The Serb, a three-time Madrid champion, is finding his rhythm after competing sparingly this year following his deportation from Australia over his Covid vaccination status, preventing him playing in the Australian Open.
Murray has been beset by injury problems in recent years, especially to his hip, and is now ranked 78th in the world.
The 34-year-old Scotsman had been given an invitation to the Madrid tournament and beat first Dominic Thiem then Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov — who overcame Murray on the way to last year’s Wimbledon semi-finals — to reach the last 16.
Andy Murray battled to his first win at the Australian Open since 2017 with an epic five-set victory over 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili on Tuesday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, playing with a metal hip following career-saving surgery in 2019, wrestled with the Georgian for almost four hours before claiming his place in the second round.
Scotland’s Murray, ranked 113 and playing as a tournament wild card, showed his trademark fighting spirit to edge home in the gripping final set and clinch a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 victory in 3hr 52 min on John Cain Arena.
It was the 34-year-old’s first match at the Australian Open since 2019, when he went out in the first round. He made a tearful exit and it was thought that it might be his farewell. He had surgery on his hip weeks later.
“Amazing, been a tough three or four years. Put in a lot work to get back here,” a relieved Murray said on court Tuesday.
“I’ve played on this court many times and the atmosphere is incredible.
“It’s amazing to be back and winning a five-set battle like that, I couldn’t ask for any more.”
It continued a keen rivalry between the pair with Murray rallying from a set down to defeat the big-hitting Georgian last week in Sydney and also prevailing over four sets in the first round at Wimbledon last year. – Thundering groundstrokes –
Murray grabbed the opening set with the loss of just one game, but Basilashvili levelled it up with the second set, before trading blows with the wily Scot in the third.
Basilashvili was pounding his groundstrokes and Murray had to use all his guile to get the ball back in play and work for an opening.
Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, had three set points at 5-3 but the Georgian fought them all off to cling on to his service.
Murray again worked his way to two more set points in his next service game as Basilashvili overhit a couple of volleys, before the Scot took the third set when the Georgian whacked a backhand wide.
Basilashvili broke Murray’s serve in the sixth game of the fourth set but the indomitable Scot fought back from 0-30 down to break back in the next game when the Georgian’s lob was long.
But Basilashvili would not go away and won a titanic tiebreaker to force the match into a fifth set.
The Georgian began the final set poorly, falling behind 0-40 on serve and netting a backhand to hand Murray a break.
But yet again Basilashvili refused to give in and broke back to level at 4-4.
Murray held serve and then got to 0-40 on Basilashvili’s service in the 10th game before taking the epic, to crowd pandemonium inside the arena.
Murray has lost Roger Federer once in the final of the Australian Open and four times to Novak Djokovic.
But Murray is a three-time Grand Slam champion, winning the 2012 US Open, and the following year he became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles crown in 77 years. He won it again in 2016.
Two-time defending Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray withdrew Sunday from the men’s singles tournament due to a muscle injury, Team GB said in a statement.
Murray, 34, will stay in Tokyo to play doubles with Joe Salisbury. The pair won their opening match of the competition on Saturday.
“I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events, so I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe,” Murray said in a statement.
“The decision follows consultation with medical staff in relation to a quad strain,” it added.
The Scot was scratched from the order of play just hours before he was due to face Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round. He was replaced in the draw by Australia’s Max Purcell.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray is the only player to win two Olympics singles titles. He was bidding for a third successive gold following his victories at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Murray’s career has been blighted by injury in recent years, twice undergoing hip surgery since rising to world number one at the end of 2016.
He recently suffered his earliest Wimbledon exit in 16 years when he was knocked out in the third round by Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.
Murray and Salisbury will play Germany’s Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz for a spot in the Olympic men’s doubles quarter-finals after dumping out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the first round.
Defending champion Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open due to mental issues and skipped Wimbledon, and Roger Federer, who missed the Olympics with a knee injury, were named Wednesday to the US Open tennis field.
The US Tennis Association named the men’s and women’s singles lineups for the August 30-September 12 event at Flushing Meadows, where spectators will return at 100% capacity.
The ATP Tour’s 103 top-ranked players are entered for New York with top-ranked Novak Djokovic chasing a calendar-year Grand Slam after a Wimbledon victory that lifted him level with ninth-ranked Federer and third-ranked Rafael Nadal with a men’s record 20 career Grand Slam titles.
