Comment: Andy Murray reminds us all why we should never doubt him again

Kevin Palmer
Andy Murray screaming

“I looked down and out and felt that way, to be honest. Thankfully, I found a way to turn it around.”

The words of Andy Murray after he served up his latest sporting miracle summed up the mood of his army of admirers looking on in bewildered disbelief as the Scot produced arguably the most remarkable victory of his long career.

There may not have been a trophy to collect at the end of his 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka at the US Open, with his first victory in a major tournament since his hip was reconstructed in January 2019 adding the spectacle, but this was an incredible victory.

Murray’s former coach and Amazon Prime commentator Mark Petchey was among those questioning whether Murray had run out of miracles as he fell 6-4, 4-0 behind against a dynamic opponent who appeared to be relishing the chance to potentially end the career of one of the game’s greats, yet there was an air of inevitability about the final chapter of the story once Nishioka missed a match point in the fourth set and then succumbed as he served to stay in the match in the decider.

This may have been the tenth time Murray came from two sets down to win a match and the fourth time he has done it at the US Open, but the reason why his latest back-from-the-dead effort was different to those other wins is no one knew whether this defiant champion could continue to prevail when after all he has been through with his hip over the last three years.

Of course, we should all have known better than to doubt this remarkable warrior.

This is no ordinary legend and once again, Andy Murray gave a glorious snapshot to highlight why he is the greatest British sportsman of all-time.

For the army of admirers who have followed Murray’s path from his early guise as the nearly man who kept failing at the final hurdle against the game’s greats through to his golden period that served up a US Open win in 2012, Wimbledon titles in 2013 and 2016 and Olympic gold medals either side of those triumphs, his injury fight over the last three years has helped to cement his legacy.

Yet not even the unbreakable Murray could have dreamed up the scenario that saw him produce yet another win at the tournament he has long described as his favourite.

This victory was a display of was raw courage from a 33-year-old who has won it all and shouldn’t need more success and yet that is why the great champions are different from the rest.

With his forehand increasing in pace and accuracy as we moved into the fifth set, it felt like destiny was on Murray’s side as he came from a break down to force a match point that left Nishioka to ponder how he ended losing a match he had dominated for so long.

Murray appeared to be hanging on by the thinnest of threads as he tried to reach the end of a road only he could see for most of the match, with his post-match confession that even he questioned whether this was a step too far for him highlighting the uncertainty that now surrounds a player who does not know how much longer he can play on the game’s great stages.

What can never be doubted is his resolute spirit and refusal to succumb to the inevitable and for that, tennis can be grateful that Andy Murray is still gracing our sport.

Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer

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