Andy Murray’s upbeat verdict after title win and he vows not to fall for Fabio Fognini antics
Andy Murray described his final two matches during his ATP Challenger Tour title run in Aix-en-Provence as “the best I’ve felt on the court the whole year”, which is quite the statement following his heroics at the Australian Open and the Qatar Open.
It has been an up and down season for Murray so far as he started the year by producing some remarkable display at the season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park, spending 15 hours on court during his run to the third round.
He then followed it up a runners-up title at the ATP 250 event in Doha as he saved several match points during his run to the final before eventually going down against Daniil Medvedev.
After skipping the Dubai Tennis Championships in order to recover from his exhausting early-season match-ups, Murray returned for the Sunshine Double and started with a run to the third-round in Indian Wells, but things then went haywire as he suffered three consecutive third-round defeats.
Following his early exit from the Madrid Open, he accepted a late wildcard for the ATP Challenger Tour event at Aix-en-Provence and went all the way, beating four Frenchman before defeating top seed Tommy Paul in three sets in the final.
It was his first title at any level since 2019 and his first Challenger Tour trophy in nearly 18 years.
Needless to say Murray felt good in France last week.
“I moved well, I hit the ball big from both sides, I returned well. The last two matches are the best I’ve felt on the court the whole year. Better than Australia. Just all round better than in Doha,” he told The Guardian.
He will return to the ATP Tour on Wednesday as he will face Fabio Fognini in the opening round of the Italian Open.
The last time the pair met was at Shanghai in 2019 and it was a testy encounter with the pair involved in a heated discussion and Murray at one point telling the Italian to “shut up”.
He expects that Fognini will try to unsettle him again, but is determined not to engage with the veteran.
“That’s probably my bad, I need to just focus on the tennis and stay fully focused on my side of the net when I play against him,” he said.
“I’m sure it will be a good atmosphere with the fans here. I’m sure he’ll be trying to engage with them, get them in the match and everything. I need to be ready for that, just focus on my side of the net.”
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