Only Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 and Don Budge in 1938 have managed a men’s calendar Slam.
Djokovic, who will seek Olympic gold in Tokyo, could become only the second player to win all four Slam singles crowns and Olympic gold in the same year after Steffi Graf in 1988.
Other men’s entrants include sixth-ranked defending champion Dominic Thiem, past US Open winners Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic, world number two Daniil Medvedev and fourth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Britain’s Andy Murray, the 2012 US Open champion, was the first player on the alternate list and will gain a spot in the main draw should anyone in the field withdraw.
Sixteen qualifiers and eight wildcards will complete the field.
On the women’s side, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, is among 15 Slam singles champions in the field, seven of them in the top 10.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka of Japan, ranked second, is also in the lineup along with 2020 Australian Open champion and world number four Sofia Kenin, fifth-ranked 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu, eighth-ranked Iga Swiatek and former world number ones Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep.
In all, 100 of the top 104 players in the WTA rankings opted into the event.
Two-time champion Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon singles match since 2017 on Monday with a four-set triumph over Nikoloz Basilashvili and hailed the Centre Court crowd which carried him to victory.
Murray, the champion in 2013 and 2016 but who has fought a long battle with hip and groin injuries in recent years, triumphed 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 over the 24th seeded Basilashvili.
“It has been extremely tough, even in the last few months,” said 34-year-old Murray.
“It was not the most serious of injuries but it was frustrating not to be able to get on the court.
“I have had so little momentum over the last few years but kept on going to the gym and trying to get back to do it again.”
Now ranked a lowly 118 in the world, former number one Murray will face either Oscar Otte of Germany or France’s Arthur Rinderknech for a place in the last 32.
His last appearance in the singles tournament at Wimbledon four years ago ended in a five-set loss to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals.
A long-standing hip problem, which required surgery, then pushed him tearfully to the brink of retirement.
It was a roller-coaster evening for Murray who let slip a 5-0 lead and two match points in the third set.
That led to a delay in proceedings to allow for the Centre Court roof to close.
But Murray broke in the first game of the fourth set to send him on his way to victory.
“There was some fatigue there and I was just trying to just sort of not get too amped up or too hyped up,” he said.
“The crowd definitely were into it. I think people are just desperate to be out watching sports or going to the theatre, whatever — people just want to go out and do stuff and have a good time.
“I realised the last 18 months not to take moments like that for granted. You know, enjoy those things that we love doing.
“I think everyone was into it today. It was a really good atmosphere, and it didn’t feel like the crowd was half full.”
Wimbledon, which was cancelled last year, is operating at just 50% capacity until the finals weekend when 15,000 people can attend the championship matches.
Three-time major winner and back-to-back Olympic gold medallist Murray said he intends to keep playing.
“I keep on being asked will it be my last match or my last Wimbledon,” he said.
“I don’t know why I keep on being asked. I want to keep on playing. I enjoy it and I can still play at the highest level.
“Basilashvili is ranked 28 in the world and I beat him.”
Basilashvili was generous in defeat.
“It’s an unbelievable effort for him after surgery, after so many comebacks to come back and fight,” he said.
“He fights unbelievably, and I was expecting that. We all know that how big a fighter he is on court.”
Andy Murray’s participation in the Australian Open is in doubt after it was announced on Thursday he had tested positive for coronavirus.
The former world number one was due to travel to Australia on one of a series of charter flights laid on by tournament organisers but is still isolating at home in London.
Britain’s Press Association news agency said Murray, apparently in good health, is hoping to be able to arrive in Australia at a later date.
The 33-year-old is a five-time runner-up in Melbourne.
More than 1,200 players and support staff are arriving in Australia from Thursday for 14 days’ quarantine ahead of the delayed tournament, which is due to start on February 8.
Craig Tiley, the Australian Open tournament director, has spent months trying to deal with the logistical nightmares of hosting the Grand Slam during a pandemic.
Tennis Australia said players were only allowed into Australia with proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure, or with approval as a recovered case at the discretion of the Australian government.
The qualifying tournament for the Grand Slam event took place in Qatar.
