Andy Murray gave himself a uncommon pat on the again and expressed his satisfaction after rolling again the years with an epic five-set win over Matteo Berrettini within the first spherical of the Australian Open.
Bidding to beat a top-20 participant at a grand slam for the primary time since his hip issues started in 2017, Murray gained the opening two units earlier than Berrettini fought again to degree in a dramatic fourth-set tie-break.
The Italian thirteenth seed created a match level within the tenth sport of the deciding set however dumped a easy backhand into the web with the courtroom vast open and Murray held on to pressure a deciding tie-break.
A gruelling first level gained by the Scot set the tone and Murray, who moved fantastically, obtained the luck his efficiency deserved with a netcord on his first match level earlier than celebrating a surprising 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7 (7) 7-6 (6) victory after 4 hours and 49 minutes.
While such matches would have often been contested in later rounds in his heyday, this may certainly imply virtually as a lot 4 years after the tearful press convention at Melbourne Park that appeared to herald the top of his profession.
Murray stated: “The last few years, I’ve certainly questioned myself at times. There’s certainly a lot of people who’ve questioned me and my ability, whether I could still perform at the biggest events and the biggest matches.
“I felt very proud of myself after the match. That’s not something that I generally felt over the years at the end of tennis matches.
“I think I’m proud of the work that I put in the last few months. I trained really, really hard over in Florida getting ready to play here. I’m really proud of how I fought through that match at the end when it could have got away from me, how I played in the tie-break at the end.
“I was impressed with myself, which again is not something… I’m hard on myself usually. Tonight I need to give myself some credit because the last few years have been tough.
“I’ve lost a few of those type of matches in the slams the last couple years, whether that’s the (Stefanos) Tsitsipas match (at the US Open in 2021) or (John) Isner at Wimbledon. That one could have gone the other way tonight, but I stayed strong and I deserved to win.”
The former world primary spoke forward of the match about how a lot better he was feeling about his sport and health, and it was evident from the beginning that this was a special Murray to the participant who has scrapped for wins since coming back from hip surgical procedure in 2019.
With the roof closed as a consequence of excessive warmth, Murray was proper on his sport from the beginning and took full benefit of a sluggish opening from Berrettini, who made the Wimbledon remaining in 2021 and the semi-finals right here final 12 months and is called one of many hardest opponents on tour.
Had Murray transformed two break factors within the fourth sport of the third set, he might have been off the courtroom so much earlier, however Berrettini held on and from there started to play a lot better, hammering down aces and cranking his large forehand into gear.
The fourth set was determined in a fascinating tie-break, the place Murray was an inch away from carving out a match level with a diving volley earlier than Berrettini, who had tightened up horribly on two set factors, freed himself to take the third.
He regarded answerable for the decider, his serve untouchable because the stress steadily elevated on Murray, however Berrettini missed his probability.
In the deciding tie-break, the Scot was half technique to the ten factors wanted earlier than Berrettini obtained on the scoreboard and, though the Italian threatened to create a grandstand end, Murray obtained his second of fortune.
The gamers solely discovered simply earlier than taking the courtroom that the roof could be on and Berrettini admitted he struggled to adapt to the completely different circumstances.
He had gained three matches in a row in opposition to Murray, together with on the US Open final 12 months, and stated: “I think he played definitely better. He was moving way better, hitting the ball better… everything, in general.
“He served really well. I knew it would have been a tough first round. He loves to play these kind of matches. He’s a great champion. Personally it was great to play with that atmosphere against him. It was just a great match. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”