004-2008, is bidding for a 20th major and third of the year after capturing the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.

His withdrawal comes too late to promote Federer to the No2 seeding: The Swiss, at No3, was drawn in the half topped by No1 Rafael Nadal.

Instead, Federer and Nadal stay in the same half with fifth seed Marin Cilic taking over Murray's slot in what is clearly a much weaker section.

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The only higher-ranked rival on his side of the draw is German 20-year-old fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who has never gone past the fourth round in a Slam.

But Murray remains hopeful of following the example of Federer and Nadal, who both missed extensive periods due to injury past year and bounced back to win all three Majors and four Masters this season.

"I don't think there needs to be that much addressing because the players, they have the option not to play as much as sometimes they have to or want to". If it means that I can play before the end of the year, then that's what I would love to do.

"I was actually feeling that could be also quite good for me to get in some rallies, battle it out, just mentally wise to get myself in a good position". "I've been practicing here and competitive in practice when I'm not moving close to how I can when I'm healthy".

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Cilic viewing Murray's absence as a 'great opportunity' to win US Open