Andy Murray beat Stan Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the final of the European Open today to record his first singles title since 2017.
This victory was notable not just because of the quality of the tennis, but because it marks the end of a 10 month period which began with Murray retiring from the sport all together. The Brit tearfully announced his exit after a first round defeat at the Australian open, citing a hip so badly damaged it left him unable to enjoy normal day to day activities, let alone compete at the top.
One hip resurfacing operation and months of gutsy rehab later and Murray is close to his best.
Wawrink has suffered his own share of injury troubles, and started the match like a man possessed. The Swiss crashed winners from all parts of the court and, despite impressive defence from Murray, deservedly won the set.
The Swiss was soon a set and a break up after dismantling a Murray service game with four clean winners, and at 6-4, 3-1 up with two break points looked on course to close out victory.
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Murray had other ideas. The Brit upped his level, won seven points in a row and an improbable comeback to cap the most improbable comeback suddenly looked possible.
In the third set both players displayed understandable signs of nerves. Four consecutive breaks of serve ended when Murray saved two break points to edge 5-4 up. Wawrinka looked safe at 40-15, but a misjudged volley let Murray back in. The Scot sealed his first match point when Wawrinka hit a forehand wide.
Murray will now take some time off to enjoy the arrival of his third child before - presumably - appearing at the 2020 Australian Open.
“It means a lot,” Murray said. “The last few years have been extremely difficult. Me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the last couple of years. Amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that."
“I think it was a great match. Stan was playing unbelievable – hitting winners from all over the court. I just managed to hang in a bit at the end of the second set and the third set was extremely close again. Amazing. I didn’t expect to be in this position at all so I’m very happy.”