Players gush over ‘Andy F****** Murray’s’ display as John McEnroe says he earned ‘ultimate respect’

Andy Murray delighted

The tennis community waxed lyrical about Andy Murray’s win over Matteo Berrettini and his brother Jamie and Juan Martin del Potro were some of the stars who took to social media to praise the former world No 1.

Murray produced a performance for the ages in the first round of the Australian Open as he held off the 13th seed to secure a memorable 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (10-6) win in four hours and 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

It was the first time since his hip problems started in 2017 that he had beaten a top 20 player at a Grand Slam and Murray admitted that at times he doubted whether he made the right decision to continue playing.

“The last few years, I’ve certainly questioned myself at times,” he said. “There’s certainly a lot of people who’ve questioned me and my ability, whether I could still perform at the biggest events and the biggest matches.

“I felt very proud of myself after the match. That’s not something that I generally felt over the years at the end of tennis matches.”

It was a memorable match with Berrettini wasting a match point in the 10th game of the decider and fellow and former players were glued to their screens.

Canadian duo Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu certainly enjoyed it.

2009 US Open champion Del Potro, who himself has struggled with injury over the years, has always been a big Murray fan and he wrote on Twitter: “What a warrior my friend! Thank you for showing us you never gave up! 💪🏽🙌”

Murray replied: “Thanks Juan 👊 hope you are feeling better!”

But the best post of the day came from Murray’s brother Jamie who simply went with “Andy F****** Murray ❤”

Seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe explained just why the tennis community has the “ultimate respect” for former world No 1 Murray.

“Athletes more than anyone else appreciate that ability to hang in there and bounce back,” he told Eurosport.

“You see all the injuries that he’s gone through, the turmoil that goes on in your head when things aren’t going right with your body. They understand what it takes to put yourself through something like that and lay yourself on the line.

“So that’s to me the ultimate respect, because they know a lot of what he’s going through and has been through, and I think they appreciate the effort that it takes to even get out there and compete at that level.

“In some ways it becomes not about the result, it just becomes about what he’s representing, the example that he’s setting for other tennis players, even other athletes. So that’s a testament to him, but he’s long been regarded with a lot of respect in our sport.

“He’s always been one of the hardest workers but you felt like he wasn’t going to be able to go out on his terms, which any athlete hates.

“I feel now that he’s at a stage where he’s put himself back in the mix and now he can just sort of play tennis and he doesn’t have to answer these questions all the time.

“He knows that the end is pretty close, but he wants to enjoy it as much as possible.

“And I think other athletes sending a message will spur him on and make him feel better about what he’s doing.”