|Dates: 16-29 January Venue: Melbourne Park
|Protection: Commentary each day from 07:00 GMT on Radio 5 Sports activities Further ‘Tennis Breakfast’ stay from Melbourne, with chosen stay textual content commentaries and match studies on the BBC Sport web site and app.
How does Andy Murray hold managing to depart us all surprised? He is a 35-year-old with a steel hip, for goodness’ sake.
Even Murray appeared like he couldn’t fairly imagine what he had carried out, puffing out his cheeks after a thrilling five-set victory over Italian thirteenth seed Matteo Berrettini on the Australian Open on Tuesday.
He spent virtually 5 hours on court docket, saving match level at 5-4 within the deciding set earlier than profitable the tie-break 10-6.
A few of Murray’s fellow gamers had been glued to screens watching the British three-time Grand Slam champion put in a classic efficiency that legendary sports activities stars and mesmerised followers on social media might discover solely two phrases for: Andy Murray.
The magical moments hold showing for the previous world primary – even after the hip surgical procedure that no different singles participant had ever returned from.
Many had written him off. Murray himself virtually had.
When the Scot burst into tears at Melbourne Park earlier than the 2019 match, it was as a result of he thought a hip resurfacing operation – the place the pinnacle of the femur is roofed with a steel cap – would sign the top of his profession.
The journey again has been lengthy and arduous. There have been lows – notably latest defeats at Grand Slams – which left him questioning if all of the laborious work was price it.
Due to this fact, it was apt the most recent exhilarating excessive of his rollercoaster trip got here again in Melbourne.
Murray, a harsh self-critic, even allowed himself a pat on the again.
“Over the previous couple of years I’ve questioned myself at instances. There is definitely lots of people [who have] questioned me and my skill, whether or not I might nonetheless carry out on the greatest occasions and the most important matches,” he stated.
“I felt very pleased with myself after the match. That is not one thing that I usually felt through the years on the finish of the matches.
“I am actually pleased with how I fought by means of that match when it might have gotten away from me, how I performed within the tie-break on the finish.
“I used to be impressed with myself, which once more will not be one thing I typically do. I am laborious on myself normally.”
‘You may see the gladiator in him’
In opposition to Berrettini, Murray displayed all the qualities which have endeared him to many through the years.
Battle. Willpower. Grit.
It virtually sounds trite reeling off the identical adjectives. However these traits – and his never-say-die angle – had been there once more for all to see.
One instance got here when Murray – he has a steel hip, bear in mind – dived for a volley within the fourth set tie-break which might have teed up a match level.
It floated simply lengthy and led to loud gasps, partly of pleasure and partly of concern.
Even Tim Henman, one other British nice, requested him what everybody was considering: ought to a person of Murray’s age, one with a steel hip, actually be doing that?
‘I am going to most likely discover out tonight or tomorrow whether or not that was the correct transfer,” Murray laughed throughout an interview on Eurosport.
“However I used to be so near the end line there, I most likely ought to have made the volley.”
Novak Djokovic, the 21-time main champion who has recognized Murray since they had been 12-year-olds enjoying in junior competitions, had his eyes mounted to a tv display within the locker room and appeared virtually incredulous at what he was seeing.
Dan Evans, a British Davis Cup team-mate, lived the feelings of an excellent fan. A brilliant fan stretched out on a fitness center ball after ending his match a short while earlier than.
Their reactions echoed these inside Rod Laver Enviornment as Murray produced photographs and factors which few thought he might nonetheless pull off.
Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time Grand Slam singles semi-finalist looking ahead to BBC Radio 5 Dwell, stated individuals merely “cannot not watch Murray”.
“You see the gladiator in him – the blood from his knee, the sweat, hobbling round,” she stated.
How will Murray get better now?
Murray’s longevity has been right down to the “professionalism” he places into “each side of his day”, says former British primary Annabel Croft.
“He by no means provides up. What he actually desires is to play like that in a Grand Slam match, taking over an enormous title. It’s a large second,” stated the BBC Radio 5 Dwell analyst.
“What will be attention-grabbing now’s how he pulls up tomorrow. The staff will spend a variety of time on the physique earlier than his second-round match.”
The work to make sure he can be in a match state to face Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis or Italian veteran Fabio Fognini on Thursday continued properly into Tuesday night time.
After the customary post-match ice bathtub, Murray received an excellent meal down him and deliberate to have extra physio remedy at his lodge.
Most significantly, he would attempt to get an early night time – one of many key modifications he has made lately.
“The one factor I’ve undoubtedly received higher, most likely since I had the youngsters, I used to all the time go to mattress fairly late,” he stated.
“Now I are inclined to get myself in mattress a lot, a lot earlier – prioritise my sleep a bit extra and the method of the restoration.
“I would not count on myself to really feel excellent on Thursday, however hopefully I will be in an excellent place.”
‘Mad respect for giant lungs’
Murray’s newest outstanding efficiency led to surprised reactions from fellow gamers, high-profile footballers and journalists…
…and the followers utilizing #bbctennis to precise their admiration.
Andy Moore: Sir Andy Murray – unbelievable efficiency! To do what he does after the harm he had is simply excellent. Won’t fairly be the identical participant he was however you by no means lose that want and laborious work!
Drewett Matthew: Andy Murray, you’re superhuman.
Steve Kilner: He is received a steel hip and he is simply performed virtually 5 hours of tennis, in opposition to a top-20 opponent, profitable 29 video games, together with a match tie-breaker… foolish, ridiculous, sensible, chic. There is just one Andy Murray.
Saadia: Take a bow Andy Murray. Enormous respect. Effectively carried out champ.