Andy Murray battles past Nikoloz Basilashvili in five sets at Australian Open.. Andy Murray showed there is plenty of life in him yet as he returned to the court where he was virtually retired three years ago and defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili in five sets to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
The great and the good of tennis were hastily gathered together to make a tribute video for Murray in 2019 after he tearfully laid bare the extent of his hip problems on the eve of the tournament and announced he was considering retiring.
But, even as the video was playing, Murray, who had somehow defied the pain to push Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets in a raucous atmosphere, was looking ahead to his imminent resurfacing operation and the hope that he might be able to come back.
NEVER GIVE UP
— LTA (@the_LTA) January 18, 2022
It has been a slow and frustrating process but the 34-year-old is finally able to train consistently and a first ATP Tour final for more than two years in Sydney last week was an indication that just maybe he can be a factor on the big stage again.
His scalps last week included big-hitting Georgian Basilashvili after a three-hour battle, and it took Murray three hours and 52 minutes here to come through 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-4 and record his first victory in Melbourne for five years.
“It was amazing,” Murray said in an on-court interview after the match. “It has been a tough three or four years.
“I’ve put in a lot of work to get back here. I have played on this court many times and the atmosphere is incredible. I have always had fantastic support.
“This is where I thought I had potentially played my last match three years ago but it is amazing to be back, winning a five-set battle like that. I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Reflecting on last week’s encounter between the pair, Murray continued: “It was a brutal match in Sydney. We played for three hours over three sets.