After four defeats on the bounce on the main ATP Tour questions were beginning to be asked of Andy Murray.
Over the last couple of weeks some of the stuff written about Andy has been unfair and harsh. I think at times the process and what Murray has done and is doing since his hip resurfacing gets forgotten about. It’s pretty marvellous what he is doing and continues to do on the court despite all that he has been through and that we know professional sport stars have struggled to return since surgeries like this.
After winning from two sets and a break down to Yoshihito Nishioka (which was Andy’s first Grand Slam singles match in 18 months) the criticism came in. He did show signs of tiredness against Felix Auger Aliassime as would anyone having not played that format for almost two years and having multiple surgeries and set backs.
A couple of weeks later after his Roland Garros defeat to Stan Wawrinka, the former French Open champion Mats Wilander said he was taking opportunity away form young players and should retire, can we remember this was Andy’s first match on clay in over three years…
Following defeat to Gerasimov in Montpellier the reaction was extreme but the bigger picture should always be in mind. This was Andy’s first match on the tour in over four months and a few days after his run to the Biella Challenger final a few days prior.
I do think too much was made of the defeat to Gerasimov, Murray battled in the first but the Bulgarian ran away with it in the second. It did feel like an easy win was anticipated as a few weeks before the Bulgarian lost 0-6 1-6 0-6 to Aslan Karatsev in Melbourne but when has Tennis been straight forward?
In the first round of Rotterdam the Brit was up against a fellow wildcard in Robin Haase. It was fair to say that the 33 year old started better than the 2009 champion.
Robin was a bit quicker on the baseline and hit through the ball a little cleaner, the power wasn’t there for Murray early on slipping down a break and losing the opening set 2-6.
It didn’t look like going to plan as Murray slipped 2-6 0-3 down and there were nerves watching as a fan but if anything has epitomised the phrase ‘bouncing back’ over the years it is Andy Murray. From 0-3 down he rallied and began force his way into rallies and create problems for Haase going onto take us to a third set.
Murray’s experience in these situations is up there with the very best, once he gets ahead as he did early on his ability to maintain his level and do his bit well is a fantastic to watch as he won 2-6 7-6 6-3.
After all that has been said over the last couple of weeks and months to win in the style he did was exceptionally and thoroughly deserved.
Murray did say after his win in Rotterdam:
“It’s not easy, every time I lose a match, I’m getting told to retire, I should stop playing, that I’m finish and I’ve got nothing left.
“I feel like I’m playing for my career, just now, each time I step onto the court which is a motivation in some ways but it also adds in some ways a bit of stress or extra doubt there”
“On top of that I’m playing with a metal hip which is hard, trust me it’s not easy. It’s a big challenge for me just now and won which I will meet head on”
Andy will be back in action on Wednesday night around 18:30 UK Time against Andrey Rublev in the second round.