WATCH: Andy Murray shares hug with his mother Judy as he wins first Challenger event in 18 years

Andy Murray during a match
Andy Murray in action

Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray claimed his first title since October 2019 with victory at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Aix-en-Provence.

The Scot, playing with a metal hip, has not been in the winners’ circle since triumphing in the European Open in Antwerp three and a half years ago and, although this is a second-tier tournament, he will take great pride in this confidence-boosting success ahead of the French Open, which starts on May 28.

Having breezed past four French players – including former world No 6 Gael Monfils – on his run to the final, the standard was lifted and he came good, beating world No 17 Tommy Paul 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to lift the title.

In doing so he ensures his return to the top 50 of the ATP Rankings – as he is currently at No 42 in the Live Rankings – and a first Challenger Tour level win for 18 years.

Murray’s mother, Judy, was in the crowd and he went over to her as soon as the match was wrapped up.

It looked like it might slip away after a poor start that saw him lose the first four games of the match to hand Paul, an Australian Open semi-finalist earlier this year, the advantage.

The 25-year-old American coasted to the first set, but that was as good as it got as Murray came to the fore.

Murray, eight days before his 36th birthday, broke in the opening game of the decider and did not look back as a second break consolidated his lead, allowing him to seal a memorable title.

“Hi everyone, just wanted to send a message to say a big thank you to you for all of your support. It’s great to win the tournament here in Aix-en-Provence, a Challenger 175k,” he said.

“It’s a really strong tournament with some top players here and very, very happy to get the win and we keep on going next week. Thanks for all the support. Cheers.”

The Scot only took a late wildcard into the tournament following an early exit from the ATP Tour event in Madrid and will now decide whether or not to take part in the Italian Open, which starts on Wednesday.

The former world No 1 has also accepted a wildcard for the ATP Challenger Tour’s BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux, which runs from May 15, but it remains to be seen if he will take part.