Andy Murray is back on the winner’s circle as he continues his remarkable comeback having tearfully revealed in Melbourne last January that he was on the verge of retiring because of a hip problem. Now, nine months later, he is revelling in the glow of a pain free body after undergoing career-saving hip surgery following the Australian Open.
This is one of the biggest wins that I've had after everything so I'm very proud Andy Murray
His journey since that fateful day, has been followed virtually daily by his fans and the tennis world in general and his return to active play at Queen’s, was greeted with delight by all. Even more so having restricted himself to playing just doubles, he won the title win partnership with Fernande Alonso.
Now he can add the Antwerp title having beaten his old rival Stan Wawrinka in the final 3-6 6-4 6-4 in what must be the most significant result of his comeback, a factor which hit home as he released his emotions with tears of satisfaction and incredulity.
It was his first title since Dubai 2017 and the 46th of his career.
Refelcting on the last few months, Murray said: “When I spoke to my team before the trip to Asia, I was like, ‘What are the goals here?’
“And I was like, ‘I just want to be competitive. I want to feel that when I am on the court I am not getting smashed by guys’.
“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I am going to win tournaments’ or ‘I am going to beat guys like Stan and (Matteo) Berrettini’. So this has come as a surprise to me and my team.”
When speaking to Amazon Prime, he added tearfully: “It means a lot. The last few years have been extremely difficult.
“Both me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the last couple of years. It’s amazing to be back, playing against him in the 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.
“This is one of the biggest wins that I’ve had after everything so I’m very proud
“I didn’t expect to be in this position at all. I’m happy, very happy,” added the former world No.1 who is currently languishing in the 243rd position of the ranking list. However, his ranking should now push him back up to 127.
“I’ve really enjoyed my week here. The atmosphere the last few days has been amazing. I’m very proud of the win this week,” Murray concluded.
The Scot, facing Wawrinka, the fourth seed, for the 20th time in their careers, fought back from a set and 3-1 down as he chased his 12th victory over the Swiss.
Wawrinka, who also hunting his first title in over two years having undergone two knee operations in 2017, broke Murray again early in the second but the Scot hit back to level for 3-3 and then forced a deciding set as the world No. 18 lost his serve for the second time.
A similar scenario was enacted in the third with Wawrinka breaking for 2-1 but Murray responded by breaking back leading to the two swapping breaks over four consecutive games.
With Wawrinka serving to stay in the match, Murray brought up championship point after almost two and a half hours to wrap up what was a remarkable victory over a player who throughout the match, looked to be on his way to the title.
The 32-year-old is now expected to take a break until the Davis Cup finals next month while he waits for the imminent birth of his third child.
Murray joked: “I’ll have three kids under four years old. When I’ve been off the tour the last few years my family has got bigger. I need to get on the road so we don’t get out of control. I’m excited for the third kid. My wife’s been a huge support for getting me back on the court and making me fight to keep playing.”