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2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters Begins

2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters Begins
October 3, 2023

There are many happy memories as Andy Murray makes a long-awaited return to the Rolex Shanghai Masters. 

The 36-year-old Scot is a three-time champion of this tournament, with the world No.1 ranking a milestone he achieved soon after winning one of those Shanghai titles. 

"2016 was a really important tournament for me," Murray said, as he recalled his massive relief after victory over Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. 

"I remember being unbelievably nervous and stressed here because I was getting close to getting to No.1 and had really put a lot of focus and energy into doing that. 

"I went to play Beijing the week beforehand and after the Olympic Games (at Rio de Janeiro in August), I travelled that evening after I won the gold medal to go and play in Cincinnati, because I was trying to get to No.1

"And here, particularly when Novak (Djokovic) had lost in the semis, I had to go and play my semifinal that evening. I just found the whole week quite stressful but massive relief when I got over the line here. 

"It was a huge stepping stone for me to try and finish the year and reach No.1 in the world."

Murray's earlier victories in Shanghai were achieved over Roger Federer in the 2010 final and against David Ferrer as he successfully defended his title in 2011. 

He was also runner-up to Novak Djokovic (the Serb saved five championship points) as he progressed to a third successive final in 2012. 

For now, the focus for Murray is on a meeting with Roman Safiullin in the 2023 first round. 

At world No.40, the Scot is ranked just one spot higher than Safiullin, who recently contested the first ATP final of his career in Chengdu.

"It's one of the tougher first rounds I could have got, so let's see how it goes," said Murray, a winner over Safiullin in Basel last year. 

"He has a big game and is a big hitter, so I need to play well."

Murray is among top players in action as the Rolex Shanghai Masters main draw commences on Wednesday, with Stan Wawrinka (facing Dusan Lajovic) and Zhang Zhuhai (meeting Richard Gasquet) also set to take to the center court at Qi Zhong Stadium.  

The 12th staging of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament starts a "New Era" for the multi-award winning tournament that includes a 96-player main draw and is being staged over 12 days. 

No.1 seed Carlos Alcaraz will make his Shanghai and tournament debut later in the week, while No.2 seed Daniil Medvedev returns after lifting the trophy in 2019. He is aiming to become the third player to win consecutive titles after Djokovic and Murray. 

The world's top players have enthusiastically assembled for the Rolex Shanghai Masters' resumption, with 31 separate nations represented in the main draw.

American and Australian players are the most dominant, with eleven entrants for each nation. 

Taylor Fritz, the No.9 seed, is the top-ranked American, while Alex De Minaur (the 11th seed) leads Australia's charge. Four Australian players won through qualifying. 

There are ten Frenchmen competing in this year's Rolex Shanghai Masters, as well as seven Russians and five Spaniards. 

The tournament is recognised as a favourite event for top players; the Rolex Shanghai Masters was awarded ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year for five consecutive years between 2009 and 2013. 

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