From incessant pain, through tears and emotional farewells, Andy Murray has stumped the world in his first tournament victory since hip surgery.
“This is one of the biggest wins I’ve had,” he said, notwithstanding Murray has previously won Wimbledon twice under immense pressure as a home favourite, the US Open, two Olympic gold medals, and the Davis Cup. But recognising the importance of this return to his career he ranks this lowly ATP 250 event – the lowest tier of tournament on the ATP Tour – among the most memorable and special moments in his glittering career.
The two-and-a-half hour tussle with fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka ended in tears of joy. Andy Murray is a tennis champion once again. The 3-6 6-4 6-4 victory was particularly sweet because even Murray himself had been prepared write himself off forever.
Simon Checkley, CEO, The Regenerative Clinic, said; “Murray is an elite athlete. We’ve followed his journey and we’ve cried with him. What is most extraordinary is the low form which is had risen. We remember seeing the pain etched in his face as he tried to perform. We shared his pain, watching him withdraw. Not all of us can be elite athletes and compete at his level but we can empathise with someone so obviously in pain and rejoice at his defeat of chronic illness.”
Talk of retirement, and grand gestures from court officials, commentators and the tennis world proved to be premature. He previously revealed that he could potentially retire in January. It looked as if he would finally throw in the towel. He arrived in Melbourne a broken man. Obituaries were written after he admitted he couldn’t carry on fighting through the pain in a tearful press conference. British sport mourned the loss of its greatest tennis export. His peers, including greatest rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, essentially retired him on court after a five-set defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open.
Yet, only nine months on, he has made everyone look like fools.
“I think the tennis world, including me, was really sad in Australia after that press conference, defeated opponent Stan Wawrinka said. “To see you back at this level, it’s amazing. We’re all really happy. I’m sad I lost today but I’m really happy to see you back. You’re an amazing champion and you deserve that.”
Murray came from behind to beat Stan Wawrinka. It’s set to be a joyous few weeks for Murray, who is expecting his third child with wife Kim in the coming weeks. Childbirth faces a tough task, though, in matching the pure ecstasy of this victory in Belgium.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position at all. I’m happy, very happy,” Murray said. “It means a lot. The last few years have been extremely difficult.” We watch in anticipation and excitement as Andy Murray proves to us all that there is way back from chronic illness.
Read more from the BBC on Andy Murray’s treatment and recoveryhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46865821