Last year at the Citi Open, Andy Murray visibly broke down into tears after defeating Marius Copil in a match that ended past 3 am in Washington, D.C. Those emotions didn't just come because he won, but because the Scot had underwent hip surgery earlier in the year and was struggling through the pain during his comeback.
Little did he know that more than 14 months and another hip surgery later, he would be in tears after a match again. This time, it was after defeating Stan Wawrinka in Antwerp to win the European Open, the first title of his singles comeback.
“I don’t know why you get emotional about certain things or the reason for why it comes. Everyone is different,” Murray said. “It was because the past few years have been hard for me and tennis is something that I love doing and today was unexpected and yeah, there’s lots of reasons for me to be emotional today.”
Before Antwerp, Murray competed in three tournaments in Asia — Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai — and ahead of the trip the Scot spoke with his team to discuss goals for what he wanted to achieve.
“I just want to try and be competitive. I want to feel like when I’m on the court I’m not getting smashed, that I’m making it difficult for them and competing as best I could,” Murray told his team.
“I wasn’t thinking I’m going to win tournaments or I’m going to be beating guys like Stan and Berrettini and pushing guys like Fognini close. I just wanted to feel like I was competitive. This has come as a surprise to me and my team.”
Murray did not win a set in his first two tour-level matches back on the singles court in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem. When he arrived in Antwerp, he had not made a quarter-final at any level in six attempts. So although the 32-year-old carried 45 tour-level titles into Sunday’s clash with Wawrinka, it was still uncharted territory.
“I was nervous before the match today for sure. Yesterday, not so much. But before the match I was pretty nervous and I didn’t feel prepared really to win… because I wasn’t expecting it,” Murray said. “When I was out there, I wasn’t ahead at all until right at the end. Had I had a lead maybe I would have found it more difficult but because I was always playing from behind the whole time, I got that break right at the end… I di