Andy Murray has confirmed he will not be competing in either singles or doubles tennis at this month’s US Open.
The former world number one, who will face brother Jamie in the men’s doubles quarter-finals at the Cincinnati Masters, had been scheduled to play doubles in New York.
But he has opted to focus on singles competition elsewhere as he bids to step up his return from the career-saving hip surgery he underwent in January.
“I’m not going to play doubles at the US Open,” Murray told BBC Sport.
“My goal is to get back playing at the level that I want to on the singles court, and I’ve decided that I need to focus all my energies on that right now.
“The US Open, doubles and mixed, can be another couple of weeks that you are slowing things down.”
Murray and partner Feliciano Lopez beat Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock 2-6 6-3 10-7 to reach the last eight in Cincinnati after Jamie and Neal Skupski overcame French pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3 6-3.
Murray will play in next week’s ATP event in Winston-Salem after being given a wild card and will then consider entering a tournament on the Challenger Tour during the US Open, which starts on August 26.
In the Cincinnati singles, Roger Federer suffered a shock loss to Russian qualifier Andrey Rublev in the third round.
Rublev, the world number 70, broke Federer three times as he powered to a stunning 6-3 6-4 win in 62 minutes.
The defeat was a blow to 20-time major champion Federer’s US Open preparations.
Rublev will now play compatriot Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals after the biggest win of his career.
World number three Federer said on www.atp.com: “He was super clean – defence, offence, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere.
“So it was tough for me, but an excellent match by him. I was impressed.”
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic beat Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. Djokovic will next play Lucas Pouille in the quarter-final.
Whether he beats Novak Djokovic on Sunday to claim his second grand slam title or not, Juan Martin del Potro will still consider himself a winner.
But six months later he was off the tour after undergoing surgery on his right wrist and, just when he was finally back to his best, he began to feel pain in his left wrist.
Del Potro lost nearly two years, undergoing three operations and fearing his career was finished.
The boot was on the other foot on Saturday when he benefited from another player’s injury, Nadal retiring with knee problems at two sets down. Del Potro was sympathetic, but he could not hide a beaming smile.
“I cannot believe that I will have a chance to play another grand slam final here, which is my favourite tournament,” said the 29-year-old. “So it will be special to me. A big challenge, as well, because I’ve been fighting with many, many problems to get to this moment.
“It will be a difficult match, of course. But I think I’ve been doing a good tournament. And in the finals, anything can happen. If I win, great. If not, I’ve been playing a great tournament and I will be happy anyway.”
“It means a lot to me. I didn’t expect to be in another Grand Slam final that’s my favorite tournament, in New York at the #USOpen."@delpotrojuan scored a 7-6(3), 6-2, Ret. win on Friday night! Can the 2009 champion lift another title?https://t.co/cYBU15K0U7 pic.twitter.com/a9glfL7aVU— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2018
The lowest point came after two wrist operations when he was still unable to play and had to decide whether to go under the knife for a third time.
The friends who have come to New York from his home town of Tandil and been so vocal in their support played an important role in keeping Del Potro believing that things would one day be better.
He said: “The worst moment was in 2015 when I was close to quitting this sport because I couldn’t find a way to fix my wrist problems. I was suffering a lot. I got depressed for a couple of months also. I didn’t get the chance to feel better with myself, to do this again. That was the bad moment for me.
“But I think that is completely in the past, and now I’m having a good present, looking forward for the future. I didn’t expect to get these kinds of emotions playing tennis again. Reaching finals, winning titles, having my highest ranking ever in this moment. Everything is almost perfect.”
The perfect ending, of course, would be victory over Djokovic, a player he has beaten only four times in 18 meetings, on Sunday.
“It will be a difficult match because we are close friends,” said the Argentinian. “Novak has won Wimbledon already. He’s playing so good. He will be the favourite to win on Sunday.
“But I don’t know. When I played Roger nine years ago, he was the favourite to win as well. I will try to make the surprise again.”
Did you miss the #USOpen Men's semifinals on Friday? A ruthless @DjokerNole rolled past K. Nishikori with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win.— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2018
Watch the Men's final LIVE on @espn at 4pm ET Sunday.https://t.co/k9Q6AETVkJ pic.twitter.com/qSGU7WHluB
After winning Wimbledon, Djokovic has shown he is indisputably back to his best following elbow surgery and revelled in the cooler conditions in a dominant semi-final victory over Kei Nishikori.
He has the chance to equal Pete Sampras’ tally of 14 slam titles but is wary of Del Potro despite his excellent record against the Argentinian.
Djokovic said: “I personally like him very much, not just as a player but as a person. He’s a dear friend, someone that I respect a lot. We all felt for his struggles with injuries.
“But he was always a top-five player in the eyes, I think, of everyone. It was just a matter of time. He’s a big-time player. He’s a big-match player. He’s a grand slam winner. He’s playing the tennis of his life.”
The Sport360 team are here bringing you our top stories on Saturday.
Juan Martin del Potro and Novak Djokovic set up a US Open final clash as Rafael Nadal was left to curse the return of the knee problems that have dogged his career.
Looking to retain the title he won last year and cap another hugely successful season, Nadal must instead focus on rehabilitation after pulling the plug two sets into his semi-final against Del Potro.
The Spaniard had played down concerns over his right knee after having it taped during a long third-round match against Karen Khachanov and had survived a brutally physical encounter with Dominic Thiem in the last eight.
England captain Harry Kane has brushed aside concerns over his workload, insisting his early-season statistics are nothing to worry about.
That Kane found himself facing questions over his mental and physical freshness on the eve of Spain’s Nations League visit to Wembley was perhaps puzzling; he will, after all, be collecting the World Cup Golden Boot before kick-off and has already netted twice in four games this term.
But there are wider worries about the burden he carries for club and country, both of whom treat him as indispensable, and how it is shaping his game.
Former England captain Alastair Cook was hoping for a fairytale finish with a century in his final Test match at The Oval.
But it wasn’t to be as he was bowled by Jasprit Bumrah after a fighting 71 from 190 balls.
New England No3 Moeen Ali, who scored an even slower 50 off 170 balls, and Cook had put the hosts in a strong position at 133 for one but then both Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow went for bagels as they lost three wickets for just one run.
In the end England recovered to be 198 for seven at the end of the day but much of Cook and Ali’s good early work had been undone.
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