Andy Murray admits months of “hard work” is the telling factor after his sensational five-set win over Matteo Berrettini in…
Andy Murray admits months of “hard work” is the telling factor after his sensational five-set win over Matteo Berrettini in Round One of the Australian Open.
Murray rolled back the years in a marathon five-hour contest to knock out the number 13 seed at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
A stunning show of resilience from the 35-year-old saw him survive a match point before prevailing 10-6 in a fifth set tie break to seal a first victory over a top-20 opponent at a Grand Slam since 2017.
Murray flew out of the blocks to claim the opening two sets 6-3, before 2021 Wimbledon finalist Berrettini hit back to take the next two sets 6-4, 7-6 to force a decider.
After storming into a 6-1 lead in the final set tie-break, Murray clinched victory with a forehand which clipped the net and left the Italian stranded.
“The work I’ve put in the last few months has really made the difference,” Murray told the Eurosport team in The Cub.
“Amazing win, and to get through that fifth set with the way he (Berrettini) was serving and playing. It was a great mental effort – and physically. At the end we were both tired.
“I really have put a lot of effort in the last three months and been playing well in practice, but over the last couple of years I’ve lost a few of these matches in the Slams, Tsitsipas at US Open and a tight one with Isner at Wimbledon and this one could have got away from me. But I think the work I’ve put in the last few months has really made a difference in the end.
“And yes, I was a little bit lucky on match point, I stayed remarkably calm in the end and got a really good start in the tie break which really helped me.
“I changed to the block return on the first serve, put a few returns in play and feel I took the initiative in the rallies when I could, and I think I served quite well throughout the match.
“He hit a pretty bad shot on match point (in the fifth set). I was lucky there for sure.
“I served smart. I played every point and thankfully it was enough. I don’t know what the points total was for the match, throughout the match it was unbelievably close. There must have only been one or two points in it.
Murray underwent hip surgery in 2019 which threatened to end his playing career, but the tenacious Scot has few regrets over diving on the hard court.
He added: “I’ll probably find out tonight or tomorrow whether that was the right move! I was so close to the finish line there.
“I probably should have made the volley but it feels alright at the moment – but let’s see in a few hours!”
The three-time major champion will now face Italian veteran Fabio Fognini or Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Second Round on Thursday.
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