Manchester United stars practice with US Open hopefuls

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Manchester United players are busy preparing for the Premier League season in North America, and they bumped into some tennis stars who are also readying themselves for a big event - the US Open.

New big-money signing Ander Herrera joined existing first team stars Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia on the eve of their pre-season clash with Inter Milan in Washington.


Greeting the members of new manager Louis van Gaal's side were Madrid Open finalist Kei Nishikori, former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray's brother Jamie.

The group are all aware of the demands and pressures of top end sport, and they took a rare opportunity to showcase the fun side of their respective sports and indulge in some keepy-uppys in front of photographers. Berdych then presented the footballers with one of his racquets and received a shirt in return.


The world no.5 revealed afterwards that he enjoyed the chance to mix with some fellow pros: "For us the only time we can see them is on the TV; there's really not much time to go and see some matches live," said the Czech Republican. "This is even better, just to meet with them, talk, chat, exchange some gifts. It's really cool."

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The Red Devils will kick-off their season in August, and it wont be long after that the action begins at Flushing Meadows.

Jamie Murray, the elder brother of Andy at 29-years-old, has experienced some triumph in New York - not quite as much as his sibling who who won his first Grand Slam in 2012 on the hard surface, however.

The predominantly doubles player reached the gentleman's quarter-finals last year with John Peers, and that followed a runners-up medals in the mixed doubles with Liezel Huber in 2008.

He too lauded the visit, especially considering he is a fan of the Old Trafford outfit: "It was awesome, they were all really cool guys," said Murray. "They were good fun to speak to. Definitely not your average doe for us."

Footballers and tennis

United stars past and present - and indeed the footballing world - are no strangers to being seen in the crowd of big tennis matches.

Former players David Beckham and Sir Bobby Charlton were spotted on Centre Court during Wimbledon. The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Nemanja Vidic and Ryan Giggs are also partial to a spot of SW19 action.

Juan Mata in particular would have enjoyed meeting Berdych and co, he was once invited by Rafael Nadal to watch one of his matches. Cristiano Ronaldo has also supported the defending US Open champion in the past.

US Open

Nadal could've used their support a Wimbledon this year, as the Spaniard lost his world no.1 ranking to Novak Djokovic following a third successive failure in London - Australian teenage sensation Nick Kyrgios shocked him in round four earlier this month.

He'll be hoping the stars return for his US Open defence. Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, however, are all former champions who will be looking to return to glory when the event starts on August 25th.


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