TORONTO, Canada (AFP) - Andy Murray hit the practise courts on Monday with new coach Amelie Mauresmo in full charge of the session as the ATP Toronto Masters kicked off the major tune-up run to the US Open.
Murray, ranked 10th but taking the eighth seed due to the injury absences of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, admitted he found himself caught on the hop with his preparation when Nadal withdrew last week from all the event to let a right wrist injury heal.
Murray, who then received a bye into the second round as a top eight seed, had been expecting to play on Monday evening before his promotion due to the absence of Nadal.
The former Wimbledon winner confessed that his new opening date at mid-week has actually thrown off his finely balanced preparation with Mauresmo, whom he signed to a long-term contract in recent days.
"I planned all of my training and everything around playing my first match on Monday evening and arranged to come here (last) Thursday to get here a little bit earlier to get used to the conditions," said the Scotsman.
Murray begins the tournament he won in 2009-2010 against the winner from Santiago Giraldo and Australian Nick Kyrgios, who knocked Nadal out of the Wimbledon fourth round last month.
The 27-year-old Scot admits he's still trying to find traction after his September back surgery and subsequent return to tennis at the start of this season.
Murray is still seeking his first title since thrilling Britain with his 2013 Wimbledon crown.
He said that he is putting special emphasis on this week and next in Cincinnati, his warm-ups for the US Open that starts in three weeks, after a quarter-final loss to Grigor Dimitrov at Wimbledon.
"You don't just come back after surgery and feel great straightaway the first few months," Murray said. "I was happy with the French Open. That went well.
"Wimbledon obviously (went) not quite as well as I would have liked, although I felt like I played some good tennis before my loss there. I felt like I was playing pretty well.
"But the rankings don't lie. I need to start winning more matches to push my ranking back up there.
"The main goal for me is to try to win Grand Slams. That's what motivates me. That's why I want to train." As rain played havoc with the schedule, first-round play got underway.
Croatian number 15 Marin Cilic became the first seed through as he beat Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 while Frenchman Jeremy Chardy reached the second round with his 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 defeat of Argentine Federico Delbonis.
He was joined by compariot Benoit Paire, a winner over Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-2.