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Ice-cold baths for reigning champion

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Andy Murray is pushing himself to the limit. AFP

LONDON (Reuters) – World number one and defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is using daily ice baths and extra exercise to strengthen his sore hip and maintain his fitness throughout the event.

Murray suffered an injury scare in the week before Wimbledon as he pulled out of two exhibition matches at Hurlingham due to a sore hip sustained during his French Open semi-final loss to Stan Wawrinka in June.

”My team have given me a few different exercises to do during the day when we’re together, and also at home in the evening,” Murray wrote in a column for BBC.

“It’s probably about 20 minutes of extra stuff… that means two freezing cold dips a day — one at Wimbledon and one in my ice bath at home before bed.

“It might not be everyone’s ideal preparation for a good night’s sleep, but fortunately I’ve got used to plunging myself into ice-cold water over the years and I don’t mind it.”

The extra effort worked wonders on Monday as Murray cruised to a 6-1 6-4 6-2 win over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik without showing any signs of injury troubles in the first round at the All England Club.

However, former world number four Greg Rusedski believes Murray’s hip was a hindrance against Bublik and the 30-year-old’s lack of rest since earning top ranking last November would stop him from progressing past the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

“What does worry me is that Andy is so far from looking fresh. I don’t see why he can’t make it through to the semi-finals, but I also expect all the “Big Four” to go deep,” Rusedski wrote in a column for The Telegraph after the match.

“And I am not sure he can beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in successive matches if he feels weary,” the Briton added.

“The bottom line is that Andy has had very little rest since his crazy finish to last year. He might have improved his Wimbledon chances by either early at the French Open or skipping it altogether, but that is easy to say in hindsight.”

Murray remains focused on today’s second round match against “unpredictable” Dustin Brown.

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