Britain’s Andy Murray has cancelled his training block in Miami because of a groin injury that has left him unable to practise on the court, according to a report on Thursday.
The former world number one suffered a bruise to his pelvic bone during Britain’s Davis Cup campaign in Madrid last month, The Times newspaper said. He played one singles match before missing the rest of the event.
Murray’s Grand Slam comeback at next month’s Australian Open, which starts on January 20, is apparently not in doubt, however.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, ranked 126 in the world, will likely receive a wild card to compete in Melbourne.
The Scot, 32, is due to travel to Australia in late December to prepare for the new ATP Cup team competition, which starts on January 3.
Earlier this year he broke down in tears, saying the 2019 Australian Open could be his last tournament but he returned to the court after hip resurfacing surgery and beat fellow veteran Stan Wawrinka in the final of the European Open in October.
Murray has signed up to play in Montpellier in the week immediately following the year’s first Grand Slam, suggesting he does not expect to reach the latter stages in Melbourne.
The Davis Cup has a new format but Andy Murray’s love of a comeback remains intact after the Scot battled from behind to beat Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday as Great Britain edged past Holland.
Murray came from a set down and then trailed 4-1 in the decider in Madrid before beating the spirited Griekspoor, ranked 179 in the world, 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
“I’ve found a way to win matches many times in my career when I’ve not been playing well,” Murray said. “You can draw on that a little bit.”
A scrappy victory gave Great Britain the lead in their opening Group E tie and while Dan Evans lost the second singles rubber to Robin Haase, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski finished the job in the doubles.
Rafael Nadal won his 26th consecutive Davis Cup singles match later on Wednesday as Spain booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 victory over defending champions Croatia.
Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, cruised past Yoshihito Nishioka to help Serbia beat Japan by the same scoreline.
Murray had given short shrift on Tuesday to those he believes have been too quick to criticise the revamped Davis Cup, which for the first time is featuring all 18 World Group countries competing for the trophy across a single week in one venue.
And in what will be music to the ears of the organisers, among them Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, Murray was full of praise for the atmosphere inside the Caja Magica’s cosy Stadium 3.
“The atmosphere was brilliant,” Murray said afterwards. “That was the one concern I had about the event, about it being on neutral ground, but it was great.”
British fans have been second only to Spanish in terms of tickets sold so far and the strong attendance for Murray’s opener inside the tournament’s smallest court, with a capacity of 2,500, has not been consistent across other morning matches.
– Biggest attraction –
Murray, along with Nadal and Djokovic, is one of the competition’s biggest attractions this week and Britain’s prospects of progressing to the quater-finals look good ahead of Thursday’s tie against Kazakhstan.
It remains to be seen whether Murray plays or is rested against the Kazakhs but he was given a stiff workout by the 23-year-old Griekspoor, who was a surprise pick in the Dutch team ahead of Botic Van de Zandschlup.
“About an hour before the match it changed,” said Murray. “I didn’t know much about his game.”
But Murray again dug deep, his experience and resilience proving the difference as Griekspoor lost his nerve and then the match.
Haase outlasted Evans 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 while Jamie Murray and Skupski held on for a 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) win over Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer.
Djokovic enjoyed a more comfortable start as he cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Nishioka in a straightforward win for Serbia against Japan.
Serbia will play France on Thursday to decide who goes through as winners of Group A.
“It’s probably one of the biggest challenges we can have in this competition, playing against France, one of the most successful nations in Davis Cup, and definitely one of the strongest teams,” Djokovic said.
Nadal saw off Croatia’s Borna Gojo 6-4, 6-3 and then helped Spain win the doubles rubber alongside Marcel Granollers.
Argentina could have secured progress by beating Germany but lost all three matches as Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Guido Pella and Jan-Lennard Struff overcame Diego Schwartzman to establish an unassailable advantage. Germany will advance if they beat Chile on Thursday.
Canada are already through and will meet Australia in the last eight on Thursday, after Leyton Hewitt’s team beat Belgium 2-1.
Andy Murray won his first ATP title since March 2017 on Sunday with a battling 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Stan Wawrinka in the Antwerp final.
Former world number one Murray, rebuilding his game after career-saving hip surgery earlier this year, fought back from a set and 3-1 down against fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka to claim his 46th career title.