‘Winning is what sport is all about’ – Andy Murray reacts to one of his best wins of 2021

Kevin Palmer
Andy Murray waving

Andy Murray claimed an impressive win over world number 26 Ugo Humbert to move into the second round of the Moselle Open in Metz.

The former world number one built on his recent good showing against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open as he dispatched the home favourite 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Murray was put under pressure at 3-3 in the second set but proceeded to reel off seven games in a row and ultimately set up a second-round clash with Vasek Pospisil.

“I’ve found it tough in the past few years that I don’t know some players that well and it’s difficult to play against them and win,” he said after the match.

“Today, I felt I had a good game plan and executed it pretty well.

“Winning is what sport is all about, and if you can play great whilst doing that even better.

Murray has now won 683 tour-level matches and he believes that adjustments made to his service technique after Wimbledo in July are helping him earn more free points and be more competitive.

“If you can’t and you don’t play your best, then winning is a great feeling,” he added. “That’s why I am still playing. I have little goals — to get to 700 wins on tour. I’m not particularly interested in losing and playing well.

“I don’t think I’ve played that well recently, but my body has been good and even not playing my best, I’ve created opportunities to win sets against a number of top players. There is no question that I can play better.

“The serve has been a big positive since Wimbledon. The changes that I have made there have really helped get me some free points. It got me out of some tricky situations today.

“At the US Open, I felt that I played a good match [against Tsitsipas] and lost. These are the matches that are really important to build confidence. Winning a match against a player around the Top 25 [today], and not playing your best tennis, is a real positive.

“The serve was the shot that was most affected by my hip problem. I kind of lost my technique on my serve and I couldn’t drive up to the serve. So I had to change my serve through necessity and lost a lot of power. I didn’t really get that back.

“There has been moments in the past couple of years when I have served well, but I had to look at it after Wimbledon and make a few adjustments. In the matches in the States, I was getting a lot more free points. It changes the way you play.”

Seventh seed Karen Khachanov had to fight to progress, with the Russian serving 11 aces as he hit back from a set behind to see off Alexandre Muller 4-6 6-1 6-3.

Three-time former champion Gilles Simon was beaten 6-7 (4) 7-6 (2) 6-2 by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while another Frenchman, Arthur Rinderknech, was beaten by Marcos Giron.

Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune needed only 47 minutes to wrap up a rare double-bagel 6-0 6-0 win over Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

At the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, eighth seed Ilya Ivashka advanced with a 6-2 6-4 win over Elias Ymer, while there were also wins for John Millman, Egor Gerasimov and Lorenzo Musetti.