ANALYSIS: Andy Murray’s passion for tennis still burns, so rivals beware
Andy Murray has demonstrated the fire still burns, and that’s an ominous sign for rivals hoping he was a spent force.
Andy Murray is back.
Okay, so he’s not at his best yet, and he probably won’t be contesting titles again for some time, possibly even next season, but for intents and purposes, the former world number one is back.
And how good that is to say.
Because, if we are honest, really, truly honest, no one really knew if it would happen. Indeed, even Murray himself has spoken of having doubts during low points in his year-long struggle with injury that saw him drop to number 838 in the world.
Now, let’s be clear about how tough it’s been for Murray. When he took to the court at Wimbledon 2017 to defend his title, he was ranked at number one in the world. At that moment in time, he was the best the ATP Tour had to offer. We didn’t see him on court again for nearly a year.
The injury he had was, we were told, beyond serious. He would probably be back, but it wouldn’t be the Murray we know.
“Will Andy ever be the same?” asked Tommy Haas, a former world number two who suffered the same injury.
“Will he ever move the same, with the foot speed that gives him the confidence at the top of the game? That remains to be seen.”
I wondered myself in a column back in June whether Murray would be able to rely on the brilliant defensive element to his game that has taken him so far.
— Tennis365 (@T365Official) 5 June 2018
Many others have questioned whether, at 31-years-old, he still had the fire to climb the rankings again like an 18-year-old.
Most of these questions are, I guess, still to be answered. That last one, however, has been answered emphatically.
Against Kyle Edmund in Washington this week, Murray was absolutely fierce. He contested every point, he was animated, he was emotional, he was angry, passionate, boisterous, cantankerous, contentious.
The umpire barely knew what hit him. At times in the third set, Murray made challenges to calls that he knew, he knew, were called correctly. He wasn’t challenging the officials, but challenging himself – challenging himself to care enough, to want it enough.
His touch wasn’t quite there yet, and neither was his fitness. He lagged badly in the second set as he waited for his second wind to arrive. Both of those will come. There is little doubt about that.
What was there, though, along with the fire, was the mobility. This wasn’t a weak Kyle Edmund performance. It wasn’t, in any way, shape or form, the Edmund who was barely inside the world’s top 50 when Murray got injured.
He’s a top-20 player now and one very much on the rise, and he was thundering some forehand winners past Murray all night.
It was a really tough test for Murray against a player who knows him perhaps better than anyone – and he found a way to win it.
For Murray, it’s just a start. That has to be stressed. The remainder of 2018 is probably just an extended preparation for next year.
However, make no mistake about it, Murray is back, and that is brilliant for tennis.
Roger Federer makes a surprise appearance as Laver Cup gets underway
Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini gave Team Europe a lead as the Laver Cup got under way in Boston.
Explainer – Why Emma Raducanu did not get automatic entry to Indian Wells event
Emma Raducanu has not gained automatic entry to the Indian Wells Masters event next month.
Dominic Thiem responds after media snipes from his former physio
Dominic Thiem has issued a statement after he confirmed he has split with members of his backroom staff after a challenging 2021.
Big change in Emma Raducanu’s camp as she seeks to make key appointment
Raducanu is preparing to make big changes to the team she will be working with after confirming she is on the look-out for a new coach.
Emma Raducanu to be given ‘homecoming’ broadcast to toast her US Open win
The Lawn Tennis Association are set to give Emma Raducanu the welcome home she deserves.
Exclusive – Assessing Novak Djokovic’s legacy with one of the game’s leading writers
Novak Djokovic has always been fighting a losing battle in a popularity contest with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Emma Raducanu could secure a place in lucrative end-of-season WTA finals
Raducanu could be on course to secure a remarkable place in the lucrative end-of-season WTA finals in Mexico.
Andy Murray eyeing up leap in the rankings after another win in Metz
Murray is one win away from a return to the top 100 in the ATP rankings.
Emma Raducanu confirms first sponsorship deal and plenty more will follow
The sponsorship opportunities are rolling in for…
‘Winning is what sport is all about’ – Andy Murray reacts to one of his best wins of 2021
The former world number dispatched the home favourite favourite 4-6 6-3 6-2.