By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday January 17, 2023
It’s no secret. It hasn’t been easy for Andy Murray in recent years. The Scot has suffered through a litany of difficult losses and injuries as he has tried to make a push back up the rankings. He went from No.1 in the rankings in July of 2017 to outside of the Top 800 a year later, as he underwent right hip surgeries in January 2018 and January 2019.
So what were Murray’s prevailing sentiments after notching his biggest win at a Slam since 2017 on Tuesday in Melbourne? Pride – and relief.
“I think the last few years, I’ve certainly questioned myself at times,” he said after defeating 13th-seeded Matteo Berrettini in Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday. “There’s certainly a lot of people questioned me and my ability, whether I could still perform at the biggest events and the biggest matches.”
Murray, who notched his 50th Australian Open victory on Tuesday (he is fifth on the all-time men’s singles wins list in Melbourne), expressed an immense sense of pride in his work.
“I felt very proud of myself after the match,” he said. “That’s not something that I generally felt over the years at the end of the tennis matches.”
The former World No.1 put in a hard three-week training block with coach Ivan Lendl and members of his team in Florida this winter, and he feels that the efforts are being rewarded. He went four hours and 49 minutes with Berrettini on Tuesday and finished far stronger than his 26-year-old adversary.
“I think I’m proud of the work that I put in the last few months. I trained really hard over in Florida getting ready to play here. I’m really proud of how I fought through that match at the end, like I said, when it could have gotten away from me, how I played in the tiebreak at the end.”
It doesn’t happen often these days – the uber critical Murray seems to prefer to berate rather than praise himself – but on this night, he was impressed with his performance.
“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 matches, those types of matches, in the slams the last couple years, whether that’s the Tsitsipas match or whatever, Isner at Wimbledon. That one could have gone the other way tonight, but I stayed strong and I deserved to win.”